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Managing Transport in Urban Agglomerations

1715 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  alexandru.mircea
In today's world of increasing urbanization, standalone and isolated cities are becoming rarer. It is the age of urban agglomerations, urban regions and urban corridors. The interesting thing to note is that transport is the first common thread which fuses these different cities into one, be it functionally or spatially or both. An expressway, a common airport, a string of railway stations, ports along the coastline. These elements of transport are what links the cities, makes them inter-dependent.

Ironically, once these agglomerations form, it is transport which then holds them back. Originally designed to serve as a connector between urban spaces, the transport elements (roads, rail, public transit, waterways) become quickly overwhelmed by the pressure of rapid urbanization. Any improvement or strengthening measures are then complicated by the overlapping boundaries of multiple agencies belonging to various cities. Different agencies have different views, priorities and funding capacities. How then to successfully implement a transport project which treads upon the delicate spatial, judicial and bureaucratic boundaries of various organizations.

How do planners keep these massive urban systems moving and functioning? What kind of interventions are carried out? How do they manage to keep the commute times within the comfort levels of the people without compromising on the market forces that run the city? What measures are taken to check the further sprawl of these regions? How is the interplay between urban design and transport elements managed at the micro level (street/neighbourhood/block) as well as macro level (freeways/airports/railway stations) and everything in between?

We can share success stories and lessons learnt here.
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A lot of the issues are over governance arrangements. You have the transport network spread over multiple administrative authorities, so how do you establish an efficient transport agency that also is answerable to different municipalities? (and funding mechanisms) Where does a regional governing authority come in and where does the national/state government take over?

Dysfunctional governance is probably the single biggest barrier to an effective public transport agency and hence to a well-developed and functioning regional network.
^ Very much agreed.

The city of Bucharest does not have a metropolitan structure (I can't think of any similar city that doesn't!), so it unsurprisingly hasn't been able to develop its public transport in any way since totalitarian days. People have been asking, for example, for suburban rail for decades, but there is no institutional context for such a project to emerge. If national government wants something then it tends to be possible to be done, but national government is in perpetual change. The one thing that has been progressing recently because of its affilliation to the national government has been the Bucharest Metro.
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