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Vol. 11, No. 5 - September/October 2000

What Can We Expect in the Next Administration? - Commentary
Of the two presidential candidates, we believe Gov. Bush has shown a better understanding of the nation's transportation priorities. In survey after survey, congestion - on highways and in the air - has been the chief transportation concern of the American public. Thus, the most important transportation challenge facing the next administration will be to arrest the growing gridlock before it becomes a serious threat to the health of the nation's economy and to the quality of life. Governor Bush points out, correctly we think, that the answer lies primarily in expanding highway capacity and improving the operation of the existing highway network. Mr. Gore seems to think that building more rail transit is the answer. We beg to disagree.

News Analysis & Commentary

  • Proposed Environmental Streamlining Regulations Under Fire
  • London Considers Congestion Charges
  • For Amtrak, Still No Light at the End of the Tunnel

Atlanta Debates Its Transportation Future
Like many rapidly growing metropolitan areas, Atlanta has been grappling with serious traffic congestion and air quality problems. Earlier this year, the region adopted an ambitious $36 billion plan intended to guide future transportation investment over the next quarter century. The plan, which involves a dramatic shift in emphasis from highways to transit, has triggered a spirited debate between proponents of transit and highway solutions. The debate has national implications as more and more metropolitan areas find themselves struggling with the same challenge of balancing competing needs for improving mobility, accommodating growth in traffic, and enhancing air quality.

A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century
Restructuring Public Transit
Like the highway establishment, the public transit industry is searching for new organizational models that would better reflect changing markets and customer needs. A report currently in preparation by a panel of the Transit Cooperative Research Program suggests that fundamental changes are needed in local transit organization and service delivery if transit is to remain relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of the traveling public.

Telematics and the Problem of Driver Distraction
Concern about the safety of using communication devices while driving isn't new. When car radios were first introduced, opponents argued that drivers would not be able to listen to the radio and concentrate on the road at the same time. Recently, similar concerns have been voiced about cell phones and other in-car wireless communication devices. These concerns were vented during a day-long public meeting sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on July 18 and attended by representatives of industry, government and safety groups. Meeting participants revealed strong reluctance to using legislative or regulatory powers to limit the use of electronic communication devices while driving, preferring instead campaigns to educate drivers about safe use of such devices.

Car Sharing USA
Car sharing - a concept born in Europe more than ten years ago - has made its way to America. Small car sharing enterprises have sprung up in five U.S. cities. However, unlike their European counterparts, which have become a recognized service industry with mainstream business partners and broad customer appeal, most U.S. car sharing initiatives are run by grassroots organizations, operate on a shoestring, and cater primarily to convinced environmentalists.

 



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