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Vol. 9, No. 2 - March/April 1998

The Federal Budget Battleground
With only 100 legislative days left, and with the adjournment deadline in this election year next to inviolate, some observers have even dared to suggest the unthinkable: that another legislative session might come and go without a multi-year bill. If this should come to pass (and no one at this point is prepared to go on the record that it will), devolution advocates would gain a powerful new argument in favor of ending the continuing funding uncertainties by shifting transportation funding responsibilities to the states.

Changing Travel Patterns
There is mounting evidence that our travel patterns have been undergoing profound changes. In the last issue, we reported the results of a new analysis of data from the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) that shows a growing trend toward multiple purpose commutes, also known as "trip chaining." Further confirmation of this change in travel behavior comes from a newly released report by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). The COG report summarizes the findings of a 1994 survey of 11,000 persons in 4,800 households covering more than 40,000 individual trips. Major findings of the COG survey are provided below.

Cars for the Working Poor: II
Our brief, "Cars for the Working Poor" (Jan/Feb _ 98) provoked a spirited response. Some readers took issue with the assertion that transit cannot provide convenient access to suburban jobs, citing experience from Philadelphia and Chicago where reverse commute programs are said to be carrying thousands of inner city workers to jobs in the suburbs. Many readers, however, thought that providing cars to welfare recipients is a better option. Typical of this latter position was a comment from a welfare official from Massachusetts: "We seem to be creating two separate and unequal transportation systems: one for the working poor, the other for everyone else," he wrote. "How else can we explain accepting two-hour commutes for welfare dependents, while finding them intolerable for ourselves?" We offer below two perspectives on this issue: The first is a communication from Brian S. Menzies, President of Charity Cars, Inc., describing this nonprofit venture which provides cars to welfare recipients to help them in their transition from dependency to self-sufficiency. The second perspective, in support of transit and carpooling, comes from Jim Sims, Executive Director of Southern California Rideshare, a unit of Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

Value Pricing: Paying Premium Price For Premium Highway Service
"Value Pricing" has been described as a more benign form of congestion pricing. But there are some fundamental differences between the two concepts - which explains why value pricing is enjoying rising popularity while congestion pricing remains out of favor with the public.

The Challenge of Mobility I: A Report to the World Economic Forum
What forces are going to shape transportation in the early 21st century? What steps must be taken to preserve and enhance mobility in the years ahead? These are the questions the Board of Governors of the World Economic Forum (WEF) posed to a team of transportation researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The findings and conclusions of the MIT team are contained in an interim report presented to the WEF Governors at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in early February. In this two-part series, Innovation Briefs summarizes the report's findings. We begin with a condensed discussion of mobility trends and the role of public transportation.

TransitChoice: A New Vision for Greater Detroit
Continuing our coverage of innovations in public transit, we present below a proposal for a new metropolitan transit strategy for Greater Detroit, developed by a coalition of business, labor and government leaders. The proposal is remarkable for its sweeping vision, its embrace of new technology, its recognition of the need to respond to various customer needs -- and hence for decentralized service delivery, and its cautious step-by-step approach to implementation.


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