In well-planned residential areas, public transportation and places people want to go are located in the same place. Tokyo's Yamanote Line (山手線, pictured) is one of the best examples of this. Not only is each station placed near businesses and locations of interest, most stations along the circular track in the center of the city also connect with other public transportation options. A more thoughtful use of transportation resources could be coming to the United State thanks to a policy shift by the Obama Administration announced this week.

The idea is that limited transportation funds will be spent on projects that improve "livability issues such as economic development opportunities and environmental benefits," instead of just low cost and time saved. Think of it as a holistic approach to moving people around. What this means in practice going forward is not exactly clear, but the U.S. Federal Transit Administration will "immediately rescind budget restrictions issued by the Bush Administration in March of 2005 that focused primarily on how much a project shortened commute times in comparison to its cost." Take that, Bushies.

Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Transportation Research Board Chairman's Lunch attendees yesterday that:
Everywhere I go, the message is loud and clear: People want more and better transportation infrastructure in their communities – from highways and bridges to light rail, multi-modal transit stations, bike paths, and walkways. They want the opportunity to leave their cars behind. To live near work and schools and good hospitals. And to enjoy clean, green neighborhoods. Our stimulus funds are helping many communities begin to realize those dreams.
Funny, he didn't say anything anti-car when he was in Detroit on Monday.

[Source: U.S. DOT via Green Car Congress | Image: Wikimedia Commons - C.C. License 2.0]


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