Leaders address problems of the future

News AASHTO Journal July 10, 2003
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Addressing the Traffic Congestion: Issues and Options conference in Washington, D

Addressing the Traffic Congestion: Issues and Options conference in Washington, D.C., Georgia Tech Prof. Michael Meyer said congestion is a contentious problem worthy of solving because of the economic, political and social costs it exacts.

Meyer summarized the key highlights of material presented at the two-day conference, utilizing research results and fact to identify the common thread in the effort to address congestion: increased investment in all transportation modes.

Stable elements in future travel demand include licenses and vehicles, workers, population and households, and migration. Demand changes will come from rising incomes, travel locations, increased immigration and an aging population.

Although politically unpopular, there was consensus that people are willing to pay for transportation investment. Meyer noted people are paying close to $1 more for gas in recent years, yet have not raised a fuss over the increase.

Solutions include developing community transportation visions, creating policies and strategies to influence travel behavior and land use, building upon a strategic regional infrastructure with an emphasis on bottlenecks and an operational, market-driven, community-oriented and ecological institutional structure.

State departments of transportation will be challenged to change their operational cultures from a 20th century to a 21st century model, moving toward integrating regions, focusing on user preference and becoming performance driven, he said.

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