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Vol. 9, No. 5 - September/October 1998

New Urbanism: Can It Deliver On Its Promises?
Can good urban design reduce our dependence on the automobile and enhance the role of transit? The so-called New Urbanists and Neotraditional planners argue that it can. Higher residential densities, mixed land uses, and grid-like circulation patterns, they contend, would shorten trips, encourage walking and cause more people to use transit in place of cars. These arguments have found wide acceptance and a large following among professional planners but, according to researchers at the University of California's Transportation Center, they seem to be based on flimsy empirical evidence. The findings of the UC team have led the distinguished urban planner Melvin Webber to a series of reflections, reprinted here from the Spring issue of ACCESS, the publication of UC's Transportation Center.

The Transit Metropolis
Throughout the industrialized world, public transit is struggling to compete with the private automobile. This is particularly the case in the United States, where transit's share of work trips has declined from 6.3% in 1980 to 3.5% in 1995, and its current share of total person trips is just 1.8%, down from 2.2% in 1983. But some metropolitan areas outside the United States have managed to buck the trend of declining transit usage. What sets these places apart? In a forthcoming book entitled "The Transit Metropolis," University of California's Robert Cervero, attempts to find the answers.

Radio Data Systems (RDS)
The use of FM subcarriers (also known as radio data systems or RDS) to deliver traveler information to motorists in their cars is on the verge of widespread deployment in Europe. In the United States, on the other hand, this method of wireless transmission is still in its infancy. What accounts for this technology gap?

"Graduated Licensing" of Young Drivers - Commentary
In the last issue we drew our readers' attention to the mounting road safety hazards arising from a growing population of elderly drivers. Of equal if not greater concern is the road safety record of the nation's youthful population which is expected to grow 21 percent over the next seven years. Young drivers age 15 to 20 are responsible for a disproportionate share of highway accidents. Although they make up only seven percent of licensed drivers , they account for 15 percent of driver fatalities. A growing number of jurisdictions have resolved to do something about this danger. They are adopting more stringent licensing procedures for youthful drivers in the form of "graduated licensing." Below, Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, explains what graduated licensing means and why he favors this approach.

The Value Pricing Pilot Program : Federal Position
At the request of John Berg, Highway Revenue and Pricing Team Leader at the Federal Highway Administration, we reprint below his recent communication to us concerning the federal Value Pricing Pilot Program. Because of space constraints, Mr. Berg's letter appears in an abbreviated form.

 



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