New Mobility Agenda

At a recent transportation engineer meeting in Farmington Hills a presenter told the following story.

An Australian businessman said that when he’s in the U.S., he schedules 3 meetings per day.  When in Australia, he schedules 4 per day, but when in Europe, he can handle 5 meetings per day.

In the U.S. he spent more time traveling between meetings compared with being in them.

The irony is there is more mobility in the U.S.  We have high-speed roads and expressways allowing people to move more quickly.  In Europe, transportation is not as fast, however, this has promoted greater density.  In other words, everything’s closer together.

This same issue was raised by Glatting-Jackson transportation engineer Ian Lockwood during his presentations in Detroit.  The more cities increase mobility, the more everything spreads out.

Accessibility/new mobility — being able to readily get between locations — is more valuable than high-speed mobility.

That’s a concept that’s been lost not only on most Metro Detroit road planners but on people like Oakland County executive L. Brooks Patterson.  Patterson has been sprawl promoter but has not connected the dots showing that inefficient land use leads to an inefficient and uncompetitive business environment — with or without gas at $4 a gallon.

Of course biking and walking suffer greatly when communities pursue high-speed mobility.  High-speed roads are rarely bike friendly.  And in these less dense communities, everything is further away which makes cycling and walking less attractive.  Lower density also makes public transit less effective.

Here is a great Streetfilm video from Paris that talks about how they’re doing things right.  Their engineers look at how to efficiently move people not cars.  It’s pretty basic and common sense.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “New Mobility Agenda”

  1. Streetsblog » Faster Isn’t Better, and Cars Aren’t Safer Says:

    […] by happyshooter via Flickr.From Detroit’s, some thoughts about how the American fetish for speed can actually prevent us from getting where […]

Leave a Reply