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Transportation planning is in the midst of a paradigm shift: a change in the way transportation problems are defined and solutions evaluated. The old paradigm assumed that “transportation” means automobile travel, so transportation planning consisted of accommodating more and faster motor vehicle traffic. The new paradigm recognises a wider range of options, including non-motorised modes, and a wider range of planning objectives. The new paradigm does not assume that more travel is necessarily better, but instead strives for “optimality”—that is, a proper balance, so each mode is used for what it does best. With better planning, we can create a healthier, more efficient and more equitable transportation system.
A key step in this paradigm shift is to recognise the full value of non-motorised modes (walking, cycling and variants such as wheelchairs and scooters). Non-motorised travel is basic and essential. It is virtually universal, used by almost everybody, both alone and in conjunction with other modes. For example, bus and train stations, ferry terminals, airports and parking lots are pedestrian environments, and most motorised trips involve walking links, such as walking or cycling to a bus stop, or walking from a parked car to destinations. …
Funding TL is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Victoria, BC, Canada.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.