How To Improve Transport and Urban Development With Remix


In your job as a planner, we know you're often fielding basic questions about public transit. We hope this Remix Primer blog series offers another resource as you educate your constituents.

Most people never think twice about why the city where they live is set up like it is. Unless something is going wrong, transport and urban development are invisible systems. However, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes for transit, urban development, and city planning work the way they do.

As a transit planner, improving how you do that work can have a huge impact on the lives of thousands of people for years to come. Here’s a breakdown of the urban transport planning process, its common problems, and how Remix can help you improve your workflow.

What Is Urban Transport Planning?

People need to get from one place to another. From going to work or school, attending concerts, or simply running errands — everyone in an urban area needs to use the transportation system. It’s best for everyone involved if transit is easy, efficient, and timely all day long.

That’s what urban transport planning — like Remix’s public transportation planning software — aims to accomplish. It’s the process of improving the transportation system so it’s prepared to meet future demand. From gathering data about current trends to choosing the right types of transportation in which to invest, urban transportation planning is an intense but important process for any city.

What Is the Transportation Planning Process?

While urban transport planning is about getting ready for the future, the transportation planning process is focused on the practical aspects of today. There are four main steps involved in the transportation planning process that must be followed to generate useful, actionable plans for improvements.

  • Data Generation and Analysis: First and foremost, you need to collect and analyze data before you can do any type of planning. It’s all too easy to make assumptions about your city and miss important trends if you don’t collect useful data and analyze it effectively.
  • Creation of the Transportation Model: The transportation model is your idea of how transportation is actually used in your city. Historically, this was done manually, with extensive calculations. Today, geographic information system (GIS) mapping programs like Remix’s software can handle this step for you.
  • Future Land Use and Demand Forecasts: Once you have built your transportation model, you can extend it into the future with land use and travel demand forecasts. Taking the information you have currently about travel and land zoning, you make assumptions about what the future holds to see what problems need to be solved.
  • Policy Evaluation: Finally, once you know your current conditions and future problems, you need to take local policy into account. If your city is working to move away from cars and towards public transit, then your solutions should likely encourage that shift.

What Are the Objectives of Urban Transportation Planning?

While every city and municipality will have their own specific goals and objectives for planning, there are a few that are universal.

  • Preparing for Future Transit Needs in Advance: As cities grow, their transit systems need to grow with them. Cities like Los Angeles that failed to plan for future road use see increased congestion and more dangerous roads. Putting together plans in advance can save years of problems.
  • Reduce Commuting Times: Long commutes are one of the most common complaints in urban areas. Decreasing commuting times is a straightforward way to increase the local quality of life.
  • Reduce Traffic Congestion: Traffic jams are stressful for drivers and may put local health at risk. Lowering traffic congestion can make transit simpler for everyone.

What Are the Common Barriers to Urban Planning and Transport?

There are many problems that transit planners need to consider while doing their job. Just a few of the most common urban planning barriers that must be overcome include those discussed below.

  • Costs of Maintenance: An infrastructure that’s costly to maintain will either drain the budget or break down more quickly in the future. It’s valuable to choose low-cost, low-maintenance infrastructure options when possible.
  • Environmental Impact: Many cities are prioritizing the environment. Choosing whether to invest in more public transport or more space for cars will have a direct impact on your local environment.
  • Lack of Consideration for Non-Motorized Transport: Pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who use non-motorized transport take up the least amount of room in your transportation system. However, they often can’t get places because of dangerous roads or a blatant lack of infrastructure.
  • Lack of Parking: Cities with lots of cars in use need to have places for drivers to park. A lack of parking can increase traffic congestion and the risk of accidents.
  • Lack of Public Transport: Many people prefer to use public transport if it’s available. Public transport can also decrease other traffic by reducing the number of other cars on the road. A lack of public transport can reduce general mobility.
  • Traffic Congestion: If roads are not designed to handle the traffic they see daily, traffic congestion is inevitable. Too much traffic can increase pollution, accidents, and wear on the roads.

How Can Demographic Data Be Leveraged for Better City Planning?

With all of this in mind, from goals to potential barriers, the process of transport and urban development can begin. Using the right tools and analytical methods can help you create more accurate forecasts for what your city will need.

Demographic data is one of the best ways to identify potential future needs. Different demographics have different needs. If a portion of your city is attracting a younger, more active demographic, then you can expect a higher demand for walkable streets and better non-motorized transport infrastructure. Meanwhile, older demographics are moving into retirement and will be less likely to commute regularly and increase traffic congestion.

Designing your transportation system so it meets the needs of the people who live in your city is the best thing you can do for the people you serve.

Ready to Improve Transport and Urban Development?

To leverage this demographic data properly, you can invest in Remix’s public transportation planning solution. Whether you’re working to build your public transit system from the ground up or you want to analyze how your current system is used by different demographics, Remix’s intuitive mapping and analytics system can help.

Remix is here to support you as you work to improve the traffic and urban development in your city. Get your demo of Remix’s powerful software today to see how it can help.