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Vol. 13, No. 3- May/June 2002

An Emerging Consensus on Surface Transportation

As part of its surface transportation reauthorization agenda, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has launched a series of eleven hearings on the state of the nation's surface transportation system. After receiving testimony from senior officials of the US Department of Transportation, the committee held a session devoted to the subject of "Mobility, Congestion and Intermodalism." We present below a condensed version of the testimony of your editor, one of several witnesses invited to testify in that session (other witnesses included: Alan Pisarski; Tim Lomax, TTI;, Anthony Downs, Brookings Institution; Ron Sims, King County (WA) Executive; and Fred Salvucci, MIT).

From Just-in-Time to Just-in-Case:
Long-term Impact of Increased Transportation Security
Since September 11, the transportation landscape in the U.S. has been dramatically changed - forever. The U.S. now joins the rest of the world in the need to respond to potential terrorist threats from enemies who know no civilized restraints. Security-related responses in the transportation sector focus on four areas: Preparedness (threat assessment and asset protection); Prevention (counterterrorism), Response (planning, training, equipping for emergencies), and Recovery (emergency relief and continuity of operations). Steven C. Lockwood, a Vice President with Parsons Brinckerhoff, and former FHWA Associate Administrator for Policy, considers the long-term consequences of coping with the terrorist threat.

Reshaping the American Landscape
Are American inner cities truly rebounding? So claim Paul S. Grogan and Tony Proscio, in their widely noticed book "Comeback Cities." But the facts - demographic, economic and technological -- just don't bear out the notion of a massive revival, contends Joel Kotkin, author of another highly acclaimed book, "The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution Is Reshaping the American Landscape." (Random House, 2001). Mr. Kotkin summarizes his views below.

The Challenges of the New Demography
We have asked Alan Pisarski, a respected transportation analyst and author of "Commuting in America," to summarize his perspective on the transportation impact of current demographic trends. Mr. Pisarski's commentary is based on the testimony he recently gave at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.

Cologne's Intelligent Parking Management System
A number of cities throughout the world have deployed sophisticated electronic information systems in order to enhance access to and circulation within city centers. One of the most advanced such systems can be found in Cologne, Germany. Cologne's STADTINFOKÖLN (CityInfoCologne) beams travel-related information to personal computers, in-car telematics displays, information kiosks, passenger information displays at bus stops and variable message signs mounted in strategic places on approaches to the city. Travelers receive the latest information about traffic conditions and road closures, obtain route recommendations, and can compare travel time by auto and public transit for any link on the network. One of the most innovative features of STADTINFOKÖLN is a dynamic parking management system that not only informs city-bound travelers about parking availability at suburban train stations and parking garages in the city center, but also estimates availability of metered on-street parking and offers a parking reservation service.


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