US Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, recently stated that Americans want more mobility options.
People are always going to drive cars, and no one realistically expects that to change. Federal, state and local governments have a huge investment in our roads and interstate highway system; however, there are many modes of transportation available in this country. Why not make space for bicycling and walking which will create greener, more livable communities?
At the National Bike Summit, Secretary LaHood reported that the Department of Transportation (DOT) is integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally funded road projects. He stated, “We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”
To get this initiative started, the US DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities:
- Treat walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes.
- Ensure convenient access for people of all ages and abilities.
- Go beyond minimum design standards.
- Collect data on walking and biking trips.
- Set a mode share target for walking and bicycling.
- Protect sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected (for example, snow removal)
- Improve non-motorized facilities during maintenance projects.
Urban planners, architects and developers need more space and fewer cars to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. Research reports show that over 50% of the traffic in a typical downtown area is just cars cruising around the block searching for vacant, convenient parking spaces.
A Robotic Parking Systems garage offers a solution for safe, convenient parking that gets cars off the road and creates space that could be used for pedestrians and bicycles. An automated parking garage can fit twice as many cars in half the space. The better space utilization for parking allows architects and developers more freedom to design and create greener and more livable communities.