I am extremely thankful for the week in the Netherlands and the incredible opportunities we had to experience and learn about Dutch infrastructure and design. This trip will benefit me for the rest of my career, as I will always be inspired by their transportation systems and city planning efforts. It was amazing to see the design elements that we have discussed in class in person, and the way they transform the character of the cities and shape city life. Transportation in the Netherlands is not a burden. The Dutch do not have to plan their life around traffic like we do in Atlanta. While the reasons for this are complex, there were several key planning and design principles that we saw in each city we visited. I am confident that we can begin implementing some of these principles in the US and Atlanta.
While Dutch culture probably had some influence on their ability to initially create such impressive transportation systems, it is important to remember that they were at a place similar to the US just 50 years ago. I believe that the Dutch culture has grown to support, maintain and improve the transportation infrastructure, and that it has shaped their culture to some extent rather than the other way around. This makes me hopeful that a similar process is also possible for American culture. Once a certain amount of quality transportation infrastructure is in place, I believe American culture can also grow to have a greater appreciation for active transportation, which will result in greater use, support and funding of these projects.