Ijaw Dictionary Online

How Automobiles Work

(soft music) – Cities were actually invented to minimize the need for transportation. If the city’s well-designed, you need less transportation, not more. Putting things closer together, that’s what the idea of cities, in the first place, is all about. The practice of transportation
planning, however, is focused on mobility. It’s focused on speed,
it’s focused on distance. It’s less focused on access, which is really what cities are all about. Cities are about access to land uses, they’re about access to ideas, to people, to social interaction. And that often gets lost in the practice of transportation planning,
particularly within cities. It’s important to be realistic about what transit can and can’t do. So, transit’s good at this, it’s good at getting from a
lot of places to a few places. It’s bad at getting from a lot
of places to a lot of places. Cars are good for that. So, understanding where we
have the conditions on the left is a real key to understanding where transit’s going to be functional. Freeways are another way that we spend lots and lots of transportation dollars. And, again, the sales pitch is always that these freeways are
gonna relieve congestion. Freeways are typically the most congested facility type in the system. They’re really good at one thing, which is moving people
long distances quickly. They’re not good at a
whole lot of other things. They’re really, really bad, they’re good at collecting cars, they’re not very good
at distributing cars. There are these things
that happen immediately that feel pretty good. So if I widen a road, in the short term the delay is reduced. You know, the cost of time is reduced. The long-term, all these kinds of things on the bottom line start to happen, which is the exact opposite
of what’s generally stated as the preferred outcomes
of a planning process. So, if we know 20 and 30 years on, we’re going to get the opposite outcomes, you know, if we’re going to get growing Vehicle Miles of Travel, longer commute times, decreased transit ridership, that’s pretty important to talk about. We, we measure things that we purport will give us a higher standard of living, and often it gives us
a lower quality of life because we haven’t paid attention to things that are actually
mattering to most people. I think the point is that selling the projects
under the wrong pretense doesn’t really do anyone a service. These can be good projects, but the real outcomes should be should be discussed. So instead of the idea that all transportation is about moving cars and finding more and more
creative ways to move those cars, the idea that we’re
moving people not cars, that we’re improving the
quality of the travel, you know, that, this idea of getting back to what cities are all about, moving less people fewer miles. And, we have to stop talking about the idea of solving congestion, what we’re doing is managing
problems and managing risks. That’s really all that can be done in a growing and successful city. We should just be upfront about it and measure things that help
to, help to present that. (soft music)

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