In the 21st Century, the face of transportation is changing. It’s time for new solutions.
A blend of several strategies will improve transportation in and around Fredericksburg. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) will prove to be invaluable in this regard.
The City must respond appropriately to how transportation and demographics are changing and do what it can to position ourselves ahead of the curve. Data suggests that our society is becoming less dependent on car ownership and this trend is expected to continue.
Public perceptions about transportation are changing as more people realize that single-occupant vehicle trips are far more expensive than shared ridership, public transportation, online ride services, and ordering out for home delivery.
There are many ways local government can incentivize folks to drive less, such as making it easy, reliable and cost effective to take public transportation or encourage ride-sharing, bike-riding and walking. Another way is to add high-demand features such as WiFi and more routes to public transportation. We should also encourage more shared-use/dedicated bicycle lanes to lessen the amount of traffic in our City.
Regional transportation alliances are important too, but in pursuing those we must also think and act on a parallel path – locally – with an eye to the unique challenges in our City. A key strategy for addressing mobility is to use PPPs to mine existing data to better learn how folks currently get around: car ownership, individual travel patterns (particularly to/from work, dining and shopping), road conditions and the like. Such data will clarify areas where the focus should be placed – for instance, where new trunk lines could be established to improve mobility, where road infrastructure changes can reduce traffic problems, and where mixed-use real estate developments make sense.
Locally, mixed use real estate development is a key strategy to relieve traffic woes, where retail, office and residential units share a relatively compact area. When done right, people can live, work and play in the same vicinity, lessening the need to drive elsewhere. For example, Central Park should be redeveloped this way.
In short, we must apply 21st Century solutions to transportation. It’s time.