Sustainability in Transportation Planning

Two professional and/or scholarly journal articles have been uploaded and are the focus of the paper. Develop a five-page summary of the main points made by the author(s) of each article. You must include an analysis of at least two perspectives/theories with concurring and dissenting reviews of the chosen articles.


Sustainability in Transportation Planning

The Role of Policy Making and Planning Culture for Sustainable Transport

Despite the fact that in some locations and communities culture plays a very little part in policy formulation, in other communities, it is a key factor that has to be evaluated before formulating any policies. Values, perceptions, and culture, are changeable and as a result, the process of creating and formulating policies change with time and in extreme cases, the already existing and implemented policies have to change due to the changes in the culture of society.  Since there are different cultures around the globe, there are different policies on the same concept and idea. Some people believe that culture has a significant contribution to the dynamics process of policy making (Levy, 2013). This paper attempts to explore the conceptualization, challenges and potential pathways provided by culture-based approach regarding policy making and planning process in the attempt to solve transport problems.

When a transport policy making and planning process is entirely based on the culture of a certain community, a group of actors dealing with the process may experience value-action gap.  This gap usually affects the probability of making or achieving a more sustainable transportation. Understanding one’s culture is paramount in recognizing and developing understanding the culture aspects especially when it comes to transportation policies. In addition, the value-action created in transport and environment works best when integrated with professional aspects and concepts.  Cultural aspects can widely be identified in relation to transportation both within and outside and outside planning.  With this current new era planning and planners, in general, should embrace the complexity and facilitate interaction of actors and other individuals in various levels and networks of life in the attempt to increase the identity and quality of transportation facilities.

One of the theories that have been put forth by the author in his attempt to explain his concept is the theory of policy processes and cultural aspects.  This theory explains that policy making process has been dealing with conflicting perceptions, interests and issues from different parties for decades. According to the author, increased attention to environmental issues has significantly affected policy making processes over the last few years, and more awareness of the environmental rights and issues pose more and more problems with policy making.  A policy discourse is not only affected by the language used to formulate the policy, but values, norms, and beliefs also affect the policy making process. In normal circumstances, policy discourses operate in three grades: at the surface level of discussion, at the level of a system meaning and at deeper cultural levels meanings (Jeon, 2008). By studying discourses in formulating policies, it becomes clear to policy formulators the differences between the actors involved, their difference in problem formulation, conflict of interests, their institutional basis, and underlying values.  Due to the ever dynamic nature of culture, it is important for actors, facilitators, and planners to use it in the policy formation process.

Due to cultural biases and differences in how people perceive the same thing the process may take longer than expected on some occasions. However, despite the fact that the author has given and shown how cultural aspect affects policy making especially problems associated with transport, he did not give a solution on how to deal with these cultural biases. Moreover, with the rising awareness of environmental issues that may be varied from one geographical area and from one community to another, the author should have given a standard procedure to be followed by communities. A good policy making process should take into account the values and beliefs of the host community as a well as all the actors. However, at the same time, the policy should be common to all members of the communities to avoid conflicts and misunderstanding. Values are so sensitive to specific situations and events in the policy process and can be disruptive if not taken good care of. For these two to work together, they have to find a way to for them to interplay to form a discursive relationship that might affect cognitive patterns. Culture must be viewed in terms of shared set by the group, organizations, and communities for it to work appropriately in policy making processes.

Integration of Sustainability Issues In Strategic Transportation Planning: A Multi-Criteria Model For the Assessment of Transportation Infrastructure Plans

Despite significances advances in the transportation industry that has been brought about by advances in computational algorithms and development in technology, there lacks a commonly accepted model integrating sustainability in strategic planning level.  People all over the world have enjoyed the benefits of this advancement yet strategic planning level of transportation such as the transportation infrastructure plan level is still misunderstood by many. This misconception can all be traced back to when there was an inclusion of transport sustainability issues that diverted to strategic policy goals such network efficiency. Additionally, increased importance is given to consensus building, transparency and communication and high relevant of the political component inherent in the assessment of transportation plans also contributed to this misconception (Nichols, 2009). Due to this misconception, there is the need to create and develop methodological that relates transportation infrastructure plans with strategic sustainability effects.

In the last few decades, there has been a debate going on in the strategic transport infrastructure planning field on sustainable development concept.   This sustainability revolves around and attempts to find a solution to transport sustainability issues.  Despite sustainability development to have emerged in the 1980s, there is no standard evaluation to measure this sustainability due to difficulties in defining the targets and indicators to measure. However, the author has proposed assessment models such as Geographical Information System and multi-criteria model and he feels can help solve this problem of transport sustainability.

The author has managed to use the theory of geographical information system to explain how his ideas can work effectively. The model integrates three models and dimensions of sustainability into one. This assessment model analyzes alternatives for the development of transportation infrastructure plan. For the geographical information system model to work there is the need to interplay both transport and accessibility models. First things first, the models required for the identification of strategic policy objectives that constitutes the main rules, regulations and guidelines of assessment criteria.  The first step is directly followed by the definition of the alternatives to be assessed which are deemed to be necessary for the models to project the effects of the transport projects in question. The actors in this process need identify and localize the areas they want to work on.  Moreover, there is the need to obtain information on the transport system and socioeconomic status of the area of interest before the commencement of work.

Despite the author having clearly outlined his model and steps to be followed to ensure there is the sustainability of transport, there are some shortcomings of his proposal. In this case, the author talks of identification of alternatives that should be used for the assessment of sustainability. However, he did not give the criterion for choosing these alternatives and neither did he give the measurement of sustainability (Amekudzi, 2009). A scholar who wants to use the author model may find it difficult to identify the alternatives since there is no clear method to follow and may choose alternatives that may not be viable to the current situation at hand. Moreover, the author did not give the basis or factors to consider when choosing an area of study. Neither did he give the size of a viable area of study considering that a scholar may be interested in a wide and vast area to carry out his or her study. Also, a good study elaborates on how to collect, categorize and analyze collected data. The author only talks about the collection of the transport system and socioeconomic data and information without giving more and more details on how to go about it.

On the other hand, the author has done a good job in describing indicators of performance of transport sustainability that include network efficiency, regional cohesion, cross-border integration and habitat fragmentation (Nichols, 2009). On the same note, he touches on the steps to be followed in the implementation of the assessment model that include a definition of the area of study, implementation of the transport and land use system and calculation of performance indicators and application of the multi-criteria model.


Amekudzi, A. A. (2009). Using the sustainability footprint model to assess development impacts of transportation systems. . Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 43(4), , 339-348.

Jeon, C. M. (2008). Sustainability assessment at the transportation planning level: Performance measures and indexes. In Transportation Research Board 87th Annual Meeting , 08-1325.

Levy, J. (2013). Contemporary urban planning (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson-Prentice Hall Press.

Nichols, J. G.-P. (2009). Framework for Developing Indicators of Sustainability for Transportation Planning. In Transportation Research Board 88th Annual Meeting , (No. 09-2829)