About Jeffrey R. Brown (Edit profile)

Jeffrey R. Brown is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University (jbrown3@fsu.edu).

Paved with Good Intentions: Fiscal Politics, Freeways and the 20th Century American City

Jeffrey R. Brown, Eric A. Morris, and Brian D. Taylor

Stuck in traffic in Washington, DC in 1959, President Eisenhower was shocked to learn that the delay was being caused by Interstate Highway construction. Surely the Interstates were being built between cities, not in them. The President demanded to know who was responsible for this state of affairs, only to be told that he was; it was the result of legislation he had signed three years earlier. Aghast, Eisenhower attempted to get the federal government out of the urban freeway business. But it was too late: the program had built up momentum that not even he could halt.

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Reconsider the Gas Tax: Paying for What You Get

Jeffrey R. Brown

Suppose we could design the ideal transportation system from scratch and could pay for it with the most efficient, equitable, flexible, and predictable finance instrument. What kind of finance instrument should we choose? Economists say we should rely principally on user fees. User fees encourage efficient use of the transportation system by making clear the relationship between transportation costs and transportation benefits, which allows users to make informed decisions. Other instruments, by contrast, remove price signals from a traveler’s decision-making, which can lead to inefficient mismatches between supply and demand for transportation. Furthermore, finance instruments not based on user fees may be unfair because individuals who don’t use the transportation system are required to subsidize those who do.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Unlimited Access, Prepaid Transit at Universities

Jeffrey R. Brown, Daniel Baldwin Hess, and Donald Shoup

Imagine a transportation program that increases transit ridership, reduces traffic congestion, saves energy, cleans the air, and costs very little. Many American colleges offer such a program, and they have given it a variety of names—such as BruinGO, UPass, ClassPass, and SuperTicket. We refer collectively to these programs as Unlimited Access. Unlimited Access turns student identification cards into public transit passes. The university pays the transit agency an annual lump sum based on expected student ridership, and the transit agency accepts student identification cards as transit passes. For every student on any day, a bus ride to campus (or anywhere else) is free. Unlimited Access is not free transit, but is instead a new way to pay for transit.

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