New priorities for old roads : re-thinking roadway preservation
Author(s)Sylvester, Kathleen R. (Kathleen Rynn)
Re-thinking roadway preservation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Most of the roads built over the last century in the US were built assuming that efficient mobility for drivers was most important without considering impacts to the natural or built environment. Urban neighborhoods were severed, ecologically sensitive areas were disrupted, and pedestrian, bicycle and transit accommodation was ignored. Public offense at this approach to road-building led to new policies and practices for more open, locally-based decision-making. Road construction is now subject to a higher level of scrutiny, yet investment is preserving existing roads is assumed with little public discussion even though preservation represents the majority of transportation expenditures. As public priorities shift toward favoring sustainable development and transforming out of auto-dependency, road preservation can be either a barrier or an opportunity. This study examines whether and how road preservation investments support these new priorities. I use the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) as a case study. As a national leader in context-sensitive solutions and in commitment to sustainable development, MSHA is expected to exhibit innovative use of system preservation expenditures to support local plans for more balanced, less auto-intensive transportation systems. I find that rather than integrate context -sensitivity and sustainability into all transportation programs, Asset Management-based preservation programs focus almost exclusively on cost-efficiency while alternate programs are created to address broader concerns.(cont.) Policies for context-sensitive solutions, flexible transportation investment, and sustainable development have little bearing on Asset Management -based preservation investments. MSHA's Neighborhood Conservation program offers a good model for locally-based, flexible preservation investment, though the fund has been susceptible to budget cuts. Asset Management systems are an important tool for managing risk and cost associated with an aging transportation system. However, as reliance on Asset Management-based investment grows, the narrow scope of these projects will undermine commitment to responsive, sustainable transportation investment. The decision-making process for these investments should be supplemented through small-area preservation planning, incentive funds for preservation project enhancements, and performance measures that focus investment on broad transportation goals in order to achieve reduced auto-dependency and transportation investment that supports public priorities.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2009."June 2009."Includes bibliographical references (p. 95-98).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.