Transportation is the movement of people and goods. People need access to desired goods, services, activities around their community and at other destinations. Therefore, sustainability in transportation is measured by a community’s overall mobility -- the diversity and reliability of multiple modes of transportation available to people (walking, wheelchair, stroller, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, commercial truck, bus, rail, etc.).
The big picture
Since the end of World War II, North American countries have accommodated private vehicles as the main mode of transportation. Pedestrians and other users of the road are often omitted from design that focuses on vehicle speed, road capacity, and operating costs of both. With very little alternative, people now depend almost entirely on the automobile. As a result, the community suffers as a whole from noise and air pollution, productivity reduced by congested roads, and poor health and isolation as residents simply drive rather than walk or bike to destinations.
However, we are at a turning point in transportation planning in that technology enables people, goods and services to “travel” or be delivered efficiently on a local, regional and even global scale with less negative impacts on the social, economic and environmental well-being of communities. These mobility substitutes now empower us to re-balance our investment in modes of transportation, to make more efficient our patterns of land use, and to support intelligent street connections.
Old Saybrook is no different than any other town facing the legacy of a conventional transportation system. But, we are beginning to support proximity in where people work, shop and live, to retrofit our existing local infrastructure, and to embrace options in local and regional transportation as they become more available.