We’ve written before about the importance of keeping the bigger picture in mind when looking at transportation assets and the networks in which they operate – you can read some thoughts here.
Particularly when considering advanced air mobility (‘AAM’), it’s easy to focus on the excitement generated by the new and the newly-possible and pay less attention to existing asset classes and modes of transportation already in place in any one location. This episode of The Urbanist podcast reminds us of the huge variety of pressures influencing what makes transportation successful in any one city, and the need for sensitive integration of new assets to achieve genuine mobility for the people using it, and potentially genuine returns for those developing and investing in it.
For a city like Los Angeles, with a sprawling footprint largely reliant on automotive transport preparing for the 2028 Olympic Games, AAM could quickly become a central aspect of the city’s transportation network by offering substantial reductions in travel time, pollution, and ground level congestion. In other places, such as those where available funds are limited or where the users of public transport are predominantly essential workers, the focus might be more on upgrading existing systems (like local buses) and using AAM to enhance connectivity and accessibility, or relieving certain pressure points, rather than large scale movement from the road to the skies.
AAM has a lot to offer. Careful design will be needed to maximise the value of that offer in each location, with return on design contributing to return on investment as we work towards improved mobility.