Friday, September 24, 2010

The Central Challenge to Transportation: a 15 Minute Writing Exercise

The central challenge for transportation is a variety of things. A major challenge is coping with sprawling developments in order to take advantage of alternative transportation and density. Land use and transit go hand in hand. To achieve a sustainable infrastructure – developments must cluster to allow a variety of transportation modes. Sprawling development supports automobile dependence and vice versa. People desire high levels of accessibility supported by their complex life styles.

Automobiles do not necessarily equal transportation. Although, automobiles may superficially provide freedom to citizens, in actuality citizens are burdened by their automobile dependence and sprawl induced development. Automobile costs are significantly expensive when factoring in payments, maintenance and insurance. Often, these costs provide a barrier for low income or minorities. Continuing to invest in an automobile dependent society leaves these citizens in exile with few modes and means to find employment.

The issues facing transportation are increasingly complex. A major challenge for transportation are traffic and congestion issues. The frequent saying goes something like, “time is money.” Consider all the money sitting in rush hour on the interstate closest to you. And it is not just the cost of inconvenience, think of all the goods that are also sitting bound up on the interstate to nowhere. The current situation is dominated by the automobile and lacks a sense of balance. The dependence on oil and foreign production is unsustainable and quickly depleting. Our health also dwindles as obesity rates rise along with diabetes, asthma and other illnesses related to automobile pollution, including deaths and injuries from automobile induced accidents. There are social impacts and limitations for those without access to alternative transportation methods. The considerable lack of cooperation and collaboration is “driving” us to few alternatives. Transportation is a right, not a privilege.