Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MASS TRANSIT -- Next to the energy used to heat and cool buildings, the greatest amount of energy we used is in transportation. As such, any sustainable design and planning of our urban communities needs to incorporate the use of mass transit and other innovative forms of energy efficient transportation as they are invented. In this regard, we need to be careful that our zoning and building codes do not lock us into outdated technology. As an example, today buildings and mass transit are designed separately. As a consequence, it is often a long walk outdoors to access mass transit, thus discouraging the use of mass transit. What is even worse is that too often mass transit stations are only accessed by driving to them by automobile and parking. A better design would be to allow residential and commercial use all within walking distance of transit stations, and to construct major civic and other buildings where mass transit is immediately adjacent or connected to the buildings. Also, if we want to encourage mass transit, we need to find better ways to accommodate the needs of the disabled so that mass transit is available to all. Finally, in today's "information age" we need to find a better way to use information and smart technologies to better manage traffic flow so as to help the wasted energy of individuals sitting in congestion.

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