“Seventy years of a car-only approach—not car-centric, it’s car-only—is actually not just non-driver hostile, it’s driver hostile. No one benefits.” —Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America
The car-only approach in transportation planning and engineering has led to the construction of roadways that have torn apart and devalued communities, especially Black and Brown communities. Forging a new path to repair this damage requires a community solutions-based approach to planning, designing, and building our roadways. When Lynn Peterson began working as a transportation engineer, she was taught to evaluate roadway projects based only on metrics related to driver safety, allowable speed for the highest number of cars, project schedule, and budget. Involving the community and collaborating with peers were never part of the discussion. Today, Peterson is a recognized leader in transportation planning and engineering, known for her approach that is rooted in racial equity, guided by a process of community engagement, and includes collaboration with other professionals.
In Roadways for People, Lynn Peterson draws from her personal experience and interviews with leaders in the field to showcase new possibilities within transportation engineering and planning. She incorporated a community-solutions based approach in her work at Metro, TriMet, and while running the Washington State Department of Transportation, where she played an instrumental role in the largest transportation bill in that state’s history. The community solutions-based approach moves away from the narrow standards of traditional transportation design and focuses instead on a process that involves consistent feedback, learning loops, and meaningful and regular community engagement. This approach seeks to address the transportation needs of the most historically marginalized members of the community.
Roadways for People is written to empower professionals and policymakers to create transportation solutions that serve people rather than cars. Examples across the U.S.—from Portland, Oregon to Baltimore, Maryland—show what is possible with a community-centered approach. As traditional highway expansions are put on pause around the country, professionals and policymakers have an opportunity to move forward with a better approach. Peterson shows them how.
About the Author
Lynn Peterson is currently the Oregon Metro Council President, leading the nation’s only elected regional government, which oversees regional affordable housing, parks, tourism and cultural venues, garbage and recycling, and, of course transportation and land use planning.
"Roadways for People gives an honest depiction of how our industry historically has negatively impacted communities of color—by design, process, and all too often by intent. But most importantly, it lifts up the examples of communities and transportation professionals that are doing amazing work together—to restore and repair past harms while also creating thriving places that provide better outcomes for all." — Beverly A. Scott, community builder; CEO, Beverly Scott Associates, LLC
"The greatest community power isn’t the ability to say no. It is the power to say yes to a project that transforms neighborhoods—and the people who live within them—that is the highest of civic virtues. There are few authorities as equipped to achieve this as Lynn Peterson. This book distills her 30-year career, her own personal journey, and the power of examples from transportation professionals and public servants across the country." — Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg Associates and former commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation
"After World War II, we asked engineers to reshape a continent from the top-down. Today, we ask them to do the same, but this time from the bottom-up in collaboration with local communities. Roadways for People is a long overdue shift in thinking." — Charles Marohn, author of "Strong Towns" and "Confessions of a Recovering Engineer"