At the closing of the second millennium our civilization can boast a remarkable progress in technological developments which have been growing at an exponential pace. Telecommunications, jumbo-jets and personal computers have become ubiquitous in many countries in recent decades. In the "softer" area of managing complex systems, and even more so in economic, social and ethical aspects, our achievements have not been as uniquely progressive, however. This dichotomy between technological advances and systemic difficulties is quite obvious in the focal areas of our civilization - the complex technical-social-environmental system of cities.
The heavily urbanized civilization entering the third millennium strongly depends on the health of cities (or, more precisely, urbanized areas). Their "lifeblood", transportation systems, utilize sophisticated technology of vehicles, rail lines, highways and intermodal terminals; yet, if one would observe Los Angeles freeways or Bangkok arterial roads on any weekday morning, he/she would find commuters on highways resembling the behavior of a flock of sheep, rather than an intelligently organized and controlled system.
A broader view of cities shows that transportation is a major component, often the key contributor, to the economic and social conditions, as well as environmental quality of urbanized areas. Moreover, it is increasingly recognized that the qualitative aspects of life, referred to as livability, are strongly affected by the composition of transportation modes deployed in individual urbanized areas. Major problems caused by chronic road congestion, unsatisfactory public transportation and neglect of pedestrians are caused by inadequate understanding of the transportation systems and their interaction with the functioning of cities.
In most cities current problems, need for short-term solutions, pressures by individual groups or interests and other factors prevent a long-range view of the complex transportation problems. This presentation will focus on a systems view of transportation, its role and impact on cities and quality of life in them. The need to improve understanding of the interactions between cities and different transportation modes is particularly emphasized.
Date of this Version
The 53rd UITP International Congress in Toronto
Posted with permission from UITP.
Date Posted: 06 January 2017