Innovation Briefs
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Vol. 8, No. 2 - March/April 1997

Innovations in Automobile Marketing
New automobile retailing methods, responding to consumers' distaste for high-pressure sales tactics and to their desire for increased convenience, and employing modern techniques of mass market-ing and inven-tory man-age-ment, offer a prospect of revolu-tionizing the business of buying and selling cars. While these methods are responsible for only a small fraction of cars sold today, analysts at MIT's Mobility Observatory believe they augur a trend that will grow in strength in the years ahead.

The Future of Transportation Demand Management
The December 1995 Congressional repeal of the Employee Commute Option (ECO) require-ment, and the recent relaxation of Southern California's employer trip reduction regulation have modified the imple-mentation environment for transportation demand management (TDM). Programs aimed at reducing solo driving must once again rely on volun-tary compliance rather than on threats of regula-to-ry sanc-tions. What role will TDM play in the post-regulato-ry era? INNOVATION BRIEFS will address this question in a series of commentaries by transportation professionals representing different points of view. We begin this dialogue with an expression of editorial opinion.

The Federal Role in Surface Transportation: II
The question of the respective roles of state and federal government in surface transpor-tation has become a pivotal issue in the upcoming ISTEA reauthorization debate. To illuminate the debate, Innovation Briefs has invited trans-portation leaders represent-ing a broad spectrum of views to share their vision of the future federal role in surface trans-portation. We opened the dialogue in our Janu-ary/February issue with a commen-tary by Robert Poole, an advocate of devolu-tion. In this issue, we feature two oppos-ing points of view: those of John B. Daly, Commis-sioner of the New York State Depart-ment of Transporta-tion, who offers a rebuttal to Mr. Poole's position; and Governor George Voinovich of Ohio, who takes a strong stand in favor of turning the highway program back to the states.

Traffic Calming
"Traffic Calming," i.e. sheltering residential communities from unwanted traffic, has been championed by planners for many years. But when the Institute for Transporta-tion Engineers selected traffic calming as its number one priority for 1997, it became clear that the problem of traffic in neigh-borhoods no longer is a concern of just a few activists.

Devolution: The Debate Continues
Informed observers give the Kasich-Mack bill little chance of passage during this session of Congress. But its supporters are not discouraged. They believe that time — and the tide of history — are on their side. "Oppo-nents of devolu-tion can only fight a rear guard action," one senior state DOT official told us. "They can slow but they cannot halt the march toward leaner central govern-ment. The shift toward greater decentralization of power and responsibili-ty is irreversible."

The Battle Over Tighter Air Quality Standards Heats Up
The battle over the proposed revised air quality standards, or at least its first round, is being waged over scientific evidence of adverse health effects (or lack thereof) rather than over economic impact of more strin-gent stan-dards. Experts testifying before a subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Commit-tee agreed that there are still substan-tial gaps in our knowledge of the health effects of ozone and fine particulate matter, and that more research is needed to improve our understand-ing of these effects. But they could not agree on what action, if any, the Environmen-tal Protec-tion Agency should take in the face of the current uncertainties.


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