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The Road More Traveled: Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What We Can Do About It Hardcover – September 27, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book adds three unusual assets to the congestion debate--it's bright and readable, chock-full of facts, and provides real world solutions. The Road More Traveled should be required reading not only for planners and their students, but for anyone who loves cities and wants them to thrive as real places, not merely as museums, in the 21st century. (Joel Kotkin)

The Road More Traveled is a well-written, logical, and practical approach to congestion mitigation in America. I strongly encourage that it be read by every public policy maker who is struggling for real solutions to the traffic congestion crisis facing our nation. It dispels long-standing myths, replaces them with factual data, and offers results-based solutions. (S. David Doss)

The Road More Traveled provides a thoughtful analysis on the causes of congestion and offers detailed suggestions for relieving it in America's cities. Balaker and Staley clearly debunk the myth that there is nothing we can do about congestion. (Mary E. Peters)

The Road More Traveled clearly outlines the transportation infrastructure problems facing our country and examines several innovative funding solutions. This book will change the way Americans view our highways and interstates and show them how we can build better roads at less expense for the next generation. (Senator Jim DeMint)

The Road More Traveled is an important wake-up call to us all, but especially to policy makers and transportation officials. Balaker and Staley convincingly show how costly traffic conjestion is. But more importantly they demonstrate that the defeatists who claim that we should just learn to live with gridlock are wrong. The book lays out a road map for restoring our lost mobility. One can only hope that policy makers, government officials, community leaders, and the media read this book. (Robert D. Atkinson)

Many people complain about highway traffic and many policy makers respond with plans for more transit and more HOV lanes. To help us all get past the quackery, Balaker and Staley argue persuasively for policies that might actually work. Buy their book, read it, and then send it on to your favorite political representative. (Peter Gordon)

About the Author

Ted Balaker is the Jacobs Fellow and editor of Privatization Watch at the Reason Foundation. Balaker spent five years with ABC Network News producing pieces on a wide array of issues, including privatization, government reform, regulation, addiction, the environment, and transportation policy. Sam Staley is 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. Staley has more than 25 years of experience working in urban policy and has written more than 80 professional articles and reports and his commentary has been nationally syndicated. He is the author of Drug Policy and the Decline of American Cities (1992) and Planning Rules and Urban Economic Performance: The Case of Hong Kong (1994), and co-editor of Smarter Growth: Market-Based Strategies for Land Use Planning in the 21st Century (2001).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (September 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742551121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742551121
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,038,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rob Shearer on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an important book for planners, planning commission members, staff and elected officials to read -- especially for anyone involved in the policy-making, planning or approval side of the road construction business. It offers a general apologetic for the value of mobility, independence and flexibility. It argues eloquently that congestion is an evil to be avoided.

Its two hardest-hitting chapters are an eloquent defense of suburbia (debunking ten myths) and an exposé on the "congestion coalition" which has perversely encouraged and acquiesced in congestion in the misguided belief that "it's good for us." The chapter on the "congestion coalition" has some interesting analysis on that ubiquitous planning agency known as an "MPO."

But by far the most valuable section of the book is its four chapters of real-world examples and practical suggestions. The authors draw our attention to the innovative ways in which massive public projects are being planned and financed overseas, with some suggestions on how those techniques might be used in the US. There is a fascinating chapter on how Houston "built its way out of congestion." -- and an equally fascinating chapter on the success of variable tolling on the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, California. Chapter 10 offers a variety of practical suggestions on how to tame congestion. Suggestion one: "Build sufficient road capacity to handle the growth in travel demand."

The last chapter is a clarion call to action. It lays out Ten Steps to Congestion Relief beginning with "Admit that Mobility is good" and ending with a challenge to "Take the Long View."

The notion that we cannot build our way out of congestion is wrong. It's wrong historically, and it's wrong technically.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wigginton on February 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If this book were nearly unreadable and merely served to make its point in dense prose, it would be well worth its price and then some for making a common sense point that has been given short shrift in planning debates. Luckily for us, however, the authors have produced an emminiently accessible work that allows any reasonably literate person with or without a degree in urban planning to have a better understanding of how mobility profoundly affects all of our lives and how our mobility has become constrained over the past few decades by a combination of well-intentioned but poor urban planning and outright congestion-by-design.

The authors key point is a simple one: mobility matters. It matters economically and it matters socially. The ability of citizens of modest means to travel expeditiously and cheaply opens up to those citizens a wider range of job opportunities and social interactions than would otherwise be available. Mobility makes our economy richer and social lives more fulfilling. Part of the promise of a free society can only be obtained if we are free to navigate the physical landscape on which that society exists. Your ability to travel 10 miles or 25 miles or 50 miles to commute, to shop to visit friends and relatives, makes your life richer than it would be if your freedom of movement were limited to narrow corridors or tight spheres.

A couple of examples: the authors point to dating patterns in a large metropolitan area which have been limited to realtively tight geographic areas due to the hassle that navigating traffic congestion poses to the process of looking for mates further afield. Simply put: A person won't seek to date whom he or she cannot easily reach.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Richardson on August 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book could save us a Billion dollars! (Or more)

First, I must give you some background on why I was frantically looking for a well written, fact packed book on the cost benefits of rail vs. highways and which one makes the most sense in terms of cost, convenience, efficiency, safety and actual usage.

In Madison, Wisconsin our "Mayor Dave" and our Dane County Executive recently "announced an agreement" at a press conference in June 07. The announcement was the two of them had decided for a county of 450,000 people to go ahead with plans for a commuter rail plan for Madison and two closeby towns AND a Trolley system for downtown Madison only.

The Commuter rail system is to use the surface rail tracks (not subway or elevated) laid down in the post Civil War era when there were no autos, trucks, and busses and few roads! Ignoring this fact and even admitting in the Transport 2020 report that a rail system would "likely increase traffic congestion" they decided they wanted a Train and a Trolley too!

The cost?

Estimates for the build-out are around a billion dollars. Who pays? You know...Taxpayers at all levels. Locally another 1/2 per cent added to our 5.5% sales taxes- already above the rest of the state - to raise $46 Million a year forever to subsidize the rail system.

Moreover, like the movie "Dumb and Dumber" my Mayor Dave made a second choice. How about another $250,000 (start up costs only) for his favorite toy - a couple of miles of Trolley system that he knew the County taxpayers would be happy to support. (Even though they would likely never use it)

Note: The Mayor and the County Executive are nice people and they are not dumb, but the rail and trolley plans being proposed certainly are!
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