ACCESS 30, Spring 2007

Introduction: Change Happens

Melanie Curry

In a constantly evolving field like transportation, it’s crucial for practitioners to be willing to shift perspective, or at least to rethink positions. What seems axiomatic in one period may change when new circumstances arise. Thus, for example, mid-twentieth-century advocacy of more roads to handle growing numbers of vehicles is being re-examined in the face of ever-increasing traffic congestion. Meanwhile new vehicle types slowly replace older ones; new types of buses share streets with old yellow school buses as well as hybrid cars and light rail; and our cities experiment with bus rapid transit, car sharing, traffic calming, and bike lanes.

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Beyond the Automobile?

Sir Peter Hall

There is growing international consensus that the world needs a successor to the motor car. A deluge of commentary in recent times has alerted us all to the hazards of air pollution, traffic congestion, petroleum consumption, and now global warming. The automobile is said to be the cause of it all. Some argue that decentralization of cities and low suburban densities force people to use cars. Transportation and urban planners everywhere have been looking for remedies, preferably by finding an alternative to the car such as the bus or train.

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Dispatch from Sydney: Transport in the Land of Oz

John Landis

Australia—or Oz as it is colloquially known—is instantly recognizable to visiting Americans, even those like myself who had never been there before. As in the US, most of Australia’s population lives in metropolitan areas within twenty miles of the coast. A majority of Australians live in suburban communities, and single-family homes are the dominant housing form. Australia’s home ownership rate stands at seventy percent, slightly above the US rate.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: The Incredible Shrinking Energy R&D Budget

Daniel Kammen and Gregory F. Nemet

The federal government and private industry are both reducing their investments in energy research and development (R&D) at a time when geo- politics, environmental concerns, and economic competitiveness call instead for a major expansion in US capacity to innovate in this sector. The 2005 federal budget reduced energy R&D by eleven percent from 2004. The American Association for the Advancement of Science projects a decline in federal energy R&D of eighteen percent by 2009. Meanwhile, investments in energy R&D by US companies fell by fifty percent between 1991 and 2003.

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