A big transportation shift is happening in the United States, will the government be ready?
Dustin Block of mlive.com has noticed a new trend forming among millennials regarding how they get around. He found that they are increasingly relying on public transportation and car sharing services instead of the more traditional idea of buying a private car. In addition, he found that millennials are more likely to consider an environmentally conscious car than previous generations were. The government will need to make some changes based on what the millennials are doing.
A meeting with the U.S. transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, and other important leaders took place in Detroit a few weeks ago regarding the millennials’ transportation trends as well as America’s aging infrastructure. “Our infrastructure is reaching the end of its lifespan,” (Block 1). He stated that the United States is currently at an inflection point, meaning that if the infrastructure does not get fixed now, it will lead to bigger and more expensive problems later. In the meeting, Foxx called for a new infrastructure plan to be implemented across the country. The key points of his plan are to dredge ports, raise bridges, and rebuild roads in order to better accommodate the transportation of both people and goods. Hopefully America’s infrastructure will start getting fixed soon on a large scale.
Transportation planning is an important part of urban design according to Contemporary Urban Planning by John M. Levy. In fact, the book has an entire chapter dedicated to the subject. A significant observation of Levy is the fact that for most of the twentieth century, transportation planning was centered on private automobiles and suburbanization. Meanwhile, he notes that the use of public transportation declined significantly during this time period. “The spreading out of residences and workplaces with the process of suburbanization complicates both the collection (getting the rider to the public transit vehicle) and the distribution (getting the rider from the vehicle to his or her final destination) problems,” (Levy 237). Although the spread of private cars and suburbanization was common in the past, millennials seem to have a different mindset. They prefer sharing transportation instead of owning their own car. They are also more environmentally aware than previous generations were, so driving a sleek but inefficient car is sometimes looked down upon in this day and age. Transportation planning in the future will probably place more of an emphasis on ridesharing and public transportation than private cars.