Using GIS methods to analyze spatial characteristics of urban transportation system in Craiova city
Abstract: In a world of technology, where the increasing urbanization tries to cope between sprawl and the need to actively manage a sustainable land and resources use, transportation remains among the main challenges for physically active cities like Craiova. The city is the major growth pole located in South-West Oltenia, which connects most of the settlements in the region (both rural or urban) economically and socially. Thus, the transportation system represents the key element in the relation between time and place in this metropolitan area in a continuous development process. While the city expands, the transportation network, inherited from the past, suffers a slower transformation, despite the increasing demand for mobility coming from both passengers and freights. The spatial analysis of new residential areas emerged in the continuous process of urban expansion indicate an additional pressure on the existing road infrastructure and which intensifies especially during peak hours on the access routes to the city and city center. Starting from the analysis of the spatial structure and distribution of the pre-existent rural structure, the present study tries to emphasize the need for an innovative and integrated infrastructure that should connect at its best space, services and people in terms of speed, capacity and cost efficiency. First, using the GIS mapping methods, the authors present the spatial distribution of the transport infrastructure that is correlated with population density and land use, also analyzing the areas with high density of jobs and elements of the urban landscape that may generate attractivity. A special attention is paid to the urban form – street pattern relation, exemplified by case studies in problematic intersections of Craiova city. All these factors are important in order to establish the present capacity of the urban transportation system during peak hours, and what are the main deficiency of the transport system: traffic jams, insufficient parking places, need of new connections in public transportation. The results of the research may be used to improve passenger transport inside the city of Craiova and may also suggest some solutions that mitigate for the introduction of new concepts like car sharing, electric public transportation, hybrid vehicles or new alterna-tives for peoples’ movement.