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Mass Motorization and Mass Transit: An American History and Policy Analysis Hardcover – June 9, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Jones documents well the politics of postwar efforts by big city mayors to obtain federal aid for rail systems.... He provides good evidence for transit's very limited potential to solve the pressing problems of congestion, energy use, and global warming.... Highly recommended." -- Choice

About the Author

David W. Jones is a historian and policy analyst who has taught at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, where he served as research manager at the Institute for Transportation Studies. Jones has been a staff consultant to regional transportation planning agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (June 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253351529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253351524
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,917,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book was something that I had been seeking for quite some time. In all the discussions of urban transportation and why our cities and suburbs have the structures they do, I had never found an analysis that, for me, provided a convincing and comprehensive explanation for why things are as they are now. This book did that. It goes back to the rise (and subsequent decline) of mass transit in the form of streetcars, subways, and then buses in major metropolitan areas, the reasons why the US became the first motorized nation in the world and continues to be the most motorized nation, the unexpected impacts of both radial and circumferential parkways and freeways on the distribution of homes and jobs, and a myriad of related subjects.

It also tries to address where we go from here. The choices are not easy. Mass transit after 40+ years of public intervention is of only limited help. We have created a built environment that has serious environmental and sustainability problems with not many choices to escape from the cul de sac we find ourselves approaching.

All in all, a book I've been wanting to find and a very satisfying, if disturbing, study. I will note that there were a few text and table errors that better proofreading might have eliminated, but they didn't really distract from the thrust of the arguments presented.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Given his academic credentials, I suppose that I can say that he knows what he's talking about. He does cite much of what he writes. However, he didn't seem to dot his i's and cross his t's before publishing the book. I'm just finishing the first chapter and have already noted several errors, including:

1) Calling the United States a Commonwealth nation
2) His written descriptions of trends do not always match the corresponding tables.
3) In one table, he listed the same country twice, but with two different data values for the same year.

I probably would have purchased a different book if I were doing this over again.
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