Robin Smitherman's appreciation of 'sustainability' is disparaging, and his lack of understanding of environmental issues so appalling, that you risk bringing the entire profession into disrepute by publishing his letter.
Building long-life infrastructure without regard to demand management criteria has nothing to do with sustainability. Attempting to justify such on the basis of service delivery is misleading and disingenuous. Using Mr Smitherman's approach, 'sustainable transport' could mean buying harder wearing tyres for the Porsche!
Call it 'social engineering' if you like, but the fact is that achieving 'sustainability' means that certain freedoms, long taken for granted throughout the developed world, have to be restrained for the greater good of the planet. Such requires radical changes in respect of consumption, production and waste treatment. Patterns of movement are aspects of consumption which have to be completely reconstructed if they are to fit a sustainable model.
If Mr Smitherman's contribution is typical of the level of commitment among most civil engineers to address these vital issues, thank God for environmentalists.
Brian Hanson (M), Architects & Engineers for Social Responsibility, 1 Searles View, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4FG