Saturday, November 22, 2008

What does "Transportation Alliance" mean?

The term "Transportation Alliance" shows up quite a bit in organization names. Google has 78,100 hits. But these groups don't seem to be unified in any way other than the use of these two buzzwords next to each other.

Let's look at the top page of Google search results

The Minnesota Transportation Alliance mostly looks like people who favor more highway spending.

The Transportation Alliance Bank is part of Flying J (the truck stop people)

There's a Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Oregon -- looks like an alliance of bicycling groups.

"The Pennsylvania Transportation Alliance (PTA) was formed to bring together all people with disabilities and their allies in a unified, statewide organized effort to ensure that "accessible, affordable transportation is available to all PA citizens with disabilities."

The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance is all about transit -- regional rail.

The New North Transportation Alliance (Tampa) is also about transit, transit, transit, although they do offer a free bike rack program for businesses.
There's also some superficial bicycling information -- e.g. "you might think about biking to work". The maps page (which is a good indicator) has a map of bike racks on the USF campus, but otherwise is all transit.
The advisory board doesn't list any organizations I recognize, upon quick glance, as cycling organizations.

The Regional Transportation Alliance (Raleigh)
is "The regional business leadership group that focuses on relieving traffic congestion and enhancing mobility." That says "build roads" to me. The project page lists road projects and the construction of a regional rail system. Well down the list (11th, 2nd from last) is "Completion of American Tobacco Trail and improved pedestrian-bicycle access to transit." [Biking on the American Tobacco Trail??] But it does have a pedestrian and bike page and links to bike maps on the NC DOT web site.

The Westside Transportation Alliance [Washington County, Oregon]
OK, now we hit pay dirt. The executive directors are wearing bicycle helmets. They are big supporters of the new commuter rail line that opens next year.

Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
The third paragraph of their mission statement says it all: "The debate is not roads and bridges versus buses and trains, but which strategies move the most people most effectively in most corridors." Then there's the last two paragraphs: "More than half of all transportation resources available over the next 25 years are assigned to public transit to move less than 10% of daily trips.
Road projects that will carry 90% of future vehicular – auto, truck and bus -- trips remain un-prioritized and un-funded." Doing a search on "bicycle" turns up one table showing bicycles are used on only 1-2% of daily trips, nothing else.

I don't see much of a thread here other than a general advocacy for some form of transportation (hence the word "transportation" in the name. Only the Westside group seems, at first glance, to be the type of organization ATA (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) would want to turn into, although on a bigger scale.

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