Voices from the Rail~Volution (2010) from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Last week I had the pleasure to speak on a panel about blogging at the 20th annual Rail~Volution conference in Portland. It was a great retreat from work as evidenced by the skyrocket in STB tweeting. Portland really is a great city.

Having been away from professional transportation conferences for a year and a half I was excited to see what the “new” hot topics in the transportation profession were. I wasn’t surprised to find economic development and health on the forefront. With the economy how it is transit advocates are trying to do a better job of communicating¬† and leveraging the economic benefits of transportation projects. Several presentations focused on how a low car lifestyle is good for everyone’s bottom line. Less money spent on transportation, means more money to spend locally.

Also, the impact of the built environment on our daily physical activity through “active transportation” has started to get a lot of attention. While it might not sound like much the physical activity you get from walking to the bus, walking to the store, or biking to work or school really adds up, especially compared to people who live sedentary lifestyles caused by auto oriented communities. This area of research has exploded over the last few years in academia and is starting to work it’s way into the professional world, thanks in large part to federal funding from FTA, HUD and EPA through their livability initiative. King County and PSRC are both on the forefront of this.

Rail~Volution will be in DC next year. Sounds like a good excuse to visit.

5 Replies to “Fun at Rail~Volution in Portland”

  1. Thanks Adam! I hope this transportation revolution doesn’t lose momentum, particularly in Seattle. There aren’t many areas of the country with plans as extensive as ours, and I can’t wait to see them become reality. While expensive, a more effective transit system is needed to position our region for higher energy costs going forward, not to mention the other benefits that will come with it.

  2. Thanks Adam. I’m super jealous you got to go :)

    Another aspect to think about is the long-term costs to municipalities. Investing in mass transit infrastructure, while being fairly expensive at the onset, will actually decrease in cost/user over time as more people utilize the system. On the other hand, SOV-oriented investments have a greater cost/user over time when looking at items such as maintenance, pollution, and emergency/health costs.

    I think this is a really good reason for the infrastructure bank. Providing cities with the capital to invest in major mass transit projects today will put them in a much stronger, and more competitive, position in the future.

Comments are closed.