Regional and Urban Design Committee


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The Regional and Urban Design Committee (RUDC) aims to improve the quality of the regional and urban environment by promoting excellence in design, planning, and public policy in the built environment. This will be achieved through its member and public education, in concert with allied community and professional groups. Join us!

Heaven or Hell for Cities? The Future of Transportation

  • 1.  Heaven or Hell for Cities? The Future of Transportation

    Posted 01-29-2019 09:48


    Predicting the future of mobility has a long history. Ever since first the advent of the automobile and then the airplane caused considerable disruption, people want to know what is next? Most predictions focused on technology instead of social context (like flying automobiles) and were patently wrong. This hasn't stopped transportation professionals trying to predict, now with scientific modeling and the help of powerful computers, ever more complex scenarios with ever more variables. All the while the transportation world keeps shifting.
    What's happening in transportation? All images are screenshots from
    2019 Transportation Research Board (TRB) unless otherwise noted

    A a short few years ago, the transportation future looked rosy. Millenials were trending back to cities, away from cars and towards ride sharing and the so called "active modes". Tesla had shown that an electric car doesn't have to be frumpy and slow and the world seemed to be set to combat climate change. Transportation experts were convinced that transit, electrification, automated vehicles, docked bicycle sharing and ride sharing via transportation network companies (TNC) were the future of urban living, and that urban living would be the prevailing form of living anyway.

    Then, in the last two or three years a few things happened which made the future much less certain and potentially much less attractive:
    • Research shows that TNCs actually increased miles driven (VMT) in the cities were they were used the most and that they did not only not reduce driving and congestion but canalized transit instead
      Pilot for robot delivery of groceries (Kroger)
    • Transit ridership dropped across the country as gas prices sank in spite of the fully recovered economy with another surge in SUV sales
    • an automated vehicle (AV) killed a pedestrian in a Phoenix suburb
    • Tesla began to struggle and with it the believe that soon all cars, buses and trucks would be battery powered
    • Not only were docked bikes replaced by dockless share bikes cluttering streets and sidewalks, they were pushed into a dark corner by electric scooters which nobody had predicted at all.

    Additionally, various leadership missteps at Uber have shed...READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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