Comparison and Choice in Urban Transportation

  • Ralph Gakenheimer
Part of the Urban Innovation Abroad book series (UIA)


The critical task in transportation education is deciding what to teach. Transportation problems are kaleidoscopic: viewed from slightly different angles they appear to be entirely different problems — inadequate street capacity, excessive use of private automobiles; misfitting technologies such as low-speed nonmotorized vehicles on high-speed roads, or insufficient public discipline to keep parking from obstructing traffic flow; mud and grades that make ways impassable; service agency inadequacies that make public transport very inefficient; low personal incomes that limit mobility, and so on. Each perspective on the problem requires a different approach and different skills.


Public Transit Case Comparison Professional Community Transit System Traffic Management 
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  1. 1.
    This process of adjustment of problem-solving framework in the transportation community of a developed country can be exemplified by the move toward emphasizing traffic management in the US in the years following 1975. The US Department of Transportation insisted that traffic management largely replace the traditional emphasis of urban transport agencies on large new facilities. There was a period of painful agency adjustment of objectives, much discussion in the national forums of the field, learning of new skills, showcasing of new solutions, engaging new local agencies’ participation in transportation planning, all with a great deal of participation by professional societies, in collaboration with the US Department of Transportation, (viz. Ralph Gakenheimer and Michael D. Meyer. “Urban transportation planning in transition: The rise of short range planning,” in Alan A. Altshuler, ed., Current Issues in Transportation Policy Heath-Lexington Press, 1978, and also in Journal of the American Institute of Planners, January 1979). This same transition from heavy construction to traffic management has been attempted in many developing countries through efforts of the international agencies. It is not surprising that the effort in the developing world has met with much less success.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ralph Gakenheimer, “Urban transportation training for the Third World,” in Research for Tomorrow’s Transport Requirements, Proceedings of the World Conference on Transport Research, Vancouver, Canada, May 1986, pp. 1216–1234. Or Ralph Gakenheimer, “Transportation in urban management and planning for developing countries: The choices for training programs; Attention to Arab world,” 49 pp. Nairobi: UN HABITAT 1985.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Gakenheimer
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA

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