Half of this past semester in transportation geography has been devoted to the fascination of mass transit; different approaches in various cities and its successes and failures in those cities. The common problems facing Americas development of successful urban transit involve many issues that need to be addressed. While these are common to most areas not all cities experience these same issues.
- Existing transit inadequacies resulting in a declining reputation of public transportation. There is a social stigma attached to “those people” who ride the bus. Poor scheduling spurs poor service. Ridership declines along with any funding to sponsor it.
- Pedestrian foot traffic is ignored as another means to decrease cars during rush hour. Many dangers are associated from walking on foot in a city with one being the threat of injury from automobiles. Current land use policies disperse residential areas from commercial areas decreasing the likelihood of walking to work.
- Parking is a big issue resulting in inefficiency looking for adequate parking facilities. This leads to more time in the car resulting in traffic jams.
- Environmental Impacts: The environmentalist would like to do away with the automobile for the many pollutants it releases to the air, to the land, and visually/auditory. Think about land value near a major freeway; the ones with sound barriers attempting to extinguish to roar of traffic. These are typically lower cost homes as the land value diminishes through visual and auditory pollution. Many community activists protest the addition of highways for this very reason; the burden on the quality of life.
- Land Use patterns have an undeniable trend of construction on the periphery of cities rather than enforcing a smart growth philosophy. Possible repercussions of peripheral construction actually results in the economic death of a downtown core as all activity is oriented to the periphery.
There are other issues to be overcome that will be addressed later on. For now check out my post on Curitiba, Brazil and its success in the realm of public transportation and other public services.