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Vol. 9, No. 1 - January/February 1998

News Analysis & Commentary

  • ISTEA Successor Legislation: The Fight Has Already Begun
  • The Spirit of Devolution Lives On
  • EPA Will Give Credits for Voluntary Trip Reduction Programs
  • Transit Referenda
  • Proposed Air Quality Standards Challenged in Court

How Americans Travel
A recently released survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics provides a fresh snapshot of the country's long distance travel patterns. The survey confirms that Americans' love affair with the car has turned into a durable marriage. Meanwhile, new analysis of data from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) explains why the use of transit and carpooling is on the decline.

Cars For the Working Poor
How to get welfare recipients to and from work in sprawling car-dependent suburbs is one of the most vexing issues in the overhaul of the welfare system. Conventional thinking had carless workers commute to suburban jobs by public transportation. Now, many human services officials are coming to the conclusion that buses and vans may not be the answer. What welfare recipients need, they say, is reliable personal transportation.

New Mobility Concepts: II
Confronted with increasingly crowded urban roads and a maturing market, European automobile makers are experimenting with a variety of new mobility concepts. In the last issue, we reported on one facet of this trend: the move toward smaller vehicles, culminating in development of a radically smaller "city car" that is meant to be as much a life style statement as sheer transportation (New Mobility Concepts: I," Innovations Briefs, November/December 1997). In this issue we describe a variety of new automobile-related initiatives aimed at responding to different customer needs and designed to appeal to specialized market segments. Our reportage is based on a report published in the United Kingdom by FT Automotive* and on the work of International Mobility Observatory, a project of MIT's Cooperative Mobility Re-search Pro-gram. The aim of the Observatory is to monitor and document change and innovation in the transportation sector --and to examine significant transportation trends likely to affect society, the economy and the transportation industry in the early 21st century.

GM's OnStar : Offering Safety, Security and Convenience
Personal safety and security, followed closely by travel-related services, are what motorists seem to want most out of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology. General Motors offers both in its OnStar service which combines wireless communication and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology with old-fashioned attention to personalized customer service. But is there more behind GM's strategy than meets the eye?


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