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Vol. 12, No. 6 - November/December 2001

The National Summit on Transportation Operations
For the past two years, the U.S. transportation community has engaged in an intensive dialogue about "transportation operations."* The dialogue culminated in a "National Summit on Transportation Operations," held on October 16-18 in Columbia, Maryland and attended by more than 200 invited transportation professionals. Continuing our coverage of this initiative, we offer below a report of the meeting.

A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century
The New Politics of Mobility
Continuing our series "A Transportation Agenda for the 21st Century," we offer below a commentary by Robert D. Atkinson, Vice President of the Progressive Policy Institute, the think tank of the Democratic Leadership Council whose past chairmen include former President Clinton and House Minority Leader Richard Gephart (D-MO). Mr. Atkinson's views have struck us as providing an excellent foundation for a bipartisan consensus on a transportation policy agenda for the 21st century.

The Prospects for Intercity Passenger Rail in the Aftermath of September 11
The events of the 11th of September have heightened the interest in intercity train service as an alternative to flying. Rail advocates contend that the increased use of Amtrak in the wake of the terrorist attacks has underscored the need for a national system of high-speed passenger rail services. Amtrak was quick to exploit these sentiments. It asked for an emergency cash infusion of $3.2 billion as part of the federal relief package, even though, as critics point out, it suffered no loss of passengers or revenue as a result of the terrorist attacks. But even if Amtrak is successful in obtaining emergency help, its problems are by no means over.

The Hybrid Car
Hybrid cars offer a relatively painless way to conserve fuel without changing Americans' driving habits. They are lauded by environmentalists for their fuel economy, praised by their owners for spunky performance and promoted by the Bush administration as an alternative to modifying the current corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards. Ever since Honda and Toyota launched their hybrid car entries in America last year, interest in them has soared. Then why are U.S. automakers so slow in bringing the hybrids to the market?

Can Mobility Be Made "Sustainable"?
An initiative to develop a vision of "sustainable mobility" that will meet the needs of society by the year 2030 has been launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Mobility (WBCSD). The council, whose members read like a Who's Who in world automotive industry, has been conducting a series of "stakeholder meetings" to obtain different regional perspectives on the challenges to sustainable mobility.* Concurrently, the Council commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with participation by Charles River Associates (CRA), to prepare a report assessing the current state of mobility and identifying the research needed to develop the Mobility 2030 vision. The report , which was released on October 11, is available at www.wbcsdmobility.org. The Sustainable Mobility Project now moves into its next phase - developing an action-oriented agenda. We offer below two perspectives on transport sustainability. The first is by George Eads, CRA Vice President and Director of the "Mobility 2001" project. The second is by Melvin M. Webber, distinguished scholar, Professor Emeritus of Planning at the University of California, Berkely, founding Director of UC Transportation Center and editor of its ACCESS Magazine.

 



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