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Vol. 11, No. 3 - May/June 2000

Different Strokes for Different Folks
In Europe , it's Smart to drive a Smart; but in the U.S. the SUV reigns Supreme

Serving "People in Motion"
The wireless communication revolution is taking the automobile industry by storm. Telematics -- a broad term that refers to vehicle-based wireless communication systems and information services -- is increasingly seen by the leaders of the U.S. automobile industry as the new cutting edge automotive innovation. General Motors Chairman, Jack Smith, believes that "motor vehicles are...becoming mobile communications platforms that can keep motorists safe, informed and productive in previously unimaginable ways." Jacques A. Nasser, Ford Motor's chief executive, thinks "we will do nothing short of transforming our cars and trucks into a portal for the Internet."

Can Alternatives to Driving Reduce Auto Use? - A Rebuttal
Our commentary on the above subject in the Jan/Feb issue of Innovation Briefs elicited an unusually heavy response, both in support of and challenging our point of view. We reprint below one of the letters, co-authored by a group of longtime professional colleagues of your editor.* While the authors of the letter take us to task for being too skeptical about the efforts to reduce automobile use, the measured tone of their rebuttal is a welcome departure from the uncritical promotion of "demand management" that characterized the debate in the past.

Developing an "Operations Vision" : The Dialogue Begins
The Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with the Institute for Transportation Engineers, has launched a major new initiative intended to advance the state-of-the-practice in transportation management and operations. The first phase, a "National Dialogue on Transportation Operations," was inaugurated with a series of sessions at an ITE-convened Conference on Transportation Operations, held in Irvine, California on April 2-5, and attended by nearly 400 participants. A summary of the conference follows. Innovation Briefs will provide a continuing coverage of the operations initiative.

A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century
Paying for the Use of Roads that Offer a Premium Level of Service -
Commentary
Paying for the use of roads that offer a premium level of service - i.e. Value Pricing - may become common practice in the years ahead. Highways will no longer be viewed as a free resource, but rather as a public utility that collects user fees and expands its capacity to meet growing market demand. One possible scenario is the eventual emergence of a dual network of highways with differential levels of service. The "old" system, built in the 20th century will remain free, but will become increasingly congested and unreliable. Newly built roads in heavily traveled corridors will offer a faster and more reliable travel alternative for a fee.

A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century
"Marketization" - A New Transportation Paradigm
In launching our new series, "A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century," we vowed not to confine our coverage to conventional solutions but also to feature views and approaches that question the status quo and challenge the conventional wisdom. Merely tinkering with existing policies and institutional arrangements, we thought, may not be enough to solve America's growing mobility problems. That is also the belief of A. Scheffer Lang, whose distinguished career includes service as Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Transportation Research, Federal Railroad Administrator, Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of the Transportation System Division at MIT, and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board. His commentary follows.

 



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