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Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive Twenty-first Century Hardcover – December 16, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Speaking from our experiences in Texas, Sam Staley and Adrian Moore get it right in Mobility First. As our nation's population continues to grow and our infrastructure continues to age, we need to come up with new solutions to meeting transportation needs. The recommendations in Mobility First will no doubt cause an uproar in some quarters, but the position they take is one that will move the dialogue forward and help America remain competitive in our increasingly global economy. (Rick Perry, Governor of Texas)

In spite of a considerable volume of research by urban economists over the last 40+ years, there is still a huge gap between the policies and projects that are routinely put forward by policy makers and the ones that solid research supports. . . . Serious researchers have little good to say about the conventional approaches; most suggest the policies outlined in Mobility First. The arguments are clearly stated and well documented. The rest is up to those who are serious about better transportation policy. They should read this book. (Peter Gordon, professor, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California)

This work by Staley and Moore is an invaluable contribution to the looming public choice question in the debate over the proper use of roads and railways and how alternative pricing and financial arrangements can allocate resources for mobility that allows for the greatest individual freedom. (Lawrence Lai, University of Hong Kong)

Sam Staley and Adrian Moore, both of the Reason Foundation, have come out with an excellent and highly readable book on urban transportation policy. Mobility First belongs on any list of outstanding planning books of 2008 in my opinion. In fact, I would place it very near the top if not at the very top of the list. (C. Kenneth Orski Innovation Newsbriefs)

Mobility First is an interesting and, yes, reasoned take on the congestion problems plaguing roads in the United States and elsewhere, and it does not stint in suggesting ways to improve how we fund, plan, and build roads. Millions of commuters stuck in agonizing traffic delays or enduring painfully long commutes would surely agree forthwith on any strategy that worked. (Civil Engineering, June 2009)

Mobility First differs from most other urban transport books by constantly reminding us that the economic viability of cities depends on the ability of the transport system to respond to consumer demand for trips and that that demand is constantly evolving. Staley and Moore cover the economics of transport as well as the design details that could contribute to increased mobility. This book is a must read for urban managers of large cities in the United States and around the world who are facing rapid urbanization coupled with urban income increase and therefore constantly evolving demand for urban transport. They will find answers for adapting existing urban transport systems to constantly evolving land use patterns and to households and firms demand for increased mobility. (Alain Bertaud, former principal planner, Urban Development Division of The World Bank)

The authors detail how to fix America's gridlocked and deteriorating road and transit systems, offering solutions to modernize transit and expand, road capacity, set goals for reducing congestion, increase performance standards and transparency, and change the way the nation funds its roads and highways. (Inbound Logistics 2011-07-01)

About the Author

Sam Staley is the director of urban and land use policy at the Reason Foundation. He is also senior fellow at both the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions. His books include The Road More Traveled: Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What We Can Do About It (Rowman & Littlefield 2006) and Smarter Growth: Market-Based Strategies for Land Use Planning in the 21st Century.

Adrian Moore is vice president of research at Reason. He is the coauthor of Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; First Edition edition (December 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742558797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742558793
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,755,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the title says, a solid assessment of existing problems. If you are interested in that side of the story, vs. the solutions, stop now and go ahead and read the book. I gave it four stars because I knew nothing about urban planning or the science behind transportation systems, with the exception of Vranich's anti-Amtrak-management diatribe in "End of the Line".

If you are already aware of the problems facing our transportation system, you will probably want something more forward thinking in addition to this book. My personal opinion is that the solution to more affordable, efficient transportation will come through a new medium. Whether it's Musk's "hyperloop" concept or something else, the only way Americans will give up their precious combustion engines en masse is in exchange for something fancy, shiny, and new that makes the automobile entirely obsolete.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book, as it gives a different perspective on urban transportation systems here in the United States. Solutions to many of the mobility issues facing US cities today, especially road congestion, are presented. The solutions preferred by the authors are very aggressive and non-traditional. Reading this book has strengthened my view that solutions to our transportation issues are an important piece to keeping the United States economy strong globally.

I found the chapter on New York City to be especially interesting. It broadened my perspective on the relationship between different modes of transportation in our nation's largest and most complex city.
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