Tuesday, January 3, 2023

New Year's Wish? A Car Master Plan as part of the TSP Update!

One of the potentially helpful events and processes in 2023 is a planned update to our Transportation System Plan.

But even when, as a decade ago in the "Bike and Walk Salem" process there was special focus on walking and biking in the TSP, these were still very secondary elements. The default standard is always autoist and always implied. The person driving a car and the car itself remains normative, often not necessary to specify, and non-auto traffic the exception and always necessary to specify.

This summer an advocate in Portland talked about making the autoism instead an explicit subject of analysis and policy. Flip the script!

In May at the Friday transportation seminar at PSU, Cathy Tuttle suggested "your city needs a car master plan."

Yeah, a Car Master Plan! - via PSU

From the talk summary:

In 2022, cars are ubiquitous and completely embedded into America’s economy and social fabric. American cities don’t make car plans, but all transportation plans – whether they are for people who walk, bike, take transit, run freight or delivery businesses – are all written in response to cars. Transportation planning is all about cars; supporting cars or constraining cars. How did our cities evolve into places where cars dominate, and where can we go from here? To move to a new paradigm, cities need to acknowledge car dominance and focus on cars with the same rigor they do other modal plans – the history of cars in the city, the streets cars dominate, the actual vehicles, the drivers, and our future with cars. In the process of writing a Car Master Plan for Downtown Portland, Cathy Tuttle uncovered remarkable new information about curb space use, asphalt, and the four types of drivers. [italics added]

Four types of bike riders
Bicycle modal chapter of TSP, Dec 2012

In symmetry with the four types of bike riders, she identified four types of drivers.

Four types of drivers - via PSU

And 10 recommendations.

10 recommendations - via PSU

If we want to reduce area VMT, as our Climate Action Plan calls for, an explicit analysis of the way our current transportation policy and focus on congestion relief induces increasing  VMT would help greatly. We are in fact targeting an increase in VMT by our current policy framework.

Even more than things like making protected bike lanes a standard and better integrating an "all ages and abilities" standard on all our road design templates, we should surface the ways we prioritize autos and their drivers, make that preferential treatment explicit, and then dig deeper for policy and design standards that will actually contribute to greater safety and lower emissions on our roads and streets. 

Instead of submerging a default standard for cars and driving into every part of the TSP, we should elevate cars and driving for explicit modal analysis and policy recommendation. And we should no longer make cars and drivers the default standard user of roads and streets.

1 comment:

Jim Scheppke said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I plan to watch this on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEVT7tZwdwY