Posts have become quite infrequent here, but with good reason. I began an internship in the planning field three months before graduating from the University of Washington with my Master of Sustainable Transportation degree. As such, I've relocated to Washington, DC and was recently promoted to a full-time position. The following is some placemaking perspective I've gained while researching performance measures for local streets and roads.
As I've begun to attend professional conferences in the past year and a half (CNU22 in Buffalo, the CNU Transportation Summit in New York, and CanU7 in Ottawa), I've noticed many long-time members remarking on the vastly increased focus on transportation topics. The self-evident link between transportation and land use - How does one design a neighborhood without considering how its inhabitants will move within it or between neighborhoods? - is being properly recognized, and with it the compartmentalization of disciplines continues to diminish. The following paragraphs serve as an overview of how one might construct a performance measure set for the basic corridor unit, the local street, which reinforces spatial and placemaking goals.
Development of the New
While the system criteria normally combine to form an overall project score, the individual measures found in the Greenroads Scorecard can be disaggregated and applied to goals stated in municipal vision plans. For example, aspects of roadway design and implementation such as runoff control and habitat conservation can relate to environmental goals. The table below contains additional pertinent examples.
|Environment & Water Rating||Habitat Conservation||Shows a commitment on the part of the local government to environmental sensitivity and establishes sustainability as a transportation network priority.|
|Runoff Flow Control|
|On-site Water Treatment|
|Materials & Design Rating||Recycled Content||Clients have cited implementation cost savings associated with decreased life-cycle costs of both raw material and design for durability.|
|Local Material Content|
|Access & Livability Rating||Multimodal Connectivity||Adds more dimension to street design. Aggregates factors affecting all people that cannot be isolated from transit or vehicle counts.|
|Active Transportation Inclusion|
Evolution of the ClassicsTransportation Master Plan for the City of Ottawa. Quite possibly my favorite transportation plan, and one that I've cited in both academic and professional work, the Ottawa TMP dedicates an entire chapter to the provision of safe and efficient roads. In addition to the adoption of a complete streets policy and an updating of design standards, the plan uses multimodal level of service (MMLOS) indicators a means to assess road design and allocate right of way with a broader goal of moving people. This represents a fundamental shift in focus in a discipline still known today as traffic engineering. Metrics that have guided road design decisions for decades have focused only on moving vehicles through the roadway network as quickly and efficiently as possible. MMLOS broadens the focus to all modes, to understand how design choices impact the journey quality of each user – pedestrian, cyclist, transit rider, motorist, or truck driver.
As with the Greenroads ratings, MMLOS measures can be considered umbrella metrics, pieced together from simpler sub-measures. Adding to the old standbys of motor vehicle delay and capacity ratios, pedestrian delay, cyclist travel stress, and transit travel time ratios are now taken into account. These measures prove their usefulness in shaping the urban form during review processes as development applicants are required to submit transportation impact assessments and provide funding for mitigation.