Transportation for America has unveiled the organization’s three new principles and outcomes for federal transportation policy. The three principles are as applicable in New Albany as anywhere else. Candidates, your thoughts?
1 Prioritize maintenance
2 Design for safety over speed
3 Connect people to jobs and services
Check it out.
A New Vision for Transportation (Smart Growth America)
Listen Up, Washington: No New Roads (Charles Marohn at Strong Towns)
A VISION FOR 21ST CENTURY TRANSPORTATION IN AMERICA
Yesterday our colleagues at Transportation for America unveiled their three new principles and outcomes for federal transportation policy. That may sound pretty wonky, but taken together, they paint a vision for what the tens of billions we spend on transportation each year should actually accomplish for people. Instead of just talking about how much money to spend, these principles delve into how we can better spend the money we already have.
The principles are worth exploring in their entirety—which you can do here, with some great, shareable graphics—but here’s why we’re really excited about them: they will help create safer, more walkable communities.
Principle #1: Prioritize maintenance
Outcome #1: Cut the road, bridge, and transit maintenance backlog in half
Principle #2: Design for safety over speed
Outcome #2: Save lives with slower, safer road design
Principle #3: Connect people to jobs and services
Outcome #3: Determine how well the transportation system connects people to jobs and services, and prioritize projects that will improve those connections.
Why these principles matter for Complete Streets
Our work at the National Complete Streets Coalition is all about making sure that everyone who uses our public streets can do so safely, and the second principle—design for safety over speed—speaks directly to that. In far too many communities, maximizing the speed at which vehicles travel is the primary motivation behind street design; too often, safe accommodations for people walking, biking, or using transit are afterthoughts, if they’re even considered at all. While politicians and agencies talk a big game about prioritizing safety, in practice, it’s really just talk. Pedestrians are being killed by people driving at rates not seen in nearly three decades.
If we had a federal transportation policy that explicitly prioritized safety above everything else, our streets and communities would start to look different. Slip lanes in developed areas might be replaced with bulb outs. Extra wide lanes for cars would be narrowed to slow vehicles, making more space for people.
Sidewalks and slow speed lanes for modes likes bikes and scooters would be the norm, not the exception. Once you leave the interstate, streets would be designed to slow traffic—and protect people—instead of speeding vehicles through places to the detriment of safety for all people who use the street.
And principle three is just as important. Complete Streets, and ultimately complete networks, enable people to reach jobs, schools, grocery stores, and many other resources using whatever mode of travel they choose or rely upon. Using new data, we can better assess whether people can get where they need to go on foot or with a bike or via transit. These data can and should help us prioritize the projects that fill in gaps and missing connections in our network. By measuring what matters, then using those data to guide our decisions and investments, we can create safer, more accessible, thriving communities.