Here are some ideas about how software can help in urban transport planning, gaining from reading a few chapters of this book “Urban Transport without the hot air”. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00UQYS1MO
An underlying theme of the book is that urban transport planning is extremely difficult – but there are large bodies of data which can help guide just about every decision.
- For example, what happens if you build houses in cities with no car parking? Does “naked” street architecture (building roads with no barriers between the road and the pavement) improve safety? Is it practical to get traffic to slow down?
- Planning public transport is actually extremely difficult. Making a service which people actually use will require that it is more convenient than a car, which can (usually) take them from their house to their destination in comfort any time they like at low cost. For a bus to do this, they might need their own private bus. This kills off the bus economics. But how do you get good bus economics with the convenience of a car?
- And plenty more.
- Dense cities can solve many environmental problems. If we’re expecting a future with high energy prices and carbon emission constraints, we’ll need to keep transportation short distances, preferably shared, with as many walking trips as possible. But making a dense city without streets clogged up with motor cars requires public transport which works well.
- Back to Software for Domain Experts – imagine an urban transport planner with software which could provide – at her fingertips – all the data about past transport projects in cities around the world – all the data about her current city – and advice and stories from other transport planners about how they would work in any situation.
- Then imagine if she could gather and manage data about everything she’d built to see how well it works – and possibly make adjustments (over short term – traffic signal timings for example, over long term, in policy for building new housing estates) – and see how well that works too?