Wednesday, January 19, 2011

OREGON TRANSPORTATION PLAN UPDATE: Sustainable Transportation and Sustainable Development

Via Oregon Department of Transportation

A key component of the update to the Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP) is to assess the current goals and policies to determine how well they address existing conditions, forecasted trends and recent policy changes. This paper provides background for updating the Oregon Transportation Plan to include policies that address sustainability. Currently, sustainability is not addressed directly in the OTP although there are several policies that support sustainable practices. This paper addresses the motivations for sustainable practices, outlines practices in the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon, the United States and Europe, and makes policy recommendations for the OTP update.
What is Sustainability 

Sustainability is creating a balance between the economy, social needs, and the environment in order to ensure healthy and equitable lifestyles and resources for future human, plant and animal communities. ORS 184.421 defines sustainability as follows:
Sustainability” means using, developing and protecting resources in a manner that enables people to meet current needs and provides that future generations can also meet future needs, from the joint perspective of environment, economic and community objectives.
Sustainability puts equal emphasis on environmental quality, economic health and social equity. Economic and social development should not harm the environment within a global context and, if possible, should improve it. Sustainable economics maintains a distinction between “growth” (increased quantity) and development (increased quality), the notion of quality over quantity. Put another way, natural capital, social capital and economic capital are three interdependent forms of community wealth. Natural capital includes both nonrenewable resources (such as petroleum and coal) and renewable resources (such as wood and solar power). Social capital includes all of the human contributions and involves social equity; all people have the right to equitable return for their work, adequate food and shelter, and a healthy community.
Economic capital is not based on the growth in dollar value of goods and services, as the Gross National Product is, but is premised on the provision of needed goods and services for healthy human and natural communities. Goods and services may be provided without the exchange of monetary resources. All of the impacts of the provision of these goods and services should be accounted for, including the costs to the environment and society, and the costs that are subsidized through taxes or other transfers.

MAX Train in Downtown Portland, Oregon, photo by travelportland

more articles and reports about sustainable transportation:

Reclaiming the Streets on World Car Free Day

Have Streetcars Adequately Demonstrated Their Development-Generation Potential?

The Pedestrianization Fever Moves South

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