|In 25 years we project this roadway will have 25k ADT. Therefore, this roadway must be improved to a divided four lane highway or we will be at LOS ‘F’ in 10 years.|
Gary Toth of PPS spent a good percentage of his engineering career ‘building transportation through communities’ for New Jersey DOT. Transportation mostly meant roads whose capacity, design, and appearance were determined by the three M’s: the model, the manual, and the money. My guess is that pretty much everyone reading this post has seen the M’s employed in various combinations by a DOT or MPO as an excuse for not building walking and bicycling accommodations.
Of the M’s, the model is often the most formidable obstacle because its complexity and opaqueness make it difficult for a citizen or elected official to challenge. But the modeling ought to be challenged because it is used to justify multi-million dollar capacity projects, while simultaneously making it difficult to justify multi-thousand dollar walking and bicycling projects. The further we look into the future with our predictive models, the harder it becomes to make the argument for investment in walking and biking.
Thankfully, better transportation models are being introduced and employed. The conference will feature a session by Martin Guttenplan discussing how Colorado Springs utilized a multimodal regional transportation demand model to evaluate the effects of proposed, but unfunded, bicycle, pedestrian, and roadway improvements. The result is that the model and analysis establishes a compelling case for multimodal improvements. More importantly, the benefits would be enjoyed across all modes.
Come to Long Beach to meet Martin. Meanwhile, if you would like to read up on some of the pro-driving assumptions that have guided our models and our transportation planning process, there’s no better place to start than Gary Toth’s A Citizens Guide to Better Streets.