PLC is a prototype for
a polycentric corridor growth strategy developed strictly around a transit-based
intermodal transportation network. Highly interconnected within
urban spaces, station areas provide such high levels of accessibility
that the need for auto use and ownership in area around its nodes would
largely be eliminated. It is not meant to be implemented in its actual
form, rather provide a performance benchmark to guide its application
to existing conditions/opportunities. I will describe its major
components, requirements and benefits.
Originally, cities came about to join people, to enhance their security,
to favor the exchange of goods, information and emotions; to eventually
expand their individual selves into a wider social conscience.
In recent decades, this web of relations has been dilated and lacerated
by networks of highways and streets. The vitality of local communities
has been traded for increased regional mobility, by expanding and dispersing
the flow of people and goods,
I believe that a transit-based transportation and land use revolution
is mature and that it would largely contribute to the solution of
those problems; this will allow for the creation of striking and unprecedented
new solutions to human settlements. It is my belief these new corridor-based
urban growth strategy will disproof many wrong assumptions about the inevitable
deficiencies of social coexistence.
All over the world, the automobile has completely and pervasively reshaped
the urban form, by conforming it to its needs. The unrelenting desire
for the freedom, convenience and flexibility that the auto brings
has largely overridden other concerns about the quality of urban life.
With no end in sight to the increase in car ownership and use, the accommodation
of auto mobility directly requires an ever-larger share of urban space
and economic resources. Its high personal and public costs are degrading
urban amenities, community quality, local accessibility, air quality,
personal safety, social benefits, and therefore, sustainable regional
land values and sustainable regional economic growth.
Regardless, its benefits are still perceived to justify these very
costly side-effects. Through their daily choices and through political
and ballot votes, urbanites confirm their readiness to pay the price because
the total opportunity cost of known alternatives to auto-based development
is much higher: perceived alternatives provide much less freedom
to participate in desired activities and , therefore, less personal freedom
and economic opportunities.
A car empowers me to go where I want, when I want; it allows me
to choose among a great variety of providers of goods, services, employment
and entertainment. As a business, it places me in close reach of potential
employees, suppliers, clients and supporting businesses.
Reliance on transit, pedestrian and bicycle, instead, greatly limits this
freedom of movement because of their short ranges, low speed, and/or limited
destinations. Except for a few subway systems in very high density metros,
they do not offer anywhere near the choice and speed offered by the auto.
In this paper I am going to challenge all these preconceptions as outdated
and inappropriate by describing a new alternative.
In fact, recent advances in transit and information technology, the advent
of intermodal planning, new land-use planning concepts and new evidence
of successful non-auto urban forms around the world can be combined to
create a prototype for an extremely efficient and equitable new urban
In a Polycentric Linear City, land uses types and intensities are strategically
distributed around hierarchical transit/intermodal nodes to create clustering
districts of development, the use of transportation infrastructure is
maximized. Most importantly, access to desired activities, compared
to auto, will be extensive and inexpensive. This would create
opportunities for highly connected communities strongly focused around
compact nodes integrating public space, transportation hub and green areas.
The transportation system will consist of a highly coordinated intermodal
network that walking, bicycling, rental-auto, owned-auto, rail, e-vehicles,
air and truck modes, through the structural skeleton of its mainline and
feeder transit modes.
The relationship, relative importance and hierarchical order of modes
would vary widely in space. All intermodal combinations can possibly be
chosen, by a user, from any given location; however, their relative convenience
will greatly vary depending on the location of origin and destinations
of his trip/tour respect to transit node.
As shown in the chart below, the modal split associated with a location
along the corridor would therefore be highly related to its distance from
the transit nodes.