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Vol. 8, No. 5 - September/October 1997

Public Transit -- Searching for New Paradigms
Last May, a group of transit leaders and transportation professionals met under the auspices of the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) for a broad examination of the challenges facing public transportation. Billed as a "search for new paradigms", the three-day meeting explored a broad range of issues confronting the transit industry. The conference steering committee has recently issued a report based on the discussions that took place at that meeting. The report is noteworthy for its forthright analysis of transit's problems, its frank recognition of the need for internal reform and innovation, and its willingness to try new approaches.

High Occupancy/Toll (HOT) Lanes Revisited -- Again
Since our last report (May/June 1997) interest in High Occupancy/Toll (HOT) lanes has continued to mount, with several new jurisdictions announcing plans to convert existing HOV lanes into HOT lanes. HOT lane conversions are likely to get a boost from two proposed measures in the pending ISTEA reauthorization bills: authority to impose tolls on up to three Interstate facilities; and a "Value Pricing Pilot Program" that would provide funds for demonstration projects employing variable pricing.

The 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey
Newly released data from the 1995 NPTS Survey shows us as a nation that is ever more dependent on the automobile. The survey provides a wealth of insights and information about the patterns of present day travel. Highlights of the report are presented below.

Trafficmaster, U.K.'s Nationwide Traveler Information System
While U.S. deployment of advanced traveler information systems has proceeded largely at the metropolitan level, the United Kingdom has adopted a different approach. There, a private firm has been building a nationwide ATIS system aimed largely at the intercity traveler. By the summer of 1998, the system is expected to cover the entire British motorway network and all of the country's 10,000 km trunk (primary) roads.

A Confrontation Over ISTEA-II
Although both the House and Senate committees have now unveiled transportation reauthorization proposals, there remain substantial uncertainties about the fate of the legislation. Affecting its outcome are two matters: (1) House Republican leadership opposition to the bill crafted by Rep. Bud Shuster (R-PA), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and (2) major differences between the House and Senate versions of the reauthorization proposal. Both circumstances may require extensive negotiations, prompting speculation that the measure may not be enacted this year at all.

The 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey
Newly released data from the 1995 NPTS Survey shows us as a nation that is ever more dependent on the automobile. The survey provides a wealth of insights and information about the patterns of present day travel. Highlights of the report are presented below.

 



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