The economic success of a city is often shaped by the efficiency of its transportation system. Transportation ensures the movement of goods and people into and out of the city; setting the stage for commerce and growth. Additionally, the location of transportation routes determines where cities will expand by allowing access to previously undeveloped land. Transportation is directly linked to policy issues such as pollution, land use, and urban growth. The goal of transportation planning is not to just complete individual transportation projects but to create a plan for the development, operation, management, and finance of city wide transportation that fits within the long term goals of the city. (1)
History of Transportation Planning in Portland
Portland's economic success has always relied on its ability to transport goods. The history of its transportation planning can be broken up into five eras of similar planning practice. The Founding Era marks the beginning of Portland's existence and a time of little public involvement in transportation projects and high involvement from young entrepreneurs. The Railroad Era begins with the production of the steam powered engine. Countrywide rail line projects expanded the reach of new mode of transportation as well as Portland's success in commerce. Beginning in the 1900's, the Progressive Era welcomes the advancement of the automobile and new nationwide highway projects. The Depression, WWII, and Urban Renewal starts with slowed planning, continues with some federally funded projects during WWII, and ends with an uprising of redevelopment centered around the continued use of the automobile. Finally, starting in 1969, Portland takes a turn away from the automobile and refocuses to a high Pedestrian priority. This priority remains integral to transportation planning in Portland to this day.
1. "The Transportation Planning Process Key Issues: A Briefing Book for Transportation Decisionmakers, Officials, and Staff." Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program 1 (2007): 1-5.