Biased Transport Planning Language (Wright, 1996)
Many transport planning terms unintentionally favor motor vehicle travel over other forms of access. For example, increased road and parking capacity is often called an "improvement," although wider roads and larger parking facilities, and the increased traffic volumes and speeds that result, tend to degrade pedestrian and cycling mobility. Calling such changes "improvements" indicates a bias in favor of one mode over others. Objective language uses neutral terms, such as "added capacity," "additional lanes," "modifications," or "changes."
The terms "traffic" and "trip" often refer only to motor vehicle travel. Short trips, non-motorized trips, travel by children, and non-commute trips are often undercounted or ignored in transport surveys, models, and analysis. Although automobile and transit trips often begin and end with a pedestrian or cycling link, they are often classified simply as "auto" or "transit" trips.
The term "efficient" is frequently used to mean increased vehicle traffic speeds. This assumes that faster vehicle traffic always increases overall efficiency. This is not necessarily true. High vehicle speeds can reduce total traffic capacity, increase resource consumption, increase costs, reduce transportation choice, create less accessible land use patterns, and increase automobile dependency, reducing overall system efficiency.
Transportation professionals often rate the overall quality of the roadway network based on Level of Service (LOS) ratings that evaluate conditions for automobile traffic, but apply no comparable rating for other travel modes. It is important to indicate which users are considered when level of service values are reported.
Biased Neutral Terms
Traffic Motor vehicle traffic, pedestrian, bike traffic, etc.
Trips Motor vehicle trips, person trips, bike trips, etc.
Improve Change, modify, expand, widen
Enhance Change, increase traffic speeds
Deteriorate Change, reduce traffic speeds
Upgrade Change, expand, widen, replace
Efficient Faster, increased vehicle capacity
Level of service Level of service for´┐Ż