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Vol. 8, No. 1 - January/February 1997

News Analysis & Commentary

  • In the Wake of the November Elections
  • The Sunset of ECO
  • Transit Referenda: A Tale of Two Cities (Seattle and Portland OR)
  • US DOT Establishes Metropolitan Offices

The Intranet -- A New Instrument of Traveler Information
Providing workers with timely and accurate travel-related information in the workplace has been one of the objectives of ITS deployment. Arming employees with reliable information about the state of the roads may help them choose the least congested route home and the best time of departure. But giving employees convenient access to such information is easier said than done.

Neo-Traditional Communities -- Do They Work?
he November 1996 dedication of Celebration, Disney's new Florida community, has once again revived the simmering dispute about neo-traditionalism -- the urban planning movement to recreate close-knit "traditional" communities in contemporary suburbs. A key virtue of these communities, their proponents argue, is that they reduce reliance on the automobile. But, as Alex Marshall argues below, while neo-traditional communities mimic the architectural design of old 19th century neighborhoods, they retain the same transportation system that produces conventional suburbs. The car remains the same dominant force that it is in traditional suburbs, and residents still have to get in their cars and head out to a megamall whenever they need to buy something. Neo-traditionalism's contribution to urban planning, concludes Marshall, will remain purely stylistic unless it makes more effort to change the basic patterns of suburban development.

The Federal Role in Surface Transportation: I
Back in April 1996 we wrote that, despite numerous entreaties to retain most of ISTEA features ("mend it, don't end it"), the reauthorization debate is bound to re-open a wide range of issues that ISTEA was thought to have laid to rest ("ISTEA: The Battle Lines Are Being Drawn," Innovation Briefs, April 1996). Our speculations have proved to be correct. The prospect of reauthorizing surface transportation programs has triggered the most searching reappraisal of the federal role in surface transportation since the passage of the Highway Trust Fund legislation more than fourty years ago. The ISTEA reauthorization also is shaping up as an important test for advocates and opponents of a more decentralized transportation program.


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