PlanPhilly

Traffic & Transportation

    • Diagram of Winter Street Realignment

Franklin Institute getting new bus loading zone, plaza in Winter Street realignment

The mention of winter usually conjures up images, cold and colorless, of a city depressed: gray, bare trees, lumps of dirty snow, drab coats trudging by with downcast eyes on the…

    • Bend it like Benjamin | Convicted Melon

Engineering consultant sues Port Authority for $2 million in back pay on PATCO refurbishment project

LTK Consulting Services is suing the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) for over $2 million, alleging the authority breached its contract with the engineering firm. The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County,…

    • The NTSB Go Team arrives on the scene of the Amtrak Train #188 Derailment in Philadelphia, PA.  // NTSB

NTSB releasing Amtrak crash investigation documents, findings to follow in spring

On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will release its investigation docket on last May's Amtrak 188 crash. Read NewsWorks coverage of the docket here. The docket contains the…

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ABOUT TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

A region’s transportation network is its skeleton and its veins, providing the structure and framework for people to live and circulate. This network can encourage smart and sensitive development, or it can foster living habits that cause unsustainable and environmentally harmful development patterns.

Transportation networks for most metropolitan areas in the country changed dramatically after the Federal Highway Act of 1956, which appropriated $41 billion to construct 41,000 miles of interstate roads. This sparked a sudden transformation of the urban landscape, with more and more people moving out of the city and into low-density suburban developments.

Today, we are a suburban nation, and the automobile has become the only way to travel for most Americans. Roads continue to expand, people move further away from places of work and commerce, and cities continue to struggle because of shrinking populations and tax bases. Metro areas have become so decentralized away from cities that auto congestion is significantly increasing, even as our federal government transportation dollars are predominantly dedicated to widening our road systems. Attempts to ease road congestion by building more driving lanes have had limited success, as the street-widening often brings more drivers onto the roads. Such street designs makes alternate transportation methods impossible, as walking or biking are too dangerous and sprawl communities are too spread-out and disjointed to support a public mass transit or bus system.

With President Obama’s “economic stimulus” bill, there has been a new focus on dedicating federal dollars to alternate transportation projects such as public transit. In fact, the two largest transit stimulus projects are occurring in Philadelphia: the renovation of the Girard Avenue and Spring Garden Street stations along the Broad Street Line ($25 million).

Many cities change their land use planning and regulations to encourage development around important road intersections or public transportation centers using a model known as Transit Oriented Development. Such smart growth ideas will be the model going forward, especially as we get closer to costing out the true cost of driving individual automobiles everywhere.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN TRAFFIC & TRANSPORTATION

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