Trends in Transportation: Transformational Shifts for New Urbanism
What did you do last weekend?
Enjoy a park or festival? Stop by your community Farmer’s Market or take a stroll through a neighborhood you haven’t been to in years (and would now LOVE to live in?) Perhaps stopping for dinner, entertainment or to snap a selfie in front of the temporary installation of sculpture by the new shuttle stop on the corner?
You’re not alone and that was no accident. These are design features of a healthy community and it’s happening all over America. Transportation is at the heart of it all.
People spend where people walk. It’s that simple. Add safe streets, shady trees, innovative recreation, affordable living and working environments and you’ve successfully created a healthier, happier and financially secure community for the future.
Florida is on the cusp of becoming a ‘Mega-Region’,a state that is connected by high-speed rail, a network of express lanes on inter-state highways and the repurpose of underused land for urban trails, cycle lanes and pedestrian friendly commerce centers.
Population growth of Millennial, Gen X, Baby Boomers and immigrants will drive the trend for more innovative and safe modes for transportation and urban living. The sign of a healthy, sustainable city is directly attributed to its pedestrian friendly planning.
“These groups want the same thing,” says Gabe Klein, Senior Fellow and speaker at ULI SE Florida/Caribbean’s recent Transportation Summit. “We have moved from a state of ME to a state of WE, in terms of community. They want to travel safely, quickly and without hassle.”
Ride sharing, bike sharing, electronic rail, trolley shuttles and commuter rail services all impact the local economy by getting people out of their cars and into local businesses. Suburbs are improving too: complete streets, landscape design and public art projects promote wellness and healthy living to all ages.
Achieve sustainability and you will improve the quality of your life.
The goals of interconnected and multi-modal transportation options are simple:
- Mobility: Expansion and design for pedestrian, bike, trail and commuter services, such as Regional Greenway plans of developing non-motorized corridors adjacent to roadways or in their dedicated places (canals, parks).
- Accessibility: Inter-modal designs that encourage freight and passenger flow from port to terminal, products to business, employees to jobs and delivers tourism to points of culture, history and natural attractions.
- Connectivity: Way finding signage, community groups, real time information sharing, educational expos and outreach build communities and gain perspective and engagement from locals who will actively use good planning.
- Environment: Native plants, scenery, protection and repurposed improvements of land, trees, waterways and historic preservation.
- Safety & Security: Changing perception of safety, provide good lighting and smart design for women/families/pets as influencers who drive behavior.
- Economy: Increase activity for local businesses, increase health of the community and decrease obesity.
Public/Private partnerships are critical to the success of good urban design. Communication, engagement and promotion of existing projects create better ideas and revenue funding for major projects. Successful development and infrastructure projects require a commitment from all areas of the community. Residents, business owners, tourists and agencies are all considered and need to be informed.
Local, minority and women owned businesses benefit when large-scale infrastructure projects and redesigns are planned for their city. These long-term, skilled jobs require a well educated, robust and highly trained labor force. Start-ups, vendors and retailers benefit from completed projects that offer mixed use, sharable spaces for work, living and of course play.
Current and upcoming projects across South Florida include:
- All Aboard Florida
Express intercity passenger rail
Serves tourists, business & residents
Connection Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Orlando
- Tri-Rail Coastal Link
Commuter rail line
Targets historic downtowns Miami–Jupiter
- The WAVE Streetcar
Fort Lauderdale’s 2.7 mile street car system that will serve as a local circulator in downtown
Connects many points of interest: residential, parks, business, courthouse, hospital & cultural institutions
- The Beach Corridor
Connects Miami-Miami Beach
- Express Bus Network
Along major highways throughout the region with enhanced bus services
Provide vital links
Targets county locations
Focus on ‘The Last Mile’ through bike-sharing & Trolley or express shuttles
For a more complete review of upcoming projects in South Florida, click the links below: