Transportation is an important part of our daily lives and is the lifeblood of the US and global economy. Without transportation, the economy would cease to function. The various modes that we use today require energy and natural resources to maintain and improve our way of life. Balancing transportation needs with the various economic, social, human and environmental considerations requires careful planning.
Applying sustainability to transportation is one of the most important needs of our time. The term “sustainable transportation” is multifaceted. DDOT defines sustainable transportation as a system that provides various mode choices in a balanced manner without compromising safety, accessibility and mobility. A sustainable transportation enhances the economy, promotes livability and protects the environment. Sustainable transportation also recognizes the influence of transportation facilities on the development of adjacent land and the ability of transportation infrastructure to effect the environment by changing the storm water flows, temperatures, natural habitat and community cohesion.
DDOT believes for a transportation system to be sustainable, it must equitably consider the three elements of sustainability. Ensuring that all transportation activities balance environmental, social structure and economic concerns is critical in achieving a high-standard quality of life for District residents.
Additionally, to achieve sustainability it is important to take a holistic approach that integrates the work of multiple sectors (external to transportation). DDOT’s participation in interagency collaboration as it relates to sustainability will be discussed at greater length in Chapter 4. According to AASHTO, sustainable transportation can be attained by pursuing the following goals:
• Improved accessibility
• Improved mobility
• Improved safety
• Improved equity and affordability
• Reduced pollution, greenhouse gases and ecosystem impacts
• Use of renewable resources
• Appropriate land use
• Community cohesion
• Improved livability