Smart Transportation Guidebook

New Jersey Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania Departement of Transportation

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Transportation have partnered in the development of the recently released Smart Transportation Guidebook. The goal of the landmark Guidebook is to integrate the planning and design of streets highways in a manner that fosters development of sustainable and livable communities. The Guidebook has equal applicability to rural, suburban and urban areas.

Both DOTs feel that transportation needs will always outweigh available resources. Smart Transportation proposes to manage capacity by better integrating land use and transportation planning. The Guidebook states that the “desire to go ‘through’ a place must be balanced with the desire to go ‘to’ a place.” Transportation investments must be tailored to the specific context and needs of each project.

The Guidebook advocates the use of a multi-disciplinary team to work closely with communities and develop a wide range of solutions. It defines Smart Transportation as also including consideration of network connectivity to help ease the burden on the major highways, thereby allowing the DOTs to develop solutions which are more sensitive to context.

Smart Transportation can be summarized in six principles: tailor solutions to the context; tailor the approach; plan all projects in collaboration with the community; plan for alternative transportation modes; use sound professional judgment; and scale the solution to the size of the problem.

Other trend-setting concepts promoted in the Guidebook are:

  1. Right sizing of projects to achieve a high value to price ratio, instead of constructing projects to achieve optimum Levels of Service performance measures;
  2. Defining wide ranging measures of project success;
  3. The need to understand place in transportation planning, design and construction;
  4. A roadway typology that is not based solely on functional classification, but also takes into account land use and place;
  5. The idea that high design speed does not automatically equate to high design quality.
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