Urban Planning and an Efficient Transportation System

PTSC Buseswater taxi“If you want to create an efficient, optimised transportation system, call an engineer. If you want to make sure people use it, call a planner.” – Onika Morris-Alleyne, Transportation Engineer/Planner. 

Much has been said in the past few months of mass transit systems and bus rapid transit, highways and interchanges. Not much has been said about the sea change which will have to happen in our transportation sector for any of these proposed solutions to make a difference to our daily gridlock grind. One gets the sense of a kind of magical thinking that building something is the same as fixing something. The prospect of a silver bullet solution to the daily misery that is getting from A to B in this country is tantalising. We must, however always be mindful of the programmer’s mantra GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. If we do not correct the fundamentals, and create the environment for success of the system, we will make a costly error. (more…)

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Public Enemy Number One

Traffic jam, downtown Port of SpainAn escalating war is being waged in cities across the world; a movement that is establishing new norms, and empowering today’s generation of city-dwellers. This is not a violent war but a battle of ideologies, and its sheer magnitude and significance is probably lost on most of us, because we are a complacent society generally uninterested in ideas that challenge the status quo. We cannot ignore the inevitable disruption to our way of thinking, because sooner or later we have to understand that the single greatest threat to the stability, longevity, and vitality of our society here in Trinidad and Tobago is our obsession with automobiles. The war against the automobile is coming. The opponents, pedestrians and cyclists, need to be armed and ready to win. We need to understand why private car ownership should be deemed public enemy number one. (more…)

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