Transportation System Essay

Anthony Downs describes how people hate traffic congestion, yet it is a condition that will get worse due to the needs of people living in urban centers. In the article, he proceeds to describe the centrality of the basic requirement of running the economy of any metropolitan area to the traffic congestion issue. The basic requirement is to have students go to school, members of the working-class reporting to work, and other people running various errands during the same hours of the day to facilitate the social interaction among people . One of the factors that intensify this problem is that the majority of traffic commuters in America use private transportation on a limited road space . He explains that due to the Triple Convergence Principle, expanding the road capacity is not essentially a long-term solution to traffic congestion .

Therefore, the more feasible alternatives to solving the congestion issue include charging tolls on commuters during peak-hours, great expansion of road capacity on multiple roads, expanding the public transit capacity, and living with the congestion . He concludes that even though some of these methods may work, commuters should simply get used to the traffic congestion.

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The second piece of literature that addresses the transportation sector challenges is Manheim’s first chapter on the challenge of transportation systems. The author begins by emphasizing the permanence of change, explaining how changes in the demand for transportation, technology, and values and decision-making are significant to the understanding and analysis of transportation systems. The chapter focuses on the basic premises of the analysis, the manipulatable aspects of the systems, and a discussion of the problems present in the transportation system. The premises of focus in the chapter include the total transportation system in a particular region and the correlation between transportation and its socioeconomic context. In his analytical approach to understanding the issues affecting transportation systems, the important factors that the author focuses on include users, operators, and governments’ influences on transportation, the impacts of technology, transport networks, and links, and the various policies governing transportation. The chapter, therefore, provides a comprehensive analysis of the transportation systems based on these factors.

In the introductory chapter of Papacostas & Prevedouros’ book on transportation engineering and planning, the authors define the transportation system with respect to the fixed facilities, the transportation flow entities, and the control systems used . The authors then outline the purpose of the system to be the provision of the connectivity required for the facilitation of various societal activities. The classification schemes that the book outlines categorize the system into land, air, water, and pipeline transportation. The chapter also discusses the role of the government in the transportation sector with regards to promotion, regulation, and investments, and places them in the societal context of transportation . The chapter then proceeds to develop a mathematical model for analyzing the transportation systems. The mathematical model comprises of three major concepts: the postulation of the model, its calibration, and its validation in the application to the system under analysis . In transportation engineering and planning, the popular quantitative models include the models of the physical system, various human factor models, and the models of transport behavior. After discussing these models in depth, the authors then distinguish valuation from quantification in performing transportation studies and analysis.

In chapter seven of the same book, Papacostas & Prevedouros give an analysis of the concept of transportation planning. The authors define planning as the process that occurs before the performance of actions aimed at guiding a situation or system in a specific direction (Papacostas and Prevedouros 318). They again restate the objective of transportation, which is to provide mobility that is necessary for the support of various human and societal needs. The explanation of these needs leads to an understanding of the essence of planning, which is aimed at meeting the ever-changing transportation needs in various societies (Papacostas and Prevedouros 344). The authors then trace the history of transportation planning in the US and how the basic elements of urban transportation planning – technical analysis, public participation, and socioeconomic impact analysis – arose. Therefore, the chapter details transportation planning as an essential component of transportation systems in urban centers.

The transportation system is closely connected to the social and economic aspects of life and has impacts on such issues as the use of land resources. It is also closely linked to urbanization, with various influential factors including government policy, population growth, and the societal activities such as schooling and working (Hilmola, and Lättilä). Solving the challenges, most of which are tied to traffic congestion, requires a keen understanding of the transportation system. The analysis focuses both on the subsystems of the sector as well as the impacts the sector has on the socio-economic lives of people. In transportation engineering, various mathematical models are used to analyze the system. The outputs of the models are important in the process of transportation planning, which helps address some of the challenges affecting urbanization, including traffic congestion.

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Works Cited

Downs, Anthony. “Why traffic congestion is here to stay… and will get worse.” Access (2004): 19-25.
Manheim. “The challenge of transportation systems analysis.” Manheim. n.d. 10-54.
Papacostas, C.S. and P.D. Prevedouros. “Chapter 1 Introduction and background.” Papacostas, C.S. and P.D. Prevedouros. Transportation Engineering and Planning Third Edition. New York, NY: Pearson, 2001. 1-12.
Papacostas, C.S. and P.D. Prevedouros. “Chapter 7 Transportation Planning.” Papacostas, C.S. and P.D. Prevedouros. Transportation Engineering and Planning Third Edition. New York, NY: Pearson, 2001. 318-346.
Hilmola, Olli Pekka, and Lauri Lättilä. “Simulation Modelling Challenge Of Transportation Logistics Systems”. International Journal Of Business Information Systems, vol 14, no. 4, 2013, p. 429. Inderscience Publishers, doi:10.1504/ijbis.2013.057498.