What Transportation Innovation is Most Needed Now?
We asked four members of the Humphrey School community to weigh in on a big question.
Frank Alarcon (MURP ’18), Transit Planner, Ramsey County
Shift from a dispersed, car-dependent development pattern to a compact development pattern that prioritizes walking, biking, and transit. When people live in smaller homes and travel shorter distances to the places they need to go—often without a car—they save money, put less wear and tear on infrastructure, and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions. When they walk or bike, they improve their health, too. Compact development is a low-tech way to improve transportation options while addressing some of our gravest financial, environmental, and health challenges.
Lindsey Bruer (MURP ’11), Planning Director, Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8
Provide for predictable, sustainable, and reliable transportation funding. Currently, funding isn’t keeping up with needs. It is difficult to make the most efficient and effective use of transportation funds when funding is unpredictable. This issue will be even more important as transportation technology changes. Our current sources of revenue could change significantly, but we will still need to invest in transportation to meet the needs of the future system.
Frank Douma, Research Fellow and Director, State and Local Policy Program, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Support development of more efficient modes of transportation and policies to ensure that everyone benefits from them. Transportation may soon become cheaper, cleaner, more convenient, and more accessible. As new technologies enable options that were nonexistent even five years ago, the transportation landscape is rapidly changing. It will soon be possible to take a trip that includes a variety of modes—from scooters, to shared electric vehicles, to transit—all scheduled and paid for with a smartphone app. The private sector will drive these changes, but we need public policy to ensure all benefit from them.
Jimmy Shoemaker (MURP ’14), Transportation Planner; Alta Planning + Design
Invest in high-quality bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that is accessible to everyone. People in communities with safe and comfortable walking and biking networks get more physical activity, experience less stress, and are more likely to get outside to meet and get to know one another. These types of investments should be made not only in big cities but also small towns, where main street businesses can thrive when vehicle traffic moves slower and streets feel more people-scaled.