Thursday, July 10, 2008

Long-Range Planning Symposium Multimedia Files Available Online

By Karl Vilacoba

In "the snap of a finger,” energy costs have dramatically changed long-range planning goals and demographic expectations, according to Anne Canby, president of the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership and a member of InTransition’s editorial board.

Canby was among a half-dozen panelists at a June 26 symposium held as part of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s (NJTPA) effort to update its 25-year regional plan. (The NJTPA publishes InTransition in partnership with the New Jersey Institute of Technology.) Canby said the rising cost of energy means that people will decide where to live and work based on the combined cost of housing and transportation, rather than simply assuming transportation will be affordable, as in the past.

“Energy is clearly a front and center issue and has to be incorporated into anything we do with transportation from here on out,” she said.

While a few of the experts addressed specific local issues, others delivered presentations that were highly relevant to anyone in the planning and transportation fields, if not any resident of the country.

One of the most compelling speakers of the day was Daniel Lerch, author of the first major municipal guidebook on peak oil and global warming and a program manager at the Post Carbon Institute, which advises government officials how to end their reliance on fossil fuels. Lerch gave a thought-provoking presentation on how much trouble the country is in with its foreign oil dependence. The gas prices we’re seeing are just the beginning, he warned, and the time is now (if not yesterday) for America to fundamentally change its consumption patterns.

Public policy expert and Northeastern University (Boston) Professor Joseph Giglio advocated that the government widely reform how our transportation network is funded and administered. He discussed a number of interesting alternative funding strategies that have been tried or are under consideration around the country.

Audio files of the speakers are available online here. In some cases, Powerpoint files corresponding with the presentations were posted.

Coming Soon ... Summer 2008 Issue

InTransition is now putting the finishing touches on its summer issue, which should be in mailboxes over the next few weeks. The issue will feature a group of stories examining the planning, obstacles and investments involved with providing transportation for sports arenas. Among the places we’ll visit are the Prudential Center in Newark, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the new Dallas Cowboys stadium under construction in Arlington.

Also in the next issue:

  • The debate over whether or not Los Angeles should build a Westside extension to its subway system
  • A look at some of the archaeological technologies are being successfully used to assist with transportation projects
  • The second in a three-part series of excerpts from Pulitzer Prize-winning author John McPhee’s “Uncommon Carriers”

Not all of the content that appears in the print edition will be available online. To order a FREE subscription to the magazine, visit InTransition's website and complete the simple form.