Monday, January 22, 2018

“Creating a new model for a healthier commute”

Why do we believe in public transportation? 

Transportation is about more than just moving people from point A to point B. It’s a system that can either limit or expand the opportunities available to people based on where they live. In many cities, the areas with the shadiest access lack investments which leave many Americans without easy access to jobs, goods and service. The only way to move is with cars.

Contamination to yourself and the Environment.

Creating a healthier commute starts with commuters learning of the effectiveness of public transportation and the effect it would have on the environment and yourself.

One issue is contamination with using personal transportation; I mean Cars. This affects the culture and many ways.When commuters use private cars, the effect of pollution to the environment is elevated.

Driving can be highly stressful when you are stuck in a traffic jam, which happens in cities, especially during rush hour. Most commuters spend at least two hours a day commuting to their destination. Driving-related stresses can cause heart diseases and psychological problems. “The longer amount of time you spend in a car getting to and from work, the more time pressure you feel and the lower your overall satisfaction with your life,” explained Margo Hilbrecht, Ph.D., an associate director of research for the Harvard University.

With the focus of a good public transportation, it can help societies thrive. Just look at the image below.
Image 1. For every one bus, it replaces 30 cars. And with effective trains the carbon impact would drastically be reduced.

More people riding buses and trains mean fewer cars on the road, which translates into less smog and greenhouse gas coming from our tailpipes. Yes, many big buses spew more tailpipe emissions than cars, until government officials approve eco-friendly electric buses, those buses will be making their routes today no matter how many passengers are on board. The benefit of less pollution and a healthier culture is vital. Once a new model is created by government parties the momentum of the effectiveness of public transportation will thrive.

Not the correct direction for the economy

Politics portray a primary role in any aspect of planning, but none such more than transportation planning and the investments and policies that go into constructing the aspects associated.

Our government officials play both positive and negative roles in public transport planning, policies and investment; as it shapes decision-making and the degrees of financial support that is given to each project. Because politics brings both positive and negative effects to public transport planning it can both promote and block development. Government parties should compromise on an agreement that repairing and developing a new model for public transportation is the best model. With repairing train system tracks, train frequency and security of the users. Creating an effective model for transportation should be the message created.

Image 2. Light rail user waiting for New Jersey Light Rail

Zoning code/Restrict parking

One element with true walkability in cities is master planning in cities for transportation. The state of New Jersey, and many other cities suffer from strict zoning codes for on-site parking.

The parking ratio for residential units is relatively low, which is beneficial at making cities less dependant on cars. The initiative should aim at improving public transportation.

But the starting point should be amending and improving public transportation. Of course, this doesn’t depend on each individual city, which makes everything more complicated.

This depends on the interconnectivity with different cities and even at state level. Once we improve the quality of the public transportation, their frequency, their safety, we should focus on reducing the parking ratio in each urban plan.

Let’s take as an example Jersey City in New Jersey. People live in Jersey City because of the urban lifestyle, and still need cars. Why? Many of them often work in other towns in NJ. In most cases these commuters traveling can’t find trains to get them to their destination in other towns, especially when train frequency is low. Others, especially families with young kids, can not rely on the low frequency or very crowded public transportation.

So, when the zoning codes doesn’t allow parking on site, or their ratio is very low, people park on the streets (anywhere on the street). This brings congestion for parking, people spend time looking for a parking, with some parking in illegal parking spaces, like the corner intersection, which can cause accidents for lack of visibility.

And, of course, we believe that when designing the master plan for cities the encouragement of cars should be minimum to assist in creating a stress free experience.

So, what is the solution?

More frequency between transportation routes and a reliable system schedule.

Our government and city officials should collaborate with the community about public transportation in their neighborhood. The issues heard can initiate a dialogue to revamp connectivity and protect commuters safety. Case example,when recently visiting The Liberty Center Science Museum in Jersey City with my two children. The transient route, reliability and connectivity should be easier. I could easily take the light rail in Jersey City to the Science Museum, but the system on weekends proved hard to travel effectively with children. The New Jersey Light Rail was long with its frequency and a challenge with traveling with children especially in winter. Most families explore on weekends, and in any city not just New Jersey. Frequent routes to destinations, accessible stations and path would create less of a challenge especially when traveling with children.


If we want people to take advantage and use the transit system we must create a transit point. Interconnecting storage should be adequate to the users with any mode of transportation. Walking to the closest bus route or train route is beneficial to a healthy and thriving community.

It is time that we unite the parties involved with public transportation infrastructure and help shape the future of commuting. At JMA our design team is focused on strategizing new ways to maximize walkability when we are in the design planning process. It is essential for us to create effective architecture for our clients focused for the community. It is very rewarding when true innovation reflects the future plan of the client and the city it encompasses. If you would like to learn about our commitment to walkable cities, contact us.

Jason Margolis, “Why taking the bus is better for our health.” PRI “The World”. October 28, 2015. Web

National Association of City Transportation Officials “Transit Street Design Guide” Island Press. 2013 Web

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