The current issue of the Institute of Transportation Engineers' Journal had an interesting article in it about the City of Pasadena, California moving towards a Multi-Modal Level of Service framework for making decisions. Pasadena recognizes that a vibrant downtown with good transit, pedestrian, and bicycle mobility will have suboptimal vehicle mobility. This was certainly my experience in Manhattan – vehicle traffic was quite congested, but there were a tremendous amount of people getting from A to B in a reasonable amount of time because of the subways and the bicycle/pedestrian systems.
No one would argue Manhattan needs to tear down buildings to make bigger roads – in fact they're moving the other way by turning streets into pedestrian/bicycle malls and adding bike lanes onto streets that used to be dominated by vehicles.
The article spoke about Pasadena's framework of how they make decisions. Fred Dock and Mike Bagheri from the City were kind enough to respond to an email from me and provide a couple of initial project specific studies where they've implemented Multi-modal Level of Service (MMLOS) standards to assess transportation conditions instead of just looking at the standard vehicle Level of Service. They're early in the process and I'm hoping to see more examples of how communities are implementing MMLOS to move away from an auto-dominated infrastructure system.
The 2010 Highway Capacity Manual has many chapters related towards MMLOS – this is the way our industry is heading, but it is a slow moving tanker that needs to be turned. Anyone out there have good project specific Transportation Impact Studies that implement MMLOS? I'd love to share examples – maybe we can get the slow moving tanker turning a little faster.