Transportation Planning comprises of many stages and is an essential part of all levels of development – municipal, statewide, and even federal. Without proper transportation, residential and commercial markets can plummet. An isolated area with a lack of transportation wards off businesses who want lots of customers and residents who want easy commutes to work.
The desire for transportation has been apparent throughout history, as shown by the various canals and railroads built over time. Once these modes of transportation were established, every aspect of development began to flourish. People left their homes, hoping for a better, non-crowded and prosperous lifestyle, while businesses opened up near transportation routes to export and import goods expediently. Since then, the focus of transportation planning has become increasingly complex. Instead of trying to build more highways and railroads, the main concern of transportation planning today involves improving existing roadways while ensuring safety and smart spending. Efficiency is another key focus of transportation planning today. Planners need to work with great care, for the decisions made in transportation planning are often expensive and irreversible. That is why it is so important to efficiently spend funds and utilize land. If done correctly, strategically placed highways and transit paths can last for many generations without any problems. However, it is easier said than done. Every stage that is involved with this process tends to be a long and arduous task, since it requires the approval of both politicians and citizens, who generally are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to any kind of planning. Residents often find themselves in difficult situations where their homes need to be taken away for the construction of a new highway or transit line. Since they are often outnumbered, these residents often have no choice. Because of this, millions of people have lost their homes as a result of highway and railway construction. This adds onto the many ethical judgments that planners already have to deal with, like the protection of the environment. This is especially important in transportation, where gas emissions are often a problem. Planners have dealt with this in a variety of ways, like creating carpool lanes and more efficient transit modes.