THE ROLE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY IN URBAN TRANSPORTATION

RECOGNIZING THAT EXISTING TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS IN THE MORE ADVANCED COUNTRIES ARE SUCCESSFULLY PROVIDING SERVICE TO A MAJORITY OF USERS, A MAJORITY OF THE TIME, AND IN A MAJORITY OF PLACES, A TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM EXISTS AS MANIFESTED BY THE HIGH ACCIDENT TOLL, WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY IN TRAFFIC CONGESTION, COSTS OF UPGRADING TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, UNSIGHTLY NATURE OF TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES, AND NOISE AND AIR POLLUTION OF THE VECHILES. CONCENTRATING ON PROBLEMS OF PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION RATHER THAN GOODS, EXAMINATION OF PASSENGER-MILE STATISTICS SHOWS THAT 90% ARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO AUTOMOBILES, THE DOMINANT MODE. EMERGING PATTERNS OF URBAN GROWTH SHOW GREATER PERCENTAGES OF POPULATION LIVING OUTSIDE THE CITY IN WHICH THEY WORK. THIS PATTERN OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT IS LARGELY THE RESULT OF WIDESPREAD OWNERSHIP OF PRIVATE AUTOMOBILES. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO THE LARGER CITIES TRANSPORTATION PROBLEM BY PUBLIC TRANSIT MUST ASSUME THAT PEOPLE CAN BE LURED OUT OF THEIR AUTOMOBILES AND INTO PUBLIC CONVEYANCES. WHILE RAIL SYSTEMS MOVE LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE AT LOW COST, THEY MEET THE NEEDS OF ONLY A FEW OF THE LARGER CITIES; TO BE PROFITABLE A COMMUTER LINE MUST CARRY 15,000 PASSENGERS PER PEAK HOUR. RUBBER-TIRED TRANSIT SYSTEMS OFFER GREATER POTENTIAL FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE. HELICOPTERS AND V/STOL AIRCRAFT CAN MEET ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF URBAN TRANSPORT NEEDS. IN VIEW OF THE SHORTCOMINGS OF ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF URBAN TRANSPORT, DEVELOPMENT OF A SYSTEM IN WHICH VEHICLES CAN OPERATE BOTH UNDER MANUAL CONTROL ON CONVENTIONAL STREETS AND UNDER AUTOMATIC CONTROL USING ELECTRIC POWER ON EXPRESSWAYS APPEARS MOST PROMISING. ALTHOUGH CONSIDERABLE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EFFORT IS STILL REQUIRED, IT IS PREDICTED THAT SUCH A SYSTEM COULD BE OPERATIONAL IN 10 TO 20 YEARS. HOWEVER, EVEN IF THE DECISION IS MADE TO BUILD THE NEW SYSTEMS, QUESTIONS REMAIN AS TO SOURCE OF FUNDING, SPECIFIC LOCATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS FOR OPERATION AND ADMINISTRATION, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANT, THE QUESTION OF PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE. PUBLIC DEMAND IS USUALLY FOR WIDER OR MORE HIGHWAYS BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIANCE ON THE AUTOMOBILE; HOWEVER, THESE ARE SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS AND IN THE ABSENCE OF LONG-RANGE PLANS URBAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS WILL ULTIMATELY BREAK DOWN IN SOME SERIOUS WAY.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Paper from Future Directions for Research in Urban Transportation, 158p.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    2, rue André Pascal
    Paris,   France  75775 Paris Cedex 16
  • Authors:
    • Seifert, W W
  • Publication Date: 1969

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00239252
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: pp 27-38
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 27 1970 12:00AM