Transportation Planning: Introduction to Factors Affecting New Roads
Transportation planning involves several key role players, including urban planners, policymakers, land surveyors, and civil engineers, to name only a few. The process includes the planning for and designing of new roads as part of infrastructure development to ensure people can get to their places of employment, education, business and homes. Indeed, transportation infrastructure development plays an integral role in the economic development of a city, region, province, and country. Fresh produce, raw minerals, manufactured goods, livestock, and security products cannot get the intended destinations and places where needed without proper transportation infrastructure.
Although the planning for new roads forms part of transportation planning, such is only one area of the discipline. Transportation includes all modes of transport, but for the purpose of this article, we introduce some aspects related to road planning.
The Planning Process
This includes consideration of changes in society, economic activities, and geographical factors. It is essential to plan for new roads to reduce traffic congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and lower the pressure on existing infrastructure. Poorly planned transportation infrastructure has several negative consequences for a city and its inhabitants, a region, or the entire country. Traffic problems are often the result of the lack of new roads and the improvement of current roads to handle the increase in vehicles on the roads because of rapid urbanisation.
New roads improve the accessibility of, for instance, industrial precincts. Such roads can link up with arterial routes, enabling quicker delivery of products to retailers while also reducing traffic issues. Congestion on roads leading to and from places of work may cause people to spend more time commuting to work than necessary. With people already working nine hours a day and staying far from their workplaces, the time they have to spend with their family members, improve their skills through training, or participate in sport and fitness activities is significantly reduced because of delays in getting to work or home. As such, urban and transportation planners take into account factors such as the number of people who use a particular route, the types of vehicles using the route, the peak periods, and whether provision must be made for pedestrians or cyclists.
In addition, the planners consider infrastructure issues such as stormwater drainage, limitations on the expansion of existing roads, and more. When it comes to the planning of new roads, they must consider how such roads will affect the environment and communities. Questions such as whether buildings must be demolished to make space for new roads, how much space must be available adjacent to the roads, and how the new roads will affect the areas through which built, must also be considered.
Urban growth patterns are also considered as part of transportation planning. The question is whether new roads must include space for motorcycles, rapid transport services, pedestrians, and cyclists? With sustainable urban planning principles in mind, more provision can be made for people who choose to use cycles as their mode of transport in the inner-city areas.
Before a new road can be built, careful planning is done. When it comes to design, it is imperative to consider factors such as:
• Why the road must be constructed.
• Types of users to be expected, such as pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and passenger vehicles.
• Environmental factors such as slopes, protected species, flooding potential, vegetation, and more.
• Traffic factors such as the number of users at specific times of the day and distances between intersections.
The factors mentioned are important because planning must make provision for the number of vehicles, through, for instance, additional lanes, surfaces that can carry the types and weights of vehicles using the roads, and turning space for larger vehicles.
Transportation planning is essential to ensure people and goods can get to the necessary places in the most cost-effective, safest and least disruptive manner possible. Rapid urbanisation and thus more people sharing the same infrastructure also means having to make provision for new roads to ensure the road infrastructure is sufficient to handle the increase in traffic, long distances from the central business districts, and the distribution of products to their destinations. View our range of services in this regard.