What are legal, economic and social trends affecting future urban transport?



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    Legal: Government policy and the distribution of funds (in the US) heavily favor progression in the name reducing our carbon footprint. Climate change has been identified as a legitimate issue without political agenda or bias (although many would still argue against that). Therefore municipalities will most likely have the funding needed to make innovative additions to public transit and to improve or extend existing modes of transportation alternative to automobiles. However zoning laws and an opposition to spending on this type of change may be legal barriers that slow or halt additions to transit. 

    Economic: As stated in the above paragraph, federal and state funding for transit is plentiful because the Obama Administration has identified a need for investment in public transit. The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 2009” awarded the Federal Transit Administration $8.9 billion for transit capital improvements (FTA website). FTA now claims that it controls $10 billion annually to contribute to public transportation. 

    Social: Just because the funds are available doesn’t mean that we will see progress in all urban areas. There is a lot of resistance to the amount of spending that the Obama Administration has been doing given the amount of debt our country is in. Should there be a change in leadership or change in policy we might not see transit progress. Even though there has been a collective recognition of the need for change, on an individual basis, most are not willing to sacrifice the convenience of luxuries like driving in the name of change. Issues like a shortage of resources and climate change don’t meet mainstream society with a sense of urgency. 

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