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What is Transportation Planning and Why Is It Important?

A key part of urban development is updated transportation infrastructure. Transportation planning firms are typically called in to look at roadway design, traffic engineering, and other transportation issues in order to make it easier and faster for people to get around. Current estimates are that over a third of the major roads in the United States are in mediocre or even poor condition, and half of the interstate system in America operates at a regular 70% of capacity. A quarter of the interstate miles in the United States are strained to 95% capacity or greater.

Why Is This a Problem?

For most people, the main problem with infrastructure issues regarding roads is probably perceived to be the inconvenience of traffic. But traffic inconveniences only the smallest part of the problem. Almost a third of all deaths that happen on America’s highways can be related in some way to a roadside hazard, an obsolete design, or to a substandard condition on the road itself. This is a far more serious consequence than simply fighting traffic.

Who Is Responsible For Infrastructure?

One of the greatest things about American life is the system of federal, state, and local authorities that provide a balance of strong central power with decentralized and locally-supervised authority. While this system has many benefits, particularly relating to personal freedom and national protection, it does complicate the issue when considering infrastructure, and particularly when considering roads that run through several jurisdictions. The original interstate highway system was the brainchild of Dwight D Eisenhower, and the American interstate system–which is over 45,000 miles long and runs through all of the 50 states–is one of the most amazing road systems ever built.

Unfortunately, because the interstate system runs through so many states and municipalities, and because state highways and other roads at times intersect and even briefly overlap the highway system, it can be difficult to determine exactly who should be responsible for maintaining and restructuring any particular road.

The Importance of Transportation Planning

Despite the difficulties, it is necessary to have transportation planning firms working on planning sensible transportation routes across the nation. Transportation planning is important because it serves an area socially and economically and is an important factor in quality of life issues. Transportation planning firms are focused on finding the most efficient way to move goods and people, reduce traffic congestion, and make areas accessible to new business and development. It is not unusual for a business to reject developing or moving to a particular area in large part because of transportation difficulties.

What Does Transportation Planning Do For Individuals?

For the individual resident of any particular municipality, the work of transportation management firms can make all the difference to traffic congestion, to safety on the roads and on public transport, to the availability of public transport and pedestrianized streets, and to the establishment of social equality and ecological sustainability. Good work on the part of transportation planning firms can also open up new jobs to the area, improving the economy generally as well as offering new employment opportunities to individuals.

Transportation planning is one of the key elements to developing an area. Transportation planning firms exist to help districts and municipalities to improve their traffic flow, open up to new business and development, and improve the quality of life for every citizen.

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