Transportation trends: DOTs say maintain, don't add; buses are solution | Arkansas Blog

Transportation trends: DOTs say maintain, don't add; buses are solution

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Here's a thought: Fix roads, improve bus service.
  • Here's a thought: Fix roads, improve bus service.
Here's a quote from Planetizen's "Top Planning Trends" article published Dec. 31: 

Few phrases are more likely to trigger post-traumatic stress among local transit and complete streets advocates than "state department of transportation." The decades of great power wielded by state DOTs has resulted in more roads, wider roads, and faster roads —even at the expense of local planning efforts and the budgets required to maintain existing roads.

In 2015, however, signs of a shift in politics emerged from state DOTs. Different transportation agencies arrived at the conclusion for different reasons, but transportation officials are waking up to the idea that they can no longer continue building roads without first focusing on improving existing roads.

Transportation officials in Little Rock are still slumbering, as evidenced by their plan for a 10-lane interstate to handle traffic on I-30 between the interchanges in North Little Rock and the Pine Bluff exit in Little Rock, rather than look to improve roads already built.

The article goes on to cite the head of the Iowa Department of Transportation, who predicted that state's highway system will shrink because the state can't afford to maintain the roads already built. Same thing said by New Jersey transportation commissioner. Also, in Connecticut: "While planning to widen interstates 95 and 84, the state DOT's chief of planning acknowledged that the widening would fail to reduce congestion, because of induced demand, unless the state also improved rail service and implementing congestion pricing."

However, the article also says Americans are driving more than ever. Conclusion: "The bus is where the greatest potential for improvement can be found." On March 1, Pulaski County residents will be asked to add a quarter of a cent sales tax to give the Rock Region Metro stable funding and the ability to improve routes. Makes sense. 
 

 


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