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Posted on October 1st, 2012, by

Today, the efficient transportation and infrastructure are crucial for the life of large cities as well as small communities. In the modern world, transportation and infrastructure have become veins through which vitally important goods and commodities are delivered to the local community and the permanent and stable circulation of goods is as vital for human society as the circulation of blood is important for human body. In such a context, the concept of the location efficient development becomes particularly important because it lays foundation to the rational, logical development of local communities and it is supposed to have a positive impact on the development of the local community as well as economy. However, it is important to understand the impact of the location efficient development on the local community, transportation, infrastructure and economy at large, because its presumable positive effects may be accompanied by certain drawbacks, which the community should be aware of, in order to take a decision whether to allow the development of the local or national transportation network and infrastructure in accordance to the concept of the location efficient development, or probably the implementation of this concept can have a negative impact on the life of the local community.

In actuality, the concept of the location efficient development is closely intertwined with the development of transportation and infrastructure which allow to link different parts of the country, different communities and territories together that stimulates more efficient transportation and trade. However, in its essence, the concept of location efficient development consists of residential and commercial development located and designed to maximize accessibility and affordability. In such a way, a priori, the concept of the location efficient development implies a consistent improvement of the life of the local community as well as economic development of the area, where the concept is applied.

In this respect, the impact of the concept of the location efficient development on the transportation planning process is particularly significant. In fact, the major goal of the application of the concept of the location efficient development is the development of the residential and commercial areas in such a way that they could maximize accessibility and affordability. What is meant here is the fact that the application of this concept leads to the development of residential and commercial areas, the development of transportation and infrastructure which allows the local population and companies to access vitally important destinations and areas in a possibly shorter period of time with minimal costs. In such a context, the transportation planning process is consistently affected by the principles of accessibility and affordability which are crucial for the concept of location efficient development.

To put it more precisely, the transportation planning should take into consideration the strategies which allow to construct roads, to develop infrastructure to minimize the distance between different areas within the community. For instance, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that people need to go to work regularly. Therefore, the development of the residential and business areas should be intertwined. This means that the transportation system should link these areas closely to decrease the time people spend to get to their workplace and back to their homes. The similar principle is applied to the sphere of entertainment, trade, etc. In such a way, the concept of location efficient development contributes to the optimization of the transportation process. The latter means that the transportation planning aims at the maximum efficiency of the transportation system.

However, it is important to remember a considerable drawback of the concept of location efficient development being applied to the transportation planning process. In fact, the optimization of the transportation system, its accessibility and affordability can confront the problem of high costs and the shortage of financial resources to fund projects developed in terms of the concept of location efficient development. In actuality, many communities face the problem of the lack of funding of infrastructure and transportation development.

Obviously, the construction of new roads and entire residential and commercial areas in accordance with the location efficient development is quit expansive, especially if this concept is applied in large urban areas where the space is limited, while the costs of construction are extremely high because of the large density of population and limited opportunities for the growth of urban areas.

Therefore, in spite of seeming benefits, such as optimization of transportation planning process, the concept of location efficient development can be too costly to be implemented. In addition, it is worth mentioning the fact that Downs warned that positive effects of the location efficient development may be short-running. He developed his triple convergence principle, according to which the spatial convergence, time convergence and modal convergence are crucial for the normal development of communities as well as transportation planning process and they cannot be ignored, while the application of the concept of location efficient development can hardly bring long-lasting positive effects in terms of such triple convergence.

At this point, he argued that the location efficient development can contribute to the minimization of time spent on transportation and, therefore, transportation planning process should be focused on the development of roads and routes which could save time of people on transportation. On the other hand, he argues that the optimization of the transportation and creation of favorable condition for living will inevitably lead to the growth of the population that will increase the demand for new roads. In such a situation, the transportation planning should take into consideration the prospect of a considerable growth that will also increase costs of the construction of roads, while its ability to meet demands in the future will still be uncertain.

Furthermore, spatial convergence is also of the utmost importance for the transportation planning but it cannot always be fully applied.

For instance, if the expressway is constructed for the reduction of peak-hour travel time in addition to existing alternative routes, there is a possibility that, during the peak-hour, drivers will use not only the expressway, but they may also return to their alternative routes, while the growth of the population will inevitably lead to the problems which the expressway was supposed to solve, i.e. excessive traffic.

Finally, the modal convergence, which implies the use of public transit is also important for the transportation planning but its implementation cannot be always successful. The problem is the cultural traditions and habit of people. Obviously, people will hardly refuse from using their cars in favor of public transport. As a result, even if the transportation planning will work an extended network of public transportation, it is still a big question whether people will use it or not. Hence, the question of efficiency of such planning arises.

At the same time, it proves beyond a doubt that it is not only the transportation planning process that is affected by the concept of location efficient development, but also the life of local communities that is particularly vulnerable to both positive and negative impacts of the location efficient development. In this respect, it is possible to analyze possible effects of the construction of a new highway that links the suburban area of the community with its dense urban core.

At first glance, it is obvious that the construction of the new highway will contribute to the acceleration of the economic development of the local community. The local population will get an opportunity to get from the suburban area to the downtown in a relatively short period of time and minimal costs. In such a way, it is possible to presuppose that the new highway will revive the communication between the suburban area and its dense core. Potentially, the new highway can contribute to the development of the local economy since the population living in the suburban area will get larger job opportunities, since people can be employed in the city and it will be profitable for them to work in a suburban area and work in the city, if costs on transportation are decreased substantially. In addition, the suburban or rural area can benefit from the development of recreation and entertainment facilities which will attract people living and working in the city. The latter will readily rush out of the city, during their day offs to entertain and relax after hard work and extremely fast rhythm of life in the city. Consequently, the suburban or rural area will get new opportunities for ongoing economic development, while increased revenues and improved transportation and infrastructure will stimulate the development of the local community, including the construction of new facilities, schools, etc.

However, the new highway can have negative effects on the local community. Obviously, the improvement of the life in the suburban area can stimulate the growth of the population in the area. Gradually, this will lead to the enlargement of the city and incorporation of the suburban area in the city limits, while suburbs will extend further out of the city. In addition, the new high way will stimulate the increase of intensity of transportation and, therefore, it will lead to traffic problems. At this point, it is possible to speak about the problem of the pollution of the local area as one of the major problems. In addition, positive economic effects can be short-running since the growth of the population will inevitably lead to the problem of unemployment, while the highway, which initially can stimulate the growth of population due to new job opportunities for the suburban population, will be unable to offer new prospects for unemployed people.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the concept of location efficient development is extremely important. Moreover, it has a number of positive effects since it stimulates the optimization of the transportation planning, improves the life of the local community, develops transportation and infrastructure increasing accessibility and affordability. On the other hand, the location efficient development can have negative effects since its positive effects will not last forever and, in a relatively short period of time, they may provoke negative effects, such as over-population, extensive traffic, etc.

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