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Posted on August 30th, 2012, by

Today, the problem of the effective transportation planning is extremely important because the ongoing urbanization raises a number of challenges which transportation systems of large cities cannot always afford. This is why the transportation planning should ensure the effective development and implementation of plans which provide ample opportunities for the stable and reliable functioning of the transportation system. Modern cities need the stable and reliable transportation system in order to maintain vitally important functions, supplying essential goods and services to the population and providing them with adequate opportunities for the movement within the city as well as transit transportation and pedestrian movement within the city. In such a way, modern urban transportation system should be effective and meet needs and wants of the population, local communities which actually are affected consistently by the development of the transportation system. This is why the construction of highways and the development of transportation system at large should be based on principles of the location efficient development to insure the efficiency of the transportation system and comfort of the local community.

At the same time, the location efficient development should overcome numerous obstacles and barriers to avoid the negative of the transportation system on the life of the community.

In actuality, the concept of the location efficient development is very popular today, especially in densely populated urban areas, where the transportation system is overloaded to the extent that the threat of the transportation collapse is highly probable. At first glance, the location efficient development seems to be an ideal concept to overcome transportation problems of modern cities due to the efficient transportation planning and the development of the transportation system that meets interests of the local community in terms of the development of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, transit accessibility and well-planned transportation. On the other hand, the location efficient development is not really perfect and along with numerous advantages, it can have a number of drawbacks.

On analyzing benefits of the location efficient development, it is worth mentioning the fact that the location efficient development is mainly concerned with finding the balance between the interests and needs of the local community and the convenience of the transportation system for the transit transport. First of all, the location efficient development implies the development of the transportation system that takes into consideration needs and interests of the local community. To put it more precisely, the location efficient development focuses on the development of the transportation system that provides the local population with the access to the transportation flows that allow people living in the neighborhood move freely. In this respect, the location efficient development focuses not only on the vehicle movement but also on the pedestrian movement in the neighborhood using the infrastructure and facilities of the transportation system. In actuality, this means that the transportation system allows the local population to use highways and roads to travel throughout the city by their cars. At the same time, the local population can walk throughout the neighborhood using pedestrian walkways, which are constructed to meet needs of the local population.

Obviously, such attention to needs and interests of the local community seems to be very beneficial, but, in actuality, the location efficient development has certain drawbacks in relation to the local population, among which it is possible to single out the increased transit capacity of the transportation system constructed on the basis of principles of the location efficient development. To put it more precisely, the transit accessibility is an essential condition of the location efficient developments. This means that the local transportation system should provide the transit transport with sufficient capacity making the local highway, for instance, available not only for the local population but also for the transit transport. In fact, the location efficient development implies the balance between interests of the local community and transit transport. However, transit accessibility raises serious problem for the local community. Firstly, the transit accessibility decreases the capacity of the transportation system for the local population. Secondly, the transit accessibility increases the air pollution in the neighborhood area because of the transit transport. In such a way, the local community gets more traffic and air pollution, which apparently overshadow the access of the local population to new transportation system and the development of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods.

Moreover, the location efficient development is not absolutely perfect for transit transport as well because the transit vehicles have to share highway or transportation system capacity with the local population. As a result, the development of the new transportation system in accordance to the concept of the location efficient development still fails to eliminate all the problems of the urban transportation system.

This is why this concept has both negative and positive impact on the transportation planning. At this point, it is possible to refer to Anthony Down’s “triple convergence principle”¯, which reveals the fact that the implementation of the concept of the location efficient development in a local community is far from perfect and along with positive effects, it may have negative outcomes, which cannot be adequately foreseen in the course of the transportation planning.

In this respect, it is possible to dwell upon the prospect of the construction of a highway and its impact on the local community and transportation system, including transit transport, on the basis of Down’s triple convergence principle. According to this principle, the highway constructed in terms of the location efficient development may lead to unexpected outcomes, which may have a negative impact on the local community as well as the transportation system at large. To put it more precisely, the construction of a highway may lead to consistent changes in the lifestyle and behavior of the location population in regard to the use of the transportation system. In fact, the construction of a high way can change drivers’ behavior. Drivers can shift from alternative routes and begin to use the new, wider highway.

Furthermore, motorists, who previously drove at off-peak times are likely to go back to driving at rush hour. Moreover, people will be using opt to commute by their car. In such a way, these unexpected and unplanned consequences of the construction of a new highway can minimize benefits from the construction of the new highway and its presumable benefits. In fact, the major problem of the transportation planning is that, while planning the construction of the new high way, it is very difficult to foresee possible changes in the behavior and habits of the local population. Without the highway, people look for possible alternatives to drive or walk to their destination at certain time, while the new highway can return people to their cars and increase the traffic at rush hour.

At the same time, the impact of the new highway may differ depending on the type of community through which the link passes. For instance, the traffic on the new highway in suburban areas in the morning is likely to increase in the rush hour in the direction to the center of the city as people will drive to work. In contrast, in the evening, the flow of vehicles will be the opposite as people return from their work back to home. Therefore, the direction of the flow will differ as well as the traffic on the highway. In addition, the suburban areas will be more vulnerable to the impact of the transit transport which normally does not pass through the center of the city. In such a way, the construction of a new highway in accordance to the concept of the location efficient development does not insure consistent improvement or solution of urban transportation problems.

Nevertheless, the efficient transportation planning can have a significant impact on the local community and this impact can be predominantly positive. In this respect, the implementation of an anti-sprawl program in the local community can have a positive impact on the local community. At this point, it is necessary to stress that the efficient transportation planning and implementation of the anti-sprawl program implies the optimization of the transportation system. The anti-sprawl program can have multiple effects on the local community. First of all, the anti-sprawl program, which implies the consistent improvement of the transportation system and local infrastructure, will stimulate the increase of the residential density because the population from other areas, with inconvenient transportation system, will flee to the area where the anti-sprawl program has been implemented successfully. The increase of the residential density will increase the real-estate price that will have a positive impact on the local community. Furthermore, the anti-sprawl program will increase mixed land uses and stimulate the development of activity centers due to the increased transportation capacity and accessibility. In addition, the anti-sprawl program will improve the accessibility of street networks.

At first glance, the anti-sprawl program is likely to have a positive impact on the community as real-estate prices are likely to increase, the local infrastructure will be improved that decrease infrastructure costs. Moreover, the development of the transportation system in terms of the anti-sprawl program will lead to decrease of congestion and trip delays. On the other hand, the program is likely to increase incidence of health problems because of the increased traffic and air pollution. In addition, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the aforementioned positive effects of the anti-sprawl program will be short-running effects and, in a long-run perspective these advantages will disappear. The growth of the population and residential density will annihilate benefits of the program because as the population moves to the neighborhood, where the program has been implemented, the problems that have been eliminated will emerge again as the traffic increase.

Thus, in conclusion, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that the efficient transportation planning influences consistently the development of communities and transportation system, but it is necessary to take into consideration possible changes in the behavior and habits of the local population.

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