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Scope of Transportation Planning

Planning may be defined as the activity or process that examines the potential of future actions to guide a situation or system towards the desired direction, eg, towards the achievement of positive goals, the avoidance of problem, or both. Likewise, Transportation planning is the process of defining future policies, goals, investments and designs to prepare for future needs to move people and goods to destinations. Or, it may be also defined as the ongoing process of developing and maintaining a transportation system for the safe and efficient movement of goods and people. As practiced today, it is a collaborative process that incorporates the input of many stakeholders including various government agencies, the public, and private businesses.
Transportation planning is also commonly referred to as transport planning internationally and is involved in the evaluation, assessment, design and siting of transport facilities (generally streets, highways, bike lanes and public transport lines). As the matter of practicality, planning does not search for ultimate answers but only a means to satisfy specific results. Too little planning is almost like no planning and too much planning is self-defeating as it leads to inaction. The fundamental purpose of planning is to provide an efficient access for mobility so as to satisfy the human needs. To facilitate these needs, the following questions should be answered: whose mobility, for what purpose, by what means, at what cost, etc.

  • Scope of Transportation Planning
    • System Characteristics
      A system is a group of independent and interrelated components that form a complex and unified whole intended to serve some purpose through the performance of its interacting parts.
      • System component: fixed facility, flow entity, control system (flow, vehicular)
      • System hierarchy: transportation system a part of many other systems global to local level hierarchy.System purpose: It serves the following purpose.
    • Mobility
      The ability to travel from one location to another in a reasonable amount of time and acceptable cost.
    • Accessibility
      the means by which an individual can accomplish the social or economic activity.
    • System Performance
      The level of service provided by the system.
    • System Capacity
      Person flow or vehicle flow per hour.
    • Transportation System Impact
      • Natural system impact: It affects terrestrial ecology and aquatic ecology.
      • Physical impact: It affects physical aspect of the environment such as negative impacts on air quality, noise, vibration, water quality, energy consumption, erosion, and sedimentation, etc.
      • Social and cultural impact: Transportation system affects social and cultural aspect of the environment. It has both positive and negative impacts. Positive impacts are increase in aesthetics of the community, community cohesion, accessibility of facilities, opportunities for services and jobs, employment opportunities, development of business activities, income generation, etc. Similarly, negative impacts are displacement of people, resource consumption, land use, etc.
    • Demand Analysis
      Demand analysis means to predict the number and type of people and their purpose to use transportation system and the expected flow of goods in a metropolitan area. This is one of the most important tasks in transportation planning.
    • Supply Analysis
      Supply of transportation service can be characterized in terms of performance of the transportation system (eg. Travel times, headways and capacities), its impact on the environment and the costs incurred in building, maintaining and using the system.
    • Transportation System Evaluation
      It is the process of determining the relative value of individual alternatives and desirability and suitability of one over another.
    • Decision Making
      After evaluation of transportation system or any other project, the decision is taken to implement the suitable alternative.

Interaction Between Land Use and Transportation Planning
Land use means the spatial distribution or geographical pattern of the city: residential areas, industry, commercial areas, retail business, and the space set aside for governmental, institutional and recreation purposes. Land-use potential is a measure of the scale of socioeconomic activity that takes place on a given area of land. A unique property of land is its ability to generate traffic.
Naturally, there is a direct interaction between the type and intensity of land use and the supply transportation facilities provided. The connection between transportation and land use is a fundamental concept in transportation. Everything that happens to land use has transportation implications and every transportation action affects land use. Land development generates travel, and travel generates the need for new facilities, which in turn increases accessibility and attracts further development.
The primary objective of planning any land-use and transportation system is to ensure that there efficient balance between land-use activity and transportation capability. If the land uses of a city are known, it is possible to estimate the traffic generated. Trip generation provides linkage between land use and travel as depicted in the cycle below:

Types of Transportation Planning

  • Short term or medium term transportation planning:
    • Planning for the short period (10 years or less).
    • Comparatively less complex.
    • No large investments
    • No large and extensive construction.
    • Concerns with obtaining maximum capacity or optimal operation from existing facilities.
      Eg. Planning for congestion at the intersection, resurfacing, turning lanes, etc.
  • Long term/Comprehensive/Strategic Planning
    • Planning for a period of more than 10 years.
    • It is very complex.
    • Requires huge resources and financial expenditure.
    • Involves large and extensive construction.
    • Has the great impact on the economic, social and natural environment.
      Eg. State highways, subways, and light railway system, etc.

Philosophy of Long Term Planning

  • Value: he underlying basic qualities upon which ethics, morals and preferences of society, groups and individuals are based.
  • Goal: the idealized desired end at which the planning process is aimed.
  • Objective: measurable operational statements of individual goals.
  • Criteria: indices of measurement capable of defining the degree to which and objective or goal has been attained.

Nature of Transportation Engineering
Transportation engineering is a multidisciplinary area of study and comparatively a new profession that has acquired theoretical underpinnings, methodological tools and a vast area of public and private involvement.or, it may be defined as the application of scientific laws and technology for planning, design, operation and management of facilities related to various modes of transportation (ropeway, roadway, railway, etc.). Transportation engineering encompasses various fields of transportation as Highway Engineering, Ropeway Engineering, Railway Engineering, Airways Engineering, etc. It not only deals with traffic and geometric design but also with various aspects of civil engineering as well as general science and mathematics, which can be illustrated by the following figure. It illustrates in a general way, the interdisciplinary breadth and depth of involvement of transportation engineering.

System Approach to Transportation Planning
Transportation problem is very complex (system consisting of subsystem). The transportation system is not isolated and independent. The major difficulty lies in the fact that, unlike most engineering solutions a transportation plan will affect its own environment when implemented. Therefore, solutions related to transportation are not easy as other engineering problems. The complexity could be best solved by the system approach.

  • System Analysis
    A clear evaluation of the combinations of all the elements related to the problem, and strategies needed for the achievement of an objective.
  • System Engineering
    organizing and scheduling the complex strategies for the problem solution, and the development of procedures for effecting alternate solutions.
    • The team the problem is interdisciplinary. All facets of the problem are considered, not simply those facts that conveniently fall within one discipline.
    • Through the analysis, the team uses scientific methods. This requires that a theory must be formulated to count for set observed facts. This theory is checked to determine whether or not it actually explains known facts is also checked to determine its predictive validity.
    • The work is carried out according to a predetermined sequence.

Steps in transportation Analysis
The steps in transportation system analysis are as follows:

  1. recognize community problems and values
  2. Establish goals
  3. Define objectives
  4. Establish criteria
  5. Design alternative actions to achieve goal and objectives
  6. Evaluate the alternative actions in terms of effectiveness and costs
  7. Question the objectives and all assumptions
  8. Examine new alternatives or modification of step "e"
  9. Establish the new objectives or modification of step "c"
  10. Repeat the cycle until a satisfactory result is reached in keeping with criteria standards and values set.

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