Brian D. Taylor

About Brian D. Taylor (Edit profile)

Brian D. Taylor is Professor of Urban Planning, Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, and Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles (btaylor@g.ucla.edu).

Rethinking Traffic Congestion

Brian D. Taylor

Traffic congestion and cities, it seems, go hand in hand. Everyone complains about being stuck in traffic; but, like the weather, no one seems to do anything about it. In particular, traffic engineers, transportation planners, and public officials responsible for metropolitan transportation systems are frequently criticized for failing to make a dent in congestion. But is traffic congestion a sign of failure? Long queues at restaurants or theater box offices are seen as signs of success. Should transportation systems be viewed any differently? I think we should recognize that traffic congestion is an inevitable by-product of vibrant, successful cities, and view the “congestion problem” in a different light.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Gas Tax Dilemma

Mary Hill, Brian D. Taylor and Martin Wachs

Prior to 1923 California, like most states, financed highway construction and maintenance by issuing general obligation bonds. By the early ’20s direct appropriations for highways and interest payments on the bonds had risen to more than 40 percent of the state’s budget. So in 1923 California adopted a new system of highway finance using earmarked user fees, in particular the per-gallon fuel tax. Before long all fifty states had similar user taxes, as did the federal government.

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Lost Riders

Brian D. Taylor and William S. McCullough

During the early years of the Great Depression, public transit ridership plummeted by one-third, marking the 20th century trend toward private automobile travel. Sixty years later, transit riding again dropped during the economic recession between 1989 and 1993 , particularly on the nation’s largest transit systems. Although the economy recovered during the mid-1990s and transit patronage stabilized nationally, ridership has not returned to pre-recession levels.

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Does Contracting Transit Service Save Money?

William S. McCullough, Brian D. Taylor, and Martin Wachs

Reflecting the international trend toward privatizing government services, many scholars and elected officials favor contracting out public transit services. During the 1980s many states and the federal government implemented policies that explicitly favored private-sector participation in the provision of transit service. Proponents continue to argue that contracting will bring dramatic cost savings and improved service and have recently convinced many transit agencies to switch to contracted service.

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Why California Stopped Building Freeways

Brian D. Taylor

Planning and construction of metropolitan freeway systems in the 1950s and 1906s are frequently cited examples gone awry. Critics point to insulated and indifferent highway builders, who concern themselves more with traffic flow than communities and carve up cities with little regard for the negative social, psychological, and aesthetic effects of freeways. Many freeway projects in cities around the country provoked “freeway revolts” – intense community opposition to specific freeways projects which lead officials to delete controversial routes from state freeway plans.

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