Moving from Moving Cars to Moving People

After a three quarters of a century of building to accommodate cars and not people, it's going to take big changes to get the transit system the United States needs, argues a Next City editorial.
October 20, 2016, 8am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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As people around the country protest highway expansions, it seems to Adie Tomer and Jeffery Gutman (authors of a recent op-ed in Next City) that the time when, "Transportation engineers and planners designed transportation networks with seemingly one goal in mind: to move vehicles as quickly as possible," has come to an end. As people and planners come to value walkability and access, transit will have to change. "These trends signal a transition away from an outdated model focused on moving vehicles to a new approach focused on getting people where they want to go," the Next City piece argues.

But, wishing doesn't make it so.

Tomer and Gutman caution that it will take changes not just to our buses or trains, but to the systems that we use to build, evaluate and maintain our transportation infrastructure. " Maximizing access will also require new frameworks to govern the built environment." Upsetting the current state of things means a lot of educating, negotiating and upsetting those that are invested in the old ways of doing things. "Formal guidebooks must be revised to reflect updated thinking. Political battles must be waged with actors looking to maintain the status quo, including developers who’ve already invested in land on the urban fringe." Still, the authors say, the need is real and many Americans have already demonstrated an appetite for this change, the work can be done, but it won't be easy.

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Published on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 in Next City
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