Transportation planning

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Transportation planning is a field involved with the evaluation, assessment, design and siting of transportation facilities (generally streets, highways, footpaths, bike lanes and public transport lines).


Models and Sustainability

Transportation planning historically has followed the rational planning model of defining goals and objectives, identifying problems, generating alternatives, evaluating alternatives, and developing plans. Other models for planning include rational actor, transit oriented development, satisficing, incremental planning, organizational process, and political bargaining.

However, planners are increasingly expected to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, especially due to the rising importance of environmentalism. For example, the use of behavioral psychology to persuade drivers to abandon their automobiles and use public transport instead. The role of the transport planner is shifting from technical analysis to promoting sustainability through integrated transport policies.[1]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom transport planning has traditionally been a branch of civil engineering. In the 1950s and 1960s it was generally believed that the motor car was an important element in the future of transport as economic growth spurred on car ownership figures. The role of the transport planner was to match motorway and rural road capacity against the demands of economic growth. Urban areas would need to be redesigned for the motor vehicle or else impose traffic containment and demand management to mitigate congestion and environmental impacts. These policies were popularised in a 1963 government publication, Traffic in Towns. The contemporary Smeed Report on congestion pricing was initially promoted to manage demand but was deemed politically unacceptable. In more recent times this approach has been caricatured as "predict and provide" – to predict future transport demand and provide the network for it, usually by building more roads.

The publication of Planning Policy Guidance 13 in 1994 (revised in 2001),[2] followed by A New Deal for Transport[3] in 1998 and the white paper Transport Ten Year Plan 2000[4] again indicated an acceptance that unrestrained growth in road traffic was neither desirable nor feasible. The worries were threefold: concerns about congestion, concerns about the effect of road traffic on the environment (both natural and built) and concerns that an emphasis on road transport discriminates against vulnerable groups in society such as the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

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