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Transportation is the “act or means of carrying people or goods from one place to another. ” 1

The role of a transportation system is to provide an effective and efficient way of doing this. Like any “system,” a transportation system is
comprised of multiple, interconnected components, each of which serves a unique role, while also supporting the other components.

In Communities in Motion 2040 2.0, COMPASS focuses on four transportation components and how they work in tandem to comprise a
complete transportation system:


Freight (movement of goods)

Public Transportation



Appropriate bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is an integral part of a comprehensive transportation system. Providing for bicyclists and
pedestrians contributes to a healthy community and supports other transportation components by reducing the number of cars on the
road – thus reducing both congestion and maintenance needs – and providing for the “first and last mile” – that portion of a trip before
and after a person uses public transportation or parks their private vehicle.

Freight (movement of goods)

The movement of freight is integral to the regional economy and is changing rapidly with ever-increasing home deliveries, new
technologies that affect manufacturing processes, and more. COMPASS is planning for a transportation system that considers freight
needs, allows for the safe and efficient movement of freight vehicles, and provides for safe interactions between freight vehicles and
other users of the transportation system.

Public Transportation

Public transportation – locally comprised of buses and commuter vans – serves an integral role in the overall transportation system. Public
transportation supports other transportation components by taking single-occupancy vehicles off the road and providing transportation
services for those who cannot, or choose not to, drive personal vehicles.


Roadways are the backbone of the transportation system in Ada and Canyon Counties. Cars, buses, commuter vans, and freight vehicles
rely on our roadways. In addition, bike lanes and sidewalks along roadways provide a significant portion of our local bicycle and
pedestrian infrastructure. How to best accommodate all transportation needs is considered when planning and designing roadways.

All transportation needs should be considered when designing roadways and means of meeting those needs must be intentionally built
into the transportation system design. One example of discussing how all these transportation system components merge is the concept
of “complete streets.” The idea of complete streets is to plan and design roadways with an appropriate balance for all users – bicyclists
and pedestrians, public transportation users, freight, and auto users. A key premise of complete streets is to plan roadways within the
framework of the entire transportation system. That is, each individual roadway does not need to serve all needs for all users – one road
can be designed to maximize the efficiency for freight traffic, while a parallel route can be designed to maximize efficiency for bicyclists.

Cities are locations having a high level of accumulation and concentration of economic activities and are complex spatial structures that are
supported by transport systems. The larger the city, the greater its complexity and the potential for disruptions, particularly when this
complexity is not effectively managed.

Among the most notable urban transport problems are:  Traffic congestion and parking difficulties Longer commuting. Public transport
inadequacy Difficulties for non-motorized transport. Loss of Public Space. High maintenance costs.

Among the most notable urban transport problems are:  Environmental Impacts and Energy Consumption Accidents and safety. Land
Consumption Freight distribution Automobile Dependency

 Traffic congestion and parking difficulties One of the most prevalent transport problems in large urban agglomerations, usually above a
threshold of about 1 million inhabitants. It is particularly linked with motorization and the diffusion of the automobile, which has increased the
demand for transport infrastructures.

Longer Commuting On par with congestion people are spending an increasing amount of time commuting between their residence and
workplace. An important factor behind this trend is related to residential affordability as housing located further away from central areas
(where most of the employment remains) is more affordable.

Public Transport Inadequacy Many public transit systems, or parts of them, are either over or under used. During peak hours, crowdedness
creates discomfort for users as the system copes with a temporary surge in demand.

Difficulties for non-motorized transport These difficulties are either the outcome of intense traffic, where the mobility of pedestrians, bicycles
and vehicles is impaired, but also because of a blatant lack of consideration for pedestrians and bicycles in the physical design of infrastructures
and facilities.

 Loss of public space The majority of roads are publicly owned and free of access. Traffic flows influence the life and interactions of residents
and their usage of street space. More traffic impedes social interactions and street activities. People tend to walk and cycle less when traffic is

High maintenance costs Cities with an aging of their transport infrastructure are facing growing maintenance costs as well as pressures to
upgrade to more modern infrastructure. In addition to the involved costs, maintenance and repair activities create circulation disruptions.
Delayed maintenance is rather common since it conveys the benefit of keeping current costs low, but at the expense of higher future costs and
on some occasion the risk of infrastructure failure. The more extensive the road and highway network, the higher the maintenance cost and the
financial burden.

Environmental impacts and energy consumption Pollution, including noise, generated by circulation has become a serious impediment to the
quality of life and even the health of urban populations. Energy consumption by urban transportation has dramatically increased and so the
dependency on petroleum. Yet, peak oil considerations are increasingly linked with peak mobility expectations where high energy prices incite a
shift towards more efficient and sustainable forms of urban transportation, namely public transit.

Accidents and safety Growing traffic in urban areas is linked with a growing number of accidents and fatalities, especially in developing
countries. Accidents account for a significant share of recurring delays. As traffic increases, people feel less safe to use the streets.

Land consumption The territorial imprint of transportation is significant, particularly for the automobile. Between 30 and 60% of a
metropolitan area may be devoted to transportation, an outcome of the over-reliance on some forms of urban transportation. Yet, this land
consumption also underlines the strategic importance of transportation in the economic and social welfare of cities.

Freight distribution. Globalization and the materialization of the economy have resulted in growing quantities of freight (Cargo or goods)
moving within cities. As freight traffic commonly shares infrastructures with the circulation of passengers, the mobility of freight in urban areas
has become increasingly problematic.

Automobile Dependency Rising automobile mobility can be perceived as a positive consequence of economic development. The acute
growth in the total number of vehicles also gives rise to congestion at peak traffic hours on major thoroughfares, in business districts and often
throughout the metropolitan area.