making access the focus of transportation
Catch up on a week spent focusing on "connecting people to jobs and services"
The concept of measuring transportation success by improving people's access to opportunities—not vehicle speed—is often hard for people to wrap their heads around. Especially because we have been wrongly conditioned to believe that being able to drive fast equals a transportation system that works.
That's why we spent last week unpacking our third principle for transportation investment, connecting people to jobs and services. Here's what we discussed:
(1) Success is getting people where they need to go: For decades, transportation departments have been measuring the wrong thing: vehicle speed. Instead of measuring the speed of a car, we should measure the success of our transportation system by how many jobs and services people can access safely, quickly and affordably. Read more on our blog > >
(2) How bad metrics lead to even worse decisions: When the top priority of our transportation investments is moving cars as fast as possible, the end product is streets that are wildly unsafe. This focus on vehicle speed and throughput is the result of outdated metrics that utterly fail to produce a transportation system that connects people to what they need every day. Read more on our blog > >
(3) To improve equity, we need to measure what matters: Our current process for deciding which transportation projects to build only considers vehicles—entirely ignoring people walking, biking, or taking transit. This ignores the impacts on everyone not using a car, particularly low-income persons, people of color, and older adults. Read more on our blog > >
(4) How does measuring access actually work? Our colleagues at the State Smart Transportation Initative explain how this new practice of measuring access (called "destination access" by academics and policy wonks) works in real life, and where and how is it already being used. Read more on our blog > >
(5) Rethinking shared mobility: Be it a new mode, like dockless e-scooters, or a mode as fundamental as walking—all transportation decisions must focus on connecting people to jobs and services. The New Urban Mobility Alliance's Madlyn McAuilffe writes about how shared mobility technologies can focus on achieving this goal. Read more on our blog > >
(6) The legislative path forward: Local governments, states, and metropolitan planning organizations need support from the federal government to undertake this new approach of measuring people's access to jobs and services. It’s high time for Congress to make robust travel data and analysis tools available to transportation agencies. Read more on the blog > >
(7) Why Des Moines wants Congress to step up: The Des Moines Area MPO wants to fund projects that improve access the most. But—like most MPOs and local governments across the country—its budget for the technology that makes this possible is small. It’s time for Congress to help local communities invest in the right projects. Read more on the blog > >
(8) What happens when Jarrett Walker takes over your Twitter: Who better to explain how far we've deviated from transportation's purpose—to connect people to opportunity—and how to get back on track than transit planner Jarrett Walker? Walker and his team are famous for helping cities across the world align their land use with transit goals. Check out the tweet highlights on our blog > >
In other news: Register for TransportationCamp DC 2020!
We are proud to announce that T4America is taking over TransportationCamp and bringing it back in January 2020. As an “unconference,” the agenda is set almost entirely by participants. Attendees show up with session proposals in hand (if they have one) that can focus on anything, broad or specific.