Transportation Planning

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The update is proposed to address emerging industry considerations that include both alternative approaches for public and private sector contributions to planned transportation infrastructure and services and a greater focus on multimodal measures of effectiveness.

Transport Planning

Click to learn more and provide feedback on the MTIA update project. The Parking Standing Committee was formed to identify, educate and promote effective practices in the planning, design, operations and management of parking facilities. The council will focus on the following areas in the coming years: the relationship between land use and parking supply, parking generation , parking management programs and transportation engineering issues associated with parking.

Click here to learn more. Transportation Planning Council. Parking Standing Committee.

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Transit Standing Committee. Pedestrian and Bicycle Standing Committee. Phone: transportationplanningandengineering strathcona. Transportation Planning and Engineering Location Map Please use the Community Centre main entrance and take the elevator or stairs located near Vicky's restaurant to the third floor.

The Transportation Planning and Engineering department is responsible for strategic transportation roads planning and major road construction projects. The common perspective is that planning is the realm of the public sector, although the private sector owns and operate substantial transportation assets. For a long time, planning was a field dominated by engineers who gave it a distinctly mechanistic character, in which the planning process was seen as a series of rigorous steps undertaken to measure likely impacts and to propose engineering solutions.

They involved the use of mathematical models, including regression analysis, entropy-maximizing models, and critical path analysis. The predictions of future traffic flows produced by the four stage sequence are then used to identify planning options. Since the most common prediction of the modeling is that present capacities will be unable to cope with traffic growth, the tendency has been to produce planning solutions that call for an expansion of capacity.

This has been referred to as predict and accommodate. It is the solution that has typified so much urban transport planning from the s to the s. It has given rise to the enormous expansion of highway construction that reinforces the dominance of the automobile. Rarely are there post mortems of the prediction models, and as it was learned through empirical observations, the issue of induced demand has distorted the actual traffic. Planning is commonly scale specific and multidimensional. In cities traffic problems have increased significantly since the s, despite a great deal of urban transport planning.

There is a growing realization that perhaps planning has failed and that the wrong questions have been asked. Rather than estimate traffic increases and then provide capacity to meet the expected growth, it is now accepted that what is required is better management of the transport system , particularly maintenance, through new approaches to planning. Just as urban planning requires the inputs of many specialists, transport planning is beginning to utilize multi-disciplinary teams in order to broaden the scope of the planning process. Planning is still a multi-step process, but it has changed considerably:.

The vast preponderance of transport planning, particularly at the urban level, has been devoted to passengers. The automobile and public transit issues have preoccupied planners since individual mobility can be a highly political issue drivers are also voters.

Yet, freight traffic represents a significant part of many problems that planning seeks to address. Planning for freight movements , such as city logistics , is still in its infancy. As a largely private sector activity it is difficult to control, and many of the decisions that affect trucking are made by the industry itself. The emergence of large distribution centers on the outer fringes of metropolitan areas is taking place without much public control or oversight.

In Europe, some attempts to manage such development by establishing publicly-promoted freight villages had only limited success. The models and data inputs used in transportation planning are of little relevance when applied to freight movements. For example, demographic data, such as household size, the backbone of passenger analysis, are irrelevant for freight.


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The bi-polar daily peak of traffic movements applies only to passengers , freight movements being distributed in a different profile over a 24 hour period. A more comprehensive freight planning process is therefore emerging. In many cities there is limited data on freight traffic, so that planning takes place on an ad hoc basis.

A much greater focus on freight planning is required, since freight distribution is an important component of urban mobility and activities. In rejecting the former paradigm of building capacity, transport planners have turned increasingly to managing both demand and the transport system.

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What does a transportation planner do?

Building roads has produced a car-oriented society in which the other modal alternatives have little opportunity to co-exist. Car ownership is beyond the ability of the transport planner to control directly and the question remains if this should be the case. But car use and ownership is affected by land use and density, both elements that planners can affect.

High population densities, in particular, favor walking, bicycling and public transit use.

Transport Planning and Governance | The Geography of Transport Systems

It is for this reason that a great deal of attention in planning is being paid to densification and integration. This includes concentrating development along well served transport corridors transit oriented development and increasing densities in areas undergoing rehabilitation.

Managing the demand for transport is made up of a large number of small interventions that cumulatively can impact of car use, but in particular improve the livability of cities. A sample of well-practiced and successful interventions includes:. While planning interventions may have a positive cumulative effect in shaping transport demand, some economists suggest that a more direct approach involving imposing more stringent cost measures on car users is necessary. It is widely accepted that car users pay only a small proportion of the actual costs of their vehicle use.

Economists argue that the external costs should be borne by the users. As intuitively rational as this argument may be, there are several problems with its application:. The effectiveness of economic controls is evident by the experience of Hong Kong, where, despite high incomes, car ownership and use remains at a very low level. This is mainly due to the high cost of parking.

An even more drastic example is Singapore, where extreme measures limiting car purchases, high vehicle licenses, electronic tolls on highways, and cordon pricing in the downtown area have restrained car use. The use of pricing mechanisms may be less in other countries, but the trend towards greater application of some forms of tolling is accelerating.

Cordon pricing has been applied in a number of jurisdictions where access to certain areas, usually the CBD, is tolled. The most famous application was the decision to charge private vehicles for entry into Central London in early , a program that has proved to be successful, despite a great deal of opposition. Another form of charging is the imposition of tolls on new highways and bridges. In North America, the public had become used to the notion that highways are free of access, a legacy of the Interstate Highways Act, funded largely by Congress.

Legislation now permits private companies to build and operate private roads and bridges, and to collect tolls to cover costs. A similar trend applies to developing countries such as China where many new roads and bridges are toll based. Here certain lanes of a highway are tolled, but at variable rates. When traffic is moving freely, the charges for the tolled lanes are nil. But as traffic builds up and speeds are reduced, the costs of using the reserved lanes increase. Collection of the tolls is electronic, and drivers are informed of the current charges by large signs.

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Drivers are given a choice therefore, to stay in the slower lanes for free, or move to the tolled lanes at a cost that is proportionate to the speed on the congested lanes. Transport policy and planning requires a governance, which is associated with an effective usage of existing resources as well as a better allocation of new resources.

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Like all sectors of activity, transportation has a unique set of characteristics about its governance as both the public and private sectors are actively involved. Governance concerns the ownership and management of assets and resources to fulfill goals such as profit or welfare through the exercise of authority and institutional resources. It concerns the public as well as the private sectors, but tends to apply differently depending if public or private interests are at stake.

In both cases a significant concern is performance, which is how effectively available resources are used. The governance of transport infrastructure is particularly relevant because of the strategic, economic and social importance of transportation and the cross-jurisdictional character of many infrastructures such as highway, rail and telecommunication networks. Transport is not of mere convenience, but a fundamental infrastructure that must systematically and constantly be available to its users. Effective governance is complex to assess since it is not linked with a specific governance structure, but generally conveys several advantages:.

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