Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Handbook of Transportation Policy and Administration (Public Administration and Public Policy)

By Jeremy Plant
Publisher: CRC

Number Of Pages: 656
Publication Date: 2007-02-22
ISBN-10 / ASIN: 1574445650
ISBN-13 / EAN: 9781574445657
Binding: Hardcover

In the past few decades, the field of transportation has changed dramatically. Deregulation and greater reliance on markets and the private sector has helped to reconfigure the transport industries, while the rise of intermodal goods and global commerce has produced efficiencies of operation and a greater interdependence among transport modes. In addition, security issues have moved to the forefront as officials struggle with the challenge of protecting the vast transportation system while maintaining its operational efficiencies and effectiveness.

Taking a multidisciplinary approach, the Handbook of Transportation Policy and Administration addresses the changes facing the field of transportation. Organized into five sections, it describes and analyzes major modes of transportation and components of the contemporary transportation system. Later chapters consider policy and administration and focus on managing transportation systems and assets. The final section covers security and protection of transportation systems. The handbook explores continuing development in the US and other nations, with an emphasis on the challenges created by technological change, globalization of the world economy, and the threat of terrorism. It examines the current state of major modes of transportation (air, rail, highways, waterways, ports, urban mass transit) and presents public policies and management approaches to make transportation systems efficient, innovative, and responsive.

Drawing from scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including public policy, public administration, geography, economics, business logistics, engineering, and management, the Handbook of Transportation Policy and Administration serves as a comprehensive, single-volume reference for scholars, students, public officials, business and civic leaders, and transportation practitioners.

Summary: many problems of limited, aging capacity
Rating: 4

Last week, a cover article in US News and World Report talked about commuting in the US. How increasing vehicle ownership and usage has turned many cities into commuting nightmares. Starting with [no surprise!] Los Angeles.

Which is timely backdrop for this book. The editors look at the national situation of transportation and ask how it could be improved. Nor is this confined to roads. Air transport, ports and railways all get their say. For all 4 modalities, there has been sustained increased usage over recent decades. Drived in part by greater international trade or globalisation.

This has led to some ports like Long Beach and Los Angeles being heavily congested. One chapter discusses the upgrading of the Alameda corridor, which is a railway link going from Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles. The current situation has huge bottlenecks for unloading the large cargo ships. Leading to delays and higher costs. As well as greater pollution by idling trucks.

That chapter about the Alameda corridor is instructive. For it shows how ports, rails and roads often have to be considered as closely related entities. At least where cargo is concerned.

The book also reflects our current times. Six chapters at the end are devoted to security. Protecting against terrorism. Railroads are seen as a crucial weakness. For much hazardous material is transported by train. Often, these routes go through or near heavily populated urban regions. Think Bhopal. Another aspect focusing much government attention is defending seaports against possible nukes arriving in cargo ships.

No comments: