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Transportation & The Environment

Transportation and the environment are essential systems in a society that pose a challenge to most governments due to the negative impacts they have on each other. The transportation system offers socioeconomic benefits to people while offering societies a chance to progress and grow in an interconnected manner (Rodrigue, Comtois & Slack, 2016). The environment provides people with natural features that act as important socioeconomic contributors in different societies. Regions with fertile land conduct agricultural activities while areas with water bodies have a source of water and fish in freshwater bodies.

However, there exists a paradox in these systems because the transport system has adverse impacts on the environment while environmental forces are also capable of disrupting the transport system. In the state of Oregon, researchers and several stakeholders suggest that modifications can and should be made to prevent the conflicting nature between these two systems that are both essential to society. The growth of the population and the increasing demand for transportation services heightens the need for modification of the system to protect the environment from further degradation.

As the population of Oregon and the nature of its transport activities have grown as the region expanded itself as a major transit city, most of its initial infrastructures have remained the same. There is an overarching need for policymakers in Oregon to invest in long-term and short-term projects to resolve the transportation and environmental paradox in existence at the moment (Rodrigue, Comtois & Slack, 2016). An operational plan to highlight the key areas of renovation and modification is given in this proposal paper. The carbon emission challenges experienced in Oregon are viewed as opportunities to improve other modes of transport such as biking and electric rails. Considerations are also given on the potential sources of investments to fund the project. Many stakeholders are interested in the overall harmony between the transportation and environmental sectors.

The issue of transportation maintenance in Oregon is highly pertinent since some of the previous highways currently act as street roads in particular cities. Transportation infrastructure has to be renovated after several years to ensure it caters for dynamic mobility demands. Expansion of current highways to support the public transport system will ensure there is less traffic congestion that increases the time spent on roads by public and private vehicles. Although this solution will result in more vehicles on the road, it would minimize time spent traveling, which indirectly minimizes the levels of carbon emission.

The best solution for Oregon policymakers to resolve the impacts of transportation modes on the environment is to invest in alternative freight networks. The creation of biking lanes within cities in rural regions has been suggested to work effectively in reduction of carbon emission. The movement of people from one region to another within the same locality can be facilitated through biking. The use of bikes to move from homes to school and at work has been applied in some of the major cities across the world such as Tokyo and Hong Kong (Suzuki, Cervero & Luchi, 2013). Similarly, biking can be applied by residents of Oregon to commute within short distances.

Biking and walking in Oregon are feasible transport alternatives that meet the goal of carbon reduction, but they are challenged by the city’s safety concerns. Oregonians have reported that the existing infrastructures are unsafe for biking and walking to their destinations, which discourages their use of the safe transport mode. In this solution, it is recommended that infrastructural adjustments are made to reduce bike fatalities in Oregon so as to motivate increased biking. The biking solution is economical, and it offers Oregonians a business venture for entities willing to promote biking in the state.   

In Portland, the use of light rails and electric street cars is recommended as a feasible plan for transportation of cargo and goods. The use of electric railways eliminates the use of motor vehicles to transport freight. Railway is an excellent alternative since it is fixed within a route where traders and businesspeople can access the required means to transport their goods. Oregon is known to be trade dependent and the introduction of automated cars would assist the business community in moving goods within the region without having to use the highway. It would be a crucial move for the Oregonians to have shifted the mode of transport of freight away from the highways.

The funding of this light rail and streetcar project should be funded by the state government with additional support coming from the business stakeholder. However, since the state may lack sufficient capital to fund the project, the proposed investments can be made by relevant stakeholders. The rail and streetcar infrastructure will be purchased by the business investors so they can conduct trade using the assets while receiving government tax deductions. The state should allow the investors to construct and operate the system for a specified period in order to regain their financial investment.

One of the complexities expected to be encountered is the acquisition of land for construction within the specified route. Members of the Oregon community to be served by the transport network are required to publicize the idea and work towards the combination of efforts for the construction. The public harmonization process is necessary since the route could pass through private property where legal disputes could arise. The government should intervene at this point to prevent any unforeseen opposition towards the construction of alternative railway networks.

The construction will continue for a period of two years within which the potential disputes should be dealt with in the first three months to foster more collaboration in the building process. In case, the residents are unwilling to relinquish their lands for the construction of railways, compensation and relocation packages should be included in the deal to acquire the land. The biking infrastructure is unlikely to receive much opposition because it should be constructed on public land. Moreover, biking lanes do not require plenty of space for construction, yet they could be ready for use within the first six months.

These new transport alternatives should encompass flexibility because the mobility needs keep on changing in each season. Further adjustments must be made to account for seismic activities in Oregon that would disrupt the transport infrastructure. It is evident that for these adjustments and modifications to become effective, they should account for future changes in the environmental circumstance. Therefore, the building of wider highways, new biking lanes, and automated light rails should be consistent with the demand for mobility in Oregon.

The last part of the project is evaluation, which will be conducted in two phases in order to determine the efficiency of the given solution. The first phase includes self-evaluation to measure the application of the constructed transport networks against an ideal and safe transport network. The business stakeholders will conduct this phase through benchmarking of existing infrastructure in other parts of the world. The second phase should include a survey conducted among the residents of Oregon seeking their opinion on the systems effectiveness. Reports given by members of the public served by these additional transport modes will assist in determining the effectiveness of the proposed solution.

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