For decades, citizens and transportation professionals have assumed that the primary way to improve transportation is to increase vehicle traffic speed and road capacity – to move more cars. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that this approach:
Is not affordable.
Imposes high social and environmental costs.
Cannot solve traffic congestion problems.
A growing number of planners and traffic engineers now believe that most communities have reached a point of diminishing returns in the race for speed and capacity. They advocate an entirely new approach to defining transportation problems and solutions.
These leaders are shifting from goals of speed and capacity to:
Enhancing access to stores, schools, jobs and services.
Offering diverse travel options.
Reducing the length of trips and vehicle miles traveled.
Reducing average speeds along roads.
These goals are especially important considering three-fourths of vehicle trips are short trips to schools and stores or to run errands.
Efforts to create socially and economically vibrant communities with a high quality of life are enhanced by integrated land use and transportation planning. This fact sheet challenges conventional approaches to transportation that focus on the automobile.
Says transportation engineer Walter Kulash: “The new paradigm is: how about moving people instead of cars? Isn’t that why we were moving cars in the first place?”
Local Government Commission, 1303 J St, Ste 250, Sacramento, CA 95814