The End is Near, Part II: Leveraging imminent doom as ‘Grand Strategy’

This is maybe one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for moments. But I’m spinning it upside all the way.

In one previous post, I griped about planning’s synaptic delay dilemma. When it comes to the really big issues of our time, the time lapse between doing stupid stuff and suffering the consequences is too great to dissuade us from doing stupid stuff. (See, for instance, three-pack-a-day smoking, triple-decker cheese burgers and sprawl.)

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Urban Systems: Integration and the value of intersections

People have an extraordinary capacity for compartmentalization. Sometimes we call it attention span: the ability to focus on one task at a time. Sometimes we call it meditation: the ability to clear your mind. Sometimes we call it cognitive dissonance: the ability to pursue an action when in direct opposition to values.

We compartmentalize in infinite numbers of ways. We may define our work/life balance as if they were completely separate entities. Along with the mind/body, public/private, self/community, and so forth.

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Next Step in Reforming Transportation Policy: T4 America’s “Blueprint”

Advocates for a different approach to transportation planning haven’t been delirious about the reluctance of the feds and DOTs to depart from business as usual when it comes to investing stimulus money. But there’s another chance.

All aboard. It's time to depart from business as usual.

All aboard. It's time to depart from business as usual.

Transportation for America, a coalition of SmartGrowth-oriented organizations, is proposing a forward-looking agenda for the upcoming debate on reauthorizing the Transportation Act. T4 America’s “Blueprint” calls for Congress to:

  • Articulate a National Vision, Objectives, and Performance Targets for the national transportation program and hold state and local transportation agencies accountable for demonstrable progress toward goals including safety, efficiency, environment, health and equity.
  • Restructure and consolidate federal programs for greater modal integration, with a focus on completing the second half of the national transportation system, providing more transportation options for all Americans and creating seamless transportation systems that meet the unique needs and connect metropolitan regions, small towns, and rural areas.
  • Empower states, regions, and cities with direct transportation funding and greater flexibility to select projects, using carrots and sticks to incentivize wise transportation investments and in return require demonstrated performance on meeting national objectives.
  • Reform how we pay for the transportation system and create a Unified Transportation Trust Fund that would achieve balanced allocations of federal funds in a portfolio of rail, freight, highway, public transportation, and non-motorized transportation investments.

For an overview of the full report, go here. And for the executive summary, click here.

– Ben Brown