Saturday, January 18, 2014

What will transportation look like in 2030?

I came across this topic in one of my groups on LinkedIn.

This is an article illustrating five ways our transportation infrastructure will change within the next 16 years. The central theme appears to be that 60 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas by then, and the main focus will be improvements to our bike/pedestrian infrastructure to accommodate these commuters as well as our automobile traffic. The following is my opinion after reading this article:

As cities become more and more dense with the global population becoming more urban, we need to think about what modes work well in our cities and how to integrate them with each other to make for a cohesive transportation network that adequately serves the residents and employees.

I belong to, which, more or less, is a discussion forum on highrise development that also touches base on other areas of development, including transportation. Our infrastructure has a significant impact on our land use policies. I spend a lot of time on the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and occasionally New York discussion threads, and in the Pittsburgh discussion, the Caracas cable car referenced in this article was also mentioned there. Many of us are playing with the idea of having a cable car system connecting the Oakland neighborhood with a few surrounding areas, particularly the East End.

On a broader scale, I think in general we'll be looking at ways of accommodating bike and pedestrian traffic as we redesign our streets. Other areas of focus include BRT investment (Downtown-to-Oakland in Pittsburgh, 34th Street in Manhattan) as well as the reintroduction of street cars/trolleys in some areas (Cincinnati).

To come back to the subject of bikes/pedestrians, I think there will be some kind of focus on long-distance bike trails. I forgot to reference the recent completion of the Great Allegheny Passage trail that links the Steel City with the Nation's Capital. I think other parts of the USA will follow suit, if anything on more of a regional level. In the greater Philly area, there's talk of having a bike network linking Downingtown with West Chester and ultimately King of Prussia. There might be a future link with the bike trail running from Conshohocken down through Manayunk toward Center City. Speaking of Center City, some vehicle lanes are being converted into bike lanes...

Articles like these should, at the very least, set the foundation for where we as city/transportation planners want to take our cities as they evolve into the live-work-and-play centers of tomorrow. Cities that rank high on livability rankings (see Forbes Magazine's "Most Livable Cities" list) are those with ample open/recreational space as well as those that rank high in terms of their walkability and safe bicycling infrastructure. In addition to improving public transportation, which should be a given anyway considering increased ridership across the board for just about all of our largest urbanized areas, it is in the areas of bike and pedestrian infrastructure planning where we need to focus...