The Geography of Urban Transportation

The Geography of Urban Transportation

The Geography of Urban Transportation

The Geography of Urban Transportation


In this classic text and professional resource, leading geographers and urban planners present the foundational concepts and methodological tools that readers need to understand and engage with today's pressing policy issues. Covered are such key topics as passenger and freight dynamics in the American metropolis; the urban transportation planning process, including the use of GIS; and questions related to public transit, land use, energy, equity, environmental impacts, and more. The book features more than 100 maps, charts, and photographs.

New to This Edition:

• Heightened emphasis on policy.

• Chapters on intercity travel and transportation finance.

• Concluding chapter that integrates key themes and provides some practical approaches to solving urban transportation problems.


Transportation is arguably the backbone of urban life; without it, activities in cities grind to a halt. Transportation is also the source of many seemingly intractable urban problems, namely, congestion, pollution, inequality, and reliance on fossil fuels. This third edition of The Geography of Urban Transportation sustains the fundamental line of argument that informed the book's previous incarnations: how citizens and policymakers conceptualize a problem informs how they go about studying and analyzing it, and analysis, in turn, informs policy formulation, decision making, and ultimately the shape of the urban transportation system itself.

For many years the urban transportation problem was equated with congestion, and the analytical structure devised to address the problem (the four-stage urban transportation model system) aimed to guide the building of capacity-increasing new infrastructures, most often highways. However, with growing concerns about air pollution and other environmental damage, mobility of those without access to a private vehicle, and the long-term consequences of an urban transport system almost entirely dependent upon the private vehicle, pressure for policy change accumulated throughout the 1980s. The passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991 was the culmination of these forces and symbolized a fundamental change in perspective. The urban transportation problem was no longer conceived of simply as congestion; questions of environmental management, historic preservation, and citizen participation, among others, were placed firmly on the mainstream transportation agenda. In this third edition, we trace out how this shift in thinking has altered the nature of the urban transportation planning process, changed the policy context, and enlarged the scope for citizen input.

Like its predecessor editions, this one is aimed at advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. This edition retains the basic three-part structure of the previous two editions. The first part sets the scene by explaining core concepts, providing overviews of passenger and freight movements in the urban context, describing the history of transportation and urban form, and assessing the likely impact of information technology on travel patterns and urban form. The second part introduces students to the urban transportation . . .

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