The movement of persons and goods to, from and through our Florida communities is an extremely important element of the economic success, the viability and the design of infrastructure and places that will house our families, take our products to market, and serve the needs of the public and private services that our quality of life depends upon.
Making our transportation system more sustainable involves many policies and practices that minimize environmental impact and create streets that are safe for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. In today’s economic climate, one trend that counties and municipalities are pursuing involves the establishment of a “Complete Streets” approach for planned and needed transportation infrastructure. The Complete Streets philosophy is a smart way for all levels of government to maximize the positive, regional impacts from limited available funds for roadway, sidewalk, and transit upgrades. The goal of a complete streets approach is to provide streets that are safe and stress free for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders — whether young or old, able-bodied or physically challenged. Complete Streets are a natural complement to sustainability efforts, ensuring benefits for mobility, community, and the environment.
Sustainable transportation planning and design includes the consideration of not only the roadways and transport technologies applied to move people, freight and goods. It is the conservation of resources, modification in energy consumption, railway and airway utilization and access, water and sea use, and in many cases , the transport of materials and commodities such a gas, oil, fuel, electricity and water through pipeline or other forms of transmission lines. Sustainable transportation means planning and constructing for the safe and efficient transport of persons and materials, in a manner that is sensitive and protective of the natural and human environment. In the near future, it will take on new meaning in the movement of information and communications in improved conveyance systems.
The intent is for sustainable transportation systems to have a positive and economically beneficial impact on the community and the environment in which we live. Quality and sustainable systems can and will have far reaching effects on the social structure and interaction between citizens and can be the leading factor in providing mobility for our disadvantaged, elderly and those too young to operate any vehicle independently.
The current transport activity in the world uses over 20% of the energy consumed and produces a similar level of the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions. The costs to our communities that result are staggering, and include not on resources spent on fuel but funds for air and water quality mitigation and loss of productivity due to congestion and health impacts.
Sustainable transportation and mobility practices can have a meaningful impact and should be a defining factor in the development of the best possible cities and neighborhoods for Florida. Traditionally, quality transportation planning focused almost exclusively on the improvements in the movement of vehicles, especially the automobile and trucks. This approach has not adequately addressed the secondary and cumulative impacts that are created and has included almost no consideration for the design of livable and context sensitive transportation infrastructure. With the understanding that the purpose of our transportation system being more than just access to work, shopping and recreational activity, we can apply proven techniques and technology to our planning studies and practices that will produce a significantly more sustainable mobility system and one that will in turn help create better cities, healthier populations, and maintain a natural environment that will benefit future generations to come.
There is a national trend toward driving less, walking and cycling more, and taking public transportation. Not because people have to — but because they want to. But in the quest for economic growth and unfettered mobility over the past 50 years, many urban and suburban municipalities sacrificed neighborhood and community character, trees, landscaping, crosswalks and sidewalks in exchange for wide, car-friendly thoroughfares. As a result, most of today’s roads are designed to favor one form of transportation — automobiles. “Complete Streets” is a planning and design philosophy that considers all modes of travel — cars and trucks, public transit, walking, and bicycling — so cities and towns can offer their citizens safe, appropriate choices for any preferred mode of travel. Workers,
The content of the sustainable transportation section presented in the website is intended to provide reference materials to exceptional examples that can be applied to planning practices for Florida communities, a toolbox of ideas that should be part of all visionary transportation planning exercises, and a list of reference materials and the presentation of measures that are potential areas for policy and technical requirements in the practice of sustainable transportation.