Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mobility and Access – 2 Key Honolulu Rail Goals

We often accentuate mobility when discussing Honolulu rail’s four goals, but there’s another goal that deserves attention as a benefit of effective transit systems – improved access.

The Human Transit website discussed both concepts earlier this year and noted that beyond mobility – a measure of one’s ability to move through a community efficiently – access is the measure of what your mobility is meant to accomplish.

Jarrett Walker uses an example of a resident who wants to shop at a grocery store 3 miles from home and can do so relatively quickly because transit provides mobility to the store although the trip itself may take 5 miles due to the bus route's configuration. What the shopper really wants is access to that favored store. Having it right next door would be preferable to having it 3 miles away or even 5 miles by bus.

A community requires good mobility to avoid wasting time in traffic congestion, and transit-oriented development (TOD) improves access, Honolulu rail’s third goal: “Improve access to planned development to support City policy to develop a second urban center.” Walker writes:

“So transit can improve access two ways: (a) by providing personal mobility and (b) by influencing development to create denser communities where less mobility is required to do the same things.” TOD around the system's 21 stations will provide improved access to goods and services for residents throughout all the decades during which rail will serve the community.

Dropping in on the Human Transit site regularly could be a habit that improves both one’s understanding of transit in general and the Honolulu rail project itself.

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