Truth, Justice, and the American Roadway

The Adventures of Transportation Planner and Multimodal Man

By: Matthew Downey, EIT - Felsburg Holt & Ullevig

Metropolis was in crisis again, but Superman couldn’t help this time. The local transportation system was a wreck; roads were snarled with traffic, bicyclists feared for their lives, and buses were never on time. Patience was running thin, and simmering frustration threatened to boil over into outright chaos. Sounds like a job for Transportation Planner! Faster than a speeding bullet train, more powerful than Spandex, and able to clear traffic jams with a single plan, Transportation Planner uses her incredible powers of predicting future travel patterns, integrating competing modes, and engaging the public to enhance mobility and invigorate communities.

While other superheroes ward off galactic invasions, Transportation Planner focuses on helping communities craft policies and plan infrastructure improvements that provide safe & convenient travel choices. Why bother saving a planet where citizens can’t get where they want to go? From proposing bike lanes to developing local transit branding, the strategies Transportation Planner utilizes in her battle against congestion are endlessly diverse. A single day of work might find The Transportation Planner modeling future traffic patterns, assessing conditions for bicyclists with a field visit, or interacting with the public at an open house. No mundane office routines for The Transportation Planner!

Like every great superhero, Transportation Planner has a sidekick to keep her relevant. Multimodal Man recognizes that when it comes to transportation, driving cannot be the sole focus. Different modes are appropriate in different situations and for different people; context and choice are key. Multimodal Man spends his days figuring out how to best integrate roadway, transit, and active use facilities into a seamless, comprehensive network that accommodates all. Recently added to the modal menu are autonomous vehicles, a game-changing newcomer of which Multimodal Man is just beginning to explore the potential ramifications.


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