In The Media

Proposing a More Holistic Approach to Transportation Planning

Tomorrow’s mobility technology has the potential to transform transportation in exciting new ways. But is the industry ready for it? That’s the question that HDR Senior Transportation Planner Brian Waterman and Dr. David Gross of Florida State University took on in the 2022 State of Transportation Planning, from the American Planning Association.

Waterman and Gross discussed the historic prioritization of mobility over accessibility and how new technology has created an opportunity to achieve both goals. Autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles have the potential to transform the state of transportation planning, they said. “If the profession is going to take advantage of the benefits of ACES,” they wrote, “a change should be made to include both concepts and look holistically at how the transportation network is meeting the desired requirements.”

To explore the challenges ahead, Waterman and Gross completed a survey of transportation engineers, planners and other professionals. They found that engineers, who generally had more years of experience in their survey, were focused on maintaining current infrastructure and prioritizing personal vehicles. Planners, who were generally early in their careers, placed more emphasis on public transportation and said that current planning for personal vehicles was not adequate for tomorrow’s vehicle networks.

Transportation planning is at a crossroads, the authors wrote, as it decides how to support the disruptive technology of tomorrow. The best answer, they said, is to adopt an approach that combines both wide accessibility and personal mobility. This collaborative effort will mean a more integrated, dynamic transportation system that improves effectiveness for all modes.

Read the whole report in “Realizing the Potential of Emerging Transportation Technologies,” starting on page 192 in the 2022 State of Transportation Planning.