1. Describe how the primary features of a “smart growth”ť transportation system (transit-oriented development, pedestrian and bicycle-friendly facilities) can offset the single-minded focus on highway development from the 1950s through the 1980s that encouraged sprawl.
Today, the development of a “smart growth”ť transportation system opens large opportunities for the development of local communities and consistent improvement of transit. In fact, a “smart growth”ť transportation system is consistently better compared to conventional transportation systems developed in the 1950s ”“ 1980s. The most substantial features of a “smart growth”ť transportation system are transit-oriented development and pedestrian and bicycle-friendly facilities. At this point, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the development of both transit system and pedestrian and bicycle-friendly facilities is equally important.
At the same time, the development of pedestrian and bicycle-friendly facilities is exactly what makes a “smart growth”ť transportation system different from a conventional transportation system. In actuality, the development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities is essential because of consistent changes that occurred in the modern society compared to the mid-20th century (Schneiderman, 204). In the past, when conventional highway-oriented transportation systems were developed, the development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities was not essential.
In fact, these facilities were often ignored by developers of transportation systems because the main goal of transportation systems was transit. Developers of conventional transportation system attempted to increase the transit capacity of highways even at cost of pedestrians and the population of local communities. In that time, the society was indifferent to environmental problems, whereas the transportation problems were the primary concern of people. Today, the priority of the modern society has changed totally. To put it more precisely, the modern society is concerned with the development of environmentally friendly technologies, transportation systems and enlargement of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. In this regard, the development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities is an essential step from the part of developers of modern transportation systems to meet needs and requirements of the population living in the community, where the transpiration systems are about to be developed.
The development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities contributes to the decrease of the traffic and allows people to walk and use bicycles instead of cars. In such a way, people do not pollute the environment because they do not use their car and, therefore, they decrease CO2 emissions in the community. In addition, bicycles have become a more convenient means of transport today because they allow people to travel relatively fast and avoid traffic jams, which occur frequently if they use their cars (Schneiderman, 222). As a result, people can save not only environment but also their time and money, not mentioning a positive effect of riding bicycle on health of people. Therefore, the development of pedestrian and bicycle facilities is an essential part of modern transportation systems.
At the same time, along with pedestrian and bicycle-friendly facilities, modern “smart growth”ť transportation systems need to meet their original goal- to develop transit capacity. At this point, they are similar to conventional transportation system but the means used by contemporary developers of transportation systems to meet this goal are different. To put it more precisely, new transportation systems take into consideration the potential growth of the transit and, thus, they develop transportation system which can meet the increasing demand for larger transit capacity of the transportation system. Moreover, “smart growth”ť transportation systems are developed on the ground of a long-run planning which is based on the detailed analysis of the current and prospective transit needs (Schneiderman, 215). As a result, new transportation systems can meet transit needs which exceed actual ones that means that new transportation system will not need reconstruction in a short-term perspective. In such a way, “smart growth”ť transportation systems are cost-efficient and they can allow the community to invest into the development of the local infrastructure and economy instead of investing into the development of the transit capacity of its transportation system.
Thus, conventional transportation systems, which are oriented on the development of highways solely, are absolutely out of date compared to “smart growth”ť transportation systems. The latter outpace the former not only in economic terms but also in environmental terms and in terms of the socioeconomic development of local communities and infrastructure.
2. Why is congestion not always “bad”ť and sometimes able to be used to create successful transportation programs?
The congestion is not always bad and sometimes it can contribute to the consistent improvement of the existing transportation system and to the development of new, effective and successful transportation programs. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the congestion can be very useful in regard to the analysis of the existing problems of the transportation system and elimination of these problems by means of the development and introduction of new transportation programs.
Basically, the detailed and professional analysis of the congestion allows developers of transportation programs to identify the burning problems which cause the congestion within the existing transportation system. On identifying causes of the problem, developers of transportation programs can work on the development of effective solutions of the problem. At this point, it is necessary to stress the fact that the analysis and study of congestion and its causes can have dubious effects. On the one hand, the analysis of the congestion allows to develop new transportation programs to tackle the problem of congestion (Schneiderman, 148). On the other hand, the analysis of the congestion allows to avoid the emergence of the congestion in new transportation system. The latter means that the congestion plays a strategically important part in the development of new transportation systems because it helps to avoids errors and pitfalls that caused the development of the congestion within existing transportation system.
Furthermore, the congestion stimulates people to use alternative means of transportation instead of their cars. Moreover, the congestion stimulates the authorities and developers of new transportation programs to focus on the wider use of public transportation which can resolve, at least partially, the problem of congestion (Schneiderman, 311). The development of the public transportation accelerated by the congestion is very prospective because it can decrease the traffic and improve the environmental situation. In addition, the public transportation is cost-efficient if it is used en masse.
3. How can transit assist in the concept of “place-making”ť that is so important to successful economic development strategies?
It proves beyond a doubt that “place-making”ť is extremely important to successful economic development strategies because the adequate assessment, forecast and planning of “place-making”ť allows to maximize the effectiveness of the transportation system and the development of the local community at large. What is meant here is the fact that adequate and accurate “place-making”ť can attract investors and accelerate the economic development of the local community.
In such a context, transit can assist to the development and successful implementation of “place-making”ť. In actuality, the transit contributes to the development of the infrastructure and facilities associated with the transportation system. In addition, the effective transit means the high and fast traffic flow, which is very attracting for business and investors. The effective transit means that companies can deliver goods fast and in time. Therefore, the more efficient is the transit the more beneficial and attracting it is for business (Schneiderman, 159). At the same time, as business grows interested in the area with the effective transit, it naturally starts investing in the development of the local community, local facilities and infrastructure. As a result, place-making starts progressing and, what is more important, the implementation of the concept of place-making is funded, to a significant, by businesses that decreases pressure on the budget of the local community. At the same time, the development and implementation of the concept of place-making improves the quality and standards of living in the local community that attracts new investors and accelerates the economic development even more.
However, it is important to remember that the local economy and business keep growing as long as transit capacity is sufficient to maintain the stable supply of goods and travel of people. As soon as transit faces substantial problems, business is likely to suffer from financial losses because of problems with goods delivery and customers’ flow.