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Transportation System Components

Transportation is the “act or means of carrying people or goods from one place to another1.” The role of a transportation system is to provide an effective and efficient way of doing this. Like any “system,” a transportation system is comprised of multiple, interconnected components, each of which serves a unique role, while also supporting the other components.

In Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 (CIM 2040 2.0), COMPASS will focus on four transportation components, and how they work in tandem to comprise a complete transportation system:

Bicycle/Pedestrian

Appropriate bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is an integral part of a comprehensive transportation system. Providing for bicyclists and pedestrians contributes to a healthy community by reducing air pollution through reducing the number of vehicles on the road, as well as by increasing the individual health of those who walk or bike. Bicycle and pedestrian use also supports other transportation modes by reducing the number of cars on the road – thus reducing both congestion and maintenance needs – and providing for the “first and last mile” – that portion of a trip before and after a person uses public transportation or parks their private vehicle.

Learn more about bicycle and pedestrian planning and COMPASS’ bicycle/pedestrian counters.

Freight (movement of goods)

While “transportation” serves to move both people and goods, most transportation planning efforts in the Treasure Valley have focused on the movement of people. Through CIM 2040 2.0, COMPASS is elevating the discussion of freight issues in the Treasure Valley to ensure freight movement is deliberately considered in planning decisions. To that end, COMPASS has convened a Freight Advisory Workgroup, conducted a study of agricultural freight, and initiated a study to collect vehicle classification count data on key corridors, gather information on air and rail freight, and compile information on freight as related to pipelines.

Learn more about freight planning.

Public Transportation

Public transportation – locally comprised of buses and commuter vans – serves an integral role in the overall transportation system. Public transportation supports other transportation components by taking single-occupancy vehicles off the road and providing transportation services for those who cannot, or choose not to, drive personal vehicles, while providing air quality, maintenance, and congestion benefits. Public transportation serves everyone from those who are too young or old to drive, individuals with disabilities that prevent them from driving, low income individuals, and those who choose not to drive for health, economic, environmental, or other reasons. COMPASS is assessing public transportation needs and options in Ada and Canyon Counties to define the role of public transportation in the overall regional transportation system.

Learn more about public transportation planning.

Roadways

Roadways are the backbone of the transportation system in Ada and Canyon Counties. Buses, commuter vans, and freight vehicles rely on our roadways. In addition, bike lanes and sidewalks along roadways provide a significant portion of our local bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

All transportation needs should be considered when designing roadways and means of meeting those needs must be intentionally built into the transportation system design. One example of discussing how all these transportation system components merge is the concept of “complete streets.” The idea of complete streets is to plan and design roadways with an appropriate balance for all users – bicyclists and pedestrians, public transportation users, freight, and auto users. A key premise of complete streets is to plan roadways within the framework of the entire transportation system. That is, each individual roadway does not need to serve all needs for all users – one road can be designed to maximize the efficiency for freight traffic, while a parallel route can be designed to maximize efficiency for bicyclists.

View COMPASS’ complete streets policy here.

View COMPASS’ report on pedestrian, bicycle, and transit complete streets level of service here.

Learn more about roadway planning.

To learn more about the Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 components, contact Liisa Itkonen or call 208/475-2241.