For more than a century, automobiles have been the preferred method of transportation in the U.S., providing an efficient means for getting us from place to place. In response to the expansive, sprawl-based development that has characterized the growth of many metropolitan areas over the years, cars increasingly became a must for navigating the vast ecosystem of arterials that connect us with work, home, and other places we frequent.
In today’s auto-centric culture, the operative question for local and regional leaders as well as transportation planners is this: How do we address the growing list of public externalities ensuing from America’s perceived love affair with cars? Traffic congestion, parking demand, environmental issues, and more garner concern as today’s built environments increase in size and complexity.
Shifting this current trajectory necessitates a new mindset—one requiring city leaders to think more like engineers and behavioral psychologists and less like regulators. Amid this is a new trend that promises to accelerate the movement toward more sustainable ways of getting people from point A to point B.
Enter the Age of Mobile Pedestrianism
Fueled by a fundamental shift in the way people move about communities, cities, and regions, new innovative technologies are being introduced to the masses. These tech tools facilitate the ability to walk to places and use forms of urban mobility other than cars. Technology-based solutions and information platforms include such apps as RideScout, Walkscore, Walkonomics, and Transit Screen. They’ve emerged in response to interest from both Millennials and Baby Boomers wanting information-rich mobility options to guide them to where they need to go.
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