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Transport modeling reform
Planning for the current and future management of transport systems by urban and regional governments involves technical practices to understand the current transportation system of a region, and support decision-making and scenarios as to how it can respond to future needs.
While this is useful and necessary, since the latter part of the 20th century many critics have argued that the technical tools and practices used in transport planning had conceptual problems, in particular not sufficiently taking into account the problems associated with over-expansion of road networks, and increasing dominance of the private car.
In response, around the world various work has been done to reform transport planning practices, methods and tools in light of these concerns. One significant example of this was the Travel Model Improvement Project (TMIP) in the U.S., which began in the 1990s in correlation with the new Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA, 1991), and Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. This work aimed to make modelling tools and practices more responsive to the negative impacts of cars in transport such as local air pollution from exhaust fumes, and also better able to simulate alternative policies such as increased public transport and modified land-use policies.
Many other efforts are underway around the world, and such efforts are important given the very significant role transportation plays in both the quality-of-life of citizens in human settlements, and the environmental impacts they produce.
- Inside the Blackbox: Making Transportation Models Work for Liveable Communities, Beimborn, E & Kennedy, R, published by Citizens for a Better Environment and The Environmental Defense Fund. Is US-focused but gives a very helpful overview of traditional transport planning modeling and planning techniques, and opportunities for reforming them.
- Section 4 of the HiTrans Best practice guide 2: Public Transport - Planning the Networks, by Gustav Nielsen and several others in 2005, has a good discussion of modeling and analytical techniques compatible with emerging best-practice knowledge of public transport inter-modal networks.
- The LUTRAQ project in Portland (Land Use, TRansport and Air Quality) involved an effort to develop transport and land-use scenarios for the Portland, Oregon region in the 1990s that would accommodate expected population growth with significantly lower environmental impact. See the 1000 Friends of Oregon resources page for all major reports created during the project, including one specifically on new approaches to modeling needed to better account for Transit-Oriented Development, and more active transport modes.
Projects and Organisations
- The UK's Campaign for Better Transport engages in policy work so that modelling practice better represents the needs of public transport and active transport users - for example in arguing for the potential effectiveness of transport behaviour change programs.