Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board General Discussion › Transportation: Mobility or Access?

Transportation: Mobility or Access?

John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,284
Interesting article here. In part:

When debating transportation, we often jump right to the question of automobile vs. transit, but the more interesting dividing line lies beneath whatever technological tool we prefer. The tool of choice will arise inevitably out of what we intend to do with the system.

A mobility-oriented analysis, the conventional approach taken by transportation planners throughout the 20th century, is represented by Sam Staley. ... In a mobility-oriented analysis, success is measured in terms of vehicle miles traveled - the more movement, the better. This position naturally leads Staley to hold the private automobile up as the ultimate mode of travel


An accessibility-oriented analysis shifts the primary goal up one level. Instead of simply attempting to maximize the total amount of movement, this approach places primacy on the ability to reach a chosen destination. ... In this approach, mobility is not an end itself but a means to the end of improving access to destinations.

Full article
Kenneth O.
Portland, ME
Post #: 335
This is pretty good framing.

However I would recommend the discussion alway expands to note: When making _choices_ about a _social_ good (in this case transportation), _values_ based thinking/goals will always control. Technical framing of the problem is just an analysis/measurement tool, used to help steer towards chosen social-values-based goals.

So the main failing I see in this framing/discussion is, for example, the words "equity" and "impact" are all but buried or missing. Those are a couple words (and there are a few more 'values' related words too) that should be engraved in stone on every wall of every room where this is discussed.

Now I am a raving Access-ationalist. My reason: that is the framing that will lend itself to better equity and lower impact choices.

I also believe the Mobility framing lends itself to harmful 'positive feedback' mechanisms. It is also another one of those social forces that operates in a way that allows clueless Americans to convince themselves things are as they are because of some sort of force of nature, rather than because of a _chosen_ positive feedback loop, possible only due to directed government power.

Powered by mvnForum

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy