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Posted on August 30th, 2012, by

Public transportation plays an integral role in improving a community’s prosperity, equity and mobility.  Identify and discuss the economic, environmental, health, community, and social justice rationale for making an investment in public transportation.

Investments in public transportation can be highly profitable, especially in terms of the development of local communities. At the same time, investments in the development of public transportation should be grounded on the adequate analysis of the current potential of the existing transportation system and possible effects of the introduction of public transportation. The gradual replacement of individual vehicles by public transportation can maximize benefits for the local community and return on investments into the development of public transportation. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into consideration possible obstacles investors can face while developing public transportation. For instance, the existing culture promotes the use of individual vehicles instead of public transportation because cars are symbols of individual freedom of movement and travel. Nevertheless, advantages and benefits of the development of public transportation are obvious. Therefore, investments into the development of public transportation are profitable. In this regard, it is important to dwell upon the major advantages of public transportation and benefits investors and local community can get due to the development of public transportation.

Today, investments into the development of public transportation are profitable from the economic point of view. Investors can count for considerable profits because public transportation becomes attractive to members of local communities. To put it more precisely, customers are interested in the use of public transportation instead of using their individual cars, especially in the time of galloping oil prices and limited buying power of customers. Therefore, investors can attract customers offering public transportation as an alternative to individual vehicles. Public transportation is profitable for users because they can save costs on transportation using public transport instead of their own cars. At the same time, investors can maximize their profits due to the increase of the number of customers.

Furthermore, investors can use the full advantage of environmental concerns of the public because public transportation has a positive impact on the environment. To put it more precisely, the use of public transportation en masse can reduce the emission of CO2 and the air pollution within the local community. Taking into consideration growing concerns of the public about their environment and the prevention of such problems as the climate change and ongoing deterioration of the environmental situation, investors can develop their promotional campaign on the ground of environmentally-friendly technologies being used in the public transportation system. In addition, investors should stress the striking difference in effects of public transportation and individual vehicles on the environment. Obviously, public transportation is more effective from the environmental point of view because CO2 emissions will decrease as soon as people use public transportation instead of their individual vehicles.

In addition, public transportation can contribute to the solution of health problems within the local community. The solution of health problems is closely intertwined with the decrease of the environment pollution due to the use of public transportation. The decrease of air pollution will decrease the risk of the development of various chronic diseases and other health problems which are provoked by emission of dangerous gases because of intensive traffic. Public transportation can decrease traffic and people will not be exposed to the negative impact of dangerous traffic emissions.

Furthermore, community can benefit from the development of public transportation because it will improve the local environment. The latter can stimulate the economic development of the local area, including the rise of real estate prices. In addition, public transportation and decrease of traffic can improve the infrastructure of the local area and improve pedestrian zones. In such a way, community will get better, comfortable and safer streets.

Finally, investors can position public transportation as democratic transportation system which eliminates social barriers and contributes to the social justice. The social justice implies the elimination of social differences and closing the gap between different classes within the society. Public transportation helps to meet these conditions of the social justice because all people using public transport are in the equal position, they get the same services of the same quality and at the same price. Therefore, investors can promote public transportation as the socially just transportation that will attract customers.

2. A holistic, transit-friendly, complete approach to street improvements works to integrate the many elements within street environments to create places where people not only feel safe and comfortable, but also where the mobility needs of the community are met.  Identify and discuss the elements within the street environment that need to be addressed and outline policy statements for each of those elements that provide guidance for such improvements.

Street improvement works can contribute to the consistent, qualitative change in the life of the local community, but this change is achievable only on the condition of the successful implementation of the holistic, transit-friendly, complete approach. The latter means that the development of street improvements should be complex and it should include the reconstruction and improvement of road system, pedestrian zones, and the entire infrastructure and facilities, related to the transportation system and streets.

Primarily, it is necessary to maximize the effectiveness of roads making them transit-friendly. In other words, it is necessary to minimize the traffic and increase the speed of transit. In such a way, it will be possible to increase the transit capacity and decrease the risk of traffic jams. Furthermore, it is necessary to develop pedestrian zones which should be separated from roads. Pedestrian zones should be comfortable and safe and the shift of pedestrian zones further from roads will help meet these goals. To put it more precisely, pedestrian zones should be separated from roads, preferably by special barriers which prevent the risk of running passers-by over by a vehicle. In addition, it is necessary to construct underground and aboveground walkways to allow pedestrians to cross streets without crossing the traffic flow. Such walkways will allow people to cross streets, while vehicles will keep riding. Moreover, such improvements will increase the mobility within the community.

At the same time, the development of public transportation can contribute consistently to the improvement of safety and mobility of the local population. People using public transportation will not use their cars that will decrease traffic and, what is more, the use of public transport will decrease the risk of accidents. For instance, the risk of accident is incomparably lower when people use subways compared to the use of individual vehicles. The increase mobility will stimulate the economic development of the community that will open larger opportunities for street improvement works because the community will get additional financial resources to reconstruct and improve local streets.

Finally, street improvement works should focus on the development of surrounding facilities. What is meant here is the fact that streets should provide access to vitally important institutions and organizations, such as hospitals, and people should get to such institutions and organizations fast and comfortably. In addition, they should have an opportunity to travel throughout the local area and with minimal time and efforts being wasted on transportation. In this regard, it is important to develop facilities where people can get a large range of services without using cars or public transport to travel across the local area.

3. Explain how and why the concepts of transit-oriented and transit-focused development are critical in the planning and successful execution of a bus rapid transit or light rail system.

A bus rapid transit and light rail systems are focused on the increase of the speed of the transportation and high mobility within the community area. The high effectiveness of the bus rapid transit and light rail systems results from the successful implementation of transit-oriented and transit-focused development. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the transit-oriented and transit-focused development is critical in the planning and successful execution of the bus rapid transit and light rail system. The transit-oriented and transit-focused development is concerned with the development of the transportation system, which maximizes the speed of transit and minimizes traffic. In actuality, the development of such a system is possible mainly on the condition of the increase of the share of public transportation compared to the share of individual vehicles to be used by members of the local community.

Obviously, the transit-oriented and transit-focused development stimulates the development of public transportation because it replaces individual vehicles. Consequently, the decrease in the amount of vehicles on the streets will lead to the increase of the transit capacity of streets. Moreover, the decrease of traffic will increase the mobility of the local population because large masses of people may be transported to their destinations via public transport, which is oriented on mass consumers. In fact, it is only on the condition of the existence of high demand on public transportation the development of bus rapid transit and light rail systems become logical and economically profitable. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that bus rapid transit and light rail systems can bring considerable profits when the amount of passengers is high, whereas the small number of customers is likely to lead to the failure of both bus rapid transit and light rail system. In such a situation, the transit-oriented and transit-focused development is crucial because the poor transit capacity will decrease the competitive power of public transport. People will prefer their vehicles instead of public transport if they cannot travel faster using the bus rapid transit or light rail system. In fact, the bus rapid transit and light rail system are alternatives to individual vehicles. Therefore, the transit-oriented and transit-focused development will put the bus rapid transit and light rail system in an advantageous position compared to individual vehicles.

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