Urban Transportation Planning In The US - A Historical Overview/Nov 1992
Urban Transportation Planning
in the United States
An Historical Overview
Office of Economics
Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Policy and International Affairs
Office of the Secretary of Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20590
Distributed in Cooperation with
Technology Sharing Program
U.S. Department of Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20590
Urban transportation planning is carried out primarily by state and
local agencies. Over the years, much experience has been gained in
the planning and evaluation of urban transportation systems. This
knowledge can be useful to planners and decision makers in the
development and implementation of transportation system changes.
In this context, it is important to understand the transportation
and planning options which have been tried, and how they developed
into the approaches we have today. This report describes the
evolution of urban transportation planning over the last sixty
This is the Fourth Edition of this report which was first published
in 1983. The earlier edition discussed urban transportation
planning to mid-1986. This edition updates the evolution of urban
transportation planning and policy to mid-1992. it also contains
many additions and some revisions to the earlier edition. This
report is an updated version of "Evolution of Urban Transportation
Planning" which was published in 1979 as Chapter 15 in Public
Transportation: Planning, Operations and Management., edited by
George E. Gray and Lester L. Hoel.
The report focuses on key events in the evolution of urban
transportation planning including developments in technical
procedures, philosophy, processes and institutions. But, planners
must also be aware of changes in legislation, policy, regulations
and technology. These events have been included to provide a more
complete picture of the forces that have affected and often
continue to affect urban transportation planning.
Summarizing so much history in a single report requires difficult
choices. The efforts of many individuals and groups made important
contributions to the development of urban
transportation planning. Clearly, not all of these contributions
could be included or cited. This report concentrates on the key
events of national significance and thereby tries to capture the
overall evolution of urban transportation planning. Focusing on
key events also serves as a convenient point to discuss
developments in a particular area.
The report is generally arranged chronologically. Each period is
titled with the major theme pervading that period as viewed by the
author. Not all key events fit precisely under a particular theme,
but many do. The discussion of the background for some events or
the follow-on activities for others may cover more than one time
period and is placed where it seemed most relevant.
The report takes a multimodal perspective and attempts to provide a
balanced view among a number of subject areas including:
Significant Federal legislation
Major, relevant Federal regulations and policies
Transportation service alternatives
Manuals and methodological developments
National transportation studies
National data resources
Local events with national significance
Over the years, the author has discussed these events with many
persons in the profession. Often they had participated in or had
first hand knowledge of the events. The author appreciates their
assistance, even though they are too numerous to mention
In preparing this report, the author was directly aided by several
individuals who provided information on specific events. Their
assistance is appreciated: Barry Berlin, Susan Binder, Norman
Cooper, Frederick W. Ducca, Christopher R. Fleet, Charles A.
Hedges, Anthony R. Kane, Thomas Koslowski, Ira Laster, James J.
McDonnell, Florence Miller, Camille C. Mittelholtz, Norman Paulhus,
Elizabeth A. Parker, John Peak, Sam Rea, Carl Rappaport, James A.
Scott, Mary Lynn Tischer, Jimmy Yu, and Samuel Zimmerman.
The author appreciates the review comments provided by: Donald
Emerson, David S. Gendell, James Getzewich, Charles H. Graves,
Thomas J. Hillegass, Howard S. Lapin, Herbert S. Levinson, Alfonso
B. Linhares, Gary E. Maring, Ali F. Sevin, Gordon Shunk, Peter R.
Stopher, Carl N. Swerdloff, Paul L. Verchinski, and George
Any errors of fact or interpretation are the responsibility of the
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i
1. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
2. EARLY HIGHWAY PLANNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Need for Highway Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1934. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Electric Railway Presidents' Conference Committee. . . . . .12
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. . . . . . . . . .13
AASHO Policy on Geometric Design of Rural Highways . . . . .14
Toll Road Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Highway Capacity Manual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Interregional Highway Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
3. BEGINNINGS OF URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING19
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Early Urban Travel Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Early Transit Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Dawn of Analytical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
AASHO Manual on User Benefit Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . .27
Breakthroughs in Analytical Techniques . . . . . . . . . . .28
National Committee on Urban Transportation . . . . . . . . .31
Housing Act of 1954. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
Pioneering Urban Transportation Studies. . . . . . . . . . .32
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
Sagamore Conference on Highways and Urban Development. . . .36
Housing Act of 1961. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
4. URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING COMES OF AGE . . . . . . . . .39
Joint Report on Urban Mass Transportation. . . . . . . . . .39
President Kennedy's Transportation Message . . . . . . . . .41
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Hershey Conference on Urban Freeways . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Implementation of the 1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act . . . . .44
Conventional Urban Travel Forecasting Process. . . . . . . .47
Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. . . . .50
Highway Planning Program Manual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964. . . . . . . . . . . .54
Urban Development Simulation Models. . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Williamsburg Conference on Highways and Urban Development. .56
5. IMPROVED INTERGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION. . . . . . . . . . .59
Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. . . . . . . . . .60
1966 Amendments to the Urban Mass Transportation Act . . . .60
Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1966. . . . . . . .61
Department of Transportation Act of 1966 . . . . . . . . . .63
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 . . . . . . . . .64
Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development
Act of 1966 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Dartmouth Conference on Urban Development Models . . . . . .66
Reserved Bus Lanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
National Highway Needs Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
"Continuing" Urban Transportation Planning . . . . . . . . .75
Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968. . . . . . . . . .77
Bureau of the Budget's Circular No. A-95 . . . . . . . . . .77
6.ENVIRONMENT AND CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT81
Citizen Participation and the Two-Hearing Process
for Highways. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. . . . . . . . . .82
Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970. . . . . . . .83
Nationwide Personal Transportation Study . . . . . . . . . .84
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Boston Transportation Planning Review. . . . . . . . . . . .87
Urban Corridor Demonstration Program . . . . . . . . . . . .89
Census Journey-to-Work Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91
7. BEGINNINGS OF MULTIMODAL URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING . . .95
Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970 . . . . . .97
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Conference on Urban Commodity Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Mt. Pocono Conference on Urban Transportation Planning . . 101
DOT Initiatives Toward Planning Unification. . . . . . . . 102
Process Guidelines for Highway Projects. . . . . . . . . . 103
UMTA's External Operating Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Williamsburg Conference on Urban Travel Forecasting. . . . 106
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Endangered Species Act of 1973 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Urban Highways. . . . 110
1972 and 1974 National Transportation Studies. . . . . . . 111
National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974. . . . 113
PLANPAC and UTPS Batteries of Computer Programs. . . . . . 114
8. TRANSITION TO SHORT-TERM PLANNING. . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Emergency Energy Legislation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Service and Methods Demonstration Program. . . . . . . . . 119
OTA's Report on Automated Guideway Transit . . . . . . . . 120
Model 13(c) Labor Protection Agreement for Operating
Assistance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Joint Highway-Transit Planning Regulations . . . . . . . . 124
Policy on Major Urban Mass Transportation Investments. . . 128
Characteristics of Urban Transportation Systems. . . . . . 130
Light Rail Transit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
ITE Trip Generation Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Urban System Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Road Pricing Demonstration Program . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
National Transportation Trends and Choices . . . . . . . . 138
Transit Uniform System of Accounts and Records . . . . . . 139
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
9. ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
1978 National Urban Policy Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978. . . . . . . 148
Quick Response Urban Travel Forecasting Techniques . . . . 150
National Energy Act of 1978. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Council on Environmental Quality's Regulations . . . . . . 153
BART Impact Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
International Conferences on Behavioral Travel Demand. . . 158
National Ridesharing Demonstration Program . . . . . . . . 161
Urban Initiatives Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Section 504 Regulations on Accessibility
for the Handicapped . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
National Transportation Policy Study Commission. . . . . . 166
Aspen Conference on Future Urban Transportation. . . . . . 167
Highway Performance Monitoring System. . . . . . . . . . . 169
10. DECENTRALIZATION OF DECISIONMAKING . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
President Reagan's Memorandum on Regulations . . . . . . . 171
Airlie House Conference on Urban Transportation Planning
in the 1980's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1981. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
E.O. 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs. 174
Woods Hole Conference on Future Directions of Urban
Public Transportation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Easton Conference on Travel Analysis Methods
for the 1980's. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. . . . . . . 179
Advent of Microcomputers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
New Urban Transportation Planning Regulations. . . . . . . 184
11. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Paratransit Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Conferences on Goods Transportation in Urban Areas . . . . 189
Transportation Management Associations . . . . . . . . . . 190
Revised Major Transit Capital Investment Policy. . . . . . 191
Private Participation in the Transit Program . . . . . . . 195
National Transit Performance Reports . . . . . . . . . . . 196
Charter Bus Regulations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation
Assistance Act of 1987. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
National Conference on Transportation Planning
Applications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Smuggler's Notch Conference on Highway Finance . . . . . . 208
Revised FHWA/UMTA Environmental Regulation . . . . . . . . 209
National Council on Public Works Improvement . . . . . . . 210
12. STRATEGIC PLANNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Transportation 2020. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Williamsburg Conference on Transportation
and Economic Development. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216
National Transportation Strategic Planning Study. . . 217
Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . 220
Geographic Information Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Transportation Demand Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
National Maglev Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. . . . . . . . . . . 229
Strategic Planning and Management. . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Americans With Disabilities Act . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency
Act of 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240
13. CONCLUDING REMARKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
List of Abbreviations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
Almost thirty years have passed since the Federal-Aid Highway Act
of 1962 created the federal mandate for urban transportation
planning in the United States. The act was the capstone of two
decades of experimentation and development of urban transportation
procedures and institutions. It was passed at a time in which
urban areas were beginning to plan Interstate highway routes
through and around their areas. The 1962 Act combined with the
incentive of 90 percent federal funding for Interstate highway
projects caused urban transportation planning to spread quickly
throughout the United States. It also had a significant influence
on urban transportation planning in other parts of the world.
In some ways, the urban transportation planning process and
planning techniques have changed little over the thirty years.
Yet, in other ways, urban transportation has evolved over these
years in response to changing issues, conditions and values, and a
greater understanding of urban transportation phenomena. Current
urban transportation planning practice is considerably more
sophisticated, complex, and costly than its highway planning
Modifications in the planning process took many years to evolve.
As new concerns and issues arose, changes in planning techniques
and processes were introduced. These modifications sought to make
the planning process more responsive and sensitive to those areas
of concern. Urban areas that had the resources and technical
ability were the first to develop new concepts and techniques.
These new ideas were diffused by various means throughout the
nation, usually with the assistance of the federal government.
The rate at which the new concepts were accepted varied from area
to area. Consequently, the quality and depth of planning is highly
variable at any point in time.
Early highway planning concentrated on developing a network of all
weather highways and with connecting the various portions of the
nation. As this work was being accomplished, the problems of
serving increasing traffic grew. With the planning for urban areas
came additional problems of land development, dislocation of homes
and businesses, environmental degradation, citizen participation,
energy consumption, and social concerns such as providing
transportation for the disadvantaged. More recently have been the
concerns about deterioration of the transportation infrastructure
and traffic congestion.
Urban transportation planning in the United States has always been
conducted by state and local agencies. This is entirely
appropriate since highway and transit facilities and services are
owned and operated largely by the states and local agencies. The
role of the federal government has been to set national policy,
provide financial aid, supply technical assistance and training,
and conduct research. Over the years, the federal government has
attached requirements to its financial assistance. From a planning
perspective, the most important has been the requirement that
transportation projects in urbanized areas of 50,000 or more in
population be based on an urban transportation planning process.
This requirement was first incorporated into the Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1962.
Other requirements have been incorporated into federal legislation
and regulations over the years. Many of these are chronicled in
this report. At times these requirements have been very exacting
in their detail. At, other times, greater flexibility was allowed
in responding to the requirements. Currently, there is underway a
devolution of federal involvement in and requirements on local
planning and decisionmaking processes. Greater emphasis is being
placed as well on involving the private sector in providing and
financing urban transportation facilities and services.
Over the years, a number of federal agencies have affected urban
transportation planning. (Table 1 ) The U.S. Bureau of Public Roads
(BPR) was part of the U.S. Department of Commerce when the 1962
Highway Act was passed. It became part of the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) upon its creation in 1966 and its name was
changed to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The
federal urban mass transportation program began in 1961 under the
U.S. Housing and Home Finance Administration, which became the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1965. The federal
urban transit program was transferred to DOT in 1968 as the U.S.
Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA). The name was
changed to the U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by the
Federal Transit Act Amendments of 1991. The U.S. Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA) was created at the same time as DOT. The
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 established
the National Traffic Safety Agency, and the Highway Safety Act of
1966 established the National Highway Safety Agency both in the
Department of Commerce. The two safety agencies were combined by
Executive Order 11357 in 1967 into the National Highway Safety
Bureau in the newly created DOT. In 1970 it became the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Other federal agencies became involved in urban transportation
planning as new issues arose. The Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation was established in 1966 to administer national
historic preservation programs. The Bureau of the Budget (BOB),
later to become the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued
guidance in 1969 to improve coordination among programs funded by
the federal government. To address environmental concerns that
were increasing in the latter part of the 1960's, the Council on
Environmental Quality (CEQ) was created in 1969 and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. The U.S.
DATES SELECTED FEDERAL AGENCIES WERE ESTABLISHED
1849 Department of Interior
1913 Department of Commerce
1916 Bureau of Public Roads
1921 Bureau of the Budget
1947 Housing and Home Finance Agency
1953 Department of Health, Education and Welfare
1965 Department of Housing and Urban Development
1966 Department of Transportation
1966 Federal Highway Administration
1966 Federal Railroad Administration
1966 Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
1967 National Highway Safety Bureau
1968 Urban Mass Transportation Administration
1969 Council on Environmental Quality
1970 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1970 Office of Management and Budget
1970 Environmental Protection Agency
1977 Department of Energy
1979 Department of Health and Human Services
1991 Federal Transit Administration
Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), now the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), became involved in
urban transportation in 1973 as part of its function to eliminate
discrimination against handicapped persons in federal programs.
With the passage if the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the
Department of Interior and the Department of Commerce became
involved in some aspects of urban transportation planning. In
1977, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was created to bring
together federal energy functions.
The involvement of these and other agencies at the federal, state
and local level created an increasing challenge to agencies
conducting urban transportation planning to meet all the
requirements that resulted. Local planners devoted substantial
resources to meeting requirements of higher level governments,
which often detracted from their ability to address local needs and
objectives. These requirements, however, were also used by local
agencies as the justification to carry out activities that they
desired but for which they could not obtain support at the local
This report reviews the historical development of the urban
transportation planning process in the United States from its
beginnings in early highway and transit planning to its current
focus on strategic planning and privatization.
Chapter 2 discusses the early beginnings of highway planning.
Chapter 3 covers the formative years of urban transportation
planning during which many of the basic concepts were developed.
Chapter 4 focuses on the 1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act and the
sweeping changes it brought in urban transportation planning in the
United States. It also describes early federal involvement in
urban public transportation.
Chapter 5 discusses efforts at intergovernmental coordination, the
beginning of the federal highway and vehicle safety programs, a
deeper federal role in urban public transportation and the
evolution to "continuing" transportation planning.
Chapter 6 describes the environmental revolution of the late 1960's
and the increased involvement of citizens in the urban
transportation planning process.
Chapter 7 addresses the events that led to integrated planning for
urban public transportation and highways. These included major
increases in federal transit programs as well as increased
flexibility in the use of highway funds.
Chapter 8 focuses on the Arab oil embargo of 1973 which accelerated
the transition from long-term system planning to short-term,
smaller scale planning. It also discusses the concern for cost-
effectiveness in transportation decisions and the emphasis on
transportation system management techniques.
Chapter 9 highlights the concern for the revitalization of older
urban centers and the growing need for energy conservation. It
describes the expanding federal requirements on environmental
quality and transportation for special groups.
Chapter 10 describes the efforts to reverse federal intrusion into
local decisions and to scale back federal requirements.
Chapter 11 discusses the expanded interest in involving the private
sector in the provision of transportation services and the decline
in public resources to address transportation planning.
Chapter 12 focuses on strategic planning to the year 2000 and into
the next century, and the renewed interest in new technological
options. It also discusses the growing concern for traffic
congestion and air pollution and the efforts at transportation
Chapter 13 provides a summary and concluding remarks.
EARLY HIGHWAY PLANNING
Early highway planning grew out the need for information on the
rising tide of automobile and truck usage during the first quarter
of the twentieth century. From 190.4, when the first automobiles
ventured out of the cities, traffic grew at a steady and rapid
rate. After the initial period of highway construction which
connected many of the nation's cities, emphasis shifted to
improving the highway system to carry these increased traffic
loads. Early highway planning focused on the collection and
analysis of factual information and, on applying that information
to the growing highway problems in the period prior to World War II.
Need for Highway Planning
In the early years of highway construction, the automobile had been
regarded as a pleasure vehicle rather than an important means of
transportation. Consequently, highways consisted of comparatively
short sections that were built from the cities into the
countryside. There were significant gaps in many important
intercity routes. During this period, urban roads were considered
to be adequate, particularly in comparison to rural roads which
were generally not paved.
As the automobile was improved and ownership became more
widespread, the idea of a highway network gained in strength. The
concept of a continuous national system of highways was recognized
in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1925 with the adoption of a
United States numbered highway system composed of important through
routes extending entirely across the nation. This was not a formal
highway system but simply a basis for route marking as a
guide for motorists (Holmes and Lynch, 1957).
With the adoption of a Federal-aid system, in the Federal-Aid Act
of 1921, and the marking of through routes, the focus of highway
construction was on "closing the gaps." By the early 1930's, the
objective of constructing a system of two-lane roads connecting the
centers of population had largely been completed. It was then
possible to travel around the country on a smooth, all-weather
highway system (U.S. Federal Works Agency, 1949).
With the completion of this "pioneering period" of highway
construction, attention shifted to the more complex issues
resulting from the rapid growth in traffic and increasing vehicle
weights. Figure 1 shows the growth in vehicle registrations, motor
fuel consumption, highway expenditures and tax receipts during the
period (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1954). Early highways were
inadequate in width, grade and alignment to serve major traffic
loads, and highway pavements had not been designed to carry the
numbers and weights of the newer trucks.
It became clear that these growing problems necessitated the
collection and analysis of information on highways and their use on
a more comprehensive scale than had ever before been attempted
(Holmes and Lynch, 1957). A systematic approach to the planning of
highways was needed to respond to these problems.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1934
Beginning with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1934, the Congress
authorized that 1-1/2 percent of the amount apportioned to any
state annually for construction could be used for surveys, plans,
engineering, and economic analyses for future highway construction
projects. The act created the cooperative arrangement between the
U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (now the U.S. Federal Highway
Administration) and the state highway departments, known as the
Click HERE for graphic.
statewide highway planning surveys. By 1940, all states were
participating in this program (Holmes and Lynch, 1957).
As an initial activity, these highway planning surveys included a
complete inventory and mapping of the highway system and its
physical characteristics. Traffic surveys were undertaken to
determine the volume of traffic by vehicle type, weight, and
dimensions. Financial studies were made to determine the
relationship of highway finances to other financial operations
within each state, to assess the ability of the states to finance
the construction and operation of the highway system, and to
indicate how to allocate highway taxes among the users. Many of
the same types of activities are still being performed on a
continuing basis by highway agencies (Holmes, 1962).
Electric Railway Presidents, Conference Committee
Electric railway systems were the backbone of urban mass
transportation by World War I with over 1,000 street railway
companies carrying some 11 billion passengers by 1917 (Mills,
1975). After 1923, ridership on the nation's electric railways
began to decline as the motor bus, with its flexibility to change
routes and lower capital costs, quickly began replacing the
electric the electric streetcar (N.D. Lea Transportation Research
Corporation, 1975). With rising costs and the inability to raise
fares to cover costs, the financial condition of street railway
In 1930, the heads of 25 electric railway companies formed Electric
Railway Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC). The goal of the
PCC was to develop a modern streetcar to match the comfort,
performance, and modern image of its competitors, and stem the
decline of the street railway industry. The effort took five years
and $750,000. It was one of the most thorough and efficiently
organized ventures in urban mass transit. The
product, known as the "PCC car," far surpassed its predecessors in
acceleration, braking, passenger comfort, and noise (Mills, 1975).
The first commercial application of the PCC car was in 1935 in
Brooklyn, New York. By 1940 more than 1100 vehicles had been
purchased. By 1952, when production was first halted, about 6,000
PCC cars had been produced. The PCC cars did improve the
competitive position of streetcars and slow the conversion to
buses. But without other improvements, such as exclusive rights of
way, it could not stop the long term decline in street railways.
By 1960, streetcars remained in only about a dozen cities in the
U.S. (Vuchic, 1981).
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
As the highway system was expanded and upgraded to meet the growth
in automobile traffic, the need for high uniform standards for
traffic control devices became obvious. These traffic control
devices included signs, traffic signals, markings and other devices
placed on, over, or adjacent to a street or highway by a public
body to guide, warn, or regulate traffic. In 1927, the American
Association of State Highway Officials published the Manual and
Specifications for the Manufacture, Display and Erection of U.S.
Standard Road Markers and Signs. The manual was developed for
application of rural highways. Then, in 1929, the National
Conference of Street and Highway Safety published a manual for use
on urban streets.
But the necessity for unification of the standards applicable to
different classes of road and street systems was obvious. To meet
that need, a joint committee of the AASHO and the National
Conference of Street and Highway Safety combined their efforts and
developed the first Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices which
was published by the BPR in 1935.
over the years since that first manual, the problems and needs of
traffic control changed. New solutions and devices were developed,
as well as the standards to guide their application. The original
joint committee continued its existence with occasional changes in
organization and personnel. In 1972, the Committee formally became
the National Advisory Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
to the FHWA. The Committee has been responsible for periodic
revisions to update and expand the manual in 1942, 1948, 1961,
1971, 1978 and 1988 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1978b; Upchurch,
AASHO Policy on Geometric Design of Rural Highways
As new knowledge became available on the performance of vehicles
and highway design features, there was a need to incorporate it
into practice. The Committee on Planning and Design Policies of
the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) was
formed in 1937 for this purpose. The committee's mode of operation
was to outline a program of work which was performed by the BPR
under the supervision of the Committee Secretary. The BPR gathered
known information and developed draft guidance, known a policies,
which were revised by the committee. The policies were finally
approved by a two-thirds favorable vote of the States.
In the period 1938 to 1944 the Committee under Secretary Joseph
Barnett produced seven policies related to highway classification,
highway types, sight distance, signing, and intersection design for
at-grade, rotaries and grade separations. These policies were
reprinted without change and bound as a single volume in 1950
(American Association of State Highway Officials, 1950).
The policies were updated, expanded and rewritten as a single
cohesive document and issued as A Policy on Geometric Design of
Rural Highways in 1954 (American Association of State Highway
Officials, 1954). The policy contained design guidance on the
criteria determining highway design, vertical and horizontal
alignment, cross section elements, at-grade and grade
intersections, and interchanges. The volume, which became known as
the "Blue Book," went through seven printings by 1965. it received
wide acceptance as the standard guide for highway design. The
policy was again reissued in 1966 in revised and updated form to
reflect more current information (American Association of State
Highway Officials, 1966).
Much of the material in the 1954 Rural Policy applied both to urban
and rural highways. As new data and research results became
available on urban highways, the AASHO Committee decided to issued
a separate policy for the geometric design of urban highways
(American Association of State Highway Officials, 1957).
The development of these policies typified the approach to highways
standards. Research engineers collected data on the performance of
vehicles and highways. These data were brought together in the
form of design standards, generally by staff of the BPR under the
guidance of the AASHO. Eventually, they became part of highway
design practice through agreement of the States. As a result of
their factual basis and adoption through common agreement, the
policies had immense influence on the design of highways in the
United States and abroad.
Toll Road Study
By the mid 1930's, there was considerable sentiment for a few long-
distance, controlled-access highways connecting major cities.
Advocates of such a highway system assumed that the public would be
willing to finance much of its cost by tolls. The U.S. Bureau of
Public Roads was requested by President Roosevelt in 1937 to study
the idea, and two years later it published the report, Toll Roads
and Free Roads (U.S. Congress, 1939).
The study recommended the construction of a highway system to be
comprised of direct, interregional highways with all necessary
connections through and around cities. It concluded that this
nationwide highway system could not be financed solely through
tolls, even though certain sections could. It also recommended the
creation of a Federal Land Authority empowered to acquire, hold,
sell, and lease land. The report emphasized the problem of
transportation within major cities and used the city of Baltimore
as an example (Holmes, 1973).
Highway Capacity Manual
During the 1920's and early 1930's, a number of studies were
conducted to determine the capacity of highways to carry traffic.
Early efforts were theoretical but, gradually, fields studies using
observers, cameras and aerial surveys created a body of empirical
data on which to base capacity estimates. By 1934, it was clear
that a coordinated effort was needed to integrate the results of
the various studies and to collect and analyze additional data.
The BPR launched such an effort from 1934 to 1937 to collect a
large quantity of data on a wide variety of roads under different
conditions (Cron, 1975a).
In 1944, the Highway Research Board organized a Committee on
Highway Capacity to coordinate the work in this field. Its
chairman, O.K. Normann, was the foremost researcher on highway
capacity at that time. By 1949, the Committee had succeeded in
reducing the enormous volume of factual information on highway
capacity to a form that would be usable to highway designers and
traffic engineers. The results were first published in Public
Roads magazine, and then as a separate volume entitled, the Highway
Capacity Manual (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1950). The manual defined
capacity, and presented methods for calculating it for various
types of highways and elements under different conditions. This
manual quickly became the standard for highway
design and planning. More than 26,000 copies of the manual were
sold, and it was translated into nine other languages.
The Committee on Highway Capacity was reactivated in 1953, again
with O.K. Normann as chairman, to continue the study of highway
capacity and prepare a new edition of the manual. Much of the work
was done by the staff of the BPR. The new manual, which was issued
in 1965, placed new emphasis on freeways, ramps, and weaving
sections because they had come into widespread use. A chapter on
bus transit was also added. Other types of highways and streets
continued to receive complete coverage. This manual, like its
predecessor, was primarily a practical guide. it described methods
to estimate capacity, service volume, or level of service for a
specific highway design under specific conditions. Alternately,
the design to carry a given traffic demand could be determined
(Highway Research Board, 1965).
The third edition the Highway Capacity Manual was published by the
Transportation Research Board in 1985. It reflected over two
decades of empirical research by a number of research agencies
primarily under the sponsorship of the National Cooperative Highway
Research Program and the FHWA. The procedures and methodologies
were divided into three sections on freeways, rural highways, and
urban streets with detailed procedures and work sheets. The
material in the third edition offered significantly revised
procedures in many of the areas, and included entirely new sections
on pedestrians and bicycles (Transportation Research Board, 1985c).
Interregional Highway Report
In April 1941, President Roosevelt appointed the National
Interregional Highway Committee to investigate the need for a
limited system of national highways to improve the facilities
available for interregional transportation. The staff work was
done by the U.S. Public Roads Administration, which was the name of
the Bureau of Public Roads at that time, and in 1944 the findings
were published in the report, Interregional Highways (U.S.
Congress, 1944). A system of highways, designated as the "National
System of Interstate and Defense Highways," was recommended and
authorized in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. However, it was
not until the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 that any significant
work on the system began.
This study was unique in the annals of transportation planning and
the implementation of its findings has had profound effects on
American lifestyles and industry. The study brought planners,
engineers, and economists together with the highway officials
responsible for implementing highway programs. The final route
choices were influenced as much by strategic necessity and such
factors as population density, concentrations of manufacturing
activity, and agricultural production as by existing and future
traffic (Holmes, 1973).
The importance of the system within cities was recognized, but it
was not intended that these highways serve urban commuter travel
demands in the major cities. As stated in the report, "...it is
important, both locally and nationally, to recognize the
recommended system ... as that system and those routes which best
and most directly join region to region and major city to major
city" (U.S. Congress, 1944).
The report recognized the need to coordinate with other modes of
transportation and for cooperation at all levels of government. It
reiterated the need for a Federal Land Authority with the power of
excess condemnation and similar authorities at the state level.
BEGINNINGS OF URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
During World War II, regular highway programs stopped. Highway
materials and personnel were used to build access roads for war
production and military needs. With rationing of gasoline and
tires, and no new automobiles being manufactured, the use of
transit mushroomed. Between 1941 and 1946, transit ridership grew
by 65 percent to an all-time high of 23.4 billion trips annually
(American Public Transit Association, 1981). (Figure 2)
When the war came to an end, the pent-up demand for homes and
automobiles ushered in the suburban boom era. Automobile
production jumped from a mere 70,000 in 1945 to 2.1 million in
1946, 3.5 million, and 3.5 million in 1947. Highway travel reached
its prewar peak by 1946 and began to climb at 6 percent per year
that was to continue for decades (Dept. of Transportation, 1979a).
Transit use, on the other hand, declined at about the same rate it
had increased during the war. By 1953, there were fewer than 14
billion transit trips annually (Transportation Research Board,
The nation's highways were in poor shape to handle this increasing
load of traffic. Little had been done during the war to improve
the highways and wartime traffic had exacerbated their condition.
Moreover, the growth of development in the suburbs occurred where
highways did not have the capacity to carry the resulting traffic.
Suburban traffic quickly overwhelmed the existing two-lane formerly
rural roads (Dept. of Transportation, 1979a). Transit facilities,
too, experienced significant wear and tear during the war from
extended use and deferred maintenance. This resulted in
deterioration in transit's physical plant by war's end. Pent-up
wage demands of transit employees were met causing nearly a 50
Click HERE for graphic.
percent in average fares by 1950. This further contributed to a
decline in ridership. These factors combined to cause serious
financial problems for many transit companies (Transportation
Research Board, 1987).
The postwar era concentrated on dealing with the problems resulting
from suburban growth and resulting from the return to a peacetime
economy. Many of the planning activities which had to be deferred
during the war resumed with renewed vigor.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 was passed in anticipation of
the transition to a postwar economy and to prepare for the expected
growth in traffic. The act significantly increased the funds
authorized for federal-aid highway programs from $137,500 in 1942
and 1943, no funds in 1944 and 1945, to $500,000 annually for 1946
through 1948. The act also recognized the growing complexity of
the highway program.
The original 7 percent federal-aid highway program was renamed the
Federal-aid Primary system, and selection by the States of a
Federal-aid Secondary system of farm-to-market and feeder roads was
authorized. Federal-aid funding was authorized in three parts,
known as the "ABC" program with 45 percent for the Primary system,
30 percent for the Secondary system, and 25 percent for urban
extensions of the Primary and Secondary systems.
The act continued the allocation of funds by means of formulas.
For the Primary system, funds were allocated using area, total
population, and postal route miles as factors. For the Secondary
system, the same formula was Used except that rural population was
substituted for total population. For the urban extensions, urban
population was the only factor. For the first time, federal-aid
funds up to one-third the cost could be used to
A National System of Interstate Highways of 40,000 miles was
authorized. The routes were selected by the States with BPR
approval. However, but no special funds were provided to build the
system beyond regular federal-aid authorizations.
Early Urban Travel Surveys
Most urban areas did not begin urban travel surveys until 1944. It
was during that year the Federal-Aid Highway Act authorized the
expenditure of funds on urban extensions of the federal-aid primary
and secondary highway systems. Until that time there was a lack of
information on urban travel which could be used for the planning of
highway facilities. In fact, no comprehensive survey methods had
been developed that could provide the required information.
Because of the complex nature of urban street systems and the
shifting of travel from route to route, traffic volumes were not a
satisfactory guide to needed improvements. A study of the origins
and destinations of trips and the basic factors affecting travel
was needed (Holmes and Lynch, 1957).
The method developed to meet this need was the home-interview
origin- destination survey. Household members were interviewed to
obtain information on the number, purpose, mode, origin, and
destination of all trips made on a particular day. These urban
travel surveys were used in the planning of highway facilities,
particularly expressway systems, and in determining design
features. The U.S. Bureau of Public Roads published the first,
Manual of Procedures for Home Interview Traffic Studies, in 1944
(U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1944). Figure 3 shows the internal trip
report form from a home interview survey. In 1944, the
interviewing technique was used in Tulsa, Little Rock, New Orleans,
Kansas City, Memphis, Savannah, and Lincoln.
Click HERE for graphic.
Other elements of the urban transportation planning process were
also being developed and applied in pioneering traffic planning
studies. New concepts and techniques were being generated and
refined in such areas as traffic counting, highway inventories and
classification, highway capacity, pavement condition studies, cost
estimating and system planning. The first attempt to meld many of
these elements into an urban transportation planning process was in
the Cleveland Regional Area Traffic Study in 1927, which was
sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. But, even in this
study, traffic forecasting was a crude art using basically linear
projections (Cron, 1975b).
In the Boston Transportation Study, a rudimentary form of the
gravity model was applied to forecast traffic in 1926 but the
technique was not used in other areas. In fact, the 1930's saw
little advancement in the techniques of urban transportation
planning. It was during this period that the methodology of
highway needs and financial studies was developed and expanded
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979a).
By the 1940's it was apparent that if certain relationships between
land use and travel could be measured, these relationships could be
used as a means to project future travel. It remained for the
development of the computer, with its ability to process large
masses of data from these surveys, to permit estimation of these
relationships between travel, land use, and other factors. The
first major test using this approach to develop future highway
plans was during the early 1950's in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and in
Detroit (Silver and Stowers, 1964; Detroit Metropolitan Area
Traffic Study, 1955/6).
Early Transit Planning
During this period, transit planning was being carried out by
operators as part of the regular activities of operating a transit
system. Federal assistance was not available for planning or
construction, and little federal interest existed in transit.
However, financial problems increased as transit ridership declined
and there were no funds available to rehabilitate facilities and
equipment. In some urban areas, transit authorities were created
to take over and operate the transit system. The Chicago Transit
Authority and the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Boston were
created in 1947, and the New York City Transit Authority in 1955.
It was at this time that the San Francisco Bay area began planning
for a regional rapid transit system. In 1956, the Rapid Transit
Commission proposed a 123 mile system in a five-county area. As a
result of this study, the Bay Area Transit District (BARTD) was
formed within the five counties. BARTD completed the planning for
the transit system and conducted preliminary engineering and
financial studies. In November 1962, the voters approved a bond
issue to build a three-county, 75-mile system, totally with local
funds (Homburger, 1967).
Dawn of Analytical Methods
Prior to the early 1950's, the results of early origin-destination
studies were used primarily for describing existing travel
patterns, usually in the form of trip origins and destinations and
by "desire lines," indicating schematically the major spatial
distribution of trips. Future urban travel volumes were developed
by extending the past traffic growth rate into the future, merely
an extrapolation technique. Some transportation studies used no
projections of any sort and emphasized only the alleviation of
existing traffic problems (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1967b).
Beginning in the early 1950's, new ideas and techniques were being
rapidly generated for application in urban transportation planning.
In 1950, the Highway Research Board published Route
Selection and Traffic Assignment (Campbell, 1950), which was a
compendium of correspondence summarizing practices in identifying
traffic desire lines and linking origin-destination pairs. By the
mid 1950's, Thomas Fratar at the Cleveland Transportation Study
developed a computer method for distributing future origin-
destination travel data using growth factors. In 1956 the Eno
Foundation for Highway Traffic Control published Highway Traffic
Estimation (Schmidt and Campbell, 1956), which documented the state
of the art and highlighted the Fratar technique.
During this period the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) sponsored
a study on traffic generation at Columbia University, which was
conducted by Robert Mitchell and Chester Rapkin. It was directed
at improving the understanding of the relationship between travel
and land use through empirical methods and included both persons
and goods movement. Mitchell and Rapkin state as a major premise
of their study:
"Despite the considerable amount of attention given in various
countries to movement between place of residence and place of
work, the subject has not been given the special emphasis
suggested here; that is, to view trips between home and
workplace as a "system of movement," changes in which may be
related to land use change and to other changes in related
systems of urban action or in the social structure" (Mitchell
and Rapkin, 1954, Page 65).
They demonstrated an early understanding of many of the variables
that effect travel patterns and behavior; for example:
"Systems of round trips from places of residence vary with the
sex composition and age of the individual members of the
household. The travel patterns of single individuals, young
married couples, families with young children, and households
consisting of aging persons all show marked differences in
travel behavior" (Ibid., page 70).
They also anticipated the contribution of social science methods to
the understanding of travel behavior:
"However, inquiry into the motivations of travel and their
correspondence with both behavior and the actual events which
are consequences of travel would make great contributions to
understanding why this behavior occurs, and thus to increase
the possibility of predicting behavior" (Ibid., Page 54).
They concluded with a framework for analyzing travel patterns that
included developing analytical relationships for land use and
travel and then forecasting them as the basis for designing future
AASHO Manual on User Benefit Analysis
Toward the end of the 1940's, the AASHO Committee on Planning and
Design Policies, with the assistance of BPR, undertook the
development of generally applicable analytical techniques for
performing economic analysis of highway projects. The work grew
out of a survey of state highway departments on the use of economic
analysis which found a definite lack of similarity in the such
procedures and their use (American Association of State Highway
Building upon earlier work on highway economic analysis, the
committee developed a manual for conducting benefit - cost analyses
(American Association of State Highway Officials, 1952b). The
basic tenet of the manual was ... that a profit should be returned
on an investment applies as well to highway projects as to general
business ventures." Unlike previous methods of analysis which only
measured construction, right of way, and maintenance costs, the
manual included the costs to the user of the highway as a necessary
and integral part of the economic analysis. Up to the publication,
no data existed to perform such
The manual defined the benefit to cost ratio as the difference in
road user costs (between alternate routes) divided by the
difference in costs. Road user costs included: fuel, other
operating costs (i.e. oil, tires, maintenance, depreciation), time
value, comfort and convenience, vehicle ownership costs, and
safety. The value of time was specified at $1.35 per vehicle hour
or $0.75 per person hour. The value of comfort and convenience was
included as an increasing cost for greater interference with the
trip and varying according to the type of road. It ranged from 0
cents per mile for the best conditions to 1.0 cents per mile for
the worst conditions. The manual included tables and charts
containing specific values for these components of costs and
benefits, and the procedures to conduct benefit - cost analyses.
The manual was updated in 1960 with the same analytical methodology
but new unit cost data (American Association of State Highway
Officials, 1960). A major update of the manual was issued in 1977
after a number of research efforts had been completed on analytical
techniques and unit cost data (American Association of State
Highway Officials, 1978). The manual was also expanded to address
bus transit improvements. The manual recognized that benefit-cost
analysis was only an element in the evaluation of transportation
projects and that it fit within the larger urban transportation
Breakthroughs in Analytical Techniques
The first breakthrough in using an analytical technique for travel
forecasting came in 1955 with the publication of a paper entitled,
"A General Theory of Traffic Movement," by Alan M. Voorhees
(Voorhees, 1956). Voorhees advanced the gravity model as the means
to link land use with urban traffic flows. Research had been
proceeding for a number of years on a gravity theory for
human interaction. Previously, the gravity analogy had been
applied by sociologists and geographers to explain population
movements. Voorhees used origin-destination survey data with
driving time as the measure of spatial separation and estimated the
exponents for a three-trip purpose gravity model. Others conducting
similar studies soon corroborated these results (U.S. Dept. of
Another breakthrough soon followed in the area of traffic
assignment. The primary difficulty in traffic assignment was
evaluating the driver's choice of route between the origin and
destination. Earl Campbell of the Highway Research Board proposed
an "S" curve, which related the percent usage of a particular
facility to a travel-time ratio. A number of empirical studies
were undertaken to evaluate the theory using diversion of traffic
to new expressways from arterial streets. From these studies, the
American Association of State Highway officials published a
standard traffic diversion curve in, "A Basis for Estimating
Traffic Diversion to New Highways in Urban Areas," in 1952. (Figure
4) However, traffic assignment was still largely a mechanical
process requiring judgment (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1964).
Then in 1957 two papers were presented that discussed a minimum
impedance algorithm for networks. One was titled, "The Shortest
Path Through a Maze," by Edward F. Moore, and the second was, "The
Shortest Route Problem," by George B. Danzig. With such an
algorithm, travel could then be assigned to minimum time paths
using newly developed computers. The staff of the Chicago Area
Transportation Study under Dr. J. Douglas Carroll, Jr. finally
developed and refined computer programs that allowed the assignment
of traffic for the entire Chicago region (U.S. Dept. of Commerce,
Click HERE for graphic.
National Committee on Urban Transportation
While highway departments were placing major emphasis on arterial
routes, city street congestion was steadily worsening. It was in
this atmosphere that the Committee on Urban Transportation was
created in 1954. Its purpose was, "to help cities do a better job
of transportation planning through systematic collection of basic
facts ... to afford the public the best possible transportation at
the least possible cost and aid in accomplishing desirable goals of
urban renewal and sound urban growth" (National Committee, 1958).
The committee was composed of experts in a wide range of fields,
representing federal, state, and city governments, transit, and
other interests. It developed a guidebook, Better Transportation
for Your City (National Committee, 1958), designed to help local
officials establish an orderly program of urban transportation
planning. It was supplemented by a series of 17 procedure manuals
describing techniques for planning highway, transit, and terminal
improvements. The guidebook and manuals received national
recognition. Even though the guidebook was primarily intended for
the attention of local officials, it stressed the need for
cooperative action, full communication between professionals and
decisionmakers, and the development of transportation systems in
keeping with the broad objectives of community development. It
provided, for the first time, fully documented procedures for
systematic transportation planning.
Housing Act of 1954
An important cornerstone of the federal policy concerning urban
planning was Section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954. The act
demonstrated congressional concern with urban problems and
recognition of the urban planning process as an appropriate
approach to dealing with such problems. Section 701 authorized
the provision of federal planning assistance to state planning
agencies, cities, and other municipalities having a population of
less than 50,000 persons and, after further amendments, to
metropolitan and regional planning agencies (Washington Center,
The intent of the act was to encourage an orderly process of urban
planning to address the problems associated with urban growth and
the formulation of local plans and policies. The act indicated
that planning should occur on a region-wide basis within the
framework of comprehensive planning.
Pioneering Urban Transportation Studies
The developments in analytical methodology began to be applied in
pioneering urban transportation studies in the late 1940's and
during the 1950's. Before these studies, urban transportation
planning was based on existing travel demands or on travel
forecasts using uniform growth factors applied on an areawide
The San Juan, Puerto Rico, transportation study begun in 1948, was
one of the earliest to use a trip generation approach to forecast
trips. Trip generation rates were developed for a series of land-
use categories stratified by general location, crude intensity
measures and type of activity. These rates were applied, with some
modifications, to the projected land use plan (Silver and Stowers,
The Detroit Metropolitan Area Traffic Study (DMATS) put together
all the elements of an urban transportation study for the first
time. It was conducted from 1953 to 1955 under Executive Director
Dr. J. Douglas Carroll, Jr. The DMATS staff developed trip
generation rates by land use category for each zone. Future trips
were estimated from a land use forecast. The trip distribution
model was a variant of the gravity model with airline distance as
the factor to measure travel friction. Traffic assignment was
carried out with speed and distance ratio curves. Much of the work
was done by hand with the aid of tabulating machines for some of
the calculations. Benefit/cost ratios were used to evaluate the
major elements of the expressway network (Detroit Metropolitan Area
Traffic Study, 1955/1956; Silver and Stowers, 1964; Creighton,
In 1955 the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS) began under
the direction of Dr. J. Douglas Carroll, Jr. It set the standard
for future urban transportation studies. The lessons learned in
Detroit were applied in Chicago with greater sophistication. CATS
used the basic six-step procedure pioneered in Detroit: data
collection, forecasts, goal formulation, preparation of network
proposals, testing of proposals, and evaluation of proposals.
Transportation networks were developed to serve travel generated by
projected land-use patterns. They were tested using systems
analysis considering the effect of each facility on other
facilities in the network. Networks were evaluated based on
economic efficiency - the maximum amount of travel carried at the
least cost. CATS used trip generation, trip distribution, modal
split, and traffic assignment models for travel forecasting. A
simple land-use forecasting procedure was employed to forecast
future land-use and activity patterns. The CATS staff made major
advances in the use of the computer in travel forecasting (Chicago
Area Transportation Study, 1959/1962; Swerdloff and Stowers, 1966;
Wells, et. al., 1970).
Other transportation studies followed including the Washington Area
Traffic Study in 1955, the Baltimore Transportation Study in 1957,
the Pittsburgh Area Transportation Study (PATS) in 1958, the
Hartford Area Traffic Study in 1958, and the Penn-Jersey
(Philadelphia) Transportation Study in 1959. All of these studies
were transportation planning on a new scale. They were region-
wide, multi-disciplinary undertakings involving large full-time
staffs. Urban transportation studies were carried out by ad hoc
organizations with separate policy committees. They were not
directly connected to any unit of government. Generally, these
urban transportation studies were established for a limited time
period with the objective of producing a plan and reporting on it.
Such undertakings would have been impossible before the
availability of computers (Creighton, 1970).
The resulting plans were heavily oriented to regional highway
networks based primarily on the criteria of economic costs and
benefits. Transit was given secondary consideration. New
facilities were evaluated against traffic engineering improvements.
Little consideration was given to regulatory or pricing approaches,
or new technologies (Wells, et.al., 1970).
These pioneering urban transportation studies set the content and
tone for future studies. They provided the basis for the federal
guidelines that were issued in the following decade.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956
During this early period in the development of urban transportation
planning came the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The act launched
the largest public works program yet undertaken: construction of
the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The act
was the culmination of two decades of studies and negotiation. As a
result of the Interregional Highways report, Congress had adopted a
National System of Interstate Highways not to exceed 40,000 miles
in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. However, money was not
authorized for construction of the system. Based on the
recommendations of the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads and the
Department of Defense, a 37,700-mile system was adopted in 1947.
This network consisted primarily of the most heavily traveled
routes of the Federal-Aid Primary System. The
remaining 2,300 miles were reserved for additional radials, bypass-
loops, and circumferential routes in and adjacent to urban areas.
Studies of urban area needs were made by the states with the
cooperation and aid of city officials. The urban connections were
formally designated in 1955 (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1957).
Funds were appropriated by then, but at very low levels: $25
million annually for 1952 and 1953 with a 50 percent federal share,
and $175 million annually for 1954 and beyond with a 60 percent
federal share. To secure a significant increase in funding, a
major national lobbying effort was launched in 1952 by the Highway
Users Conference under the title, "Project Adequate Roads."
President Eisenhower appointed a national advisory committee under
General Lucius D. Clay, which produced a report, A Ten-Year
National Highway Program, in 1955. It recommended building a
37,000-mile Interstate System using bonds to fund the $23 billion
cost (Kuehn, 1976).
Finally, with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, construction of
the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways shifted into
high gear. The act increased the authorized system extent to
41,000 miles. This system was planned to link 90 percent of the
cities with populations of 50,000 or greater and many smaller
cities and towns. The act also authorized the expenditure of $24.8
billion in 13 fiscal years from 1957 to 1969 at a 90 percent
federal share. The act provided construction standards and maximum
sizes and weights of vehicles that could operate on the system.
The system was to be completed by 1972 (Kuehn, 1976).
The companion Highway Revenue Act of 1956 increased federal taxes
on gasoline and other motor fuels and excise taxes on tires and
established new taxes on retreaded tires and a weight tax on heavy
trucks and buses. It created the Highway Trust Fund to receive the
tax revenue which was dedicated solely for highway purposes. This
provision broke with a long-standing congressional precedent
not to earmark taxes for specific authorized purposes (U.S. Dept.
of Commerce, 1957).
These acts have had a profound effect on urban areas. They
established an assured funding source for highways, through user
charges, at a time when federal funds were not available for mass
transportation. They set a 90 percent federal share which was far
above the existing 50 percent share for other federal-aid highways.
About 20 percent of the system mileage was designated as urban to
provide alternative interstate service into, through, and around
urban areas. These provisions dominated urban transportation
planning for years to come and eventually caused the development of
countervailing forces to balance the urban highway program.
Sagamore Conference on Highways and Urban Development
The availability of large amounts of funds from the 1956 Act
brought immediate response to develop action programs. To
encourage the cooperative development of highway plans and
programs, a conference was held in 1958 in the Sagamore Center at
Syracuse University (Sagamore, 1958).
The conference focused on the need to conduct the planning of urban
transportation, including public transportation, on a region-wide,
comprehensive basis in a manner that supported the orderly
development of the urban areas. The conference report recognized
that urban transportation plans should be evaluated through a grand
accounting of benefits and costs that included both user and
The conference recommendations were endorsed and their
implementation urged, but progress was slow. The larger urban
areas were carrying out pioneering urban transportation studies,
the most noteworthy being the CATS. But few of the smaller urban
areas had begun planning studies due to the lack of capable staff
to perform urban transportation planning.
To encourage smaller areas to begin planning efforts, the American
Municipal Association, the American Association of State Highway
Officials, and the National Association of County Officials jointly
launched a program in early 1962 to describe and explain how to
carry out urban transportation planning. This program was
initially directed at urban areas under 250,000 in population
Housing Act of 1961
The first piece of federal legislation to deal explicitly with
urban mass transportation was the Housing Act of 1961. This act
was passed largely as a result of the growing financial
difficulties with commuter rail services. The act inaugurated a
small, low-interest loan program for acquisitions and capital
improvements for mass transit systems and a demonstration program
(Washington Center, 1970).
The act also contained a provision for making federal planning
assistance available for "preparation of comprehensive urban
transportation surveys, studies, and plans to aid in solving
problems of traffic congestion, facilitating the circulation of
people and goods on metropolitan and other urban areas and reducing
transportation needs." The act permitted federal aid to "facilitate
comprehensive planning for urban development, including coordinated
transportation systems, on a continuing basis." These provisions of
the act amended the Section 701 planning program that was created
by the Housing Act of 1954.
URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING COMES OF AGE
Urban transportation planning came of age with the passage of the
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required that approval of
any federal-aid highway project in an urbanized area of 50,000 or
more in population be based on a continuing, comprehensive urban
transportation planning process carried out cooperatively by states
and local governments. This was the first legislative mandate
requiring planning as a condition to receiving federal capital
assistance funds. The U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) moved
quickly to issue technical guidance interpreting the act's
Through the mid 1960's urban transportation planning went through
what some have called its "golden age." Most urban areas were
planning their regional highway system and urban transportation
planning methodology had been designed to address this issue. The
BPR carried out an extensive program of research, technical
assistance and training to foster the adoption of this process and
the new methodologies. These efforts completely transformed the
manner in which urban transportation planning was performed. By
the legislated deadline of July 1, 1965, all 224 then existing
urbanized areas that fell under the 1962 Act had a urban
transportation planning process underway.
This was also a period in which there was early recognition of the
need for a federal role in urban mass transportation. This role,
however, was to remain limited for a number of years to come.
Joint Report on Urban Mass Transportation
In March 1962 a joint report on urban mass transportation was
submitted to President Kennedy, at his request, by the Secretary of
Commerce and the Housing and Home Finance Administrator (U.S.
Congress, Senate, 1962). This report integrated the objectives for
highways and mass transit, which were comparatively independent up
to that point but growing closer through cooperative activities.
The report was in large part based on a study completed in 1961 by
the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) entitled Urban
Transportation and Public Policy (Fitch, 1964). The IPA report
strongly recommended that urban transportation was a federal
concern and supported the need for transportation planning.
The general thrust of the report to Congress, as it related to
planning, can be summarized by the following excerpt from the
"Transportation is one of the key factors in shaping our
cities. As our communities increasingly undertake deliberate
measures to guide their development and renewal, we must be
sure that transportation planning and construction are
integral parts of general development planning and
programming. One of our main recommendations is that federal
aid for urban transportation should be made available only
when urban communities have prepared or are actively preparing
up-to-date general plans for the entire urban area which
relate transportation plans to land-use and development plans.
"The major objectives of urban transportation policy are the
achievement of sound land-use patterns, the assurance of
transportation facilities for all segments of the population,
the improvement of overall traffic flow, and the meeting of
total transportation needs at minimum cost. Only a balanced
transportation system can attain these goals - and in many
urban areas this means an extensive mass transportation
network fully integrated with the highway and street system.
transportation in recent years experienced capital consumption
rather than expansion. A cycle of fare increases and service
cuts to offset loss of ridership followed by further declines
in use points clearly to the need for a substantial
contribution of public funds to support needed mass
transportation improvements. We therefore recommend a new
program of grants and loans for urban mass transportation"
(U.S. Congress, Senate, 1962).
President Kennedy's Transportation Message
In April 1962 President Kennedy delivered his first message to
Congress on the subject of transportation. Many of the ideas
related to urban transportation in the message drew upon the
previously mentioned joint report. The President's message
recognized the close relationship between the community development
and the need to properly balance the use of private automobiles and
mass transportation to help shape and serve urban areas. It also
recognized the need to promote economic efficiency and livability
of urban areas. It also recommended continued close cooperation
between the Department of Commerce and the Housing and Home Finance
Administration (HHFA) (Washington Center, 1970).
This transportation message opened a new era in urban
transportation and led to passage of two landmark pieces of
legislation: the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 and the Urban Mass
Transportation Act of 1964.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 was the first piece of federal
legislation to mandate urban transportation planning as a condition
for receiving federal funds in urbanized areas. It asserted that
federal concern in urban transportation was to be integrated with
land development and provided a major stimulus to
urban transportation planning. Section 9 of the act, which is now
Section 134 of Title 23 states:
"It is declared to be in the national interest to encourage
and promote the development of transportation systems
embracing various modes of transport in a manner that will
serve the states and local communities efficiently and
effectively" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1980a).
This statement of policy directly followed from the recommendations
of the Sagamore conference and President Kennedy's Transportation
Message. Moreover, the section directed the Secretary of Commerce
to cooperate with the states:
"...in the development of long-range highway plans and
programs which are properly coordinated with plans for
improvements in other affected forms of transportation and
which are formulated with due consideration to their probable
effect on the future development of the urban area..." (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1980a).
The last sentence of the section which required that urban highway
construction projects be based upon a planning process, legislated
the planning requirement:
"After July 1, 1965, the Secretary shall not approve under
section 105 of this title any programs for projects in any
urban area of more than fifty thousand population unless he
finds that such projects are based on a continuing,
comprehensive transportation planning process carried out
cooperatively by states and local communities in conformance
with the objectives stated in this section" (U.S. Dept. of
Two features of the act are particularly significant with respect
to the organizational arrangements for carrying out the planning
process. First, it called for a planning process in urban areas
rather than cities, which set the scale at the metropolitan or
regional level. Second, it called for the process to be carried on
cooperatively by the states and local communities. Because
qualified planning agencies to mount such a transportation planning
process were lacking in many urban areas, the BPR required the
creation of planning agencies or organizational arrangements that
would be capable of carrying out the required planning process.
These planning organizations quickly came into being because of the
growing momentum of the highway program and the cooperative
financing of the planning process by the HHFA and the BPR (Marple,
In addition, the act restricted the use of the 1-1/2 percent
planning and research funds to only those purposes. If not used
for planning and research, the state would lose the funds.
Previously, a state could request that these funds be used instead
for construction. This provision created a permanent, assured
funding source for planning and research activities. In addition,
the act provided that a state could spend another 1/2 percent at
their option for planning and research activities.
Hershey Conference on Urban Freeways
In response to the growing concern about freeway construction in
urban areas, the Hershey Conference on Freeways in the Urban
Setting was convened in June 1962 (Freeways, 1962). It concluded,
"Freeways cannot be planned independently of the areas through
which they pass. The planning concept should extend to the entire
sector of the city within the environs of the freeway. The
conference recommendations reinforced the need to integrate highway
planning and urban development.
The findings recognized that this planning should be done as a team
effort that draws upon the skills of engineers, architects,
city planners, and other specialists. Freeway planning must
integrate the freeway with its surroundings. When properly
planned, freeways provide an opportunity to shape and structure the
urban community in a manner that meets the needs of the people who
live, work, and travel in these areas. Further, the planning
effort should be carried out in a manner that involves
participation by the community (Freeways, 1962).
Implementation of the 1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act
The BPR moved quickly to implement the planning requirements of the
1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act. Instructional Memorandum 50-263,
published in March 1963 (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1963c) and later
superseded by Policy and Procedure Memorandum 50-9 (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1967a), interpreted the act's provisions related to
a "continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative" (3C) planning
process. "Cooperative" was defined to include not only cooperation
between the federal, state, and local levels of government but also
among the various agencies within the same level of government.
"Continuing" referred to the need to periodically reevaluate and
update a transportation plan. "Comprehensive" was defined to
include the basic ten elements of a 3C planning process for which
inventories and analyses were required. (Table 2)
These memoranda and further refinements and expansions upon them
covered all aspects for organizing and carrying out the 3C planning
Through its Urban Planning Division, under Garland E. Marple, the
BPR carried out a broad program to develop planning procedures and
computer programs, write procedural manuals and guides, teach
training courses, and provide technical assistance. The effort was
aimed at developing urbanized area planning organizations,
standardizing, computerizing and applying procedures largely
TEN BASIC ELEMENTS OF A 3C PLANNING PROCESS
1. Economic factors affecting development
3. Land use
4. Transportation facilities including those for mass
5. Travel patterns
6. Terminal and transfer facilities
7. Traffic control features
8. Zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes,
9. Financial resources
10. Social and community-value factors, such as preservation of
open space, parks and recreational facilities; preservation of
historical sites and buildings; environmental amenities; and
created in the late 1950's, and disseminating knowledge of such
The BPR defined the various steps in a 3C planning process. These
steps had been pioneered by the urban transportation planning
studies that were carried out during the 1950's. It was an
empirical approach which required a substantial amount of data and
several years to complete. The process consisted of: establishing
an organization to carry out the planning process; development of
local goals and objectives; surveys and inventories of existing
conditions and facilities; analyses of current conditions and
calibration of forecasting techniques; forecasting of future
activity and travel; evaluation of alternative transportation
networks resulting in a recommended transportation plan; staging of
the transportation plan; and identification of resources to
implement it. The product of these 3C planning studies was
generally an elaborate report(s) describing the procedures,
analyses, alternatives and recommended plans.
To foster the adoption of these technical procedures, the BPR
released a stream of procedural manuals that became the technical
standards for many years to come: Calibrating and Testing a Gravity
Model for Any Size Urban Area, (July 1963); Calibrating and Testing
a Gravity Model with a Small Computer, (October 1963); Traffic
Assignment Manual, (June 1964); Population Forecasting Methods,
(June 1964); Population, Economic, and Land Use Studies in Urban
Transportation Planning, (July 1964); The Standard Land Use Coding
Manual, (January 1965); The Role of Economic Studies in Urban
Transportation Planning, (August 1965); Traffic Assignment and
Distribution for Small Urban Areas, (September 1965), Modal Split-
Documentation of Nine Methods for Estimating Transit Usage,
(December 1966); and Guidelines for Trip Generation Analysis, (June
The BPR developed a two-week "Urban Transportation Planning
Course" that was directed at practicing planners and engineers. It
covered organizational issues and technical procedures for carrying
out a 3C planning process as it had been conceptualized by the BPR.
The course used the BPR manuals as textbooks and supplemented them
with lecture notes to keep the information current and to cover
material not in manual form. In addition, personnel from the BPR
provided hands-on technical assistance to state and local agencies
in the applying these new procedures to their own areas.
This effort to define the "3C planning process," to develop
techniques for performing the technical activities, and to provide
technical assistance completely transformed the manner in which
urban transportation planning was performed. By the legislated
deadline of July 1, 1965, all the 224 existing urbanized areas
which fell under the 1962 Act had an urban transportation planning
process underway (Holmes, 1973).
Conventional Urban Travel Forecasting Process
The 3C planning process included four technical phases: collection
of data, analysis of data, forecasts of activity and travel, and
evaluation of alternatives. Central to this approach was the urban
travel forecasting process. (Figure 5) The process used
mathematical models that allowed the simulation and forecasting of
current and future travel. This permitted the testing and
evaluation of alternative transportation networks.
The four-step urban travel forecasting process consisted of trip
generation, trip distribution, modal split, and traffic assignment.
These models were first calibrated to replicate existing travel
using actual survey data. These models were then used to forecast
future travel. The forecasting process began with an estimate of
the variables that determine travel patterns including the location
and intensity of land use, social and
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economic characteristics of the population, and the type and extent
of transportation facilities in the area. Next, these variables
were used to estimate the number of trip origins and destinations
in each subarea of a region (i.e. the traffic analysis zone), using
a trip generation procedure. A trip distribution model was used to
connect the trip ends into an origin-destination trip pattern.
This matrix of total vehicle trips was divided into highway and
transit trips using a modal split model. The matrices of highway
and transit trips were assigned to routes on the highway and
transit networks, respectively, by means of a traffic assignment
model (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977).
In using these models to analyze future transportation networks,
forecasts of input variables were used for the year for which the
networks were being tested. Travel forecasts were then prepared
for each transportation alternative to determine traffic volumes
and levels of service. Usually only the modal split and traffic
assignment models were rerun for additional networks after a future
year forecast had been made for the first network. But
occasionally the trip distribution model was also rerun.
Travel forecasting on a regionwide scale required a large computing
capability. The first generation of computers had become available
in the mid 1950's. The BPR had taken advantage of them and adapted
a telephone routing algorithm for traffic assignments purposes that
would operate on the IBM 704 computer. Additional programs were
developed to perform other functions. The second generation of
computers, circa 1962, provided increased capabilities. The
library of computer programs was rewritten for the IBM 709 computer
and then for the IBM 7090/94 system. The BPR worked with the
Bureau of Standards in developing, modifying, and testing these
programs. Some programs were also developed for the IBM 1401 and
1620 computers. This effort was carried out over a number of
years, and by 1967 the computer package contained about
60 programs (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977).
This approach to travel forecasting, which later became known as
the "conventional urban travel forecasting process," came quickly
into widespread use. The procedures had been specifically tailored
to the tasks of regionwide urban transportation planning and BPR
provided substantial assistance and oversight in applying them.
Moreover, there were no other procedures generally available and
urban transportation study groups that chose not to use them had to
develop their own procedures and computer programs.
Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
In most urbanized areas, ad hoc organizational arrangements were
created to conduct the urban transportation planning process
required by the Federal-aid Highway Act of 1962 and the Bureau of
Public's guidelines. In some urbanized areas, however, the urban
transportation planning process was carried out by existing
regional planning agencies. This was the case for the urbanized
areas of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha in Southeastern Wisconsin.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC)
was created under State enabling legislation by Executive Order of
the Governor of Wisconsin in 1960 upon petition of the County
Boards of the seven constituent counties. It was directed to
prepare and adopt master plans for the physical development of the
Southeastern Wisconsin region on the basis of studies and analyses.
The Commission itself was formed with 21 citizen members, serving
for six years without pay, three from each county, with one member
from each county appointed by the County Board and the other two
members appointed by the Governor (Bauer, 1963).
The Regional Land Use-Transportation Study, which began in 1963,
was the Commission's first long-range planning effort. The staff
proceeded under the guidance of the Intergovernmental Coordinating
and the Technical Coordinating Committees. (Figure 6) The 3 1/2
year, $2 million study covered the development of goals and
objectives, inventory of existing conditions, preparation and
analysis of alternative plans, and selection and adoption of the
preferred plan (Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning
Commission, 1965-66). SEWRPC prepared three alternative land use
plans for the year 1990. The "controlled existing trend plan"
continued the low-density residential development trend with the
imposition of land use controls to minimize leap-frog development
and reduce encroachment on environmentally sensitive areas. The
"corridor plan" concentrated medium and high density residential
development along transportation corridors interlocked with
recreation and agriculture wedges. The "satellite city plan"
focused new residential development into existing outlying
communities in the region. A transportation plan was developed for
each of the land use plans which primarily consisted of the
existing plus committed highway and transit systems with additions,
including an extensive bus rapid transit system with an exclusive
The recommended "controlled existing trend plan" was adopted by the
full commission and eventually by most of the county boards and
local units of government. In 1966, SEWRPC began the continuing
phase of the land use-transportation study which provided support
to implement the plan, monitored changes in the region and progress
in implementing the adopted plan, and conducted periodic
reappraisals of the plan in light of the changes in the region.
In the ensuing years, SEWRPC conducted a wide range of planning
studies including those related to: watershed development and water
quality, air quality, highway functional classification, public
transportation, parks and open space, port development,
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libraries, airport use, and prepared many local plans in
cooperation with the local jurisdictions. Moreover, it provided
extensive technical assistance to local governments on a variety of
Highway Planning Program Manual
As part of its extensive efforts to provide technical guidance for
carrying out highway planning, the BPR developed the Highway
Planning Program Manual.. The manual was designed to consolidate
technical information on highway planning practice and make it
readily available. Much of that information on highway planning
practice and many of the manuals had been developed by the BPR.
The Highway Planning Program Manual was first issued in August 1963
(U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1963d). It was directed primarily at the
highway engineers in BPR's field offices who needed information to
administer highway planning activities that were being carried out
by State highway departments and by urban transportation planning
groups with Federal-aid highway planning funds. It also provided
valuable information to those performing the actual planning
activities in state and local agencies.
The manual covered the basic elements of a highway planning program
which included: administration and control, highway inventory,
mapping, traffic counting, classifying and weighing, travel
studies, motor vehicle registration and taxes, highway fiscal data,
road life expectancy and costs, and urban transportation planning.
The goal for the overall highway planning process was to develop a
master plan for highway development. This was to consist of a
functionally classified highway system, an estimate of highway
needs, a long range development program to meet the needs with
priorities and, a financial plan to pay for the development
The section of the manual devoted urban transportation planning to
was equally detailed. It covered the various aspects of the urban
transportation planning process including: organization, use of
computers, origin destination studies, population studies, economic
studies, land use, street inventory and classification, evaluation
of traffic services, traffic engineering studies, public
transportation, terminal facilities, travel forecasting, traffic
assignment, developing the transportation plan, plan
implementation, and the continuing planning process.
The Federal Highway Administration continued to update the Highway
Planning Program Manual and add appendices, which included recent
version of relevant procedure manuals, until the early 1980's. The
manual was eventually rescinded by FHWA in 1985.
Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964
The first real effort to provide federal assistance for urban mass
transportation development was the passage of the Urban Mass
Transportation Act of 1964. The objective of the act, still in the
spirit of President Kennedy's Transportation Message, was "...to
encourage the planning and establishment of areawide urban mass
transportation systems needed for economical and desirable urban
development" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979b).
The act authorized federal capital grants for up to two-thirds of
the net project cost of construction, reconstruction, or
acquisition of mass transportation facilities and equipment. Net
project cost was defined as that portion of the total project cost
that could not be financed readily from transit revenues. However,
the federal share was to be held to 50 percent in those areas that
had not completed their comprehensive planning process, that is,
had not produced a plan. All federal funds had to be channeled
through public agencies. Transit projects were to be initiated
A program of research, development, and demonstrations was also
authorized by the 1964 act. The objective of this program was to
"... assist in the reduction of transportation needs, the
improvement of mass transportation service, or the contribution of
such service toward meeting total urban transportation needs at
minimum cost" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979b).
Congress, however, did not authorize much money to carry out this
legislation. Not more than $150 million per year was authorized
under the 1964 act and the actual appropriations fell short of even
that amount (Smerk, 1968).
Urban Development Simulation Models
With the growth of urban transportation planning came an increasing
interest in understanding urban phenomena and in constructing urban
development simulation models. Such models would enable planners
to evaluate alternative urban development patterns, and to produce
information on population, employment, and land use for use in
estimating travel and transportation requirements. Land use
simulation models developed in early urban transportation studies
were rudimentary and focused on the effect of transportation access
on the location of activities (Swerdloff and Stowers, 1966).
During this period many cities were actively engaged in developing
work plans to eliminate slums and urban blight through Community
Renewal Programs (CRPS) that were partially funded by the Housing
and Home Finance Agency (HHFA). These CRPs provided an additional
impetus for the development of urban simulation models. It was as
part of one of these CRPs that a significant breakthrough occurred.
Between 1962-63, Ira S. Lowry developed a land use allocation model
for the Pittsburgh Regional Planning Association as part of a
modeling system to generate alternatives and aid decisionmaking
The "Lowry model," as it came to be known, was the first large
scale and complete urban simulation model to become operational.
The model was attractive because of the simplicity of its causal
structure, the opportunity to expand it, and its operationality
(Goldner, 1971). The underlying concept of the model used economic
base theory in which employment was divided into "basic" employment
that was devoted to goods and services exported outside the region,
and "retail" or "non-basic" employment that served local markets.
Basic employment was located outside the model, while non-basic
employment by the model on the basis of its accessibility to
households. Households were located on the basis of accessibility
to jobs and availability of vacant land. The model proceeded in an
iterative fashion until equilibrium was reached (Putman, 1979).
The conceptual framework developed by Lowry stimulated an era of
model development during the mid-1960's, much of which concentrated
on elaborations and enhancements of the original Lowry model
concepts (Goldner, 1971; Harris, 1965; Putman, 1979). The Lowry
model evolved through further development in Pittsburgh and the San
Francisco Bay Area Simulation Study, and other efforts by a number
of researchers. Most of this work, however, did not result in
models that did not become operational (Goldner, 1971). After a
period of dormancy, work began anew and resulted in the development
of the integrated transportation and land-use package (ITLUP).
This set of models performed lad use activity allocation
incorporated the effects of transportation and land use and the
feedback effects of land use on transportation (Putman, 1983).
Williamsburg Conference on Highways and Urban Development
By 1965 there was concern that planning processes were not
adequately evaluating social and community values. Few planning
studies had developed goal-based evaluation methodologies. A
second conference on Highways and Urban Development was held in
Williamsburg, Virginia, to discuss this problem (Highways and Urban
Development, 1965). The conference concluded that transportation
must be directed toward raising urban standards and enhancing
aggregate community values. Transportation values such as safety,
economy, and comfort are part of the total set of community values
and should be weighted appropriately.
The conference resolutions highlighted the need to identify urban
goals and objectives that should be used to evaluate urban
transportation plans. It emphasized that many values may not be
quantifiable but, nonetheless, should not be ignored. The
conference also endorsed the concept of making maximum use of
existing transportation facilities through traffic management and
land use controls.
IMPROVED INTERGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION
As the number and scope of federal programs for urban development
and transportation projects expanded, there was increasing concern
over the uncoordinated manner in which these project were being
carried out. Each of these federal programs had separate grant
requirements which were often development with little regard to the
requirements of other programs. Projects proceeded through the
approval and implementation process uncoordinated with other
projects that were occurring in the same area.
During this period, several actions were taken to alleviate this
problem. First, was an attempt to better integrate urban
development and transportation programs at the federal level by
bringing them together in two new Cabinet level departments, HUD
and DOT. Second, was the creation of a project review process to
improve intergovernmental coordination at both the federal and
local levels. States and local governments also moved to address
this problem by consolidating functions and responsibilities. Many
states created their own departments of transportation. In
addition, states and local communities created broader, multi-
functional planning agencies to better coordinate and plan areawide
The urban transportation planning process transitioned into the
"continuing" phase as most urban areas completed their first plans.
There was a new interest in low capital approaches to reducing
traffic congestion using techniques such as reserved bus lanes,
traffic engineering improvements, and fringe parking lots. It was
also during this time that national concern was focused upon the
problem of highway safety and the enormous cost of traffic
accidents. Environmental issues became more important
with legislation addressing the preservation of natural areas and
historic sites, and providing relocation assistance for households
Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965
The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 created the
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to better
coordinate urban programs at the federal level. In addition, the
act amended the Section 701 urban planning assistance program
established under the Housing Act of 1954 by authorizing grants to
be made to "...organizations composed of public officials whom he
(the Secretary of HUD) finds to be representative of the political
jurisdictions within a metropolitan area or urban region..." for
the purposes of comprehensive planning (Washington Center, 1970).
This provision encouraged the formation of regional planning
organizations controlled by elected rather than appointed
officials. It gave impetus to the formation of such organizations
as councils of governments (COGs). It also encouraged local
governments to cooperate in addressing their problems in a regional
1966 Amendments to the Urban Mass Transportation Act
To fill several gaps in the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act, a
number of amendments were passed in 1966. One created the
technical studies program, which provided federal assistance up to
a two-thirds federal matching share for planning, engineering, and
designing of urban mass transportation projects or other similar
technical activities leading to application for a capital grant.
Another section authorized grants to be made for management
training. A third authorized a project to study and prepare a
program of research for developing new systems of urban
transportation. This section resulted in a report to Congress in
1968, Tomorrow's Transportation: New Systems for the Urban Future
(Cole, 1968), which recommended a long-range balanced program for
research on hardware, planning, and operational improvements. It
was this study that first brought to public attention many new
systems such as dial-a-bus, personal rapid transit, dual mode,
pallet systems, and tracked air-cushioned vehicle systems. This
study was the basis for numerous research efforts to develop and
refine new urban transportation technologies that would improve on
Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety Acts of 1966
In 1964, highway deaths amounted to 48,000 persons, 10 percent
above 1963, and the death rate was increasing. In March of 1965,
newly Senator Abraham Ribicoff, chairman of the Subcommittee on
Executive Reorganization of the Government Operations Committee,
held hearings on the issue of highway safety to focus national
concern on this national tragedy. Ralph Nader who was already
working on highway safety volunteered to assist Senator Ribicoff's
committee. He provided much material to the committee based on his
research and a book that he was writing on traffic safety
(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1986).
In the July hearings, General Motors" president admitted that his
company had only spent $1.25 million on safety in the previous
year. Following that disclosure, President Johnson ordered
Special Assistant Joseph Califano to develop a transportation
package. In November 1965, Nader's book, Unsafe at Any Speed, was
published with criticism of both the automobile industry and the
traffic safety establishment. In February 1966, President Johnson
told the American Trial Lawyers Association that highway deaths
were second only to the Vietnam War as the "gravest problem before
the nation." A month
later, the President's message requested the Congress to establish
a department of transportation. His message also outlined a
national traffic safety act to require the establishment of motor
vehicle standards, provide for state grants in aid for safety
programs, and fund traffic safety research. By August, both housed
unanimously passed a motor vehicle standards bill and, with only 3
dissenting votes in the Senate, passed state program legislation.
The final bills were signed by President Johnson on September 9,
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966
established the National Traffic Safety Agency in the Department of
Commerce. It required the establishment of minimum safety
standards for motor vehicles and equipment, authorized research and
development, and expanded the National Driver Register of
individuals whose licenses had been denied, terminated, or
withdrawn. According to the act, each standard was required to be
practical, meet the need for motor vehicle safety, and stated in
objective terms. In prescribing standards, the Secretary was
required to consider: (1) relevant available motor vehicle safety
data, (2) whether the proposed standard in appropriate for the
particular motor vehicle or equipment for-which it is prescribed,
and (3) the extent to which the standard contributed to carrying
out the purposes of the act (Comptroller General, 1976).
The Highway Safety Act of 1966 established the National Highway
Safety Agency in the Department of Commerce. It was designed to
provide a coordinated national highway safety program through
financial assistance to the states. Under this act, states were
required to establish highway safety programs in accordance with
federal standards. Federal funds were made available under Section
402, to be allocated by population and highway mileage, to assist
in financing these programs with a 75 percent federal and 25
percent matching ratio (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
The two safety agencies were combined by Executive Order 11357 into
the National Highway Safety Bureau in the newly created DOT. By
1969, the Bureau, under Dr. William Haddon Jr., had established 29
motor vehicle standards and 13 highway safety standards and all
states had established highway safety programs. By the end of
1972, the agency had issued a total of 43 motor vehicle standards,
covering vehicle accident prevention and passenger protection, and
18 highway safety standards, covering vehicle inspection,
registration, motorcycle safety, driver education, traffic laws and
records, accident investigation and reporting, pupil transportation
and police traffic services (Insurance Institute for Highway
These two safety acts provided the basis for a practical,
comprehensive national highway safety program to reduce deaths and
injuries caused by motor vehicles.
Department of Transportation Act of 1966
In 1966 the Department of Transportation (DOT) was created to
coordinate transportation programs and to facilitate development
and improvement of coordinated transportation service utilizing
private enterprise to the maximum extent feasible. The Department
of Transportation Act declared that the nation required fast, safe,
efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost
consistent with other national objectives including the
conservation of natural resources. DOT was directed to provide
leadership in the identification of transportation problems and
solutions, stimulate new technological advances, encourage
cooperation among all interested parties, and recommend national
policies and programs to accomplish these objectives.
Section 4(f) of the act required the preservation of natural areas.
It prohibited the use of land for a transportation project from a
park, recreation area, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or
historic site unless there was no feasible and prudent alternative
and the project was planned in such a manner as to minimize harm to
the area. This was the earliest statutory language directed at
minimizing the negative effects of transportation construction
projects on the natural environment.
The DOT Act left unclear, however, the division of responsibility
for urban mass transportation between DOT and HUD. It took more
than a year for DOT and HUD to come to an agreement on their
respective responsibilities. This agreement, known as
Reorganization Plan No. 2, took effect in July 1968. Under it, DOT
assumed responsibility for mass transportation capital grants,
technical studies, and managerial training grant programs subject
to HUD certification of the planning requirements for capital grant
applications. Research and development (R&D) was divided up. DOT
assumed R&D responsibility for improving the operation of
conventional transit systems and HUD assumed R&D responsibility for
urban transportation as it related to comprehensive planning.
Joint responsibility was assigned for R&D on advanced technology
systems. The Reorganization Plan also created the Urban Mass
Transportation Administration (UMTA) (Miller, 1972).
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
Through the 1950's and 1960's, while the federal government funded
numerous public works and urban renewal projects, federal
preservation law applied only to a handful of nationally
significant properties. As a result, federal projects destroyed or
damaged thousands of historic properties. Congress recognized that
new legislation was needed to protect the many other properties
that were being harmed by federal activities (Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation, 1986).
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was passed to
address these concerns. The act established the Advisory Council
on Historic Preservation to provide advice on national preservation
policy. Section 106 of the act required federal agencies to take
into account the effects of their undertakings on historic
preservation, and to afford the Council the opportunity to comment
on such undertakings. Section 110 required federal agencies to
identify and protect historic properties under their control.
The Section 106 review process established by the Council required
a federal agency funding or otherwise involved in a proposed
project to identify historic properties that might be affected by
the project and find acceptable means to avoid or mitigate any
adverse impact. Federal agencies were to consult with the Council
and State Historic Preservation Officers, appointed by the
Governors, in carrying out this process.
Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966
With the growth in federal grant programs for urban renewal,
highways, transit, and other construction projects, there was a
need for a mechanism to coordinate these projects. The
Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 was
enacted to ensure that federal grants were not working at cross
purposes. Section 204 of that act was significant in asserting
federal interest in improving the coordination of public facility
construction projects to obtain maximum effectiveness of federal
spending and to relate such projects to areawide development plans.
Section 204 required that all applications for the planning and
construction of facilities be submitted to an areawide planning
agency for review and comment. The areawide agency was required to
be composed of local elected officials. The objective was to
encourage the coordination of planning and construction of physical
facilities in urban areas. Section 204 was also designed
to stimulate operating agencies with narrow functional
responsibilities to examine the relationship of their projects to
areawide plans for urban growth. Procedures to implement this act
were issued by the Bureau of the Budget in Circular No. 82,
"Coordination of Federal Aids in Metropolitan Areas Under Section
204 of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of
1966" (Bureau of the Budget, 1967).
In response to these review requirements, many urban areas
established new planning agencies or reorganized existing agencies
to include elected officials on their policy boards. By the end of
1969, only six metropolitan lacked an areawide review agency
(Washington Center, 1970).
Dartmouth Conference on Urban Development Models
Land-use planning models were developed as an adjunct to
transportation planning to provide forecasts of population,
employment, and land-use for transportation forecasting models.
From the mid 1950's there was rapid development in the field
stimulated by newly available computers and advances in operations
research and systems analysis (Putman, 1979). Developments were
discussed at a seminar at the University of Pennsylvania in October
1964 that was documented in a special issue of the journal of the
American Institute of Planners (Harris, 1965).
By 1967 the Land-Use Evaluation Committee of the Highway Research
Board determined that there was need for another assessment of work
in the field, which was progressing in an uncoordinated fashion. A
conference was held in Dartmouth, New Hampshire, in June 1967 to
identify the areas of research that were most needed (Hemmens,
The conferees recommended that agencies sponsoring research on land
use models, generally the federal government, expand the
capabilities of their in-house staff to handle these models. They
recommended steps to improve data acquisition and handling.
Further research on broader models that included social goals was
recommended. Conferees recommended that research on the behavioral
aspects of the individual decision units be conducted. Concern was
expressed about bridging the gap between modelers and
decisionmakers. Professional standards for design, calibration and
use of models was also encouraged (Hemmens, 1968).
The early optimism in the field faded as the land development
models did not perform up to the expectations of researchers and
decisionmakers, particularly at the small area level. Modelers had
underestimated the task of simulating complex urban phenomena.
Many of these modeling efforts were performed by planning agencies
that had to meet unreasonable time deadlines. (Putman, 1979) Models
had become more complex with larger data requirements as submodels
were added to encompass more aspects of the urban development
process. They were too costly to construct and operate, and many
still did not produce usable results. By the late 1960's land-use
modeling activity in the United States entered a period of dormancy
that continued until the mid 1970's.
Reserved Bus Lanes
As construction of the Interstate highway progressed, highway
engineers came under increasing criticism for providing underpriced
facilities that competed unfairly with transit service. Critics
were also concerned that the 3C planning process was not giving
sufficient attention to transit options in the development of long-
range urban transportation plans.
The first official response to this criticism came in April 1964 in
a speech by E. H. Holmes, Director of Planning for the Bureau of
Public Roads. Mr. Holmes stated, "Since over three-quarters of
transit patrons ride on rubber tires, not on steel rails, transit
has to be for highways, not against them. And vice versa, highways
have to be for transit, not against it, for the more that travelers
patronize transit the easier will be the highway engineer's job."
He went on to advocate the use of freeways by buses in express
service. This would increase bus operating speeds, reduce their
travel times, and thereby make bus service more competitive with
car travel. The BPR position was that the reservation of a lane
for buses was reasonable if its usage by bus passengers exceeded
the number of persons that would be moved in the same period in
cars, for example, 3,000 persons per hour for a lane of freeway
This position was formalized in Instructional Memorandum (IM) 2113-
67, "Reserved Bus Lanes," issued by the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) in August 1967. In addition to reiterating
the warrant for reserving of lanes for buses, the IM stated the
warrant for preferential use of lanes by buses. Under preferential
use, other vehicles would be allowed to use the lane but only in
such numbers that they do not degrade the travel speeds of the
buses. The number of other vehicles would be controlled by
metering their flow onto the lane. The total number of persons
using the preferential lanes was to be greater than would be
accommodated by opening the lanes to general traffic.
The FHWA actively promoted the use of exclusive and preferential
bus treatments. Expenditures for bus priority projects on arterial
highways, including loading platforms and shelters, became eligible
for federal-aid highway funds under the Traffic Operations Program
to Improve Capacity and Safety (TOPICS), which was initiated as an
experimental program in 1967. Reserved lanes for buses on freeways
were eligible under the regular federal-aid highway programs.
Many urban areas adopted bus priority techniques to increase the
carrying capacity of highway facilities and make transit service
more attractive at a limited cost. By 1973 one study reported on
more than 200 bus priority projects in the United States and
elsewhere. These included busways on exclusive rights-of-way and
on freeways, reserved freeway lanes and ramps, bus malls, reserved
lanes on arterial streets, traffic signal preemption, and
supporting park-and-ride lots and central city terminals (Levinson,
National Highway Needs Studies
The expected completion of the Interstate highway system in the mid
1970's lead to consideration of new directions for the federal-aid
highway program. Recognizing the need for information on which to
formulate future highway programs, the U.S. Senate, in section 3 of
the Senate Joint Resolution 81 (approved August 28, 1965) called
for a biennial reporting of highway needs beginning in 1968.
In April 1965, the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads had requested the
states to prepare estimates of future highway needs for the period
1965-85. The states were given only a few months to prepare the
estimates and they relied upon available data and rapid estimating
techniques. The results were documented in the 1968 National
Highway Needs Report. The estimated cost of $294 billion to meet
the anticipated highway needs was a staggering sum. It included
another 40,000 of freeways in addition to the 41,000 miles in the
Interstate system (U.S. Congress, 1968a). The supplement to the
report recommended the undertaking of a nationwide functional
highway classification study as the basis for realigning the
federal-aid highway systems (U.S. Congress, 1968b).
The 1968 report focused greater attention on urban areas than in
the past. The supplement recommended that a larger share of
federal-aid highway funds should be made available to urban areas.
As a means to accomplish this, the supplement discussed expanding
the urban extensions of the primary and secondary highway systems
to include all principal arterial routes into a federal-aid urban
system. To overcome the difficulties of urban area decisionmaking
among fragmented local governments, it suggested requiring the
establishment of areawide agencies to develop five-year capital
improvement programs. The agencies would be governed by locally
elected officials (U.S. Congress, 1968b).
The supplement also recommended the use of federal-aid highway
funds for a parking research and development projects, and for
construction of fringe parking facilities. The establishment of a
revolving fund for advance acquisition of right-of-way was
recommended as well. The supplement advocated joint development
adjacent to or using airspace above or below highways. Such
projects should be coordinated jointly by DOT and HUD (U.S.
Many of the recommendations in the Supplement to the 1968 National
Highway Needs Report were incorporated into the Federal-Aid Highway
Acts of 1968 and 1970. Section 17 of the 1968 act called for a
systematic nationwide functional highway classification study in
cooperation with state highway departments and local governments.
The manual for this functional classification study stated that,
"All existing public roads and streets within a State are to be
classified on the basis of the most logical usage of existing
facilities to serve present travel and land use" (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1969b). This was the first major study to collect
detailed functional system information on a nationwide basis.
The supplement to the 1970 National Highway Needs Report detailed
the results of the 1968 functional classification study which
covered existing facilities under current conditions of travel and
land use. The results showed that there was wide variation among
states in the coincidence of highways classified functionally and
which federal-aid system they were on. This disparity was greater
in urban areas than in rural areas. The report demonstrated that
arterial highways carried the bulk of highway travel. For example,
in urban areas in 1968, arterial highways constituted 19 percent of
the miles of facilities and carried 75 percent of the vehicle miles
of travel (U.S. Congress, 1970). (Figure 7)
The 1972-- National Highway Needs Report documented the results of
the 1970-1990 functional classification study. It combined a
projected functional classification for 1990 with a detailed
inventory and needs estimate for all functional classes including
local roads and streets. It recommended the realignment of
federal-aid highway systems based upon functional usage in a
subsequent year such as 1980. This recommendation for realignment
was incorporated into the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. Highway
needs were estimated for the twenty-year period to 1990 under
nationally uniform "minimum tolerable conditions". Of the
estimated $592 billion in needs, 43 percent were on federal-aid
systems as they existed in 1970. Over 50 percent of these needs
were considered to be "backlog," that is, requiring immediate
attention (U.S. Congress 1972b and 1972c).
The 1974 National Highway Needs updated the needs estimates that
were reported in the 1972 report. The 1974 Highway Needs Study was
conducted as part of the 1974 National Transportation Study. The
1974 highway report analyzed the sensitivity of the needs estimates
to the changes of reduced forecasted travel and a lower level of
service than a minimum tolerable conditions. The report clarified
that the highway needs estimates are dependent upon the specific
set of standards of highway service and highway design on which
they are based.
The highway needs studies represented a ongoing process to assess
the nations highway system and quantify the nature and scope of
future highway requirements. The studies were carried out as
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cooperative efforts of the federal, state and local governments.
The extensive involvement of state and local governments lent
considerable credibility to the studies. Consequently, the highway
needs reports had a major influence on highway legislation, and the
structure and funding of highway programs (U.S. Congress, 1975).
Federal-Aid-Highway Act of 1968
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 established the Traffic
Operations Program to Improve Capacity and Safety (TOPICS). It
authorized $200 million each for fiscal years 1970 and 1971. The
federal matching share was set at 50 percent. The program was
designed to reduce traffic congestion and facilitate the flow of
traffic in urban areas. Prior to the act, the Bureau of Public
Roads had initiated TOPICS as an experimental program. IM 21-767,
which established guidelines for TOPICS, divided urban streets into
two categories. Those on the federal-aid Primary and Secondary
systems were considered Type 1. Other major streets were under Type
2. only traffic operations improvements were allowed on Type 2
systems (Gakenheimer and Meyer, 1977).
The TOPICS program grew out of a long history of the BPR's efforts
to expand the use of traffic engineering techniques. In 1959, the
BPR sponsored the Wisconsin Avenue Study to demonstrate the
effectiveness of various traffic management methods when applied in
a coordinated fashion (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1962).
TOPICS projects were to result from the 3C urban transportation
planning process. By October 1969 there were 160 cities actively
involved in TOPICS and another 96 cities in preliminary
negotiations expected to result in active projects. Even so, the
level of planning detail for TOPICS projects was not totally
compatible with the regional scale of the planning process
(Gakenheimer and Meyer, 1977).
The TOPICS program was re-authorized for fiscal years 1972 and 1973
at $100 million per year. But the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973
ended further authorizations and merged the TOPICS systems into the
new federal-aid Urban system. TOPICS had accomplished its
objective of increasing the acceptance of traffic engineering
techniques as a means of improving the efficiency of the urban
transportation system. It also played an important role in
encouraging the concept of traffic management (Gakenheimer and
In addition to launching the TOPICS program, the Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1968 incorporated several provisions designed to
protect the environment and reduce the negative effects of highway
construction. The Act repeated the requirement in Section 4(f) of
the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 on the preservation of
public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges,
and historic sites to clarify that the provision applied to
highways. Moreover the Act required public hearings on the
economic, social, and environmental effects of proposed highway
projects and their consistency with local urban goals and
objectives. The act also established the highway beautification
program. In addition a highway relocation assistance program was
authorized to provide payments to households and businesses
displaced by construction projects. Additionally, a revolving fund
for the advanced acquisition of right-of-way was established to
minimize future dislocations due to highway construction and reduce
the cost of land and clearing it. Also, the Act authorized funds
for a fringe parking demonstration program.
Many of the provisions of the Act were early responses to the
concern for environmental quality and for ameliorating the negative
effects of highway construction.
"Continuing" Urban Transportation Planning
By 1968 most urbanized areas had completed or were well along in
their 3C planning process. The Federal Highway Administration
turned its attention to the "continuing" aspect of the planning
process. In May 1968, IM 50-4-68, "Operations Plans for
Continuing" Urban Transportation Planning" was issued. The IM
required the preparation of an operations plan for continuing
transportation planning in these areas. The objective was to
maintain the responsiveness of planning to the needs of local areas
and to potential changes (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1968).
The operations plans were to address the various items needed to
perform continuing planning, including: the organizational
structure; scope of activities and the agencies that were
responsible; a description of the surveillance methodology to
identify changes in land development and travel demand; a
description of land use and travel forecasting procedures; and work
remaining on the ten basic elements of the 3C planning process
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1968).
Guidelines were provided identifying the five elements considered
essential for a continuing planning process. (Figure 8) The
"surveillance, element focused on monitoring changes in the area
in development, sociodemographic characteristics, and travel.
"Reappraisal, dealt with three levels of review of the
transportation forecasts and plan to determine if they were still
valid. Every five years the plan and forecast were to be updated
to retain a 20-year time horizon. The third element, "service,"
was to assist agencies in the implementation of the plan. The
"procedural development element emphasized the need to upgrade
analysis techniques. Last was the publication of an "annual
report" on these activities as a means of communicating with local
officials and citizens (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1968).
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Extensive training and technical assistance was provided by the
FHWA to shift urban transportation planning into a continuing mode
Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968
Section 204 of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Act was
the forerunner of much more extensive legislation, adopted in 1968,
designed to coordinate federal grant-in-aid programs at federal and
state levels. The Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968
required that federal agencies notify the governors or legislatures
of the purpose and amounts of any grants-in-aid to their states.
The purpose of this requirement was to make it possible for states
to plan more effectively for their overall development (Washington
The act required that the areawide planning agency be established
under state enabling legislation. It provided that in the absence
of substantial reasons to the contrary, federal grants shall be
made to general purpose units of government rather than special
purpose agencies. The act also transferred administration of these
intergovernmental coordination requirements from HUD to the Bureau
of the Budget.
Bureau of the Budget's Circular No. A-95
To implement the 1968 Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, the Bureau
of the Budget issued Circular No. A-95, "Evaluation, Review, and
Coordination of Federal Assistance Programs and Projects," in July
1969 (Bureau of the Budget, 1969), which superseded Circular No. A-
82 (Bureau of the Budget, 1967). This circular required that the
governor of each state designate a "clearinghouse" at the state
level and for each metropolitan area. The function of these
clearinghouses was to review and comment on projects proposed for
federal-aid in terms of their compatibility
with comprehensive plans and to coordinate among agencies having
plans and programs that might be affected by the projects. These
clearinghouses had to be empowered under state or local laws to
perform comprehensive planning in an area (Washington Center,
The circular established a project notification and review system
(PNRS) which specified how the review and coordination process
would be carried out and the amount of time for each step in the
process. (Figure 9) The PNRS contained an "early warning" feature
that required that a local applicant for a federal grant or loan
notify the state and local clearinghouses at the time it decided to
seek assistance. The clearinghouse had 30 days to indicate further
interest in the project or to arrange to provide project
coordination. This regulation was designed to alleviate the
problem many review agencies had of learning of an application only
after it had been prepared, and thereby having little opportunity
to help shape it (Washington Center, 1970).
Circular No. A-95 provided the most definitive federal statement of
the process through which planning for urban areas should be
accomplished. Its emphasis was not on substance but on process and
on the intergovernmental linkages required to carry out the
The various acts and regulations to improve intergovernmental
program coordination accelerated the creation of broader multi-
functional agencies. At the state level, 39 Departments of
Transportation had been created by 1977. Most of the departments
had multimodal planning, programming, and coordinating functions.
At the local level, there was a growing trend for transportation
planning to be performed by comprehensive planning agencies,
generally those designated as the A-95 clearinghouse (Advisory
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THE ENVIRONMENT AND CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT
During the decade of the 1960's, the growing concern for
environmental quality put considerable pressure on the planning
process and its ability to adapt to change. Public attention
became focused on the issues of air and water pollution;
dislocation of homes and businesses; preservation of parkland,
wildlife refuges, and historic sites; and the overall ecological
balance in communities and their capacity to absorb disruption.
Moreover, citizens were concerned that changes were being made to
their communities without their views being considered. The
federal role in these matters, which had begun modestly in previous
years, broadened and deepened during this period.
Citizen Participation and the Two-Hearing Process for Highways
Citizen reaction to highway projects usually was most vocal at
public hearings. It became clear that citizens could not
effectively contribute to a highway decision by the time the
project had already been designed. Many of the concerns related to
the basic issue of whether to build the highway project at all and
the consideration of alternative modes of transportation.
Consequently, in early 1969, the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) revised Policy and Procedure Memorandum (PPM) 20-8, "Public
Hearings and Location Approval" (U.S. Department of Transportation,
It established a two-hearing process for highway projects,
replacing the previous single hearing, which occurred late in the
project development process. The first "corridor public hearing"
was to be held before the route location decision was made and was
designed to afford citizens the opportunity to comment on the need
for and location of the highway project. The second "highway
design public hearing" was to focus on the specific location and
design features. This PPM also required the consideration of
social, economic, and environmental effects prior to submission of
a project for federal-aid.
It was recognized that even a two-hearing process did not provide
adequate opportunity for citizen involvement and, worse, provided a
difficult atmosphere for dialogue. In late 1969 the basic
guidelines for the 3C planning process were amended to require
citizen participation in all phases of the planning process from
the setting of goals through the analysis of alternatives.
Consequently, it became the responsibility of the planning agency
to seek out public views.
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
The federal government's concern for environmental issues dated
back to the passage of the Air Quality Control Act of 1955, which
directed the Surgeon General to conduct research to abate air
pollution. Through a series of acts since that time, the federal
government's involvement in environmental matters broadened and
In 1969 a singularly important piece of environmental legislation
was passed, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
This act presented a significant departure from prior legislation
in that it enunciated for the first time a broad national policy to
prevent or eliminate damage to the environment. The act stated
that it was national policy to "encourage productive and enjoyable
harmony between man and his environment."
Federal agencies were required under the act to use a systematic
interdisciplinary approach to the planning and decisionmaking that
affected the environment. It also required that an environmental
impact statement (EIS) be prepared for all legislation and major
federal actions that would affect the environment significantly.
The EIS was to contain information on the environmental impacts of
the proposed action, unavoidable impacts, alternatives to the
action, the relationship between short-term and long-term impacts,
and irretrievable commitments of resources. The federal agency was
to seek comments on the action and its impacts from affected
jurisdictions and make all information public.
The act also created the Council on Environmental Quality to
implement the policy and advise the President on environmental
Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970
The Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970 was passed as a
companion to the NEPA. It established the office of Environmental
Quality under the Council of Environmental Quality. The office was
charged with assisting federal agencies in evaluating present and
proposed programs, and with promoting research on the environment.
These two acts dealing with the environment marked the first
reversal in over a decade of the trend to decentralize
decisionmaking to the state and local levels of government. It
required the federal government to make the final determination on
the trade-off between facility improvements and environmental
quality. Further, it created a complicated and expensive process
by requiring the preparation of an EIS and the seeking of comments
from all concerned agencies. In this manner, the acts actually
created a new planning process in parallel with the existing urban
transportation planning process.
Nationwide Personal Transportation Study
Earlier national surveys of travel were limited to automobile and
truck use. Between 1935 and 1940, and again during the 1950's, a
number of states conducted motor vehicle use studies on the
characteristics of motor vehicle ownership, users and travel
(Bostick, Messer and Steele, 1954; and Bostick 1963). During 1961,
the U.S. Bureau of the Census conducted the National Automobile Use
Study of 5,000 households for BPR. The survey covered
characteristics of motor vehicle ownership and use, and the journey
to work. Income and other household data were available to relate
to the travel and automobile information (Bostick, 1966).
The Nationwide Personal Transportation Study (NPTS) grew out these
efforts and was designed to obtain current information on national
patterns of passenger travel. The NPTS surveyed households
covering all person trips by all modes and for all trip purposes.
The NPTS was first conducted in 1969 (Dept. of Transportation,
1972-1974) and was repeated at approximately seven year intervals
(i.e. 1977, 1983, 1990). The first three surveys were conducted by
the U.S. Bureau of the Census for DOT using home interviews. The
1990 NPTS was conducted by a private contractor using computer-
assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) and random digit dialing to
allow for unlisted telephone numbers. Since CATI was less
expensive than home interviews, the sample size for the NPTS could
be increased to 18,000 households after it had declined from that
number in 1977 to 6500 in 1983. MPO's were also allowed to
purchase additional NPTS samples for their areas, and this added
Respondents were asked to report in considerable detail on all
trips made by household members on the day prior to the interview,
and to provide less detail on longer trips made for the previous
two-week period. Information was also collected on the
socioeconomic characteristics if the household, vehicles owned,
journey-to-work characteristics, and driving done as a part of the
job. The NPTS provided national statistics on person travel with
some disaggregation by Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas
(SMSA) size groupings. It provided information on average daily
travel by household members including trip purpose, mode, trip
length, vehicle occupancy, time of day, and day of the week.
By comparing successive surveys, the NPTS quantified a number of
important national trends including the significant increase in
automobile ownership, declining household size, growth in VMT per
household, continuing decline of the work trip fraction of travel,
increasing use of light trucks for household travel, and the
relative constancy of annual VMT per vehicle even with major
increases in VMT per person. (Table 3) In terms of modal
distribution of travel, the private vehicle share grew steadily
while vehicle occupancy declined (Liss, 1991).
The NPTS has become a unique and valuable data resource for
analyzing the nation's travel patterns. It allowed the tracking of
changes in key household travel characteristics and has been used
at the Federal as well as local levels.
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 reinforced the central
position of the federal government to make final decisions
affecting the environment. This act created the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and empowered it to set ambient air quality
standards. Required reductions in new automobile emissions were
also specified in the act. The act authorized the EPA to require
states to formulate implementation plans describing how they would
achieve and maintain the ambient air quality standards. In 1971
the EPA promulgated national ambient air quality standards and
proposed regulations on state implementation
NATIONWIDE PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION STUDY
Household and Travel Indicators
Summary Statistic 1969 1990 Change
Total Population 197.2 million 239.4 million 21
Total Households 62.5 million 93.3 million 49
Total Workers 75.8 million 118.3 million 56
Total Vehicles 72.5 million 165.2 million 128
Total Annual VMT 775.9 million 1,409.6 million 82
Persons per Household 3.2 2.6
Vehicles per Household 1.2 1.8
Percent of Households:
0 Vehicles 20.6 9.2
1 Vehicle 48.4 32.8
2 Vehicles 26.4 38.4
3+ Vehicles 4.6 19.6
VMT per Household 12,423 15,100
% Work Vehicle Trips 31.9 26.3
% Nonwork Vehicle Trips 68.1 73.9
% Transit Trips 3.4 2.2
Automobile Occupancy 1.9 1.6
plans (SIPS) to meet these standards (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
The preparation, submission, and review of the SIPs occurred
outside the traditional urban transportation planning process and,
in many instances, did not involve the planning agencies developing
transportation plans. This problem became particularly difficult
for urban areas that could not meet the air quality standards even
with new automobiles that met the air pollution emission standards.
In these instances, transportation control plans (TCPS) were
required that contained changes in urban transportation systems and
their operation to effect the reduction in emissions. Rarely were
these TCPs developed jointly with those agencies developing urban
transportation plans. It took several years of dialogue between
these air pollution and transportation planning agencies to mediate
joint plans and policies for urban transportation and air quality.
Another impact of the environmental legislation, particularly the
Clean Air Act, was the increased emphasis on short-term changes in
transportation systems. In that the deadline for meeting the
ambient air quality standards was fairly short, EPA was primarily
concerned with actions that could affect air quality in that time
frame. The actions precluded major construction and generally
focused on low capital and traffic management measures. up to that
time, urban transportation planning had been focused on long-range
(20 years or more) planning (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1975b).
Boston Transportation Planning Review
The results of many urban transportation planning studies called
for major expansions of the area's freeway system along with other
highway improvements. Public transportation was often projected to
have a minimal role in the areas future. In these urban
transportation plans, many of the highway improvements were to be
located in built up areas where they would cause major disruptions
and dislocations. As public awareness to social and environmental
concerns grew in many urban areas, so too did the opposition to
transportation plans that contained recommendations for major
expansions of the highway system. When faced with these
circumstances, urban areas were forced to reevaluate their plans.
The prototype for these reevaluations was the Boston Transportation
Planning Review (BTPR).
The long-range plan for the Boston region published in 1969
contained recommendations for a comprehensive network of radial and
circumferential highways and substantial improvements to the
existing mass transportation system. Much of the freeway portion
of the plan was included as part of the Interstate highway system.
Many of the recommended highways were contained in the earlier 1948
plan, which was typical of urban transportation plans of this
period. Opposition to the 1969 plan developed even before it was
published, especially from the affected communities (Humphrey,
Governor Francis Sargent ordered a moratorium on major highway
construction in February 1970 shortly after the Boston City Council
had already done so. He announced a major reevaluation of
transportation policy for the Boston area and created the BTPR as
an independent entity reporting directly to the governor to address
the areas transportation issues.
The BTPR lasted about 18 months, during which time numerous
transportation alternatives were identified and evaluated by an
interdisciplinary team of professionals. The work was accomplished
in an atmosphere of open and participatory interaction among
planners, citizens, and elected officials. The BTPR led to the
decision made by the governor not to build additional freeways
within the Boston core. Instead, the major
emphasis was on a mix of arterials, special purpose highways, and
major improvements in the mass transportation system (Humphrey,
There were several hallmarks of this new form of the urban
transportation planning process, termed by Alan Altshuler, who
chaired the BTPR, the "open study." First and foremost was the
extensive involvement of professionals, citizens, interest groups
and decisionmakers in all aspects of the restudy. Second, transit
options were evaluated on an equal footing with highway options.
Third, the restudy focused on both the broader regionwide scale and
the finer community level scale. Fourth, there was less reliance
on computer models for analysis and a more open attitude toward
explaining the analytical methodology to the nontechnical
participants. Fifth, the study used a wider range of evaluation
criteria that accounted for more social and environmental factors.
Sixth, decisionmakers were willing to step in and make decisions at
points where the process had reached a stalemate (Gakenheimer, 1976
and Allen 1985).
The BTPR occurred at the height of the citizen participation
movement in a highly charged atmosphere outside the mainstream of
decisionmaking in Boston. Although it is unlikely that such a
study will be repeated elsewhere in the same manner, the BTPR has
left a permanent impact on urban transportation. The legacy of the
BTPR has been to demonstrate a more open form of planning and
decisionmaking that has greater concern for social and
environmental impacts and the opinions of those affected by
Urban Corridor Demonstration Program
In January 1970, the DOT initiated the Urban Corridor Demonstration
Program to test and demonstrate the concerted use of available
highway traffic engineering and transit operations
techniques for relieving traffic congestion in radial corridors
serving major urban corridors. The program emphasized low-capital
intensive improvements rather than new major construction to
demonstrate whether relatively inexpensive projects which could be
implemented rapidly could play an effective role in relieving urban
traffic congestion (Alan M. Voorhees and Assoc., 1974).
The program was focused on urbanized areas over 200,000 in
population. It utilized existing federal programs for transit
facilities and equipment, demonstrations, research and technical
studies, and for highway construction, TOPICS, and fringe parking.
The demonstration projects use various improvement techniques that
were funded under these programs in a coordinated fashion to reduce
In July 1970 eleven areas were selected to conduct planning for
demonstration projects. An evaluation manual was developed to
assist the participating urban areas in developing the experimental
design, hypotheses to be tested, and overall evaluation strategy
(Texas Transportation Institute, 1972). Based on the evaluation
plans from these areas, eight were selected to carry out
demonstrations, and seven actually conducted them. The projects
tested line-haul improvements such as transit priority schemes,
traffic engineering techniques and bus service improvements; low-
density collection-distribution improvements such as park and ride
facilities, demand responsive buses, and shelters; and CBD
collection-distribution system improvements such as bus shuttle
service and improved transportation terminals.
This early attempt to integrate low-capital intensive transit and
highway improvement techniques in a concerted manner to improve
urban transportation pointed the way to the extensive use of
transportation system management approaches in later years.
Further experimentation on low-capital techniques continued with
the establishment of the Service and Methods Demonstration Program
Census Journey-to-Work Surveys
The decennial census, which is required by the Constitution, is the
longest time series of U.S. demographic data. The census was first
taken in 1790 and broadened in 1810 to include other subjects.
Interest in the census by transportation planners began in the late
1950's with the advent of comprehensive urban transportation
studies and the need for data on sociodemographic characteristics.
At that time, the HRB launched the Committee on Transportation
Information Systems and Data Requirements to persuade the Bureau of
the Census to include questions on place of work and automobile
ownership in the 1960 census. In 1960, the format of the census
was changed so that the majority of the population had to only
answer a limited set of questions ("short form"), and a sample of
the population had to answer a more detailed set of questions (long
form). Journey-to-work and other transportation-related questions
were included on the long form.
In the 1960's, the Bureau of the Census established a Small Area
Data Advisory Committee, which included a number of transportation
planners, to assist them in the planning for the 1970 census.
Transportation planners recognized that the data from the decennial
census could be used more broadly for transportation studies
because it included most of the traditional variables used in the
studies and the journey-to-work question was similar to traditional
origin-destination questions. In late 1966, the Bureau of the
Census conducted a Census Use Study in New Haven, Connecticut. The
purpose of the study was to examine the methods and procedures they
has developed to facilitate the use of census data by local
agencies. FHWA became involved because of their interest in an
efficient method of maintaining current urban transportation
planning data. A critical problem of the incompatibility of census
tracts and traffic analysis zones was
solved with the development of geographic coding systems. This
permitted residence and work place addresses to be geographically
coded to individual city blocks which allowed the census data to be
summarized by traffic analysis zone (Sword and Fleet, 1973). As a
result of the pretest, the FHWA funded the Bureau of the Census to
develop the capability to provide special summary tabulations, as
the proposed 1970 tabulations would not have satisfied urban
transportation study needs. The result was the Urban
Transportation Planning Package which integrated journey-towork and
work place data along with socio-demographic data into an urban
areas specific data base that could be used by local planning
agencies (Sword and Fleet, 1973).
During the 1970's, the use of the Urban Transportation Planning
Package in transportation planning was evaluated in preparation for
the 1980 census (Highway Research Board, 1971c; Transportation
Research Board, 1974c). Many of the recommendations were
incorporated by the Census Bureau. These included finer levels of
stratification for vehicle ownership, modes and geographic detail,
and the addition of travel times to work.
By the 1980's, the census journey-to-work survey had become a
significant source of data for urban transportation planning.
First, since the 1960's rising costs and diminished financial
resources forced most urban transportation agencies to forgo large-
scale data collection. Second, planning agencies were being faced
with pressures from decision makers for up-to-date information on
which to base their analyses and recommendations. Third,
improvements in data-based modeling reduced the need for locally
conducted surveys, such as home-interview origin-destination
studies. Fourth, improvements in both the transportation-related
questions, and detail and accuracy of geographic coding of data
from the 1980 census afforded planners a data base that at least
partially filled the void left by the lack
of locally-collected data (Transportation Research Board, 1985b).
The DOT provided technical assistance and training in the use of
the 1980 census as they had with the 1970 census (Sosslau, 1983).
By the early-1980's over 200 MPOs had purchased Urban
Transportation Planning Package tabulations.
Evaluation of the experience with the package continued
(Transportation Research Board, 1984c). A conference on December
9-12, 1984 in Orlando, Florida, was organized by the TRB and
sponsored by the DOT to review the progress to date and make
recommendations for the 1990 census (Transportation Research Board,
1985b). The conference demonstrated the central role that census
data has achieved in urban transportation planning.
FHWA analyzed the nationwide changes in population, journey-to-work
patterns, mode of travel to work and vehicle availability occurring
between the 1960, 1970 and 1980 censuses (Briggs, et. al., 1986).
Further analyses were conducted under the National Commuting Study
which was sponsored by ten organizations including AASHTO, the
Highway Users Federation for Safety and Mobility, Institute of
Transportation Engineers, and the Urban Land Institute (Pisarski,
The study distilled three primary trends over this twenty-year
period from analyses of the data. First was "the worker boom,"
which was a dramatic increase in the number of workers, and
therefore in the number of work-trips commuters, in excess of
population growth. The increase in workers was due to entrance of
"baby boomers" into the work force and the huge increase in the
number of women entering the work force. Second was "the suburban
commuting boom," which was due to the large number of jobs that
located in the suburbs. This resulted in suburb-to-suburb
commuting becoming the dominant commuting pattern. Third was "the
private vehicle boom," in which private vehicles per capita almost
doubled during this period. Work travel by private vehicles
increased from 70 to 85 percent of all work travel (Pisarski,
1987a). These trends clearly indicated that major changes had
occurred in work travel and that these changes would continue for
the foreseeable future.
The census journey-to-work became a significant source of travel
data both at the national level, and for State and local planning.
At the national level, this data set increased in value with each
addition to the series. At the local level, census data became
more important as changes were made to improve its usefulness for
urban transportation planning, and as cost constraints precluded
collection of new data.
BEGINNINGS OF MULTIMODAL URBAN TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
By 1970, there were 273 urbanized areas actively engaged in
continuing urban transportation planning. (Figure 10) By then,
however, the urban transportation planning process was receiving
criticism on a number of issues. It was criticized for inadequate
treatment of the social and environmental impacts of transportation
facilities and services. The planning process had still not become
multimodal and was not adequately evaluating a wide range of
alternatives. Planning was focused almost exclusively on long-
range time horizons, ignoring more immediate problems. And, the
technical procedures to carry out planning were criticized for
being too cumbersome, time-consuming, and rigid to adapt to new
issues quickly. There was also concern expressed about their
During the early 1970's actions were taken to address these
criticisms. Legislation was passed that increased the capital
funds available for mass transportation and provided federal
assistance for operating costs. Greater flexibility was permitted
in the use of some highway funds including their use on transit
projects. These provisions placed transit on a more equal footing
with highways and considerably strengthened multimodal planning and
In addition, the federal government took steps to better integrate
urban transportation planning at the local level, and to require
shorter-range capital improvement programs along with long-range
plans. Emphasis was placed on non-capital intensive measures to
reduce traffic congestion as alternatives to major construction
projects. And, state highway agencies were required to develop
procedures for addressing social, economic, and environmental
impacts of highways.
Click HERE for graphic.
Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970
The Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970 was another
landmark in federal financing for mass transportation. It provided
the first long-term commitment of federal funds. Until the passage
of this act, federal funds for mass transportation had been
limited. It was difficult to plan and implement a program of mass
transportation projects over several years because of the
uncertainty of future funding.
The 1970 act implied a federal commitment for the expenditure of at
least $10 billion over a 12-year period to permit confident and
continuing local planning and greater flexibility in program
administration. The act authorized $3.1 billion to finance urban
mass transportation beginning in fiscal year 1971. It permitted
the use of "contract authority" whereby the Secretary of
Transportation was authorized to incur obligations on behalf of the
United States with Congress pledged to appropriate the funds
required to liquidate the obligations. This provision allowed
long-term commitments of funds to be made.
This act also established a strong federal policy on transportation
for elderly and handicapped persons:
"... elderly and handicapped persons have the same right as
other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities and
services; that special efforts shall be made in the planning
and design of mass transportation facilities and services so
that the availability to elderly and handicapped persons to
mass transportation which they can effectively utilize will be
assured.... " (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979b)
The act authorized that 2 percent of the capital grant and 1.5
percent of the research funds might be set aside and used to
finance programs to aid elderly and handicapped persons.
The act also added requirements for public hearings on the
economic, social, and environmental impacts of a proposed project
and on its consistency with the comprehensive plan for the area.
It also required an analysis of the environmental impacts of the
proposed project and for the Secretary of Transportation to
determine that there was no feasible or prudent alternative to any
adverse impact that might result.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 established the federal-aid
Urban highway system. The system in each urban area was to be
designed to serve major centers of activity and to serve local
goals and objectives. Routes on the system were to be selected by
local officials and state departments cooperatively. This
provision significantly increased the influence of local
jurisdictions in urban highway decisions. The influence of local
officials in urban areas was further strengthened by an amendment
to Section 134 on urban transportation planning:
"No highway project may be constructed in any urban area of
50,000 population or more unless the responsible local
officials of such urban area ... have been consulted and their
views considered with respect to the corridor, the location
and the design of the project" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
Funds for the federal-aid Urban system were to be allocated to the
states on the basis of total urban population within the state.
The act also authorized the expenditure of highway funds on
exclusive or preferential bus lanes and related facilities. This
could only be done if the bus project reduced the need for
additional highway construction or if no other highway project
could provide the person-carrying capacity of the bus project.
There had to be assurances, as well, that the transit operator
would utilize the facility. An additional provision of the act
authorized expenditures of highway funds on fringe and corridor
parking facilities adjacent to the federal-aid Urban system that
were designed in conjunction with public transportation services.
This act also incorporated a number of requirements related to the
environment. One required the issuance of guidelines for full
consideration of economic, social, and environmental impacts of
highway projects. A second related to the promulgation of
guidelines for assuring that highway projects were consistent with
SIPs developed under the Clean Air Act.
As a result of the 1970 highway and transit acts, projects for both
modes would have to meet similar criteria related to impact
assessment and public hearings. The highway act also increased the
federal matching share to 70 percent for all non-Interstate
highways, making it comparable to the 66-2/3 percent federal share
for mass transportation capital projects. In addition, the highway
act legally required consistency between SIPs and urban highway
Conference on Urban Commodity Flow
The urban transportation planning processes and methodologies that
had been developed through the decade of the 1960's emphasized
passenger movement. Little attention was given to the problems of
commodity movements in urban areas. The majority of studies of
urban goods movement had been limited to those related to trucks.
Data on commodity movements was seldom collected because of the
difficulty in tracking the movements and the lack of available
methods (Chappell and Smith, 1971).
In recognition of the need for more information and better planning
concerning the movement of goods in urban areas, a Conference on
Urban Commodity Flow was convened at Airlie House in Warrentown,
Virginia on December 6-9, 1970. Initially, the
conference was to focus on information and techniques to forecast
urban commodity movement. But, as planning for the conference
progressed, there emerged a need for a more fundamental
understanding of commodity movements and the economic, social,
political and technological forces that affected them (Highway
Research Board, 1971a).
The conference revealed the lack of information on urban goods
movement and the need for such information to make informed policy
decisions on investment and regulation. The various viewpoints on
the problems of urban commodity flow were explored. Planners,
shippers, government agencies, freight carrier, and citizens saw
the problems and consequences differently. With so many actors,
the institutional issues were considered to be too complex to mount
effective strategies to address the problems (Highway Research
The conferees concluded that goods movement needed more emphasis in
the urban transportation planning process and that techniques for
forecasting goods movement needed to be developed. The regulations
and programs of federal, state and local agencies needed to be
coordinated to avoid conflicting effects on the goods movement
industry that were not in the best interest of the public. Greater
efforts were called for to explore means of reducing the economic,
social, and environmental costs of goods movement in urban areas
(Highway Research Board, 1971b).
This conference directed attention to the neglect of goods movement
in the urban transportation planning process, and the complexity of
the goods movement issue. It generated more interest and research
in the subject and focused on the opportunity to develop strategies
to deal with urban goods movement problems.
Mt. Pocono Conference on Urban Transportation Planning
In recognition of the widespread awareness that urban
transportation planning had not kept pace with changing conditions,
a conference on Organization for Continuing Urban Transportation
Planning was held at Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania, in 1971. The focus
of this conference was on multimodal transportation planning
evolving from the earlier conferences that had focused on highway
planning and the separation between planning and implementation
(Highway Research Board, 1973a).
The conference recommended close coordination of planning efforts
as a means of achieving orderly development of urban areas and
relating the planning process more closely to decisionmaking
processes at all levels of government. It urged that urban
planning be strengthened through state enabling legislation and
bolstered by equitable local representation. Further, citizen
participation should occur continually throughout the planning
process but should not be considered as a substitute for
decisionmaking by elected officials (Advisory Commission, 1974).
All comprehensive and functional planning, including multimodal
transportation planning, should be integrated, including the
environmental impact assessment process. The planning process
should continually refine the long-range regional transportation
plan at the sub-area scale and focus on a 5- to 15-year time frame
so that planning would be more relevant to programming and project
implementation. Transportation planning should consider service
levels consistent with local goals, and a wide range of
alternatives should be evaluated. The impact of changes in the
transportation system should be monitored to improve future
decisionmaking and planning efforts (Advisory Commission, 1974).
The conference report went on to urge that this more inclusive kind
of planning be supported by flexible funding from the federal
government. This was to be done to avoid a preference for any mode
so as not to unbalance specific urban transportation decisions
contrary to local goals and priorities. The conference also
supported additional resources for planning, research and training.
DOT Initiatives Toward Planning Unification
The U.S. Department of Transportation had been working for several
years on integrating the individual modal planning programs. In
1971, the DOT established a trial program of intermodal planning in
the field. The overall objective of the program was to integrate
the modal planning programs at the urban-area level rather than at
the federal level. With the successful completion of the trial
program, the DOT implemented the program on a permanent basis by
establishing intermodal planning groups (IPGS) in each of the 10
DOT regions. The IPGs were charged with responsibility for
obtaining and reviewing an annual unified work program for all
transportation planning activities in an urban area; for obtaining
agreement on a single recipient agency for areawide transportation
planning grants in each urban area; and, for obtaining a short-term
(3- to 5-year) transportation capital improvement program, updated
annually, from each recipient agency (U.S. Dept. of Transportation
and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 1974).
Also in 1971 a DOT transportation planning committee was
established to promote a coordinated department-wide process for
urban area and statewide transportation planning and for unified
funding of such planning. As a result of the efforts of the
committee, a DOT order was issued in 1973 that required that all
urbanized areas submit annual unified work programs for all
transportation planning activities as a condition for receiving any
DOT planning funds. These work programs had to include all
transportation-related planning activities, identification of the
agency responsible for each activity, and the proposed funding
sources. The work programs were used to rationalize planning
activities and joint funding under the DOT planning assistance
programs (U.S. Dept. of Transportation and U.S. Dept. of Housing
and Urban Development, 1974).
Process Guidelines for Highway Projects
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 required that guidelines be
issued to assure that possible adverse economic, social, and
environmental effects were considered in developing highway
projects and that decisions on these projects were made in the best
overall public interest. Initially guidelines were developed
specifying requirements and procedures for evaluating the effects
in each of the impact areas. These guidelines were presented and
discussed at a Highway Research Board Workshop during July 1971 in
Washington, D.C. The primary conclusion of the workshop was that
full consideration of adverse impacts and of decisions in the best
overall public interest could not be assured by extensive technical
standards. It would depend upon the attitudes, capabilities,
organization, and procedures of the highway agencies responsible
for developing the projects (U.S. Congress, 1972a).
Based on the workshop recommendations and other comments, the
emphasis of the guidelines was shifted to the process used in
developing highway projects. In September 1972 FHWA issued PPM 90-
4, "Process Guidelines (Economic, Social, and Environmental Effects
of Highway Projects)" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1972a). These
guidelines required each state to prepare an Action Plan spelling
out the organizational arrangement, the assignment of
responsibilities, and the procedures to be followed in developing
projects in conformance with the law. The Action Plan had to
address the process for the identification of social, economic, and
environmental impacts, considerations of alternative courses of
action, use of a systematic interdisciplinary approach,
and the involvement of other agencies and the public. Flexibility
was provided to the States to develop procedures which were
adjusted to their own needs and conditions.
The use of process guidelines was a further evolution of the manner
in which highway projects were developed. The staffs of highway
agencies were exposed to the views of other agencies and the
public. Professionals with skills in the social and environmental
areas were brought into the process. Gradually, the project
development process became more open and embraced a broader range
of criteria in reaching decisions.
UMTA's External Operating Manual
With the passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of
1970, the federal transit grant program substantially increased
from less than $150 million annually before 1970 to over $500
million by 1972 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977b). It was
anticipated that both the level of funding and number of projects
to be administered would further increase. In August 1972 UMTA
issued its first consolidated guidance for project management in
its External- Operating Manual (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
The External Operating Manual contained general information on
UMTA's organization and programs. it provided potential applicants
with information on preparing an application for federal
assistance, and the statutory criteria and program analysis
guidelines UMTA would use in evaluating the applications. It also
contained policies and procedures for administering projects.
The manual stated that the near-term objectives that UMTA sought to
achieve with the federal transit program were: increasing the
mobility of non-drivers, relief of traffic congestion, and
improving the quality of the urban environment. These objectives
were related to urban areas of three size groups: small areas under
250,000 in population, medium areas between 250,000 and 1,000,000
in population, and large areas over 1 million in population. For
small areas, the primary objective was for the mobility of the
transit dependent. In addition, for medium areas the use of non-
capital intensive (i.e. transportation system management)
strategies to reduce traffic congestion was emphasized.
Additionally, for large areas, analysis of alternative
transportation schemes including non-capital intensive strategies
and new technologies was emphasized to support land development
patterns (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1972c).
Included as Appendix 2 of the Manual was the Urban Mass
Transportation Planning Requirements Guide which set forth the
areawide planning requirements for the transit program. These
requirements were certified by HUD designed to be consistent with
the 3C planning requirements of the FHWA. An urban area needed to
have: a legally established planning agency representing local
units of government; a comprehensive, continuing areawide planning
process; and a land use plan to serve as the basis for determining
The transportation planning requirements, which were certified by
UMTA, included: a long-range transportation planning process, a 5-
10 year transit development program, and a short-range program.
The agency conducting the transportation planning was to be,
wherever possible, the agency carrying out the comprehensive
planning. An area could meet the planning requirements on an
interim basis, until July 1, 1972, if it had a planning process
underway, but received only a 50 percent federal share for its
transit project instead of the two-thirds share if the requirement
was fully met.
The External Operating Manual was revised through 1974 but was
updated and supplemented in later years with UMTA Circulars,
Notices, and regulations (Kret and Mundle, 1982). The planning
requirements contained in the Manual were superseded by the joint
FHWA/UMTA Urban Transportation Planning regulations (U.S. Dept. of
Williamsburg Conference on Urban Travel Forecasting
By the latter part of the 1960's use of the conventional urban
travel forecasting procedures pioneered in the late 1950's and
early 1960's was widespread but criticism of them was growing.
Critics argued that conventional procedures were time-consuming and
expensive to operate and required too much data. The procedures
had been designed for long-range planning of major facilities and
were not suitable for evaluation of the wider range of options that
were of interest, such as low-capital options, demand-responsive
systems, pricing alternatives, and vehicle restraint schemes.
Policy issues and options had changed, but travel demand
forecasting techniques had not.
These issues were addressed at a conference on Urban Travel Demand
Forecasting held at Williamsburg, Virginia, in December 1972,
sponsored by the Highway Research Board and the U.S. Department of
Transportation. The conference concluded that there was a need for
travel forecasting procedures that were sensitive to the wide range
of policy issues and alternatives to be considered, quicker and
less costly than conventional methods, more informative and useful
to decisionmakers, and in a form that nontechnical people could
understand. Further, that improvements in methodology were
urgently needed, and that significant improvements in capabilities
could be achieved within three years based on the results of
available research (Brand and Manheim, 1973).
The conference recommended several simultaneous paths to improve
travel forecasting capabilities. First was to upgrade existing
methodology with the results of recent research. Second was to
pilot test emerging procedures in several urban areas. Third, was
research to improve the understanding of travel behavior including
before/after studies, consumer theory, psychological theory, and
location behavior. Fourth, research was needed to transform the
results of travel behavior research into practical forecasting
techniques. Fifth, a two-way dissemination program was necessary
to get new methods into the field and for the results of these
applications to flow back to the researchers to improve the methods
(Brand and Manheim, 1973).
The conferees were optimistic that the conversion to new, improved
behavioral methods was soon to be at hand. They did recognize that
a substantial amount of research was going to be necessary. And in
fact the Williamsburg conference did launch a decade of extensive
research and activity in disaggregate urban travel demand
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 contained two provisions that
increased the flexibility in the use of highway funds for urban
mass transportation in the spirit of the Mt. Pocono conference.
First, federal-aid Urban system funds were to be used for capital
expenditures on urban mass transportation projects. This provision
took effect gradually, but was unrestricted starting in Fiscal Year
1976. Second, funds for Interstate highway projects could be
relinquished and replaced by an equivalent amount from the general
fund and spent on mass transportation projects in a particular
state. The relinquished funds reverted back to the Highway Trust
This opening up of the Highway Trust Fund for urban mass
transportation was a significant breakthrough sought for many years
by transit supporters. These changes provided completely
new avenues of federal assistance for funding urban mass
The 1973 act had other provisions related to urban mass
transportation. First, it raised the federal matching share for
urban mass transportation capital projects from 66-2/3 percent to
80 percent, except for Urban system substitutions, which remain at
70 percent. Second, it raised the level of funds under the UMTA
capital grant program by $3 billion, to $6.1 billion. Third, it
permitted expenditure of highway funds for bus-related public
transportation facilities, including fringe parking on all federal-
aid highway systems.
The act called for realigning all federal-aid systems based on
functional usage. It authorized expenditures on the new federal--
aid Urban system and modified several provisions related to it.
"Urban" was defined as any area of 5,000 or more in population.
Apportioned funds for the system were earmarked for urban areas of
200,000 or more population. Most important, it changed the
relationship between the state and local officials in designating
routes for the system. It authorized local officials in urbanized
areas to choose routes with the concurrence of state highway
departments (Parker, 1977).
Two additional provisions related directly to planning. For the
first time urban transportation planning was funded separately: 1/2
of 1 percent of all federal-aid funds were designated for this
purpose and apportioned to the states on the basis of urbanized
area population. These funds were to be made available to the
metropolitan planning organizations (MPOS) responsible for
comprehensive transportation planning in urban areas.
The 1973 Federal-Aid Highway Act took a significant step toward
integrating and balancing the highway and mass transportation
programs. It also increased the role of local officials in the
selection of urban highway projects and broadened the scope of
transportation planning by MPOS.
Endangered Species Act of 1973
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was enacted to prevent any
animal or plant from becoming extinct in the United States. The
act prevented the taking of endangered and threatened species of
fish, wildlife, and plants, and the critical habitats where they
live. The act applied to the loss of, or injury to, endangered
species either directly or indirectly through activities that would
interfere with their life support system (Alan M. Voorhees &
Section 4 of the act required the determination of which species
were endangered by the Secretary of Interior with regard to
wildlife and plants, and the Secretary of Commerce with regard to
fish. Section 7 of the act established a consultative process
between any Federal agency seeking to carry out a project or action
and the appropriate Department (either Interior or Commerce) to
determine if there would be an adverse impact on any endangered
species. The determination was to be made in the form of a
biological opinion based on the best scientific and commercial data
available. If the biological opinion found that an endangered
species or its habitat was in jeopardy, the act required that
reasonable and prudent alternatives be proposed by the Department
of Commerce or Interior respectively. Where the Federal agency
could not comply with the proposed alternatives, the project or
action could not proceed (Ryan and Emerson, 1986).
The 1978 Amendments to the act established the Endangered Species
Committee which was authorized to grant exemptions from
requirements of the act. This provision was a response to the
decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold blockage of the
completion of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Tellico Dam because
it endangered a small fish called the snail darter (Salvesen).
In 1982, the act was again amended to allow for incidental takings
of wildlife under certain conditions. For example, development
could occur in the habitat of an endangered species if the
development mitigated any adverse impacts of the species. This
mitigation typically took the form of setting aside part of the
site for a wildlife preserve, and by a finding that the development
would not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and
recovery of the species in the wild (Salvesen).
The Endangered Species Act has been called the most powerful land
use law in the nation. By 1990, there were about 500 plant and
animal species listed as endangered or threatened in the United
States, and with more being added to the list each year. In the
future, the act will affect many more development activities.
AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Urban Highways
By 1966, the 1957 edition of A Policy on Arterial Highways in Urban
Areas had become partially obsolete as a result of the changing
demands placed upon the urban transportation system (American
Association of State Highway Officials, 1957). The American
Association of State Highway and Transportation officials (AASHTO)
(the name was changed in 1973) began a seven year effort to update
and considerably expanded this policy. The new edition was
reissued as A Policy on Design of Urban Highways and Arterial
Streets-1973 (American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials, 1973).
In addition to updated material on highway design, the policy
contained two new sections on transportation planning and highway
location not previously included in AASHTO policies. The material
on transportation planning included a brief review of alternative
organizational approaches, elements of an planning process, and
steps in the process including data collection, forecasting,
evaluation, surveillance and reappraisal. The information closely
paralleled the guidance provided by FHWA in PPM 50-9 and IM 50-468,
and the technical guidance documented in their various manuals on
the 3C planning process.
The section on highway location covered social and environmental
effects of urban highway developments, community participation, and
economic and environmental evaluation. The new material on highway
design included design guidance for mass transit especially for
buses on arterial streets and freeways. The A Policy on Design of
Urban Highways and Arterial Streets-1973 attempted to show that the
planning, location and design of a highway were not three distinct
independent processes but rather a coordinated effort by planners,
locators, and designers.
In 1984, AASHTO issued A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and
Streets -1984 which combined updated, and replaced the 1973 urban
policy and 1965 rural policy in addition to several others
(American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials, 1984). This 1984 edition did not include the material
from the 1973 urban policy on transportation planning and highway
location but instead referenced it.
1972 and 1974 National Transportation Studies
Although urban transportation planning had been legislatively
required for over a decade, the results had not been used in the
development of national transportation policy. Beyond that, a
composite national picture of these urban transportation plans did
not exist even though they were the basis for capital expenditure
decisions by the federal government. In the early 1970's, the
Department of Transportation conducted two national transportation
studies to inventory and assess the current and planned
transportation system as viewed by the states and urban areas.
The two studies differed in their emphasis. The 1972 National
Transportation Study obtained information on the existing
transportation system as of 1970, the transportation needs for the
1970-1990 period, and short-range (1974-1978) and long-range (1979-
1990) capital improvement programs under three federal funding
assumption (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1972b). The study showed
that the total transportation needs of the states and urban areas
exceeded the financial resources of the nation to implement them
and discussed the use of low-capital alternatives to improve the
productivity of the existing transportation system, particularly in
The 1974 National Transportation Study related more closely to the
ongoing urban transportation planning processes (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1975). It obtained information on the 1972
inventories, long-range plans (1972-1990), and short-range programs
(1972-1980) for the transportation system in a more comprehensive
manner than did the 1972 study. The transportation system for all
three periods was described in terms of the supply of facilities,
equipment, and services, travel demand, system performance, social
and environmental impacts, and capital and operating costs.
Information on low-capital alternatives and new technological
systems was also included. The 1972-1980 program was based on a
forecast of federal funds that could reasonably be expected to be
available and an estimate of state and local funds for the period
(Weiner, 1974). This study again demonstrated that the long-range
plans were overly ambitious in terms of the financial resources
that might be available for transportation. Further, it showed
that even after the expenditure of vast amounts of money for urban
transportation, urban transportation systems would differ little in
character in the foreseeable future (Weiner, 1975b).
The National Transportation Study process introduced the concept of
tying state and urban transportation planning into national
transportation planning and policy formulation. It stressed
multimodal analysis, assessment of a wide range of measures of the
transportation system, realistic budget limitations on plans and
programs, and increasing the productivity of the existing
transportation system. Although these concepts were not new, the
National Transportation studies marked the first time that they had
been incorporated into such a vast national planning effort
National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974
The National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974 authorized
for the first time the use of federal funds for transit operating
assistance. It thereby continued the trend to broaden the use of
federal urban transportation funds and provide state and local
officials more flexibility. This act was the culmination of a
major lobbying effort by the transit industry and urban interests
to secure federal operating assistance for transit.
The act authorized $11.8 billion over a 6-year period. Under the
Section 5 Formula Grant program, almost $4 billion was to be
allocated to urban areas by a formula based on population and
population density. The funds could be used for either capital
projects or operating assistance. The funds for areas over 200,000
in population were attributable to those areas. The funds were to
be distributed to "designated recipients" jointly agreed to by the
governor, local elected officials and operators of publicly-owned
mass transportation services. For areas under 200,000 in
population, the governor was designated to allocate the funds.
Of the remaining $7.8 billion, $7.3 billion was made available for
capital assistance at the discretion of the Secretary of
Transportation, under the Section 3 Discretionary Grant program,
and the remainder was for rural mass transportation. Funds used
for capital projects were to have an 80 percent federal matching
share. operating assistance was to be matched 50 percent by the
federal government (U.S. Dept. of Transportation 1976).
Section 105(g) of the act required applicants for transit projects
to meet the same planning statute as Section 134 of the highway
act. Finally, highway and transit projects were subject to the
same long-range planning requirement. Although many urbanized
areas already had a joint highway/transit planning process, this
section formalized the requirement for multimodal transportation
The act also required transit systems to charge elderly and
handicapped persons fares that were half regular fares when they
traveled in off-peak hours. This was a further condition to
receiving federal funds.
The act created a new Section 15 that required the Department of
Transportation to establish a data reporting system for financial
and operating information and a uniform system of accounts and
records. After July 1978 no grant could be made to any applicant
unless they were reporting data under both systems.
PLANPAC and UTPS Batteries of Computer Programs
The computer programs developed and maintained by BPR during the
1960's were essential to most urban transportation planning studies
which generally did not have the time and resources to develop
their own programs. The battery had been written for most part by
the U.S. Bureau of Standards and consisted of 60 single purpose
computer programs. Toward the end of the decade of the 1960's, new
batteries of computer programs were being developed for
transportation planning for the recently introduced third
generation of computers, the IBM 360 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
The highway planning package, known as PLANPAC, was rewritten to
take advantage of the new capabilities of these computers. Most
highway agencies were acquiring IBM 360's for their own computer
installations and would soon be able to use the new computers.
PLANPAC included computer programs to analyze survey data, develop
and apply trip generation relationships, calibrate and apply trip
distribution models, perform traffic assignment, evaluate networks,
and for plotting and utility programs to handle data sets (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1977a).
New programs continued to be written and added to PLANPAC. In 1974
the FHWA completed a reorientation of the package. Many of the
programs in PLANPAC that were not associated with the traditional
four-step urban travel forecasting process were shifted to BACKPAC.
These included computer programs for traffic signal optimization,
parking studies, highway capacity analysis, carpool matching, micro
traffic analysis, land-use forecasting and freeway management.
This resulted in 59 programs being retained in PLANPAC and 244
programs being included in BACKPAC.
A battery of computer programs for transit system planning was also
developed during the mid 1960's by the U.S. Department of Housing,
and Urban Development which administered the federal transit
program at that time. The battery was first written for the IBM
7090/94 computers and consisted of 11 multi-purpose programs.
About 1973 UMTA assumed responsibility for the HUD transit planning
package and released an enhanced version for the IBM 360 as the
UMTA Transportation Planning System (UTPS). The programs were
designed for network analysis, travel demand estimation, sketch
planning and data manipulation. The programs were compatible and
communicated through a common data base.
In 1976 the FHWA decided not to perform any further developments
for PLANPAC but instead join with UMTA to support the UTPS package
whose name was changed to Urban Transportation Planning System.
FHWA did make a commitment to maintain and support PLANPAC as long
as users needed it. The first release of the UMTA/FHWA multimodal
UTPS was in 1976. A 1979/80 release provided additional
capabilities and contained 20 programs.
The development and support of computer programs by FHWA and UMTA
substantially assisted urban transportation planning studies in
performing their various analytical and planning functions. These
computer batteries facilitated the use of conventional planning
techniques and furthered this style of urban transportation
TRANSITION TO SHORT-TERM PLANNING
As planning for the Interstate Highway System was being completed,
attention turned to increasing the productivity and efficiency of
existing facilities. In planning for major new regional
transportation facilities, many urban areas had neglected
maintaining and upgrading other facilities. However, environmental
concerns, the difficulty of building inner city freeways, renewed
interest in urban mass transit and the energy crisis gave added
impetus to the focus on more immediate problems. Signs were
becoming evident of the changing emphasis to shorter term time
horizons and the corridor level in transportation planning.
Gradually, planning shifted towards maximizing the use of the
existing system with a minimum of new construction. Further, the
connection was strengthened between long-term planning and the
programming of projects (Weiner, 1982).
Emergency Energy Legislation
In October 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
(OPEC) embargoed oil shipments to the United States and, in doing
so, began a new era in transportation planning. The importance of
oil was so paramount to the economy and, in particular, the
transportation sector that oil shortages and price increases
gradually became one of the major issues in transportation
The immediate reaction to the oil embargo was to address the
specific emergency. President Nixon signed the Emergency Petroleum
Allocation Act of 1973 in November of that year which established
an official government allocation plan for gasoline and home
heating fuel. It regulated the distribution of refined
petroleum products by freezing the supplier-purchaser relationships
and specifying a set of priority users. The act also established
price controls on petroleum. It gave the President authority to
set petroleum prices, not to exceed $7.66 a barrel. This authority
was to terminate on September 30, 1981.
The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, signed on January 2,
1974, established a national 55 miles per hour speed limit to
reduce gasoline consumption. It was extended indefinitely on
January 4, 1975 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1979c). It also
provided that Federal-aid highway funds could be used for
ridesharing demonstration programs.
As the immediate crisis abated, the focus shifted to longer-term
actions and policies to reduce the nation's dependence on oil,
especially imported oil. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of
1975 was passed by Congress to ensure that automobile gasoline
consumption would be reduced to the lowest level possible and to
promote energy conservation plans. As directed, the U.S.
Department of Transportation through the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) promulgated regulations that required
the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) be raised from 18.0 miles
per gallon in 1978 to 27.5 in 1985 and beyond (U.S. Dept. of
Reaction to the energy crisis of 1973/1974 evolved slowly at the
local level as information and analysis tools gradually appeared.
Most local planning agencies knew little about energy consumption
and conservation and needed to learn about this new issue that had
been thrust upon them. It was not until the second crisis in 1979
with fuel shortages and sharply increasing prices that energy
issues were thoroughly integrated into urban transportation
Service and Methods Demonstrations Program
The focus in transportation planning and development was shifting
to shorter-term, low-capital improvements in the early 1970's.
Many of these improvements, which were grouped under the term
"transportation system management" (TSM) techniques, were only in
the conceptual stage or in limited applications in the United
States and other countries. There was a need to perform the final
steps of evaluation and development, where necessary, to bring
these new improvement strategies into operational practice.
The Service and Methods Demonstrations (SMD) Program was
established in 1974 to promote the development, demonstration,
evaluation, and widespread adoption of innovative transit services
and transportation management techniques throughout the United
States. The program focused on concepts that used existing
technology to create improvements that require relatively low
levels of capital investment and that can be implemented within a
short time frame. The concepts were demonstrated in real-world
operational environments and evaluated to determine their costs,
impacts, and implementation characteristics. Evaluation, findings
were widely disseminated to transportation planners, policy makers,
and transit operators (Spear, 1979).
The SMD Program began with six demonstrations involving specialized
transportation for the elderly and handicapped, double-deck buses,
and priority lanes for highway occupancy vehicles. By 1978 the
program was sponsoring 59 ongoing demonstrations, evaluating 31
special case study projects, and had begun a cooperative program
with the FHWA to evaluate another 17 projects in the National
Ridesharing Demonstration Program.
Projects were divided into four program areas. First, under
conventional service improvements, projects concentrated on
improving productivity, reliability, and effectiveness with such
techniques as priority treatment for buses and other high occupancy
vehicles, route restructuring, auto restricted zones, and
articulated buses. In the second category of pricing and service
innovation were projects on fare payment strategies, fare
integration, fare change strategies, service changes, and parking
pricing. The third category of paratransit services contained
projects on ridesharing, brokerage, and taxicabs. Fourth,
transportation services for special user groups focused on
accessible bus services, user-side subsidies, coordination of
social service agency transportation, and rural public
transportation (Spear, 1981).
The Service and Methods Demonstration Program made a major
contribution to the identification, evaluation, and dissemination
of transportation system management techniques. This effort
accelerated the introduction and adoption of innovative approaches
to the provision of public transportation service. It also spurred
experimentation with new public transportation service concepts by
other agencies at the state and local levels.
OTA's Report on Automated Guideway Transit
By the time the report Tomorrow's Transportation: New Systems for
the Urban Future (Cole, 1968) was published in 1968, UMTA barely
had a research program in the area of new urban transit
technologies. A small grant had been made for development of
Westinghouse's Transit Expressway and several new system
feasibility studies were begun in 1967. By 1970 decisions had been
reached to proceed with funding of three major automated guideway
transit (AGT) demonstration projects - the Transpo 72 exhibition
and two other demonstrations (U.S. Congress, Office of Technology
Transpo 72 was held at the Dulles International Airport near
Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1972. Four companies built and
operated prototype AGT systems for public demonstration. In 1971,
UMTA awarded a grant to the Vought Corporation to build a group
rapid transit (GRT) system, Airtrans, as the internal circulation
system for the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport. Service began in 1974.
The third GRT demonstration connected three separate campuses of
West Virginia University at Morgantown. Boeing Aerospace Company
became the manager of the project which was largely based on
proposal by Alden Self-Transit Systems Corporation. Public service
began in October 1975. The system was expanded with an UMTA grant
and operations began in July 1979 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
By the end of 1975, another 18 systems were in operation or under
construction. They were all simple shuttle loop transit (SLT)
systems at airports, amusement parks, and shopping centers. All
were funded with private funds (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
In September 1974, the U.S. Senate Transportation Appropriations
Committee directed the Congressional Office of Technology
Assessment (OTA) to assess the potential for AGT systems. The
report, produced in June 1975, was a comprehensive assessment of
AGT systems and contained five reports from panels of specialists.
Overall the report concluded that the $95 million spent on AGT
research and development up to that time by UMTA had not produced
the direct results expected in the form of fully developed systems
in urban settings. The OTA went further in concluding that
insufficient funding was directed at new systems research and that
the program needed restructuring with a clarification of objectives
(U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1975).
The OTA found that SLT systems were promising for specialized urban
transportation problems. With regard to the more sophisticated GRT
systems, the OTA found that a number of cities had shown interest
but that there were serious technical problems.
As to the small vehicle personal rapid transit (PRT) systems, only
preliminary studies were recommended A major conclusion was that
the program emphasized hardware development, but further research
was needed on social, economic and environmental impacts. Also
UMTA had not developed a mechanism for qualifying new technological
systems for capital grants (U.S. Congress, Office of Technology
In response to the study, UMTA launched the AGT Socio-Economic
Research Program in 1976. It consisted of assessments of existing
AGT installations, studies of capital and operating costs, travel
market analyses, and an assessment of AGT technology compared with
other alternatives in urban area application (U.S. Dept. of
A review of local planning studies conducted under this program
found that more than 20 cities had considered AGT systems. The
conclusion reached was that there was considerable uncertainty with
regard to costs, public acceptance, reliability, crime and land use
impacts (Lee et.al., 1978). Planning procedures and data were not
available to adequately assess new technological systems as an
alternative to conventional urban technologies.
Also in 1976, UMTA initiated the Downtown People Mover (DPM)
program. It was designed to demonstrate the application of an SLT
type system in an urban environment. Impact studies were to be
conducted to assess the systems with regard to patronage, community
acceptance, reliability, maintainability, safety, and economics.
Four cities were selected for these demonstrations: Cleveland,
Houston, Los Angeles and St. Paul. Three other cities were
approved for participation using their existing commitments of
federal funds: Detroit, Miami and Baltimore (Mabee and Zumwalt,
1977). Detroit and Miami have constructed DPMS.
Model 13(c) Labor Protection Agreement for Operating Assistance
Section 13(c) was included in the Urban Mass Transportation Act of
1964 to protect employees in the transit industry from potential
adverse effects of federal transit assistance. At the time,
federal assistance was in the form of capital grants and loans that
could be used for public acquisition of private operations. A
major concern was the loss of collective bargaining rights when
employees entered the public sector.
Section 13(c) required an applicant for federal assistance to make
arrangements to protect the interests of employees. Employee
protection arrangements under Section 13(c) included: (1)
preservation of rights under existing contracts; (2) continuation
of collective bargaining rights; (3) protection of employees
against a worsening of their positions; (4) assurances of
employment or reemployment for existing employees; and (5) paid
training or retraining programs.
The Secretary of Labor was responsible for determining whether
these arrangements were fair and equitable. There had been an
evolution in the administration of Section 13(c) since it was
enacted. Originally the Department of Labor (DOL) only required a
statement that the interests of employees would not be adversely
affected by the Federal grant. By 1966, however, there had evolved
detailed 13(c) agreements that were the result of collective
bargaining between grant applicants and the employee
representatives. These 13(c) agreements were subject to
renegotiation with each new grant.
With the passage of the National Mass Transportation Assistance Act
of 1974, federal funds became available for operating assistance
under the Section 5 Formula Grant program. Grants for operating
assistance were also required to comply with the Section 13(c)
provisions. To facilitate processing of these operating
assistance applications, organized labor, the American Public
Transit Association (APTA), and the DOL developed a national model
13(c) agreement pertaining to such agreements. The model agreement
was signed in July 1975 by APTA, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and
the Transport Workers Union of America. APTA established a
procedure under which individual transit properties could affiliate
themselves with the agreement and, thereby, become eligible for
coverage by it for operating assistance applications (Lieb, 1976).
The model section 13(c) agreement for transit operating assistance
reduced the time and effort of individual transit properties and
labor representatives to negotiate agreement and accelerated the
use of federal funds for operating assistance.
Joint Highway/Transit Planning Regulations
The UMTA and FHWA had worked for several years on joint regulations
to guide urban transportation planning. Final regulations were
issued to take effect in October 1975 (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1975a). They superseded all previous guidelines,
policies, and regulations issued on urban transportation planning
by the UMTA and FHWA.
The regulations provided for the joint designation of MPOs to carry
out planning and required agreements on the division of
responsibility where the MPOs and A-95 agencies were different. A
multiyear prospectus and annual unified work program had to be
submitted specifying all transportation-related planning activities
for an urban area as a condition for receiving federal planning
funds. (Figure 11)
The urban transportation planning process was required to produce a
long-range transportation plan, which had to be reviewed annually
to confirm its validity. The transportation plan had to
Click HERE for graphic.
contain a long-range element and a shorter-range "transportation
systems management element" (TSME) for improving the operation of
existing transportation systems without new facilities. An Appendix
to the regulations contained a list of major categories of actions
to be considered for inclusion in the TSME. (Table 4) The Appendix
stated that the feasibility and need for the individual actions
differed with the size of the urbanized area, but that some actions
in each of the categories would be appropriate in for any urbanized
A multiyear "transportation improvement program" (TIP) also had to
be developed consistent with the transportation plan. The TIP had
to include all highway and transit projects to be implemented
within the coming five years. It thereby became the linkage
between the planning and programming of urban transportation
projects. It also brought together all highway and transit
projects into a single document that could be reviewed and approved
by decision makers. The TIP had to contain an "annual element"
that would be the basis for the federal funding decisions on
projects for the coming year.
The regulations provided for a joint annual certification of the
planning process. This certification was required as a condition
for receiving federal funds for projects. The regulations
incorporated previously legislated requirements related to social,
economic, and environmental impact analysis, air quality planning,
and the elderly and handicapped.
These joint regulations applied to all urban highway and transit
programs including those for transit operating assistance. They
represented the most important action up to that time to bring
about multimodal urban transportation planning and programming of
projects. They changed the emphasis from long-term planning to
shorter range transportation system management, and provided a
stronger linkage between planning and programming. These
ACTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR INCLUSION IN
THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MANAGEMENT ELEMENT
Actions to Ensure the Efficient Use of Existing Road Space
- Traffic Operations Improvements
- Preferential Treatment of Transit and High Occupancy
- Provision for Pedestrians and Bicycles
- Management and Control of Parking
- Changes in Work Schedules, Fare Structures and Automobile
Actions to Reduce Vehicle Use in Congested Areas
- Encouragement of Carpooling and Other Forms of
- Diversion, Exclusion and Metering of Automobile Access to
- Area Licenses, Parking Surcharges and Other Forms of
- Establishment of Car Free Zones and Closure of Selected
- Restrictions of Downtown Truck Deliveries During Peak
Actions to Improve Transit Service
- Provision of Better Collection, Distribution, and
Internal Collection Service Within Low Density Areas
- Greater Responsiveness and Flexibility in Routing,
Scheduling and Dispatching of Transit Vehicles
- Provision of Express Services
- Provision of Extensive Park and Ride Services From Fringe
- Provision of Shuttle Transit Services From CBD Fringe
- Encouragement of Jitneys and Other Flexible Paratransit
Services and Their Integration in the Transit System
- Simplified Fare Collection Systems and Policies
- Better Passenger Information Systems and Services
Actions to Increase Transit Management Efficiency
- Improve Marketing
- Develop Cost Accounting and Other Management Tools to
- Establish Maintenance Policies that Ensure Greater
- Using Surveillance and Communications Technology to
Develop Real Time Monitoring and Control Capability
regulations were another turning point in the evolution of urban
transportation planning that set the tone for the next several
Policy on Major Urban Mass Transportation Investments
The level of federal funds for urban mass transportation had
increased dramatically since 1970. However, the requests for
federal funds from urban areas outpaced that increase. In
particular, there was a resurgence of the conviction that rail
transit systems could largely solve the problems of congestion and
petroleum dependence while promoting efficient development
patterns. Consequently, the need to assure that these funds were
used effectively and productively became apparent.
The UMTA set forth its views on this issue in the document,
Preliminary Guidelines and Background Analysis (Transportation
Research Board, 1975a). It was prepared for review at a conference
on the Evaluation of Urban Transportation Alternatives held at
Airlie House, Virginia, in February 1975. The conference was
attended by a broad spectrum of persons from all levels of
government, the transit industry, consultants, universities, and
private citizens. The conference report indicated a number of
concerns with the guidelines, which were transmitted to the UMTA
(Transportation Research Board, 1977).
With the assistance of the conference findings, the UMTA developed
a draft policy statement to guide future decisions regarding
federal assistance in the funding of major mass transportation
projects. This Proposed Policy on Major Urban Mass Transportation
Investments was published in August 1975 (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1975c). It embodied a number of principles.
First, areawide transportation improvement plans should be
multimodal and include regionwide and community-level transit
services. Second, major mass transportation investment projects
should be planned and implemented in stages to avoid premature
investment in costly fixed facilities and to preserve maximum
flexibility to respond to future unknowns. Third, full
consideration should be given to improving the management and
operation of existing transportation systems. Fourth, the analysis
of alternatives should include a determination of which alternative
meets the local areas social, environmental, and transportation
goals in a cost effective manner. And fifth, full opportunity
should be provided for involvement of the public and local
officials in all phases of the planning and evaluation process
(Transportation Research Board, 1977).
The UMTA stated that the level of federal funding would be based on
a cost-effective alternative that would meet urban area needs and
goals in a 5- to 15-year time frame and that was consistent with
the long-range transportation plan.
A second Conference on Urban Transportation Alternative Analysis
was held in March/April 1976 at Hunt Valley, Maryland. This
conference, too, was attended by a broad spectrum of the
professional community. There was considerable discussion on
several issues including the criteria to be used to measure cost-
effectiveness, where the cost-effectiveness analysis fit in the
overall planning process and the differences in the project
development process between transit and highways (Transportation
Research Board, 1977).
Using the recommendations from the second conference, the UMTA
prepared and published a final policy statement in September 1976
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1976b). Although changes in the
proposed policy were made, the principles remained basically
In February 1978, the UMTA provided further elaboration in its
Policy Toward Rail Transit (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1978a).
It stated that new rail transit lines or extensions would be funded
in areas where population densities, travel volumes, and growth
patterns indicated the need. Preference would be given to
corridors serving densely populated urban centers. It reaffirmed
the principles of analysis of alternatives, including TSM measures,
incremental implementation and cost-effectiveness. The policy
added the requirement that the local area had to commit itself to a
program of supportive actions designed to improve the cost-
effectiveness, patronage, and prospect for economic viability of
the investment. This included automobile management policies;
feeder service; plans, policies and incentives to stimulate high
density private development near stations; and other measures to
revitalize nearby older neighborhoods and the central business
district. With this policy supplement, rail transit was to become
a tool for urban redevelopment.
Characteristics of Urban Transportation Systems
Urban transportation planning in the mid 1970's was a more diverse
and complex activity compared to the rather uniform process that
existed during the mid 1960's. This change was caused by the need
to address an expanded list of issues, and was fostered by the
issuance of the Joint FHWA/UMTA Planning Regulations and UMTA's
Policy on Major Urban Mass Transportation Investments (U.S. Dept.
of Transportation, 1975a and 1976b). The range of alternatives
that had to be evaluated widened to include a fuller consideration
of transit system options, transportation system management
measures, and traffic engineering improvements. A more thorough
assessment of social, economic, environmental, and energy impacts
was required. Consequently, urban areas were conducting
transportation systems evaluations with increasing sophistication
that consumed more time and resources.
Even though there were many sources of information on the
characteristics of urban transportation systems and their impacts
to facilitate this evaluation process, they were difficult to
locate, conflicting, often out of date, and generally local in
nature. There was a need to synthesis and codify this data and
information so that it would be more accessible. An earlier effort
in the 1960's by the Institute of Traffic Engineers,
Capacities and Limitations of Urban Transportation Modes, was more
narrowly focused and reflected the range of issues at that time
(Institute of Traffic Engineers, 1965).
To fill this gap, a handbook was prepared and published in early
1974 under the title, Characteristics Urban Transportation Systems
(CUTS) (Sanders and Reynen, 1974). CUTS was designed as a single
reference source containing information of the performance
characteristics of urban transportation systems for use in the
evaluation of transportation alternatives. The first edition
contained data on: rail transit, bus transit, the automobile/
highway system, and pedestrian assistance systems. The seven
supply parameters selected were: speed, capacity, operating cost,
energy consumption, air pollution and noise, capital cost, and
accident frequency. The CUTS handbook was periodically updated and
expanded. Later editions included data on activity center systems
as well as the original four modes. Labor inputs were added in
future editions to the supply parameters reported upon (Reno and
CUTS was supplemented with two additional handbooks which provided
data on the demand characteristics of urban transportation systems.
The first, released in 1977, was Traveler Response to
Transportation System Changes (Pratt, Pedersen and Mather, 1977).
It summarized and synthesized information, primarily from existing
literature, on the traveler behavior changes for a wide variety of
changes in the transportation system. The initial edition
distilled and interpreted data on seven types of transportation
changes including: high occupancy vehicle priority facilities,
variable working hours, van and buspools, transit scheduling
frequency changes, routing changes, transit fare changes and
transit marketing. Parking and express transit were added in the
second edition (Pratt and Copple, 1981).
The second handbook was Characteristics of Urban Transportation
Demand (CUTD) along with a later issued Appendix (Levinson, 1978
and 1979). The CUTD handbook contained data on areawide travel
characteristics and typical usage information for rail, bus and
highways systems. The data was designed as inputs and cross checks
for urban travel forecasting. The Appendix contained more detailed
city specific and site specific data on travel. The revision to
CUTD reorganized, integrated and updated the information included
in the earlier edition (Charles River Associates, 1988).
These efforts sought to capitalize on the large body of data and
experience on urban transportation systems that had been
accumulated in the previous two decades and make it more available
and accessible to the transportation planning community. It came
at a time when the range of information needed for transportation
system evaluation had greatly broadened but the resources for
collecting new data were contracting.
Light Rail Transit
In the late 1960's and early 1970's, many urban areas were seeking
alternatives to the construction of freeways. San Francisco and
Washington, D.C. had decided to construct heavy rail systems, but
many areas did not have the density or potential travel demand to
justify such systems. Moreover, heavy rail systems had high
construction costs and disrupted the areas through which they
passed during construction. Busways and preferential treatment for
buses were being considered as alternatives to high cost fixed
guideway systems, particularly in the United States. In Europe,
especially West Germany, light rail transit was the preferred
alternative. This European experience renewed interest in light
rail systems in the United States (Diamant, 1976).
In 1971 the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) requested bids
on 78 new light rail vehicles to replace its deteriorating PCC car
fleet. The two bids that were received were rejected as being too
costly. About this time, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation
Authority (MBTA) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
Authority (SEPTA) decided to preserve and upgrade their light rail
systems. These events provided the opportunity to develop a
standard design for common use. The UMTA authorized a grant to the
MBTA to develop specifications for a new U.S. Standard Light Rail
Vehicle (SLRV). The first SLRVs were built by Boeing Vertol and
tested in 1974 at the UMTA's test track in Pueblo, Colorado (Silien
and Mora, 1975).
In December 1975 the UMTA expressed its concern that urban areas
should give adequate consideration to light rail transit (LRT) in a
Policy Statement on Light Rail Transit. The UMTA stated that while
it had no modal favorites, the increasing demand for transit
capital assistance combined with escalating transit construction
costs made it essential that cost effective approaches be fully
explored. UMTA considered LRT as a potentially attractive option
for many urban areas and would assist in its deployment in areas
where proper conditions existed (Transportation Systems Center,
As interest in LRT grew, a series of conferences was organized to
exchange information and explore the technical aspects and
applications of LRT. The first conference, held in Philadelphia in
1975, had as its objective the reintroduction of LRT to a wide
spectrum of decision makers in government, industry and academia
(Transportation Research Board, 1975b). In 1977 a second
conference in Boston addressed the need for a more detailed focus
on the theme of planning and technology (Transportation Research
Board, 1978). Several years later, in 1982, a third conference
occurred in San Diego with the theme of planning, design, and
implementation of LRT in existing urban environments
(Transportation Research Board, 1982a). The fourth conference in
Pittsburgh in 1985 focused on cost-effective approaches in the
deployment of LRT systems that capitalized on the flexibility of
this mode of transit (Transportation Research Board, 1985a).
By 1990 LRV had achieved a substantial resurgence in the United
States. Boston, Cleveland, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and
San Francisco had renovated existing lines or replaced their
existing vehicle fleets or both. (Table 5) Buffalo, Los Angeles,
Portland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Jose, had opened new LRT
lines. And new LRT lines were under construction in Baltimore,
Dallas and St. Louis.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976 broadened the use of funds from
trade-ins of nonessential Interstate routes. The process of
increasing flexibility in the use of Interstate funds began with
Section 103(e)(2), referred to as the Howard-Cramer Amendment, of
the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968. It allowed withdrawal of a
nonessential Interstate route and the use of the funds on another
Interstate route in the state.
In the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973, Section 103(e)(4) allowed
urbanized areas to withdraw a nonessential Interstate segment
within an area upon joint request of local elected officials and
the governor. An equivalent amount of funds could then be spent
from general revenues for mass transportation capital projects at
an 80 percent federal matching share. The 1976 act allowed the
funds from the Interstate substitution to be used also for other
highways and busways serving those urbanized areas (Bloch, et.
U.S. LIGHT RAIL SYSTEMS
Year Year Line
Metropolitan-Area Built Modernized Kms
Boston 1897 1975-89 44.9
Buffalo 1985 10.0
Cleveland 1919 1980's 21.0
Los Angeles 1990 36.0
Newark 1935 1980's 6.7
New Orleans 1893 Underway 13.1
Philadelphia 1892 1981 118.7
Pittsburgh 1891 1985 33.0
Portland 1986 24.2
Sacramento 1987 29.5
San Diego 1980 53.4
San Francisco 1897 1981 39.9
San Jose 1988 32.0
St. Louis 29.0
al. , 1982).
The 1976 act also changed the definition of construction to allow
federal funds to be expended on resurfacing, restoration, and
rehabilitation (3R) of highways. This was done in recognition of
the growing problem of highway deterioration. The completion date
for the Interstate system was extended to September 30, 1990.
Finally, the act expanded the transferability of federal funds
among different federal-aid systems, thereby increasing flexibility
in the use of these funds.
ITE Trip Generation Report
In 1972, the Technical Council of the Institute of Transportation
Engineers (ITE) formed the Trip Generation Committee do develop a
report on trip generation rates. The purpose of the Committee was
to collect trip generation rate data already measured by others and
to compile these data into on common source. The first edition of
Trip Generation, An Informational Report was published in 1976 and
contained data collected between 1965 and 1973 from nearly 80
different sources (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 1976).
Revised and updated editions were published in 1979, 1983, 1987 and
1991 (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 1979, 1982, 1987 and
The fifth edition of Trip Generation represented the most
comprehensive data base then available on trip generation rates.
These data were collected through volunteer efforts and did not
represent ITE's recommendations on individual rates or preferred
application of the data. The fifth edition contained trip
generation rates for a 121 land uses categories from over 3,000
studies. Many categories, however, contained a limited number of
studies. Rates were given for several different variables of a
project including floor area, employment, and acreage, as well as
for several time periods. In earlier editions of the report, trip
rates were given in the form of cells of a series of matrices.
Starting with the fourth edition, rates were calculated using
The ITE Trip Generation reports became the most widely used
reference for trip generation data by traffic engineers and
transportation planners for site level planning and analysis. At
times the Trip Generation report was used as an expedient when a
site specific analysis would have been more appropriate.
Urban System Study
The joint highway/transit planning regulations were controversial
during their preparation and after their issuance. The states
contended that the federal requirement to create metropolitan
planning organizations (MPOS) with the responsibility to program
funds preempted the states' right of self-determination. In
essence they argued that MPOs were another level of government.
Those at the local level of government were more supportive of the
regulations, especially the greater authority to select projects
and program funds. But, there was widespread concern that the
planning and programming process had become too inflexible and
cumbersome (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1976a).
Consequently the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976 required a study
of the various factors involved in the planning, programming, and
implementation of routes on the Urban system. The study was
conducted jointly by the FHWA and UMTA and submitted to Congress in
January 1977 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1976a). It was a major
undertaking involving a liaison group of 12 organizations
representing state and local interests, site visits to 30 urbanized
area and field data on the remaining areas.
The study concluded that the planning requirements were being
carried out responsibly by all participants. This was true in
spite of the controversy over the responsibilities of the MPO.
They also found that the flexibility in the use of Urban system
funds for transit was not widely used. Only 6.4 percent of the
funds were being used for transit projects. It was concluded that
overall the complexity of federal requirements deterred many local
governments from using their federal urban system funds (Heanue,
1977). The study recommended that no changes should be made at
that time, the process was new and participants had not had
sufficient time to adjust, and that even though there was some
confusion and controversy, the process was working properly (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1976a).
Road Pricing Demonstration Program
Road pricing had long been discussed as means to manage traffic
demand as was used in many other industries to manage demand for
services. The basic approach was to increase prices for the use of
facilities and service when demand was highest so that those users
would either pay the higher cost to be served during the peak or
divert to lower demand periods or alternative modes (Vickrey,
1959). An extensive research program on the feasibility of road
pricing was conducted by the Urban Institute (Kulash, 1974).
In an attempt to stimulate the use of road pricing, the U.S.
Department of Transportation began a demonstration program in 1976.
Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman wrote to the mayors
of eleven cities about the availability of a road pricing
demonstration and offering Federal funding for administration
enforcement and evaluation of a vehicle licensing scheme inviting
their participation (Arrillaga, 1978). This approach to road
pricing was based on the successful application in the city-state
of Singapore (Watson and Holland, 1978).
Of the cities that responded, three were most promising: Madison,
Wisconsin, Berkeley, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii. These
cities seemed most committed to reducing automobile use and to
using the resulting revenue to finance transit expansion (Higgins,
1986). Preliminary studies were conducted for each of the cities.
Based on these preliminary analyses, all three cities declined to
pursue the demonstrations any further. A number of reasons were
cited in opposition to the schemes including: harm to business,
coercive interference with travel rights, regressive impacts on the
poor, and inadequate information dissemination and promotion.
More than a decade would pass before there was renewed interest in
trying road pricing schemes. This would come under the stimulus of
the Clean Air Act and the difficulty some urbanized areas had in
meeting national ambient air quality standards.
National Transportation Trends and Choices
Ten years after it was established, the U.S. Department of
Transportation, under Secretary William T. Coleman, Jr., completed
its first multimodal national transportation planning study. The
report, National Transportation Trends and Choices - To The Year
2000, described DOT's views regarding the future evolution of
transportation, set forth the decisions that needed to be made, and
described the changes that would best serve national objectives
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977c).
National Transportation Trends and Choices elaborated upon a key
policy theme of Secretary Coleman's statement of national
"Underlying comprehensive transportation policy is the
recognition that diversity and intermodal competition are
essential to an effective transportation system. Government
policy must move in the direction of increasing equal
competitive opportunity among the transportation modes,
minimizing the inequitable distortions of government
intervention and enabling each mode to realize its inherent
advantages" (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977c).
National Transportation Trends and Choices was designed to show the
Congress and the public that the DOT was making both substantive
and resource allocation decisions effectively and coherently in
light of long-range consequences, intermodal tradeoffs, and broader
national goals and objectives. In addition, the planning effort
was designed to facilitate decisionmaking within the federal
government, and to encourage consistency by State and local
agencies and the private sector. This study was intended to
initiate a continuing national planning process based on common
time horizons and planning assumptions.
The needs estimates in National Transportation Trends and Choices
were developed for the 15-year period 1976-1990. For highways and
public transportation, the estimates were based on updates of the
data from the 1974 National Transportation Report (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1975d) which were submitted by only 15 states. The
aviation needs estimate were developed by updating the 1976
National Airport System Plan plus additional analyses. Railroad
and pipeline needs were estimated based on assumptions developed by
the study staff.
National Transportation Trends and Choices was received by the
Congress with little fanfare. However, the thrust of the report
towards greater competition and reduced federal regulation was
reflected in actions taken in later years. The study did not
become the beginning of a longer term national planning effort.
Transit Uniform System of Accounts and Records
Transit operating and financial data had been collected by the
American Public Transit Association (APTA) and its predecessor,
the American Transit Association, since 1942 (American Public
Transit Association, 1989). This data had been the primary source
of comparative transit information for operators, researchers, and
governmental agencies. It had been recognized for some time,
however, that this data had limitations in terms of uniformity of
data definitions, consistency of reporting, and accuracy. As the
involvement of Federal, State and local governments increased in
funding urban public transportation, particularly operating
assistance, the need for a uniform system of accounts and records
was recognized (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1977d).
In 1972, the American Transit Association (ATA) and Institute for
Rapid Transit (IRT), predecessors of APTA, began Project FARE,
Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Elements, to develop a
uniform industry data reporting system. Project FARE developed and
pilot tested a new system of accounts and records to meet the needs
of the industry and government agencies to monitor operating
performance (Arthur Andersen & Co., 1973).
Shortly thereafter, the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1974
created a new Section 15 that required the Department of
Transportation to establish a data reporting system for financial
and operating information and a uniform system of accounts and
records. UMTA continued to work with an Industry Control Board to
modify and adapt the FARE system to accommodate the requirements of
Section 15. The resulting system was required to be instituted by
all recipients of UMTA Section 5 Formula Grant funds (U.S. Dept. of
The Section 15 Transit Data Reporting System was first applied for
fiscal year 1979 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1981d). Over 400
transit systems reported under the system. Data items included
those covering revenues, government subsidies, capital and
operating costs, organizational structure, vehicles, employees,
service provided, ridership, safety, energy consumption, and
operating performance. Over a period of years, the system
underwent a number of modifications to its content, structure and
procedures to adjust to changing data requirements. This included
broadening the data base to include commuter rail, vanpools, and
purchased (contracted) services.
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 increased the flexibility and
local responsibility in the administration of the Clean Air Act.
The amendments required state and local governments to develop
revisions to state implementation plans (SIPS) for all areas where
the national ambient air quality standards had not been attained.
The revised SIPs were to be submitted to the EPA by January 1,
1979, and approved by May 1, 1979.
The revised plans had to provide for attainment of national ambient
air quality standards by 1982, or in the case of areas with severe
photochemical oxidant or carbon monoxide problems, no later than
1987. In the latter case, a state must demonstrate that the
standards cannot be met with all reasonable stationary and
transportation control measures. The plans also had to provide for
incremental reductions in emissions ("reasonable further progress")
between the time the plans were submitted and the attainment
deadline. If a state failed to submit a SIP or if EPA disapproved
the SIP and the state failed to revise it in a satisfactory manner,
EPA was required to promulgate regulations establishing a SIP by
July 1, 1979. If, after July 1, 1979, EPA determined that a state
was not fulfilling the requirements under the act, it was to impose
sanctions. This would include stopping federal-aid for highways
(Cooper and Hidinger, 1980).
In many major urbanized areas the revised SIPs required the
development of transportation control plans (TCPS) that included
strategies to reduce emissions from transportation-related sources
by means of structural or operational changes in the transportation
system. Since state and local governments implement changes in the
transportation system, the act strongly encouraged the preparation
of transportation elements of the SIP by metropolitan planning
organizations. These local planning organizations were responsible
for developing the transportation control measure element of the
SIP (Cooper and Hidinger, 1980).
From 1978 to 1980, the DOT and EPA, after long negotiations,
jointly issued several policy documents to implement the Clean Air
Act's transportation requirements. One of these, signed in June
1978, was a "Memorandum of Understanding" that established the
means by which the DOT and the EPA would assure the integration of
transportation and air quality planning. A second one issued also
in June 1978, "Transportation Air Quality Planning Guidelines"
described the acceptable planning process to satisfy the
requirements. Another, in March 1980, was a notice containing
guidelines for receiving air quality planning grants under section
175 of the act (Cooper and Hidinger, 1980).
In January 1981 DOT issued regulations on air quality conformance
and priority procedures for use in federal highway and transit
programs. The regulations required that transportation plans,
programs, and projects conform with the approved SIPs in areas that
had not met ambient air quality standards, termed "nonattainment
areas." In those areas, priority for transportation funds was to be
given to "transportation control measures" (TCMS) that contributed
to reducing air pollution emissions from transportation sources.
Where an areas transportation plan or program was not in
conformance with the SIP, "sanctions" were to be applied that
prohibited the use of federal funds on major transportation
projects (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1981b).
The 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments certainly gave impetus to short-
range planning and transportation system management strategies.
They also added a new dimension to the institutional and analytical
complexity of the planning process.
URBAN ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION
In the mid 1970's the country was feeling the effects of structural
changes in the economy, high unemployment, inflation, and rising
energy prices. Many of the problems had been developing for a
number of years. The economy was in a transition from a
predominantly manufacturing base to one that had a larger share
concentrated in service, communication, and high technology
industries. jobs in the manufacturing sector were declining and new
jobs were growing in the new sectors of the economy. People were
moving to those areas of the country where the new jobs were being
created, especially the South and the West. The older urban areas
in the Northeast and Midwest were being affected most severely by
these changes. But older central cities in all sections of the
country were in decline as jobs and people migrated first to the
suburbs and then to the newer urban areas where the economies were
These older communities and central cities were severely distressed
economically and limited in their ability to address these problems
themselves. It was recognized that the federal government had
contributed to these problems with programs that had unintended
consequences. However, many of the decisions that affected changes
in urban areas were outside the control of even the federal
government and often any level of government. The federal, state,
and local levels of government would, therefore, have to cooperate
among themselves and with the private sector in order to alleviate
1978 National Urban Policy Report
In Title VII of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1970 the
Congress required preparation of biennial reports on national
growth and development. Congress recognized the need to analyze
the many aspects of the nation's growth in a systematic manner with
the objective of formulating a national urban growth policy. The
first report, transmitted to Congress in 1972, discussed the broad
subject of national growth, including both rural and urban areas
(Domestic Council, 1972). The 1974 report focused on the dominant
role of the private sector in determining growth and the ways in
which the public and private sector could influence development
patterns. The 1976 report discussed the decline of older
Northeastern cities, the constraints of energy, environmental
resources, and the need to conserve and rehabilitate existing
housing and public facilities (Domestic Council, 1976).
The National Urban Policy and New Community Development Act of 1977
amended the 1970 Act to designate the report the "National Urban
Policy Report" rather than the more general "Report on Urban
Growth" (Domestic Council, 1976). Less than a year later, on March
27, 1978, President Carter presented his Message to Congress on
National Urban Policy. The policy was designed to build a new
Partnership to Conserve Americans Communities involving all levels
of government, the private sector, and neighborhood and voluntary
organizations. It contained a number of proposals to improve
existing programs and for new initiatives with the purpose of
revitalizing distressed central cities and older suburbs (U.S.
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 1978b).
The President's Message was followed in August by the President's
1978 National Urban Policy Report (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban
Development, 1978b). Like its predecessors, the report discussed
the demographic, social and economic trends in the nation's urban
areas. But, it was the first report to recommend a national urban
policy. The recommendations in the Report and the President's
Message were developed by an inter-departmental committee called
the Urban and Regional Policy Group. The Group worked for a year
with extensive public involvement to formulate its analysis of the
problems and recommendations (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
The urban policy consisted of nine objectives. The first urban
policy objective was, "Encourage and support efforts to improve
local planning and management capacity and the effectiveness of
existing federal programs by coordinating these programs,
simplifying planning requirements, reorienting resources, and
reducing paperwork, other objectives called for greater state,
private sector and voluntary involvement to assist urban areas.
Several objectives were for fiscal relief for distressed
communities and assistance to disadvantaged persons. The last
objective was for an improved physical environment and reduced
urban sprawl (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 1978b).
A wide range of legislative and administrative actions were taken
to implement the national urban policy (U.S. Dept. of Housing and
Urban Development, 1980). The Department of Transportation, FHWA
and UMTA, issued guidance for evaluating the impact on urban
centers of major transportation projects and investments. The
guidance required an analysis of the impacts of improvements in
highways and transit on central cities' development, tax base,
employment, accessibility and environment. In addition, impacts on
energy conservation, and on minorities and neighborhoods were to be
analyzed. Furthermore, the guidance required that improvements to
existing facilities be considered first, including the repair and
rehabilitation of transportation facilities and TSM measures to
increase the effectiveness of those facilities. In this manner,
the guidance sought to assure that the new investments in
transportation facilities would be cost-effective (U.S. Dept. of
The new national urban policy gave added impetus to the shift from
constructing new facilities to managing, maintaining and replacing
existing facilities. It was rooted in the belief that mobility
could be assured despite energy, environmental, and financial
constraints. The key was to manage the use of the automobile in
the city better. The challenge was for the urban transportation
planning process to maintain and enhance mobility while meeting
these other objectives (Heanue, 1980).
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 was the first act
that combined highway, public transportation and highway safety
authorizations in one piece of legislation. It provided $51.4
billion for the fiscal years 1979 through 1982, with $30.6 billion
for highways, $13.6 billion for public transportation, and $7.2
billion for highway safety. It was the first time that
authorizations for the highway program were made for a four-year
period. Highway Trust Fund user charges were extended five years
to 1984 and the fund itself to 1985.
Title I, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1978, accelerated
completion of the National System of Interstate and Defense
Highways. It concentrated funds on projects that were ready to be
constructed by changing the availability of a state's apportionment
from four to two years. If the funds were not used, they could be
reallocated to states with projects ready to go. The Act withdrew
authority to replace one Interstate route with another. It placed
a deadline of September 30, 1983, on substituting public
transportation or other highway projects for withdrawn Interstate
routes. The federal share for both highway and transit substitute
projects was increased to 85 percent. The act required that
environmental impact statements for Interstate projects be
submitted by September 30, 1983, and that they be under contract or
construction by September 30, 1986, if sufficient federal funds we
re available. If the deadlines were not met, the Interstate route
or substitute project was to be eliminated.
The act also raised the federal share for non-Interstate highways
from 70 to 75 percent. It further increased the allowable amount
of funds that could be transferred among federal-aid systems to 50
percent. The eligibility of federal funds for carpools and
vanpools was made permanent. The amount of $20 million annually
for fiscal years 1979 through 1982 was authorized for bicycle
projects. The act substantially increased the funding for bridge
replacement and rehabilitation to $1 billion annually.
Title III, the Federal Public Transportation Act of 1978, expanded
the Section 5 Formula Grant program. The basic program of
operating and capital assistance was retained with the same
population and population density formula at higher authorization
levels. A "second tier" program was authorized with the same
project eligibility and apportionment formula. However, the funds
were to be initially split so that 85 percent went to urbanized
areas over 750,000 in population and the remaining 15 percent to
smaller areas. A third tier was established for routine purchases
of buses and related facilities and equipment. A new fourth tier
replaced the Section 17 and 18 commuter rail programs. The funds
could be used for commuter rail or rail transit capital or
operating expenses. The funds were apportioned two-thirds based on
commuter rail vehicle miles and route miles and one-third on rail
transit route miles.
The act changed the availability of funds for transit from two to
four years. It formalized the "letter of intent" process whereby
the federal government committed funds for a transit project in the
Section 3 Discretionary Grant program. Public hearings were
required for all general increases in fares or substantial changes
in service. A small formula grant program for non-urbanized areas
(Section 18) was established for capital and operating assistance.
Apportioned on non-urbanized area population, it authorized an 80
percent federal share for capital projects and 50 percent for
operating assistance. The act also established an intercity bus
terminal development program, intercity bus service operating
subsidy program, and human resources program for urban transit
The urban transportation planning requirement was changed in an
identical fashion in the highway and transit titles. Energy
conservation was included as a new goal in the planning process and
alternative transportation system management strategies were
required to be evaluated. The designation of Metropolitan Planning
Organizations was to be by agreement among general purpose units of
local government and in cooperation the governor. For the transit
program, it was further required that plans and programs encourage
to the maximum extent feasible the participation of private
enterprise. Funding for transit planning grants was set at 5.5
percent of Section 3 appropriations.
A "Buy America" provision was included to apply to all contracts
over $500,000. The provision could be waived if: its application
was inconsistent with the public interest; domestic supplies were
not available or of unsatisfactory quality; or if the use of
domestic products would increase the cost by over 10 percent.
Quick Response Urban Travel Forecasting Techniques
Most urban travel forecasting techniques were developed to evaluate
regional transportation systems and to produce traffic volumes for
the design of facilities. These procedures were geared to long
range planning studies that often took several years to carry out
and had extensive data requirements. Urban transportation
planning, however, was transitioning to a shorter term time horizon
and issues were refocusing on low capital improvements and
environmental impacts. In light of these trends, there was a need
for simplified analytical procedures that were easy to understand,
relatively inexpensive and less time consuming to apply, and
responsive to the policy issues of the day
(Sousslau, et.al., 1978a).
To address this issue, the National Cooperative Highway Research
Program (NCHRP) launched a research project on quick response urban
travel forecasting techniques (Sousslau, et.al., 1978b). The study
found that nonexisting travel estimation technique was adequate to
respond to the many new policy issues being faced by decision
To fill the gap, the project developed a set of manual urban travel
estimation techniques based upon the four-step conventional urban
travel forecasting process. The techniques covered trip
generation, trip distribution, mode choice, auto occupancy, time-
of-day distribution, traffic assignment, capacity analysis, and
development density/highway spacing relationships. The approach
minimized the need for data by supplying tables and graphs that
could use "default" values to substitute for local information. A
User's Guide was produced as part of the project which allowed the
estimation of travel demand using charts, tables and nomographs
(Sousslau, et.al., 1978c).
The original Quick Response System (QRS) was principally used for
planning problems that were too small to warrant use of the full
regional scale urban travel forecasting procedures. To increase
the usefulness and applicability of QRS, a microcomputer version
was developed (COMSIS Corp., 1984). The microcomputer programs
contained all of the functions originally developed in manual form
and an additional mode choice estimation technique.
The microcomputer version of QRS increased the size of the
transportation planning that could be analyzed. But, the analysis
became disproportionately more difficult to handle as the size of
the analysis area increased. A more sophisticated version of QRS
was developed to expand its utility. The new QRS II departed from
QRS by requiring that transportation networks be drawn and
analyzed as part of the analytical process. Consequently, QRS II
could be used for routine calculations of the manual techniques as
QRS allowed, as well as perform detailed analyses comparable to
those that could be performed with conventional urban travel
forecasting procedures (Horowitz, 1989).
QRS II became widely used for sketch planning, small area analysis,
and in a number of instances was used as replacement for the
conventional urban travel forecasting process using UTPS.
National Energy Act of 1978
In 1979 Iran cut off crude oil shipments to Western nations causing
shortages of oil products, especially gasoline, and price
increases. Most of the regulations implemented in 1973 and 1974
were still in effect and basically unchanged. (Diesel fuel prices
had been deregulated in 1976). During the intervening years, other
legislation had been passed to stimulate oil production and foster
conservation (Schueftan and Ellis, 1981). The Department of Energy
Organization Act of 1977 brought together most federal energy
functions under a single cabinet level department.
In October 1978 the Congress passed the National Energy Act which
was composed of five bills. The National Energy Conservation
Policy Act of 1978 extended two state energy conservation programs
that required states to undertake specific conservation actions
including the promotion of carpools and vanpools. The Powerplant
and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978 required Federal agencies to
conserve natural gas and petroleum in programs which they
administered (U.S. Dept. of Energy, 1978). To implement Section
403(b) of the act, President Carter signed Executive Order 12185 in
December 1979 extending existing efforts to promote energy
conservation through federal-aid programs.
The DOT issued final regulations in August 1980 in compliance with
the Executive Order. These regulations required that all phases of
transportation projects from planning to construction and
operations be conducted in a manner that conserves fuel. It
incorporated energy conservation as a goal into the urban
transportation planning process and required an analysis of
alternative TSM improvements to reduce energy consumption (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1980c).
Other actions affected urban transportation and planning.
President Carter signed an Executive order in April 1979 that began
the phased decontrol of petroleum prices. By September 30, 1981,
petroleum prices were to be determined by the free market. This
process was accelerated by President Reagan through an Executive
Order in January 1981 which immediately terminated all price and
allocation controls (Cabot Consulting Group, 1982).
The Emergency Energy Conservation Act of 1979, which was signed in
November 1979, required the President to establish national and
state conservation targets. States were to submit state emergency
conservation plans that would meet the targets. The act expired in
July 1983 without targets being set nor plans prepared. However,
many states became active in contingency planning for a potential
future energy emergency (Cabot Consulting Group, 1982).
Energy conservation had become integrated into the urban
transportation planning process as a result of federal and state
legislation and regulation. It gave further impetus to reducing
the use of automobiles and for emphasis on transportation system
management. Energy contingency planning became more widespread by
planning organizations, transit authorities and highway
Council on Environmental Quality's Regulations
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued final
regulations on November 29, 1978, establishing uniform procedures
for implementing the procedural provisions of the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969. They applied to all federal
agencies and took effect on July 30, 1979. They were issued
because the 1973 CEQ Guidelines for preparing environmental impact
statements (EISs) were not viewed consistently by all agencies
leading to differences in interpretations (Council on Environmental
The regulations embodied several new concepts designed to make the
EIS more useful to decisionmakers and the public, and to reduce
paperwork and delays. First, the regulations created a "scoping"
process to provide for the early identification of significant
impacts and issues. it also provided for allocating responsibility
for the EIS among the lead agency and cooperating agencies. The
scoping process was to be integrated with other planning activities
(Council on Environmental Quality, 1978).
Second, the regulations permitted "tiering" of the EIS process.
This provided that environmental analyses completed at a broad
scale (for example, region) need not be duplicated for site-
specific projects; the broader analyses could be summarized and
incorporated by reference. The purpose of "tiering" was to
eliminate repetition and allow discussion of issues at the
appropriate level of detail (Council on Environmental Quality,
Third, in addition to the previously required EIS, which discussed
the alternatives being considered, a "record of decision" document
was required. It had to identify the "environmentally preferable"
alternative, the other alternatives considered, and the factors
used in reaching the decision. Until this document was issued, no
action could be taken on an alternative that would adversely effect
the environment or limit the choice of alternatives (Council on
Environmental Quality, 1978).
The regulations generally sought to reduce the paperwork in the EIS
process by such techniques as limiting the length of the document
to 150 pages (300 in complex situations), specifying a standard
format, emphasizing that the process focus on real alternatives,
allowing incorporation of material by reference, and by using
summaries for circulation instead of the entire EIS. Agencies were
encouraged to set time limits on the process and to integrate other
statutory and analysis requirements into a single process.
In October 1980 the FHWA and UMTA published supplemental
implementing procedures. They established a single set of
environmental procedures for highway and urban transit projects.
They also integrated the UMTA's procedures for alternatives
analysis under its major investment policy with the new EIS
procedures. This permitted the preparation of a single draft EIS/
alternatives analysis document. These regulations were an
important step toward integrating highway and transit planning and
reducing duplicative documentation (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
BART Impact Program
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system was the
first regional rail transit system to be built in the U.S. since
World War II. It provided a unique opportunity for studying the
impacts of such a system on the urban environment. The BART Impact
Program was organized to evaluate the effects of BART on the
economy, environment, and people of the Bay Area. It began in 1972
with the start of BART system operation and lasted six years.
The study addressed a broad range of potential rail transit
impacts, including impacts on the transportation system and travel
behavior, land use and urban development, the environment, public
policy, the regional economy, and social institutions and
lifestyles. The incidence of these impacts on population groups,
local areas, and economic sectors was also measured and analyzed
(Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 1979a, 1979b).
The BART system included 71 miles of track with 34 stations of
which 23 had parking lots. (Figure 12) The four lines had stations
spaced one-third to one-half mile apart in the cities of San
Francisco and Oakland, and two to four miles apart in the suburbs.
In 1975 BART served a population of about 1 million persons
residing in three counties. Fares range from $.25 to $1.45, with
discounts for the elderly, handicapped, and children. BART cost
$1.6 billion to build of which 80 percent was locally funded
(Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 1979a, 1979b).
The program produced a considerable amount of information on the
impacts of BART and, by implication the impacts of rail systems on
urban areas. Its major findings included:
- BART provided a significant increase in the capacities of the
major regional travel corridors, particularly approaching the
cities of San Francisco and Oakland. However, it had not
provided a long-term solution for traffic congestion because
the additional capacity had been filled by new trips that had
previously been deterred by traffic congestion. It most
effectively served suburbanites commuting to work in San
- BART had been integrated into the Bay Area with a minimum of
environmental and social disruption because of its careful
planning and design.
- To date, BART had not had a major impact on Bay Area land use.
Some land use changes were evident where BART provides travel
time advantages, where communities had acted to support and
enhance the system's impacts through zoning and
Click HERE for graphic.
development plans, and where market demand for new development
was strong, as in downtown San Francisco. It was likely that
many potential impacts had not yet had time to develop.
- The $1.2 billion expended in the Bay Area for BART
construction generated local expenditures totalling $3.1
billion during a twelve-year period. However, over the long
term, BART had not induced economic growth in the Bay Area;
that is, the system had not measurably enhanced the
competitive advantage of the region in relation to other
metropolitan areas in the country (Metropolitan Transportation
Commission, 1979a, 1979b).
An important implication of the BART Impact Program's findings was
that by itself rail transit could be expected to have only a
limited impact on the various aspects of the urban environment.
Existing local conditions and the enactment of supportive policies
were more important in determining the influence of a rail system
on an urban area. For example, neither BART nor any other similar
rail system was likely to cause high density residential
development nor discourage urban sprawl in an established urban
area unless strong regionally coordinated land use controls were
Partly as a result of the BART experience, the Urban Mass
Transportation Administration began to require localities building
or planning to build new rail lines with federal assistance to
commit themselves to a program of local supportive actions to
enhance the project's cost effectiveness and patronage.
International Conferences on Behavioral Travel Demand
The Williamsburg Urban Travel Forecasting Conference gave
widespread recognition to disaggregate behavioral demand models.
The momentum created by this conference caused an upsurge in
research in behavioral travel demand. The research was so
extensive and widespread that the need arose for better interchange
of ideas and developments.
To fill this void, the Transportation Research Board Committee on
Traveler Behavior and Values began organizing a series of
International Conferences on Behavioral Travel Demand. Later, the
organizing role was performed by the International Association for
Travel Behavior which was established in April, 1985. The
conferences brought together those involved in travel demand
research from many countries. The first one occurred in South
Berwick, Maine in 1973 (Stopher and Meyburg, 1974). Later
conferences were held in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1975
(Stopher and Meyburg, 1976); Melbourne, Australia, in 1977 (Hensher
and Stopher, 1979); Grainau, Germany, in 1979 (Stopher, Meyburg and
Brog, 1981); Easton, Maryland, in 1982 (Transportation Research
Board, 1984b); Noordwijk, The Netherlands, in 1985 (Dutch Ministry,
1986); Aix-En-Provence, France, in 1987 (International Association
for Travel Behavior, 1989); and, Quebec, Canada in 1991.
The proceedings of these conferences provide a comprehensive
documentation of the progress in behavioral travel demand research
and the important issues concerning the research community. The
subject areas expanded from the development of multinomial logit
models and attitudinal methods to encompass noncompensatory models,
trip chaining, life-cycle and adaptation, activity-based analysis,
and new approaches to data collection for travel behavior research
Table 6 shows the workshop themes for the first six conferences.
Disaggregate choice analyses and attitudinal methods were recurring
themes at all of the conferences and were the main threads
connecting the conferences. Their subthemes were also
Click HERE for graphic.
selected as workshop topics including aggregation issues,
noncompensatory models, market segmentation, disaggregate trip
distribution models, errors and uncertainty, and transferability.
Various planning applications were addressed at the 1982 Easton
conference. The themes of longitudinal analysis and stated
preference methods were introduced at the 1985 Noordwijk conference
Research recommendations from the conferences often served as the
agenda for further work in the following years. The focus of these
discussions was to gain a better understanding of travel behavior
and to develop travel demand models with stronger theoretical
bases. Using this approach, travel forecasting would become more
sensitive to relevant policy issues, require less data to estimate,
and be less costly and time-consuming to use.
Great strides were made in achieving these ends. But in doing so,
a class of models was produced that was substantially different
from conventional forecasting techniques. As a result, progress in
diffusing these techniques into practice was slow. This gap in
progress between application and research then became the major
issue of concern in the field of travel forecasting. This issue
was the focus of the 1982 conference in Easton (Transportation
Research Board, 1984b).
National Ridesharing Demonstration Program
The oil embargo of 1973-1974 spurred government efforts to
encourage commuter ridesharing. Ridesharing was considered to be a
highly desirable approach to reducing drive alone commuting, and
thereby reducing congestion, air pollution, and energy consumption.
Moreover, ridesharing could be expanded at little or no cost in
comparison to constructing or expanding highway facilities.
With the passage of the Emergency Highway Conservation Act of 1974,
which authorized the use of Federal-aid highway funds for carpool
demonstrations, the Federal government actively promoted and
supported the development of ridesharing (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1980d). From 1974 and 1977, FHWA funded 106
carpool demonstration projects in 34 states and 96 urbanizes areas
at a total cost of $16.2 million with the vast majority having a
Federal matching share of 90 percent (Wagner, 1978).
The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 transferred to
DOT responsibilities for transportation energy conservation
programs and ridesharing education. Partly, as a result of these
new responsibilities, DOT set a goal to increase ridesharing by 5
percent. To accomplish this goal, DOT established the National
Ridesharing Demonstration Program in March, 1979. The two-year
national program consisted of four major elements: a national
competition to stimulate innovative and comprehensive approaches to
ridesharing; an evaluation of those projects; technical assistance
and training; and an expanded public information campaign (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1980d).
The National Ridesharing Demonstration Program funded projects at
17 sites for $3.5 million. Demonstration elements included
employer based marketing, park-and-ride lots, vanpools, regional
marketing, shuttle bus service, flextime, and legislative
initiatives. An evaluation of these projects found the primary
market for ridesharing to be multi-worker households with one car
living far from the work site. Between 2% and 5% of the carpoolers
surveyed indicated that the program affected their decision to form
or maintain a carpool. Most commuter carpools were found to
consist of informal arrangements between household members or
fellow workers. The proportion of employees ridesharing and the
size of carpools were found to increase with firm size. Flextime
arrangements did not seem to affect ridesharing (Booth and Waksman,
Ridesharing continued to be a major alternative to driving alone.
Gradually, it became integrated with other measures into more
comprehensive congestion relief programs.
Urban Initiatives Program
The National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974 authorized
the use of federal funds for joint development purposes through the
Young Amendment. The Young Amendment allowed local agencies to use
federal funds to improve those facilities within the zone affected
by the construction and operation of mass transit improvements that
were needed to be compatible with land-use development. Assistance
was available for establishing public or quasi-public corridor
development corporations to accomplish this (Gortmaker, 1980).
The Urban Initiatives program, however, was not implemented until
it was authorized in Section 3(a)(1)(D) of the Surface
Transportation Assistance Act of 1978. This section of the Act
authorized federal grants for land acquisition and the provision of
utilities on land that was physically or functionally related to
transit facilities for the purpose of stimulating economic
The Urban Initiatives program was one element of the DOT effort to
implement President Carter's Urban Policy. The guidelines for the
program were issued in April 1979 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
1979g). The program allowed expenditures for preconstruction
activities (e.g., design and engineering studies, land acquisition
and write-down, and real estate packaging) and items that connect
transportation with land developments (e.g., pedestrian
connections, parking and street furniture). Preference was to be
given to projects that demonstrated that they advanced Urban Policy
During the three years of the program, 47 projects were funded in
43 urban areas. They integrated transportation projects with
economic development activities. Many of these projects were
transit malls or intermodal terminals. The program extended the
traditional funding beyond direct transit projects to the related
development tied to transit service (Rice Center, 1981).
The practice of setting aside federal funds for Urban Initiatives'
projects was discontinued in March 1981. However, these types of
activities continued to be eligible for funding under the regular
Section 504 Regulations on Accessibility for the Handicapped
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provided that no
person who is otherwise qualified should be discriminated against
due to handicap in any program or activity receiving federal
financial assistance. In 1976 the UMTA issued regulations that
required "special efforts" in planning public mass transportation
facilities that can be utilized by elderly and handicapped persons.
It also required that new transit vehicles and facilities be
accessible to handicapped. Handicapped groups thought the
regulations were too vague and difficult to enforce (U.S. Dept. of
More stringent regulations were published in May 1979. They
required all existing bus and rail systems to become fully
accessible to handicapped persons within three years. This included
fifty percent of the buses in fixed route service to be accessible
to wheelchair users. For extraordinarily expensive facilities, the
time limit could be extended to 10 years for bus facilities,.to 30
years for rail facilities, and to 5 years for rail cars. Steady
progress to achieve accessibility was required. New facilities and
equipment were still required to be accessible to receive federal
assistance (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
Transit authorities complained that the requirements were far too
costly and sued the DOT for exceeding its authority. The U.S.
Court of Appeals in a decision in 1981 said that the 1979
regulations went beyond the DOT's authority under Section 504.
Following the decision, the DOT issued regulations on an interim
basis and indicated that there would be new rulemaking leading to a
final rule. The interim regulations required applicants to certify
that "special efforts" were being made to provide transportation
that was accessible to handicapped persons (U.S. Dept. of
Section 317(c) of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
required the DOT to publish a proposed rule that would (1) include
minimum criteria for the provision of transportation services to
handicapped and elderly individuals, (2) a public participation
mechanism, and (3) procedures for the UMTA to monitor transit
authorities, performance. A NPRM was issued in September, 1983,
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1983f), and final regulations in
May, 1986 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1986b).
The 1986 regulations established six service criteria that applied
to urban mass transportation for persons with disabilities: (1)
anyone who is physically unable to use the bus system for the
general public must be treated as eligible for the service; (2) the
service must operate during the same days and hours as the general
service; (3) the service must operate in the same geographic area;
(4) fares for trips on the two services must be comparable; (5)
service must be provided within 24 hours of a request; and, (6)
restrictions or priorities for service may not be imposed based on
trip purpose. The regulations did not require existing,
inaccessible rail systems to be made accessible.
The amount of money transit authorities were required to spend in
the service was limited to three percent of their operating
expenditures to avoid undue financial burden on them. Transit
authorities were given one year to plan the services and up to six
years to phase them in. The planning process was required to
involve disabled and other interested persons.
DOT's Section 504 regulations had long been controversial. The DOT
was faced with the difficult job of accommodating both the concerns
of the handicapped community for adequate public transportation and
the concerns of transit authorities and local governments for
avoiding costly or rigid requirements. This rulemaking process was
of the most complex and protracted in urban transportation. It
engendered a fierce debate between those who felt that handicapped
persons should have the right to be mainstreamed into society, and
those who believed that there were more cost-effective means of
providing transportation for those persons using paratransit-type
National Transportation Policy Study Commission
The National Transportation Policy Study Commission was created by
the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1976 to study the transportation
needs through the year 2000, and the resources, requirements, and
policies to meet those needs. The Commission was composed of
nineteen members; six Senators, six Representatives, and seven
public members appointed by the President.
The Commission and its technical staff completed more than two
years of analysis, consultant studies, and public hearings, and
published its final reports, National Transportation Policies
Through The Year 2000, and the Executive Summary in June of 1979
(National Transportation Policy Study Commission, 1979a and 1979b).
The report concluded that the existing level of investment was
insufficient to meet growing transportation needs, and that a
capital investment of over $4 trillion was required by the year
2000. It further concluded that government overregulation was
inhibiting capital investment, and that the maze of federal
agencies, congressional committees and conflicting policies were
driving up costs and retarding innovation.
The report contained over 80 specific recommendations, reflecting
1. National transportation policy should be uniform across modes;
2. Federal involvement should be substantially reduced (greater
reliance on the private sector and State and local
3. Federal actions should be subjected to economic analysis of
benefits and costs;
4. The use of the transportation system to pursue non-
transportation goals should be done in a cost-effective
5. Transportation research and safety required federal
involvement and financial assistance;
6. Users and those who benefit from federal actions should pay.
The National Transportation Policy Study Commission was unique
because of the extent of Congressional involvement. Congress
created the Commission, staffed it, chaired it with its own
members, and determined the policy conclusions (Allen-Schult and
Aspen Conference on Future Urban Transportation
As the decade drew to a close, the assault on the automobile never
seemed so widespread. Energy conservation and environmental
protection were national priorities. Fiscal resources were
constrained and cost-effectiveness was the major criterion in urban
transportation evaluations. Reversing central city decline was
emerging as a key concern. And mobility for the transportation
disadvantaged still required attention (Hassell, 1982). What was
the future for urban personal mobility in the United States? Had
the dominance of the automobile in the U.S. economy and society
To address these issues, the Transportation Planning Division of
the American Planning Association sponsored the Aspen Conference on
Future Urban Transportation in June 1979. The conference was
supported and attended by representatives of both the public and
private sector. The conferees could not reach a consensus on an
image of the future but agreed on a range of factors that would be
influential. Incremental planning was seen as the only feasible
and desirable approach to the future (American Planning
The conferees did conclude that there are "...no panaceas; no
substantial increases in mobility due to new techniques ... no
quick or cheap energy solutions, and none without major
environmental risks and costs ... no promise of breakthrough in
environmental technology...no major solutions through changes in
living patterns or economic structure ... no simple mechanism for
restructuring urban form so as to reduce urban travel..." (American
Planning Association, 1979). The conferees did make certain
general recommendations for approaches to energy, mobility and
accessibility, environmental, social, safety and economic issues.
They concluded that, at least for the balance of this century, the
automobile would continue to be the principal and preferred mode of
urban transportation for the majority of the American people.
Public transportation would become increasingly important in
supplying mobility. Both would require increased public investment
from all levels of government (American Planning
Highway Performance Monitoring System
During the mid-1970's, the FHWA shifted its approach to the
biennial reporting of highway needs as required by Senate Joint
Resolution 81 (P.L. 89-139). The earlier reports on highway needs
contained estimates of the 20-year costs to remove all highway
deficiencies throughout the nation (U.S. Congress, 1972b and
1972c). But, it had become apparent that, as highway travel and
needs grew and national priorities changed, there would be
insufficient funds to remove all highway deficiencies in the
foreseeable future. Later reports, therefore, introduced the idea
that "performance" could be used to measure the effectiveness of
past highway investments and to analyze future investment
alternatives (U.S. Congress, 1975).
To obtain continuous information on the performance of the national
highway system, FHWA, in cooperation with the States, developed the
Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS). The first use of
this system was in the 1976 National Highway Inventory and
Performance Study (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1975e). Data was
collected on the highway system by functional class according to
the functional realignment of Federal-aid systems that was required
by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 to be accomplished by June
FHWA collected HPMS data annually from the States on a sample of
highway sections. In selecting the sample, the highway system was
first stratified into urbanized area, small urban and rural
categories. Urbanized area data could be reported either
individually or combined for an entire State. Within each
category, highway sections were divided by functional class and
traffic volume group using average annual daily traffic. A
sampling rate was determined for each group of highway sections,
with higher sampling rates for the higher functionally classified
highway sections. For each sampled highway section, detailed
information was collected on such items as: length, functional
classification, geometric characteristics, traffic and capacity,
pavement type and condition, structures, traffic signals, and
parking (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1984e).
The first national highway needs report to use the HPMS data to
describe the conditions and performance of the nation's highways
was submitted to the Congress in 1981 (U.S. Congress, 1981). It
showed the deterioration in highway system performance and rising
congestion. Subsequent national highway needs reports used the
HPMS data to monitor the changing performance of highway system
(U.S. Congress, 1989).
The Federal Highway Administration also developed an analytical
methodology that used the HPMS data to test national highway policy
alternatives. Using this methodology, FHWA forecasted future
highway investment requirements under various assumptions such as
different highway travel growth rates, various highway conditions
and performance levels and, the diversion of highway perk period
travel to transit, alternative routes and off peak periods (U.S.
Congress, 1989). In addition, the analytical methodology was
adapted so that the States could perform the same types of analyses
on the HPMS data for their individual data as was performed on the
national data (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1987d).
Since the HPMS was the only comprehensive and continuous source of
highway performance data that was available at the national and
State level, it was also used to monitor the growth in urban
highway congestion (Lindley, 1987 and 1989; Lomax, et. al., 1988;
Hanks and Lomax, 1989).
DECENTRALIZATION OF DECISIONMAKING
Through the decade of the 1970's there was a sharp increase in the
range and complexity of issues required to be addressed in the
urban transportation planning process. The combination of
requirements and regulations had become burdensome and counter-
productive. Organizations and techniques seemed unable to adapt
with sufficient speed. It was becoming impossible to analyze all
of the tradeoffs that were required. This problem was not confined
to urban transportation but to most activities where the federal
government was involved. It ushered in a new mood in the nation to
decentralize control and authority, and to reduce federal intrusion
into local decisionmaking (Weiner, 1983).
President Reagan's Memorandum on Regulations
On January 29, 1981, President Reagan sent a memorandum to all
major domestic agencies to postpone the implementation of all
regulations that were to take effect within the coming 60 days
(Reagan, 1981b). This was to provide time for the newly appointed
Task Force on Regulatory Relief to develop regulatory review
The Executive Order 12291 on Federal Regulation was issued on
February 17, 1981 (Reagan, 1981a). It established procedures for
reviewing existing regulations and evaluating new ones. it required
that a regulation have greater benefits to society than costs and
that the approach used must maximize those benefits. All
regulatory actions were to be based on a regulatory impact analysis
that assessed the benefits and costs.
The order set in motion a major effort at the federal level to
eliminate and simplify regulations and limit the issuance of new
regulations. The impact on federal agencies was quickly felt.
Airlie House Conference on Urban Transportation Planning in the
Concern had been growing in the planning community about the future
of urban transportation planning. On the one hand planning
requirements had become more complex, new planning techniques had
not found their way into practice, and future changes in social,
demographic, energy, environmental, and technological factors were
unclear. On the other hand, fiscal constraints were tight and the
federal government was shifting the burden of decisionmaking to
state and local governments and the private sector. The future of
planning was in doubt.
To address these concerns, a conference was held at Airlie House,
in Virginia, on November 9-12, 1981, on Urban Transportation
Planning in the 1980's. The conference reaffirmed the need for
systematic urban transportation planning, especially to maximize
the effectiveness of limited public funds. But the planning
process needed to be adjusted to the nature and scope of an areas
problems. It might not be the same for growing and for declining
areas, nor for corridor- and for regional-level problems
(Transportation Research Board, 1982b).
The conferees also concluded that the federal government had been
overly restrictive in its regulations, making the planning process
costly, time-consuming, and difficult to administer. It was
concluded that the regulations should be stream-lined, specifying
goals to be achieved and leaving the decisions on how to meet them
to the states and local governments. The conferees called for a
recognition of the need for different levels of 3C planning by
urbanized areas of various sizes. Additionally, greater
flexibility in the requirements for MPOs was recommended, with
more responsibility given to the agencies that implement
transportation projects; and finally, less frequent federal
certification was recommended (Transportation Research Board,
Increased attention to system management and fiscal issues was
needed, but long-range planning needed to also identify shifts in
the major longer-term trends that would affect the future of urban
areas. This strategic planning process should be flexible to fit
local concerns (Transportation Research Board, 1982b).
The conference recommendations reflected the new mood that the
federal government had over regulated and was too specific in its
requirements. The planning process was straining under this
burden, finding it difficult to plan to meet local needs. The
burden had to be lifted for the planning process to be viable.
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1981
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1981 established early completion
and preservation of the Interstate system as the highest priority
highway program. To ensure early completion, the act reduced the
cost to complete the system by nearly $14 billion, from $53 billion
to $39 billion, by limiting eligible construction items to those
that provided a minimum level of acceptable service. This
included: full access control; a pavement design to accommodate
twenty year forecasted travel; meeting essential environmental
requirements; a maximum design of six lanes in areas under 400,000
in population and eight lanes in larger areas; and, any high
occupancy lanes previously approved in the 1981 Interstate Cost
The act expanded the Interstate resurfacing, restoration and
rehabilitation (3R) program by added reconstruction as an eligible
category. This new category of the new 4R program included the
addition of travel lanes, construction and reconstruction of
interchanges, and the acquisition of right of way. Construction
items that were removed from the Interstate construction program
were eligible for 4R funding. The federal share was increased from
75 percent under the 3R program to 90 percent under the 4R
program.. Funds were to be allocated to states based 55 percent on
Interstate lane miles and 45 percent on vehicle miles of travel.
Every state with Interstate mileage had to receive a minimum of
1/2 of 1 percent of the funds for the program.
This act marked a shift in focus in the federal highway program
toward finally completing the Interstate system and moving ahead
with rehabilitating it.
E.O. 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs
Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-95 (which replaced
Bureau of the Budget Circular A-95) had governed the consultation
process on federal grant programs with state and local governments
since its issuance in July 1969. Although the A-95 process had
served a useful function in assuring intergovernmental cooperation
on federal grant programs, there were concerns that the process had
become too rigid and cumbersome and caused unnecessary paperwork.
To respond to these concerns and to delegate more responsibility
and authority to state and local governments, the President signed
Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal
Programs," on July 14, 1982 (Reagan, 1982).
The objectives of the Executive Order were to foster an
intergovernmental partnership and strengthen federalism by relying
on state and local processes for intergovernmental coordination and
review of federal financial assistance and direct federal
development. The Executive order had several purposes. First, it
allowed states, after consultation with local officials, to
establish their own process for review and comment on proposed
federal financial assistance and direct federal development.
Second, it increased federal responsiveness to state and local
officials by requiring federal agencies to "accommodate" or
"explain" when considering certain state and local views. Third,
it allowed states to simplify, consolidate, or substitute state
plans for federal planning requirements. The order also revoked
OMB Circular A-95, although regulations implementing this Circular
remained in affect until September 30, 1983.
There were three major elements that comprised the process under
the Executive Order. These were: establishing a state process, the
single point of contact, and the federal agency's "accommodate" or
"explain" response to state and local comments submitted in the
form of a recommendation. First, a state could choose which
programs and activities are being included under that state process
after consulting with local governments. The elements of the
process were to be determined by the state. A state was not
required to establish a state process; however, if no process was
established, the provisions of the Executive order did not apply.
Existing consultation requirements of other statutes or regulations
would continue in effect, including those of the Inter-governmental
Cooperation Act of 1968 and the Demonstration Cities and
Metropolitan Development Act of 1966.
Second, a single point of contact had to be designated by the state
for dealing with the federal government. The single point of
contact was the only official contact for state and local views to
be sent to the federal government and to receive the response.
Third, when a single point of contact transmitted a state process
recommendation, the federal agency receiving the recommendation had
to either: (1) accept the recommendation ("accommodate,,); (2)
reach a mutually agreeable solution with the parties preparing the
recommendation; or (3) provide the single point of contact with a
written explanation for not accepting the recommendation or
reaching a mutually agreeable solution. If there was non-
accommodation, the Department was generally required to wait 15
days after sending an explanation of the non-accommodation to the
single point of contact before taking final action.
The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 for
transportation programs were published on June 24, 1983 (U.S. Dept.
of Transportation, 1983a). They applied to all federal-aid highway
and urban public transportation programs.
Woods Hole Conference on Future Directions of Urban Public
The transit industry was growing restless as the demands for and
requirements on transit services were changing. Older cities were
concerned about rehabilitation while newer ones were focused on
expansion. Future changes in the economic base, land use, energy
and sociodemographic characteristics were uncertain. The transit
industry was coming out of a period where federal priorities and
requirements had changed too frequently. Transit deficits had
risen sharply over the previous decade and the federal government
had declared that it planned to phase out operating subsidies. And
many were calling for the private sector to provide an increased
share of transit services because they were more efficient.
A diverse group of conferees met at the Woods Hole Study Center in
Massachusetts, September 26-29, 1982, to discuss Future Directions
of Urban Public Transportation (Transportation Research Board,
1984a). The conference addressed the role of public transportation,
present and future, the context within which public transportation
functioned, and strategies for the future. Attendees included
leaders of the transit industry and government, academics,
researchers, and consultants. There were wide differences of
opinion that had not disappeared when the
The conferees did agree that, "Strategic planning for public
transportation should be conducted at both the local and national
levels." The transit industry should be more aggressive in working
with developers and local governments in growing parts of
metropolitan areas to capitalize on opportunities to integrate
transit facilities into major new developments. The industry
needed to improve its relationship with highway and public works
agencies as well as state and local decisionmakers. Financing
transit had become more complex and difficult but had created new
opportunities (Transportation Research Board, 1984a).
The conferees called for reductions in federal requirements and
avoidance of rapid shifts in policy in the future. The federal
government should have a more positive federal urban policy and the
UMTA should be transit's advocate within the federal government
(Transportation Research Board, 1984a).
Agreement could not be reached on the future role of urban transit.
Some felt that the transit industry should only concern itself with
conventional rail and bus systems. Others argued that transit
agencies should broaden the range of services provided to include
various forms of paratransit and ridesharing so as to attract a
larger share of the travel market. Nevertheless, the conference
was considered to be a first small step in a strategic planning
process for the transit industry.
Easton Conference on Travel Analysis Methods for the 1980's
The Airlie House Conference on Urban Transportation Planning in the
1980's highlighted the shifts in planning that were occurring and
were likely to continue (Transportation Research Board, 1982b).
State and local governments would assume a greater role as the
federal government disengaged, finances would be tighter,
system rehabilitation would become more important and traffic
growth would be slower.
A conference was held at Easton, Maryland, in November 1982 to
discuss how well travel analysis methods were adapted to the issues
and problems of the 1980's. This Conference on Travel Analysis
Methods for the 1980's focused on defining the state of the art
versus the state of practice, describing how the methods have been
and can be applied, and identifying gaps between art and practice
that needed more dissemination of current knowledge, research or
development. The conference extended the discussions of the
International Travel Demand Conferences but concentrated on the
application of travel analysis methods and on improving the
interaction between researchers and practitioners (Transportation
Research Board, 1984b).
The conference reviewed the state of the art and practice and how
they applied to the various levels of planning. There were
extensive discussions on how capable travel analysis procedures
were in dealing with major transportation issues and why they were
not being extensively applied in practice (Transportation Research
The conferees found that in an era of scarce resources, sound
analysis of alternatives would continue to be important. Travel
analysis methods that were currently available were suitable for
issues that could be foreseen in the 1980's. These disaggregate
techniques, which had been developed during the 1970's, had been
tested in limited applications and were now ready for widescale
use. Their use in the analysis of small-scale projects, however,
might not be justified because of their complexity (Transportation
Research Board, 1984b).
It was clear, however, that new disaggregate travel analysis
techniques were not being used extensively in practice. The gap
between research and practice was wider than it had ever been. The
new mathematical techniques and theoretical bases from econometrics
and psychometrics had been difficult for practitioners to learn.
Moreover, the new techniques were not easily integrated into
conventional planning practices. Neither researchers nor
practitioners had made the necessary effort to bridge the gap.
Researchers had been unwilling to package and disseminate the new
travel analysis methods in a form usable to practitioners.
Practitioners had been unwilling to undergo retraining to be able
to use these new techniques. Neither group had subjected these
methods to rigorous tests to determine how well they performed or
for what problems they were best suited (Transportation Research
The conferees concluded that the travel demand community should
concentrate on transferring the new travel analysis methods into
practice. A wide-range of technology transfer approaches was
suggested. The federal government and Transportation Research Board
were recommended to lead in this endeavor (Transportation Research
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
Through the decade of the 1970's there was mounting evidence of
deterioration in the nation's highway and transit infrastructure.
Money during that period had been concentrated on building new
capacity and the transition to funding rehabilitation of the
infrastructure had been slow. By the time the problem had been
faced, the cost estimate to refurbish the highways, bridges, and
transit systems had reached hundreds of billions of dollars
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was passed to
address this infrastructure problem. The act extended
authorizations for the highway, safety, and transit programs by
four years, from 1983 to 1986 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
1983g). (Table 7) In addition, the act raised the highway user
charges by five cents (in addition to the existing four cents) a
gallon on fuel effective April 1, 1983. Other taxes were changed
including a substantial increase in the truck user fees, which were
changed from a fixed rate to a graduated rate by weight. Of the
revenues raised from the five cent increase in user fees (about
$5.5 billion annually), the equivalent of a four cent raise in fuel
user charges was to increase highway programs, and the remaining
one cent was for transit programs (Weiner, 1983).
The additional highway funds were for accelerating completion of
the Interstate highway system (to be completed by 1991), an
increased 4R (Interstate resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation,
and reconstruction) program, a substantially expanded bridge
replacement and rehabilitation program, and greater funding for
Primary, Secondary, and Interstate projects (Weiner, 1983).
The act authorized the administration of highway planning and
research (HP&R) funds as a single fund and made them available to
the states for a four year period. A standard federal matching
ratio for the HP&R program was set at 85 percent. A 1-1/2 percent
share of bridge funds was authorized for HP&R purposes. As a
result of the large expansion in the construction program, the
level of funding increased substantially for the HP&R program and
urban transportation planning (PL) purposes.
The act restructured federal urban transit programs. No new
authorizations were made for the Section 5 formula grant program.
Instead, a new formula grant program was created that allowed
expenditures on planning, capital and operating items. Substantial
discretion was given to state and local governments in selecting
projects to be funded using formula grants with minimal federal
interference. However, there were limitations on the use of the
funds for operating expenses. The act provided for a
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distribution of funds into areas of different sizes by population;
over one million, between one million and 200,000, under 200,000,
and rural. Within these population groups, the funds were to be
apportioned by several formulas using such factors as population,
density, vehicle miles and route miles (Weiner, 1983).
The revenue from the one cent increase in highway user charges was
to be placed into a Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund.
The funds could only be used for capital projects. They were to be
allocated by a formula in fiscal year 1983, but were discretionary
in later years. The definition of capital was changed to include
associated capital maintenance items. The act also provided that a
substantial number of federal requirements be self-certified by the
applicants and that other requirements be consolidated to reduce
paperwork (Weiner, 1983).
A requirement was also included for a biennial report on transit
performance and needs, with the first report due in January 1984.
In addition, the act provided that regulations be published that
set minimum criteria on transportation services for the handicapped
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 was passed under
considerable controversy about the future federal role in
transportation, particularly the Administration's position to phase
out of federal transit operating subsidies. Debates on later
appropriations bills demonstrated that the issue remained
Advent of Microcomputers
By the early 1980's there was a surge in interest and use of
microcomputers in urban transportation planning. The FHWA and UMTA
had increasingly focused their computer related research and
development activities on the application of small computers.
These technical support activities were directed at gaining a
better understanding of the potential and applicability of
microcomputers, promoting the development and exchange of
information and programs, and evaluating and testing programs.
Some software development was carried out, but most software was
A user support structure was developed to assist state and local
agencies. This included the establishment of two user support
centers; one at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the transit
industry and a second at the DOT's Transportation Systems Center
(TSC) for transportation planning, transportation system management
(TSM), and traffic engineering applications. Three user groups
were formed under DOT sponsorship; transit operations,
transportation planning and TSM, and traffic engineering. These
groups exchanged information and software, developed and promoted
standards, and identified research and development needs.
Assistance was provided through the user support centers. A
newsletter, MicroScoop, was published periodically to aid in the
The FHWA and UMTA developed a one-day seminar entitled,
"Microcomputers For Transportation" to acquaint users with the
capabilities and uses of microcomputers. They also published
reports on available software and sources of information (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1983d, 1983e). As the capabilities of
microcomputers increased, they offered the opportunity of greater
analytical capacity to a larger number of organizations. As a
result, their use became more widespread.
New Urban Transportation Planning Regulations
The joint FHWA/UMTA urban transportation planning regulations had
served as the key federal guidance since 1975 (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1975a). During 1980 there was an intensive effort
to amend these regulations to ensure more citizen involvement, to
increase the emphasis on urban revitalization and to integrate
corridor planning into the urban transportation planning process
(Paparella, 1982). Proposed amendments were published in October
1980. Final amendments were published in January 1981, to take
effect in February.
These amendments were postponed as a result of President Reagan's
January 1981 memorandum to delay the effective day of all pending
regulations by 60 days. During this period the amendments were
reviewed based on the criteria in the President's memorandum and
Executive Order 12291. Consequently the amendments were withdrawn
and interim final regulations were issued in August 1981. These
regulations included minimal changes to streamline the planning
process in areas under 200,000 in population, to clarify
transportation system management, and to incorporate legislative
changes (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1983c).
To obtain public comment on further changes in the regulations,
FHWA and UMTA published an issues and options paper in December
1981, entitled Solicitation of Public Comment on the Appropriate
Federal Role in Urban Transportation Planning. The comments
clearly indicated the preference for fewer federal requirements and
greater flexibility. Further indication of these views resulted
from the Airlie House Conference on Urban Transportation Planning
in the 1980's (Transportation Research Board, 1982b).
Based on the comments, the joint urban transportation planning
regulations were rewritten to remove items that were not actually
required. The changes in the regulations responded to the call for
reducing the role of the federal government in urban transportation
planning. The revised regulations, issued on June 30, 1983,
contained new statutory requirements and retained the requirements
for a transportation plan, a transportation improvement program
(TIP) including an annual element (or biennial
element), and a unified planning work program (UPWP), the latter
only for areas of 200,000 or more in population. The planning
process was to be self-certified by the states and MPOs as to its
conformance with all requirements when submitting the TIP (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1983c).
The regulations drew a distinction between federal requirements and
good planning practice. They stated the product or end that was
required but left the details of the process to the state and local
agencies, so the regulations no longer contained the elements of
the process nor factors to consider in conducting the process (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1983c).
The urban transportation planning process was still the mutual
responsibility of the MPO, state and public transit operators.
But, the nature of the MPO was to be the determination of Governor
and local governments without any federal prescription. Governors
were also given the option of administering the UMTA's planning
funds for urban areas with populations under 200,000.
The revised regulations marked a major shift in the evolution of
urban transportation planning. Up to that time, the response to
new issues and problems was to create additional federal
requirements. These regulations changed the focus of
responsibility and control to the state and local governments. The
federal government remained committed to urban planning by
requiring that projects be based on a 3C planning process and by
continuing to provide funding for planning activities. But it
would no longer specify how the process was to be performed.
PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION
As the decade of the 1980's progressed there was a growing
awareness that the public sector did not have the resources to
continue providing all of the programs to which it had become
committed. This was particularly true at the federal level of
government. Moreover, by continuing these programs, governmental
bodies were preempting areas that could be better served by the
private sector. Governments and public agencies began to seek
opportunities for greater participation of the private sector in
the provision and financing of urban transportation facilities and
services. In addition, the federal government sought to foster
increased competition in the provision of transportation services
as a means to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Changes in the
transportation system were intended to be the outcomes of
competition in the marketplace rather than of public regulation.
This necessitated eliminating practices whereby unsubsidized
private transportation service providers competed on an unequal
basis with subsidized public agencies (Weiner, 1984).
The range of public transportation services options known as
"Paratransit" was brought to national attention in a report by The
Urban Institute (Kirby, et, al., 1975). Paratransit-type services
had already been receiving growing interest (Highway Research
Board, 1971a, 1973b; Transportation Research Board, 1974a, 1974b;
Rosenbloom, 1975; Scott, 1975). Paratransit was seen as a
supplement to conventional transit that would serve special
population groups and markets that were otherwise poorly served.
It was also seen as an alternative, in certain circumstances, to
conventional transit. It fit well into the tenor of the times
which sought low-cost alternatives to the automobile that could
capture a larger share of the travel market. Paratransit could
serve low density, dispersed travel patterns and thereby compete
with the automobile.
The UMTA struggled for many years to develop a policy position on
paratransit. The transit industry expressed concern about
paratransit alternatives to conventional transit. Paratransit
supporters saw it as the key option to compete against the
automobile in low-density markets. It was the same debate that
surfaced at the Woods Hole Conference on Future Directions of Urban
Public Transportation (Transportation Research Board, 1984a).
Finally, in October 1982, the UMTA published the Paratransit
Policy. Paratransit was portrayed as a supplement to conventional
transit services that could increase transportation capacity at low
cost. It could provide service in markets that were not viable for
mass transit. Paratransit could also serve specialized markets
(e.g., elderly and handicapped) and be an alternative to the
private automobile. Its potential in rural areas was emphasized as
well (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1982a).
The Paratransit Policy encouraged local areas to give full
consideration to paratransit options. It supported the use of
paratransit provided by private operators, particularly where they
were not subsidized. The policy fostered reducing regulatory
barriers to private operators, timely consultation with the private
sector, matching services to travel needs, and integration of
paratransit and conventional transit services (U.S. Dept. of
It was stated that UMTA funds were available for planning,
equipment purchase, facility acquisition, capital, administrative,
and research expenses. The UMTA preferred unsubsidized, privately
provided paratransit, but would provide financial support where
justified (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1982a).
Conferences on Goods Transportation in Urban Areas
The movement of goods in urban areas continued to be an important
issue for planners, researchers and decisionmakers after the
Conference on Urban Commodity Flow in December 1970 had concluded
that goods movement needed more emphasis in the urban
transportation planning process. Considerable progress was made in
the ensuing years in gaining a better understanding of goods
movement issues and problems, and in development of courses of
action to lead to their resolution.
To facilitate an exchange of experiences and ideas among those
concerned about urban goods movement, a series of conferences
sponsored by the Engineering Foundation was held under the title of
Goods Transportation in Urban Areas: in August 1973 at South
Berwick, Maine (Fisher, 1974); in September 1975 at Santa Barbara,
California (Fisher, 1976); in December 1977 at Sea Island, Georgia
(Fisher, 1978); and, in June 1981 at Easton, Maryland (Fisher and
The conferences highlighted the progress that had been made in
identifying problems and analysis techniques, and discussed changes
in institutional arrangements, regulations, and physical facilities
to improve the movement of goods. Yet, even after all of this
work, most urban transportation planning processes gave little
attention to the movement of goods. There still was no generally
accepted methodology for urban goods movement planning; no urban
areas had collected the necessary data to analyze commodity (as
opposed the vehicle) flows; and a consensus had not been reached on
the data items to collect. Attempts at system level goods movement
models and demand forecasting techniques had not been successful
The fourth conference on goods transportation occurred at a time
when the pace of deregulation was increasing. In this deregulated
environment, barriers to entry were being removed, limitations on
rates and rate structures reduced and the role of the public sector
lessened. The emphasis shifted to transportation system management
approaches that sought to make more efficient use of existing
facilities and equipment. These strategies had short
implementation periods, addressed specific site problems, could be
carried out in an incremental manner and did not require extensive
institutional coordination. Such approaches were appropriate for
the deregulated environment that was emerging in which there was
only limited interaction between the public and private sectors.
There remained after these conferences the need for a better
understanding of the issues, more complete measurement of the
phenemona, more thorough documentation of the accomplishments and
wider dissemination of the information. The creation of effective
cooperation among those concerned about goods movement problem,
particularly the public and private sectors, was still being called
for to improve the productivity of goods movement in urban areas
(Fisher and Meyburg, 1982).
Transportation Management Associations
The aftermath of two energy crises in 1973 and 1979, and the rise
in traffic congestion, especially in suburban areas, prompted many
employers to become involved in commuting issues. Employers used a
number of approaches including subsidizing transit passes,
ridesharing matching services, preferential treatment for pooling
vehicles, flexible work schedules, and payroll deductions for
transit passes and pooling activities (Schreffler, 1986).
These activities lead to the establishment of a number of
transportation management associations (TMAS) starting in the early
1980's. TMAs were generally nonprofit associations formed by
local employers, businesses, and developers to cooperatively
address community transportation problems (Orski, 1982). TMAs were
funded by membership fees, based on a voluntary assessment. Some
TMAs were formed to specifically deal with transportation concerns,
and others were elements of larger multipurpose organizations.
Most TMAs served employment centers, usually in the suburbs, while
others focused on downtown centers, and still others were regional
TMAs varied in the types of support that they provided to
employees, customers, and tenants. These functions included the
management of ridesharing programs, administration of parking
management strategies, operation of internal circulation service,
contracting for subscription bus services, administration of
flexible work hours programs, management of local traffic flow
improvements, and technical assistance and education. TMAs also
served as the coordinating mechanism with public agencies to
represent businesses' interest, organize private sector support for
projects, and sponsor special studies.
The number of TMAs grew slowly through the 1980's and, by 1989,
there were about 70 in operation or forming. Their support
broadened as public agencies fostered the formation of TMAs through
start up funding, technical assistance, and participating directly
in the association. TMAs were considered to be a promising
approach for involving the private sector in addressing commuting
problems and maintaining mobility (Dunphy and Lin, 1990).
Revised Major Transit Capital Investment Policy
By the early 1980's there had been a huge upsurge of interest in
building new urban rail transit systems and extensions to existing
ones. Beginning in 1972 new urban rail systems had begun revenue
service in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Baltimore,
San Diego, Miami and Buffalo. Construction was underway for new
systems in Portland, Oregon, Detroit, Sacramento and San Jose. A
total of 32 urban areas were conducting studies for major new
transit investments in 46 corridors. It was estimated that if all
of those projects were carried out, the cost to the federal
government would have been at least $19 billion (U.S. Dept. of
The federal funds for rail projects came, for the most part, from
the Section 3 Discretionary Grant program. This program was funded
by the revenue from one cent of the five-cent increase in the user
charge on motor fuels that was included in the Surface
Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, and amounted to $1.1 billion
annually. UMTA, however, was giving priority to projects for
rehabilitation of existing rail and bus systems. Only $400 million
annually was targeted for use on new urban rail projects. The
resulting gap between the demand for federal funds for major
transit projects and those available was, therefore, very large.
In an attempt to manage the demand for federal funds, UMTA issued a
revised Urban Mass Transportation Major Capital Investment Policy
on May 18, 1984 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1984b). It was a
further refinement of the evaluation process for major transit
projects that had been evolving over a number of years. Under the
policy, the UMTA would use the results of local planning studies to
calculate the cost-effectiveness and local financial support for
each project. These criteria would be used to rate the projects.
The UMTA would fund only those projects that ranked high on both
criteria to the extent that they did not exceed the available
funds. The lower ranked projects were still eligible for funding
if additional money became available.
The project development process involved a number of stages after
which the UMTA would make a decision on whether to proceed to the
next stage. (Figure 13). The most critical decision occurred after
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the alternatives analysis and draft environmental impact statement
(AA/DEIS) was completed. During this stage, the cost-effectiveness
of new fixed guideway projects was compared to a base system called
the "transportation system management" alternative. This TSM
alternative consisted of an upgraded bus system plus other actions
that would improve mobility with a minimal capital investment, such
as parking management techniques, carpool and vanpool programs,
traffic engineering improvements and paratransit services. Often,
the marginal improvement in mobility of a fixed guideway proposal
over the TSM was found to be not worth the cost to construct and
Projects were rated on cost-effectiveness and local fiscal effort
after the AA/DEIS was completed. Local fiscal effort consisted of
the level of funding from state, local and private sources. In
addition the projects had to meet several threshold criteria.
First, the fixed guideway project had to generate more patronage
than the TSM alternative. Second, the cost per additional rider of
the fixed guideway project could not exceed a preset value that
UMTA was to determine. Third, the project had to meet all
statutory and regulatory requirements.
The pressure for federal funds for new urban rail projects was so
great, however, that the matter was often settled politically.
Starting in fiscal year 1981, the Congress began to earmark Section
3 Discretionary Grant funds for specific projects thereby
preempting UMTA from making the selection. UMTA continued to rate
the projects and make the information available to Congressional
In 1987, the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation
Assistance Act established grant criteria for new fixed guideway
projects along the lines that UMTA had been using. The projects
had to be based on alternatives analysis and preliminary
engineering, be cost-effective, and be supported by an acceptable
degree of local financial commitment.
Private Participation in the Transit Program
The Reagan Administration was committed to a greater private sector
role in addressing the needs of communities. They believed that
governments at all levels should not provide services that the
private sector was willing and able to provide, and that there
would be increased efficiencies in a operating environment in which
there was competition. Consequently, the Department of
Transportation sought to remove barriers to greater involvement of
the private sector in the provision of urban transportation
services and in the financing of these services.
The instances of private provision of urban public transportation
services and in public/private cooperative ventures had been
increasing slowly. Transit agencies were having difficulty thinking
in terms of private involvement in what they viewed as their
business. Private transportation operators had voiced concerns
that, in spite of statutory requirements, they were not being fully
or fairly considered for the provision of public transportation
service. But large operating deficits were creating pressure to
find cheaper means to provide service and private providers were
increasingly being considered. Some transit agencies were
beginning to contract out services that they found too expensive to
To promote increased involvement of the private sector in the
provision of public transportation services, the UMTA issued a
Policy on Private Participation in the Urban Mass Transportation
Program (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1984c). It provided
guidance for achieving compliance with several sections of the
Urban Mass Transportation Act. Section 3(e) prohibited unfair
competition with private providers by publicly subsidized
operators. Section 8(e) required maximum participation of the
private sector in the planning of public transportation services.
Section 9(f), which was added by the Surface Transportation
Assistance Act of 1982, established procedures for involving the
private sector in the development of Transportation Improvement
Program as a condition for federal funding.
The Policy on Private Participation in the Urban Mass
Transportation Program called for early involvement of private
providers in the development of new transit services and for their
maximum feasible participation in providing those services. The
policy identified the principal factors that the UMTA would
consider in determining whether recipients complied with the
statutes. It indicated that private transportation providers must
be consulted in the development of plans for new and restructured
services. Moreover, private carriers must be considered where new
or restructured public transportation services were to be provided.
A true comparison of costs was to be used when comparing publicly
provided service with private providers. An independent local
dispute resolution mechanism was to be established to assure
fairness in administering the policy.
This policy represented a major departure from past federal policy
toward public transportation operators. Where public operators had
had a virtual monopoly on federal funds for transit facilities,
equipment and service, now they needed to consider private sector
operators as competitors for providing those services.
National Transit Performance Reports
Assessments of the nation's public transportation systems and
estimates of future needs to improve those systems had been made
intermittently over the years. Several estimates had been made as
part of multimodal national transportation studies (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1972b, 1975b, 1977c). Occasionally, Congress
required that estimates of public transportation facility needs be
made (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1972d, 1974b; Weiner, 1976b).
Also, APTA and AASHTO made several estimates over the years of
transit needs and submitted them to the Congress.
With the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, the
Congress placed such reporting on a regular periodic basis.
Section 310 of that act required biennial reports in January of
even years on the condition and performance of public mass
transportation systems, and any necessary administrative of
legislative revisions. That section also required an assessment of
public transportation facilities, and future needs for capital,
operation and maintenance for three time periods: one, five, and
The first transit performance report was designed as the prototype
for future reports. It focused entirely on current conditions and
performance of the nation's public transportation systems but did
not contain projections of future facility needs or costs. The
report concluded that the transit industry was in transition and
traditional markets were shifting. The industry continued to
respond in a conventional manner by expanding service and focusing
on peak-period demand. In addition, operating costs had increased
dramatically while fares had not kept pace with inflation.
Consequently, operating deficits and government subsidies had been
increasing (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1984d).
The report indicated that the future federal role in mass
transportation needed to consider: the program's efficiency,
transit's infrastructure needs compared to other needs,
opportunities for private sector involvement, and the State and
local financial outlook (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1984d).
The second and third transit performance reports continued the
focus on current performance and conditions of the nation's transit
systems. They concluded that the transit industry had adequate
funding in the form of public subsidies, but that it faced problems
with efficiency and productivity. These problems resulted from a
lack of competitive pressure on transit management and labor. They
called for local reconsideration of the level of mass
transportation provided, and the manner in which it was delivered
and priced (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1987a and 1988a).
The reports recommended that State and local decisionmakers be
given more responsibility in meeting local mobility needs,
increased competition in the provision of transit services, more
efficient use of financial resources, and in targeting cost
recovery to beneficiaries, and greater involvement of the private
sector in the provision and financing of transit service (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1987a and 1988a).
Charter Bus Regulations
The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 defined mass
transportation to specifically exclude charter services. Federal
assistance for mass transportation was, therefore, not to be used
to provide such services. The federal government had thereby
declared at the outset of the transit program that it confined its
role to assisting only regular mass transit services. The
Comptroller General ruled, however, in a 1966 case that buses
purchased with federal funds could provide charter service if the
service was incidental, and did not interfere with the provision of
regular transit services for which the buses were purchased.
As public transit agencies engaged in charter bus operations, there
was a concern, generally raised by private bus operators, that
public agencies were competing unfairly. The argument was that
public agencies were using federal subsidies to allow them to
underprice their services and thereby foreclose private operators
from charter service markets. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973
sought to clarify the charter bus prohibition. It required all
recipients of federal transit funds or highway funds used for
transit to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of
Transportation that they would not operate any charter service
outside of their mass transportation service area in competition
with private operators (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1982a).
The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 gave the
Secretary of Transportation the flexibility to tailor solutions to
this problem to the individual situation. The agreements
negotiated with recipients were to provide fair and equitable
arrangements to assure that publicly and privately owned operators
for public bodies did not foreclose private operators from the
intercity charter bus industry where such operators were willing
and able to provide such service. The National Mass Transportation
Assistance Act of 1974 extended these charter bus provisions to
federal financial assistance for operating expenses which was a new
category of federal assistance established by that act (U.S. Dept.
of Transportation, 1982a).
Regulations to implement these charter bus provisions were
published in April 1976 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1976d).
Under the regulations, a public transit operator could not provide
intercity or intracity charter bus service unless it was incidental
to the provision of mass transportation service. A service was
considered incidental if it did not: (a) occur during peak hours,
(b) require a trip more than 50 miles beyond the recipient's
service area, or (c) require a particular for more than six hours.
If a public operator provided intercity charter service, the
charter revenues had to cover its total costs and the rates charged
could not foreclose competition from private operators. Some 79
separate costs had to be accounted for in the public operator's
Both public and private operators found the regulation
unsatisfactory. Public operators supported easing the restrictions
on their provision of charter bus service as a means to provide
supplemental revenue and improve their financial condition.
Private operators preferred tightening the restrictions and
strengthening enforcement, which they felt was inadequate.
Moreover it was clear that the recordkeeping and certification
requirements on grant recipients was unnecessarily burdensome.
Finding a balance between the views of public and private operators
was extremely difficult, and UMTA struggled with the problem for a
number of years. Shortly after issuing the regulation in 1976, the
UMTA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANRPM)
requesting views on several issues and suggestions on how to make
the regulation more effective. A public hearing was held in
January 1977 to solicit additional comments. Afterwards, UMTA
issued two additional ANRPMs in an attempt to obtain the views of
interested parties in a number of issues and possible options for
modifying the regulation (US Dept. of Transportation, 1981c and
Finally, a NPRM was published in March 1986 (US Dept. of
Transportation, 1986a), and a final rule in April 1987 (US Dept. of
Transportation, 1987b). It prohibited any UMTA recipient from
providing charter bus service using UMTA assistance if there was a
private charter bus operator willing and able to provide the
service. A recipient could provide vehicles to a private operator
if the operator had insufficient vehicles, or lacked vehicles
accessible to handicapped persons. An exception could be granted
to a recipient for special events, or to small urban areas that
could document cases of hardship.
Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of
With five titles and 149 sections, the Surface Transportation and
Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 (STURAA) was the most
complicated piece of legislation up to that time on surface
transportation matters. It was passed on April 2, 1987, over
President Reagan's veto. The STURAA authorized $87.6 billion for
the five year period from fiscal year 1987 to 1991 for the Federal-
aid highway, safety, and mass transportation programs (Table 8).
It also updated the rules for compensating persons and businesses
displaced by federal development, and extended the Highway Trust
Fund through June 30, 1994 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1987c).
Title I, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1987, authorized $67.1
billion for highway and bridge programs over a five-year period.
The basic features of the highway programs were extended at levels
10 to 25 percent below those in the Surface Transportation
Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA).
Some $17.0 billion was authorized through 1993 for completion of
all remaining segments of the Interstate system. A minimum of one-
half percent apportionment for each state for Interstate
construction was continued. The act authorized a $1.78 billion
over five years to fund 152 specifically cited projects outside of
the regular federal-aid highway programs. Each state was
guaranteed a minimum of one-half percent of the newly authorized
funds. This was considerably more than the 10 projects
specifically cited in the STAA.
The act permitted States to raise the speed limit on Interstate
routes outside urbanized areas from 55 to 65 m.p.h. With regard to
bridge tolls, the act required that they be "just and reasonable"
and removed any federal review and regulation. it
Click HERE for graphic.
provided for seven pilot projects using federal-aid funds, that
were not to exceed 35 percent of the costs, in conjunction with
tolls for new or expanded non-Interstate highway toll projects. Up
to that time, federal-aid highway funds could not be spent on any
public highway that had tolls on it, and the tolls had to be
removed after the costs were paid off.
An allocation of one-quarter percent of major highway
authorizations was set aside for a new cooperative research program
directed at highway construction materials, pavements and
procedures. This Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was to
be carried out with the cooperation of the National Academy of
Sciences and AASHTO.
Title II, the Highway Safety Act of 1987, authorized $795 million
over five years for safety programs in addition to the $1.75
billion for safety construction programs in the Federal-Aid Highway
Act of 1987. It required the identification of those programs that
are most effective in reducing accidents, injuries and deaths.
Only those programs would be eligible for federal-aid funds under
the Section 402 State and Community Grant program. Safety
"standards" which States must meet to comply with this program were
redefined as "guidelines."
Title III, the Federal Mass Transportation Act of 1987, authorized
$17.8 billion for federal mass transit assistance for fiscal years
1987 through 1991. The act continued the Section 3 Discretionary
Grant program at graduated authorization levels of $1.097 billion
in FY 1987 rising to $1.2 billion in FY 1991 funded from the Mass
Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund. The program was to be
spilt: 40 percent for new rail starts and extensions, 40 percent
for rail modernization grants, 10 percent for major bus projects,
and 10 percent on a discretionary basis.
Grant criteria were established for new fixed guideway systems and
extensions. The projects had to be based on alternatives analysis
and preliminary engineering, cost-effective, and supported by an
acceptable degree of local financial commitment. A plan for the
expenditure of Section 3 funds was required to be submitted to the
The act authorized $2.0 billion for FY 1987, and $2.1 billion
annually for FYs 1988 through 1991 from the General Fund for the
Section 9 and 18 Formula Grant programs. The cap on operating
assistance for urbanized areas under 200,000 in population was
increased by 32.2 percent starting with FY 1987 with additional
increases tied to rises in the Consumer Price Index. It was
unchanged from the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982
for larger urbanized. Newly urbanized areas (1980 Census or later)
were allowed to use up to two-thirds of their first year Section 9
apportionment for operating assistance. Revenues from advertising
and concessions beyond FY 1985 levels no longer had to be included
in net project cost.
Unobligated Section 9 funds remaining in the last 90 days of the
availability period were allowed to be used by the Governor
anywhere in the State. Advanced construction approval was
authorized for projects under the Section 3 and 9 programs. The
provision permitting three-for-two trade-in of capital assistance
for operating assistance was repealed. The definition of eligible
associated capital items was broadened to include tires and tubes,
and the eligible threshold for such items was reduced from one
percent to one-half percent of the fair market value of rolling
stock. Section 9 funds were allowed to be used for leasing
arrangements if it was more cost effective than acquisition or
A new Section 9B formula grant program was established funded by a
portion of the revenues from the Mass Transit Account of the
Highway Trust Fund. The program funds, authorized at $575 million
over four years from 1988 to 1991, were to be apportioned using the
Section 9 program formula and could only be used for capital
projects. The act also authorized $200 million annually for
transit Interstate substitute projects.
A bus testing facility was authorized to be established and the
testing of all new bus models required. A new University Centers
program was authorized for the establishment of regional
transportation centers in each of the 10 federal regions. The Buy
America threshold for rolling stock was increased from 50 to 55
percent domestic content on October 1, 1989, and to 60 percent on
October 1, 1991. The project cost differential was increased from
10 percent to 25 percent.
With regard to planning, the act required development of long-term
financial plans for regional urban mass transit improvements and
the revenue available from current and potential sources to
implement such improvements.
Title IV, the Uniform Relocation Act Amendments of 1987, revised
and updated some of the provisions Uniform Relocation Assistance
and Real Property Act of 1970. The act generally increased
payments for residences and businesses displaced by construction of
transportation projects and broadened eligibility for payments
under the program. FHWA was designated as the lead federal agency
to develop regulations to implement the act.
Title V, the Highway Revenue Act of 1987, extended the Highway
Trust Fund to June 30, 1993, and extended taxes and exemptions to
September 30, 1993.
National Conferences on Transportation Planning Applications
By the mid-1980's, there was a broader range of issues than ever
for urban transportation planners to deal with. State and local
planning agencies had to be resourceful in adapting existing
planning procedures to fit individual needs. Often planning
methods or data had not been available when needed to adequately
support planning and project decisions. Compromises between
accuracy., practicality, simplifying assumptions, quicker
responses, and judgement often resulted in innovative analysis
methods and applications.
To share experiences, and highlight new and effective applications
of planning techniques, a National Conference on Transportation
Planning Applications was held in Orlando, Florida on April 20-24,
1987. The conference was dominated by practicing planners from
State and local agencies, and the consulting community who
described the application of planning techniques to actual
transportation problems and issues (Brown and Weiner, 1987).
The conference surfaced several important issues. First, the realm
of urban transportation planning was no longer solely long-term at
the regional scale. The conference gave equal emphasis to both the
corridor and site level scale of planning in addition to the
regional level. Many issues at the local level occurred at finer
scales, and planners were spending considerably more effort at
these scales than at the regional scale. The time horizon too had
shifted to short-term with many planning agencies concentrating on
rehabilitating infrastructure and managing traffic on the existing
Second, the microcomputer revolution had arrived. Microcomputers
were no longer curiosities but essential tools used by planners.
There were many presentations of microcomputer applications of
planning techniques at the conference.
Third, with tighter budgets and the increasing demands being placed
on them, transportation planning agencies found it increasingly
difficult to collect large-scale regional data sets
such as home-interview, origin-destination surveys. Consequently,
there was considerable discussion on approaches to obtain new data
at minimal cost. Approaches ranged from expanded use of secondary
data sources such as census data, to small stratified sample
surveys, to extended use of traffic counts. However, low cost
approaches to updating land use data bases were not available.
Fourth, there was concern about the quality of demographic and
economic forecasts, and their affects on travel demand forecasts.
It was observed that errors in demographic and economic forecasts
could be more significant than errors in the specification and
calibration of the travel demand models. With this in mind, there
was discussion about appropriate techniques for demographic
forecasting during periods of economic uncertainty.
Fifth, there was identified a clear need to develop integrated
analysis tools that could bridge between planning and project
development. The outputs for regional scale forecasting procedures
could not be used directly as inputs for project development but
there were no standard procedures or rationales for performing the
adjustments. Without standard procedures, each agency had to
develop their own approaches to this problem.
This conference demonstrated that there was considerable planning
activity at the State and local level. Much of this activity
showed that planning agencies were adapting new ideas to local
transportation problems within the constraints of time and money
available to them.
The conference was the first in a series that occurred on a two-
year cycle. The series focused on planning applications of
traditional techniques adapted for new situations, innovative
techniques, and research needs to improve planning practice (Second
Conference on Application of Transportation Planning Methods, 1989;
Third National Conference on Transportation
Planning Applications, 1991)
Smuggler's Notch Conference on Highway Finance
Highway revenue had been increased during the early 1980's with a
four-cent raise in the federal highway user charge by the Surface
Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, and by raises in many State
user fees. Yet, even with these raises, highway needs were
forecasted to increase faster than revenue. With the federal
funding commitment defined in legislation to increase modestly, the
financial burden for constructing and maintaining the nation's
highways would fall more heavily on State and local governments.
State and local officials were, therefore, looking for additional
In response to this issue, the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials sponsored a National
Conference on State Highway Finance entitled "Understanding the
Highway Finance Evolution/Revolution" at Smugglers Notch, Vermont
on August 16-19, 1987. The conference was organized to discuss the
response to growing highway needs and potential funding sources.
Five major funding techniques were addressed: user fees, nonuser
fees, special benefit fees, private financing, and debt financing
(American Association of State Highway and Transportation
The conferees concluded that highway officials would need to
develop a clear vision of the public's real need, a thorough
understanding of the authorizing environment, and the
organizational capacity to implement the plans that were
envisioned. Further, it was concluded that user fees remained the
most promising and among the most equitable sources of highway
funding. Nontraditional funding sources were found to be
supplements to not replacements for traditional sources.
Moreover, highway programs could be more successful if they were
presented as products of a process that combined sound fiscal
planning with sound engineering. These programs would, also, be
better received if they were related to key policy issues such as
economic development and tourism (American Association of State
Highway and Transportation officials, 1987a).
Revised FHWA/UMTA Environmental Regulation
In August 1987, after more than four years of work, the FHWA and
UMTA published changes to their joint environmental regulation as
part of the overall DOT effort to streamline Federal regulations
and time consuming procedures. The regulation provided more
flexibility to field offices to decide whether projects required
comprehensive environmental assessments (U.S. Dept. of
The new regulation changed the manner in which categorical
exclusions were handled. These categories of actions were
considered to have no significant environmental impacts.
Previously, a project had to fall into one of the specified
categorical exclusions to allow a FHWA or UMTA field office to
process it without requiring an comprehensive environmental
assessment. The new regulation allowed field offices to review
projects that meet the criteria for categorical exclusion and
determine if an comprehensive environmental assessment was required
based on a review of the project documentation. The new regulation
also clarified that a supplemental environmental impact statement
(EIS) would only be required for changes in highway or transit
projects where those changes would cause additional significant
environmental impact not evaluated in the original EIS.
The regulation clarified and consolidated the requirements for
public involvement in the FHWA and UMTA project development
processes. With regard to the FHWA requirements, the earlier
regulation specified the various elements in an acceptable public
involvement process including such items as the procedure for
public hearings, content of notices, timing of the process and
those to invite to the public hearings. The revised regulation
required the States to develop their own public involvement
procedures, and eliminated the FHWA requirement for State Action
Plans. These State procedures were to have public involvement
integrated into the project development process, and to begin
public involvement early and maintain it continuously throughout.
The public involvement procedures had to be fully coordinated with
the NEPA process and cover such issues as public hearings,
information to be presented at hearings, and transcripts of
hearings. At least one public hearing was required after the draft
EIS (DEIS) was completed and circulated for review. This was also
the case for UMTA projects. States were given one year after
publication of the regulation to develop their procedures.
Other changes were made to update the regulation to bring it into
conformance with changes in other areas. This included removing
references to A-95 clearinghouse to conform with E.O. 12372
"Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs," as well as those
references to MPOs which were covered under the new joint FHWA/
UMTA urban transportation planning regulation.
National Council on Public Works Improvement
Concern for the nation's deteriorating infrastructure prompted the
Congress to enact The Public Works Improvement Act of 1984. The
act created the National Council on Public Works Improvement to
provide an objective and comprehensive overview of the state of the
nation's infrastructure. The Council carried out a broad research
The Council Is first report provided an overview of available
knowledge, explored the definition of needs, and reviewed key
issues including the importance of transportation to the economy,
management and decisionmaking practices, technological innovation,
government roles, and finance and expenditure trends (National
Council on Public Works Improvement, 1986). The second report was
a series of study papers assessing the main issues in nine
categories of public works facilities and services, including
highways and bridges (Pisarski, 1987b), and mass transit (Kirby and
The final report of the Council concluded that most categories of
public works were performing at only passable levels, and that this
infrastructure was inadequate to meet the demands of future
economic growth and development. Highways were given a grade of C+
with the Council concluding that although the decline of pavement
conditions had been halted, overall service continued to decline.
Spending for system expansion had fallen short of need in high
growth suburban and urban areas, and many highways and bridges
still needed to be replaced. Mass transit was graded at C-, and
the Council concluded that transit productivity had declined
significantly, and that is was overcapitalized in many smaller
cities and inadequate in large older cities. Mass transit faced
increasing difficulty in diverting persons from automobiles, and
was rarely linked to land use planning and broader transportation
goals (National Council on Public Works Improvement, 1988).
Part of the problem was found to be financial with investment in
public works having declined as a percent of the gross national
product from 1960 to 1985. The Council recommended that all levels
of government increase their expenditures by as much as 100
percent. It endorsed the principle that users and other
beneficiaries should pay a greater share of the cost of
infrastructure service. The Council also recommended
clarification of government roles to focus responsibility,
improvement in system performance, capital budgeting at all levels
of government, incentives to improve maintenance, and more
widespread use of low capital techniques such as demand management
and land use planning. The Council called for additional support
for research and development to accelerate technological
innovation, and for training of public works professionals.
By the early 1990's, there were major changes underway that would
have significant effects on urban transportation and urban
transportation planning. The era of major new highway construction
was over in most urban areas. On a selective basis gaps in the
highway system would be closed and a few new routes would be
constructed, but the basic highway system was in place. However,
the growth in urban travel was continuing unabated. With only
limited highway expansion possible new approaches needed to be
found to serve this travel demand. Moreover, this growth in
traffic congestion was contributing to degradation of the urban
environment and urban life and needed to be abated. Previous
attempts at the selected application of transportation system
management measures (TSM) had proven to have limited impacts on
congestion, providing the need for more comprehensive and
integrated strategies. In addition, a number of new technologies
were reaching the point of application, including intelligent
vehicle highway systems (IVHS) and magnetically levitated trains.
Many transportation agencies entered into strategic management and
planning processes to identify the scope and nature of these
changes, to develop strategies to address these issues, and to
better orient their organization to function in this new
environment. They shifted their focus toward longer term time
horizons, more integrated transportation management strategies,
wider geographic application of these strategies, and a renewed
interest in technological alternatives.
The shortage of financial resources was still a serious concern.
In the debate over the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, there was considerable over
the level of funding, the amount of flexibility in using those
funds, and the degree of authority that local agencies would be
given in programming the funds.
With the completion of the National Interstate and Defense Highway
System provided for in the Surface Transportation and Uniform
Relocation Assistance Act of 1987, there was a need for a new focus
for the nation's surface transportation program in the post-
Interstate era. Debates accompanying the passage of the 1982 and
1987 surface transportation acts demonstrated the lack of consensus
on future surface transportation legislation which could,
potentially, manifest itself in the form of a reduced Federal
surface transportation program.
To address this concern, AASHTO created the Task Force on the
Transportation 2020 Consensus Program in February 1987. The
purposes of the task force were to: assess the nation's surface
transportation requirements through the year 2020; develop options
for meeting those requirements at the Federal, state, and local
level; and, achieve a consensus on how to meet those requirements
(American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials, 1987b). The Task Force involved the participation of
more than 100 state and local government groups, highway-user
organizations and trade and industry associations.
As a part of the fact-finding stage of the program, 65 public
forums were held throughout the United States under the leadership
of the Highway Users Federation for Safety and Mobility in
cooperation with state transportation agencies to obtain
information on transportation needs and problems (Highway Users
In addition, a Conference on the Long-Range Trends and
Requirements for the Nation's Highway and Public Transit Systems
was held in June, 1988 in Washington, DC (Transportation Research
board, 1988). The conference objective was to identify the nature
and level of demand for future heghoay and public transir services
and their future role. The conference addressed economoc growth,
demographics and life style, energy and environment, development
patterns and personal mobility, commersial freight transportation,
new technology and communications, and resources and institutional
The conference concluded that as the year 2020 approaches: there
will continue to be modest economic growth; population increases
will be concentrated in the non-white groups, particularly in the
South and West; there will be further decentralization of
residences and work places into suburban areas; the automobile will
remain the predominant mode of transportation; the reduction in air
pollution and energy use will pose a greater challenge; new
technologies will not be realized inless there is a concerted
effort by the public and private sectors; states and localities
will need to play a greater role in funding and planning.
In September 1988, the Transportation 2020 group published The
Bottom Line, which summarized their estimates if surface
transportation investment requirements through the year 2020
(Americna Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials, 1988). They reported that $80 billion annually was
needed for highways and $15 billion annually was needed for public
transportation from all sources, including Federal, State and
infrastructure. To maintain the current level of service in the
face of increased travel in the future, a more than 40 percent
increase over existing funding levels would be requires.
Twelve key associations of Transportation 2020 formed a
Transportation Alternatives Group (TAG), to analyze information
from the 2020 process and formulate national strategies. The
recommendations of TAG were directed toward increasing the level of
funding for the preservation and expansion of nation's surface
transportation system, greater flexibility, increased emphasis on
safety, assurance of equitable cost allocation, greater regulatory
uniformity in freight transportation, improvement in air quality,
attention to intermodal access, support for intercity and rural
public transportation, and renewal of surface transportation
research, especially for intelligent vehicle highway systems
(Transportation Alternatives Group, 1990). These recommendations
were used to develop and consolidate support for a new broad
national surface transportation program.
Williamsburg Conference on Transportation and Economic Development
As public funds for transportation investment became more
constrained, there was a growing interest in demonstrating the
benefit of these investments on economic development.
Transportation planners and policy makers sought to justify
transportation investment not just as another expenditure but as a
factor that would increase economic productivity and international
competitiveness. Some research at the macro economic level showed
that a strong relationship existed between public capital
investment and private sector productivity, profitability, and
investment (Aschauer, 1989).
The primary difficulty for transportation planners in addressing
this issue was isolating the economic consequences of the
transportation investments and comparing them with the consequences
of other public and private investments. A further problem was the
establishment of causal relationships between specific
transportation investments and subsequent economic events.
To address these issues, an international conference on
"Transportation and Economic Development," was held in
Williamsburg, Virginia, on November 5-8, 1989. The conference
focused on evaluating the methods and modeling techniques for
relating transportation investment to economic development. A
series of case studies was examined to assess this relationship at
the State and regional level (Transportation Research Board,
The conference concluded that the primary benefits of a
transportation investment accrued to the user in terms of savings
in travel time, cost, and accident reduction. Economic impacts
measured the secondary benefits that affected income, employment,
production, resource consumption, pollution generation, and tax
revenues. Existing economic impact models were found to be limited
in their ability to duplicate the complex reality of a dynamic
economy, lacking in empirical data, and often unreliable in
The conference also concluded that a good transportation system was
a necessary but not sufficient condition for development. The
correlation between the level of infrastructure investment and
income found in prior studies had not been shown to be a causal
relationship. The conference stressed that there was still a need
for research to develop causal-based methodologies.
National Transportation Strategic Planning Study
With the start of the decade of the 1990's fast approaching and a
new century not far off, there was concern about the future of the
nation's transportation system. The concern was expressed in the
House Report on the 1988 DOT Appropriations Report:
With the scheduled completion of the Interstate highway system
in 1992, the growing constraints on expansion of airport
capacity and the projected doubling of traffic by
the year 2000 in many of our large urban areas, the federal
government will be faced with major decisions in the early
1990's about its role, responsibility, and choice of options
to continue the development and improvement of our future
transportation network. The Committee believes it is a major
national economic, social, and defense priority to ensure that
this country continues to have the best transportation network
in the world.
To address these issues, the 1988 Department of Transportation
Appropriations Act called for a long-range, multimodal study to the
year 2015 for transportation facilities and services to carry
persons and goods. The National Transportation Strategic Planning
Study (NTSPS) was completed in March 1990 (U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, 1990a). It was the first national transportation
assessment to be conducted by DOT in 15 years, and the first to
analyze all modes of transportation to the same level of detail.
The NTSPS report provided an overview of the Nation's
transportation system and identified future investments required to
maintain and develop the infrastructure. The report analyzed the
trends and key factors expected to influence transportation demand
and supply over the next 25 to 30 years, including demographics,
the economy, energy, and the environment. It examined important
issues including trends in passenger and freight movements,
international comparisons of infrastructure, usage and policies;
economic deregulation; safety, security and accessibility; and
The report included an analysis of each of the six individual
transportation modes: aviation, highway, public transportation,
railroads, pipelines and waterborne, and defense transportation.
The modes were analyzed in terms of current conditions and
performance, forecast future travel demand, funding sources, key
issues, and future investment requirements. Finally, the report
synthesizes the results of five urban areas studies which were
conducted by local planning agencies.
The National Transportation Strategic Planning Study was used as
background for and to provide support to A Statement of National
Transportation Policy issued by Secretary Samuel K. Skinner in
February 1990 (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1990b). It was the
first comprehensive policy statement issued by DOT in over decade.
In preparing the policy, DOT engaged in an extensive outreach
program through public hearings, focus group sessions, seminars
with transportation experts, informal discussions and
correspondence. DOT launched the program by issuing an overview of
the nation's transportation system and an identification of issues
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1989a). A conference was held in
Washington, D.C. at National Academy of Sciences in July, 1989 to
open the public debate on national transportation policy (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1980-b).
At the end of the one year process, the policy was published. It
set forth new directions for national transportation policy which
were grouped under six themes:
- maintain and expand the Nation's transportation system;
- foster a sound financial base for transportation;
- keep the transportation industry strong and competitive;
- ensure that the transportation system supports public
safety and national security;
- protect the environment and the quality of life;
- advance U.S. transportation technology and expertise.
The policy also set out the strategies and actions to accomplish
the various objectives encompassed by the six themes.
Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems
As highway congestion grew, with its concomitant air pollution,
accidents, and economic losses, new approaches were being sought to
improve mobility and alleviate these problems. One approach was
the development and application of intelligent vehicle highway
systems (IVHS), often referred to as "smart cars" and "smart
IVHS technologies developed from advances in electronics,
communications, and information processing. They incorporated
advanced communications technology, computers, electronic displays,
warning systems, and vehicle/traffic control systems, and allowed
for two-way communications between highways and drivers. Although
the United States had taken the early lead in the late 1960's and
early 1970's in researching these technologies through the programs
such as Electronic Route Guidance System (ERGS) and Urban Traffic
Control Systems (UTCS), further development lagged in the United
States while the Japanese and Europeans mounted aggressive, well
funded research and development programs in the 1980's.
Concerned about the loss of U.S. leadership, the Congress directed
the Secretary of Transportation to: assess ongoing European,
Japanese and U.S. IVHS research initiatives; analyze the potential
impacts of foreign IVHS programs on the introduction of advanced
technology for the benefit of U.S. highway users and on U.S.
vehicle manufacturers and related industries; and, make appropriate
legislative and/or programmatic recommendations.
The report, completed in March 1990, described IVHS technologies in
terms of advanced traffic management systems, advanced driver
information systems, freight and fleet control systems, and
automated vehicle control systems (U.S. Dept. of Transportation,
1990c). The report concluded that the use of IVHS technologies
had the potential to reduce congestion, promote safety, and improve
personal mobility. There would, however, need to be extensive
testing to determine which IVHS technologies were most cost
effective. U.S. industry and the public would have to become more
involved in IVHS or the European and Japanese manufacturers could
gain a competitive advantage from their extensive research and
The report recommended the establishment of a national cooperative
effort to foster the development, demonstration, and implementation
of IVHS technologies. The federal role would be in the areas of
coordination and facilitation of research and development, planning
and conducting demonstrations and evaluations, coordination of
standards and protocols, and participating in research related to
DOT's operating and regulatory responsibilities. Developing and
marketing IVHS technologies would be the responsibility of the
private sector, and state and local governments would still be
responsible for highway operations and traffic management.
Parallel development in both the highway infrastructure and the
vehicle would be required to order for these technologies to be
In April 1990, a national leadership conference in Orlando,
Florida, "Implementing Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems,"
brought together senior executives from the private sector. The
conference recommended the establishment of a new organization to
guide the development and coordination of IVHS activities (Highway
Users Federation, 1990). As a result, in July 1990, IVHS America
was established by the Highway Users Federation and the American
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
to bring together private companies, state and local governments,
and the research community.
The advent of IVHS technologies had opened a new chapter in surface
transportation. IVHS had quickly become an accepted
concept and generated wide ranging research and development
projects. Demonstrations began in Los Angeles, California in July
1990, with the Pathfinder project, and the next year in Orlando,
Florida, with the TravTek project, both designed to evaluate the
usefulness of an advance traffic information systems.
Geographic Information Systems
After years of development, geographic information systems (GIS)
were beginning to be used by planning agencies to support analysis
and decisionmaking. GIS was a computerized data management system
designed to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display
spatially referenced data. Data bases that were geographically
coded were accessible more quickly and cheaply than would otherwise
be the case. Moreover, GIS allowed the use of information from
different data bases that would be too difficult or too expensive
to use together had they not been geographically coded. Geographic
information systems also facilitated moving between different
scales of planning where data had to be aggregated or disaggregated
between different zone systems and networks with different levels
of detail (Weiner, 1989).
A number of transportation planning agencies made extensive
commitments of time and money to develop GIS capability for their
urban areas. GIS was used to manage land use, population, and
employment data for input to the Urban Transportation Planning
System (UTPS) to estimate trip generation rates. GIS was also used
to generate plots of output files including volumes, bandwidths,
facility types, and other link attributes. In addition, the GIS
thematic mapping capabilities were used to analyze and present data
from the Census Bureau's Urban Transportation Planning Package
(UTPP). GIS capability allowed areas to merge land use data from
field surveys with existing data bases.
The Census Bureau developed a digital map data base that automated
the mapping and related geographic activities to support its survey
programs. This system, known as Topologically Integrated
Geographic Encoding and Reference (TIGER), was available as the
base map for a local GIS. In an early demonstration, TIGER in
conjunction with a GIS was used to produce base maps and data files
for transportation planning and analysis. it facilitated the
integration of the Census UTPP and local data bases. The TIGER
file was finally developed for the entire country.
Most States were developing GIS capabilities and applications as
well (Vonderohe, et. al., 1991). Computer software was generally
acquired from private vendors. Applications included highway
inventories, pavement management, accident analysis, bridge
management, project tracking, environmental impact analysis, and
executive information systems.
Transit agencies were also adapting GIS to performing their
planning functions (Schweiger, 1991). These functions included
ridership forecasting, service planning, map design and publishing,
facilities management, customer information services, and
scheduling and run-cutting. Most transit agencies obtained their
software from commercial sources.
The development of GIS capabilities and applications required a
major commitment by an entire organization of staff and money. It
was an evolving phenomenon with new applications and products
continuously being developed (Moyer and Larson, 1991). In
addition, computer and information resources were also improving.
Nevertheless, GIS expanded the capability of agencies to conduct
analyses and support decisionmakers.
Transportation Demand Management
Suburban congestion became a growing phenomenon during the 1980's
and had reached severe proportions by the early 1990's in many
urban areas. Approaches used to serve downtown oriented travel
were less applicable to the more diverse, automobile dominated
suburban travel patterns (Higgins, 1990). Moreover, building new
highway capacity had become considerably more difficult in an era
of tight budgets and heightened environmental awareness. New
strategies were developed to mitigate suburban congestion under the
general category of transportation demand management (TDM).
Transportation demand management was a process designed to modify
transportation demand. It differed from transportation system
management (TSM) in that it focused on travel demand rather than on
transportation supply and, often involved the private sector in
implementing the strategies. TDM aimed to reduce peak period
automobile trips by either eliminating the trip, shifting it to a
less congested destination or route, diverting it to a higher
occupancy mode or time shifting it to a less congested period of
the day. TDM strategies often worked in conjunction with TSM
measures. TDM had the additional attraction of increasing the
efficiency of the transportation system at little or no cost
Transportation demand management most often focused on a suburban
activity center but was also used for CBDs and radial corridors
(COMSIS, 1990). TDM strategies required the cooperation of many
agencies and organizations including developers, land owners,
employers, businesses associations, and state and local governments
(Ferguson, 1990). In some instances, legal support was provided in
the form of a trip reduction ordinance (TRO) to strengthen
compliance with the TDM measures. The first areawide TRO was
adopted in Pleasanton, California in 1984. A TRO provided some
assurance that consistent standards and requirements would be
applied to all businesses in the area and gave these businesses the
legal backing to implement automobile reduction strategies.
Although the main goal of most TROs was to mitigate traffic
congestion, improvement in air quality was an important goal as
well (Peat Marwick Main & Co., 1989).
Transportation demand management measures included improved
alternatives to driving alone, such as pooling and biking;
incentives to shift modes, such as subsidizing transit fares and
vanpooling costs; disincentives to driving, such as higher parking
fees and reduced parking supply; and, work hours management, such
as flexible work hours and compressed work weeks (COMSIS, 1990).
TROs required businesses and employers to establish a TDM plan,
implement a TDM program, monitor progress, update the plan
periodically, have a professionally trained coordinator and, in
some instances, achieve a specified level of trip reduction with
fines and penalties for violations.
Transportation demand management became more important in
addressing suburban traffic congestion as urban areas found
increasing difficulties to highway expansion and air quality
problems became more widespread.
National Maglev Initiative
As the expense and difficulty in expanding or building new airports
and highways in crowded intercity travel corridors grew, other
forms of transportation were being considered to relieve congestion
and to provide more efficient service. Among these alternatives
was the expansion of high speed rail service in the United States.
High-speed passenger rail was already operating in Europe and
Japan, and magnetically levitated trains were being actively
developed by the Germans and Japanese.
The earliest involvement of the United States with high speed rail
(defined as traveling 125 m.p.h. or faster) predated the creation
of the Department of Transportation. Under the High Speed Ground
Transportation Act of 1965, the Federal Railroad Administration
(FRA) ran a research program in high speed ground transportation
and a demonstration program involving the Metroliner and
TurboTrain. The demonstrations showed that improved railroad
triptimes between cities in the Boston-Washington Corridor would
attract passengers to the railroad.
Under the same act, the Department undertook a planning program to
determine the best form of transportation to emphasize for
passenger movement in the Northeast Corridor. This eventually led
to the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project in 1976 which
invested over $2.3 billion in improved rail transportation. That
project resulted in 2 hour and 30 minute, 125 m.p.h. Metroliner
service from Washington to New York.
In the 1970's, the Department's research and development program
funded studies of two types of maglev vehicles with the intention
of selecting the most desirable system for testing. FRA's Office
High Speed Ground Transportation expended over $2.3 million on
maglev research between 1971 and 1976. Much of the research was
done through contracts with Ford Motor Company, The Stanford
Research Institute, and the Mitre Corporation. In 1974, a
prototype linear induction motor research vehicle produced from
this research set a world speed record of 255 m.p.h. By the time
that the program was terminated in 1976, the research had produced
a scale model demonstration (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1990d).
Following the termination of U.S. government funded research,
companies in Japan and Germany continued the development of maglev
systems with substantial support from their governments. In the
U.S., private industry virtually abandoned its interest in high-
speed maglev systems. However, UMTA supported research on low-
speed urban maglev systems with Boeing Company until 1986.
During the 1980's, through its emerging corridors program, FRA
funded market feasibility studies for the development of high
speed rail systems in several dense corridors. Under this program,
grants for ten corridor studies were made totaling $3.8 million.
Then, after years of little interest or activity in magnetic
levitation technology, the National Maglev Initiative (NMI) was
launched in January, 1990, to assess the potential of maglev
transportation in the U.S. This initiative was a joint undertaking
of FRA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of
Energy in partnership with the private sector and state
governments. The goal of the cooperative effort was to improve
intercity transportation in the 21st century through the
development and implementation of commercially viable, advanced
The NMI included a review of the safety, engineering, economic, and
environmental aspects of maglev systems. Projects under the NMI
analyzed maglev subsystems and components to improve performance,
reduce costs and lower risks. System concept development projects
evaluated new approaches for maglev that could be used as the basis
for an advanced maglev system.
A preliminary assessment of the potential for maglev implementation
in the U.S. concluded that as many as 2,600 route-miles might be
economically feasible, depending on the assumptions used (U.S.
Dept. of Transportation, 1990d). (Figure 14) This assessment of
financial feasibility would be refined as the NMI developed
additional information and the analyses became more sophisticated.
In November 1990, the TRB completed a Study of High-Speed
Transportation in High-Density Corridors in the United States was
completed by the Transportation Research Board (Transportation
Research Board, 1990b). The study assessed the applicability of a
wide range of technology options for serving the major high
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density travel corridors in the United States over the intermediate
to long term. The study concluded that there were a number of
available high-speed rail technologies that could operate at speeds
up to 200 m.p.h., and that systems under development would be able
to exceed this speed. Higher speed, however, would come at an
additional cost and energy penalties.
The major cost of these systems were in the acquisition of the
right of way and construction of the guideway, stations and
supporting structures. The most important factor in determining
financial viability of these systems, whether public or private,
was ridership. The primary market for these systems was in the
150-500 mile trip range and in competition with air travel. It was
unlikely that any U.S. corridor could support a high-speed rail
system to the degree that it would cover capital and operating
costs. Furthermore, there were no institutional arrangements to
support the development of high-speed rail systems in the U.S.
The TRB report recommended that maglev offered a better research
opportunity because of its potential for higher speeds and lower
costs than conventional technology. Further research under the NMI
should be conducted and the results reviewed to determine the need
for additional research and development.
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
In the years after the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of
1970, considerable progress was made in reducing air pollution in
the nation's urban areas. Average automobile emissions dropped
from 85 grams per mile of carbon monoxide (CO) in 1970 to 25 grams
per mile in 1988. Lead usage in gasoline dropped by 99 percent
between 1975 and 1988. From 1978 to 1988, transportation related
emissions decreased 38 percent for CO, 36 percent for hydrocarbons,
15 percent for nitrogen oxides (NOx). The reduction
occurred despite a 24 percent increase in vehicle miles of travel
during the same period. Nevertheless, by 1988, 101 urban areas
failed to meet national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for
ozone, and 44 areas failed to meet the NAAQS for CO (U.S. Dept. of
In June 1989, President Bush proposed major revisions to the Clean
Air Act. In the Congress, the bill was extensively debated and
revised before it was passed. On November 15, 1990, the President
signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
Of the eleven titles in the act, two in particular directly
pertained to transportation. Title 1 addressed the attainment and
maintenance of NAAQS. Nonattainment areas were classified for
ozone, CO, and particulate matter in accordance with the severity
of the air pollution problem. Depending upon the degree to which
an area exceeded the standard, that area was required to implement
various control programs and to achieve attainment of the NAAQS
within a specified period of time. The areas that were furthest
out of compliance were given the longest length of time to achieve
the standards. (Table 9)
Those urban areas that were classified as "nonattainment areas" had
to undertake a series of transportation actions that accumulated
with the degree of severity. Urban areas classified as "marginal"
for ozone compliance had to complete an emissions inventory within
two years of enactment and every three years thereafter. In
addition, these areas had to correct their existing
inspection/maintenance (I/M) programs. "Moderate" areas had to
submit revised State Implementation Plans (SIPS) that reduced
volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions by 15 percent from 1990
baseline emissions over the 6 years following enactment. In
addition to the 15 percent reduction, emissions arising from growth
in VMT had to be offset. Reductions from other Federal programs
including tailpipe emission standards, evaporative
CLASSIFICATION OF AREAS UNDER THE
CLEAN AIR ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1990
No. Of Attainment Transportation
Class Areas Date Provisions
OZONE (NAAQS = .12 parts per million)
Marginal 39 3 Years Emissions Inventory
Moderate 32 6 Years Emissions reduction of 15%
in 6 years (2.5% per yr.)
Serious 16 9 Years After 6 years, 3% per yr.
Severe 7 15 Years After 2 years, TCMs to
Offset travel growth and
employer trip reductions
Extreme 1 20 Years Possible heavy-duty vehicle
CARBON MONOXIDE (NAAQS = 9 parts per million)
Moderate 38 Dec. 31, 1995 VMT forecasts in SIPs and
Serious 3 Dec. 31, 2000 After 2 years, TCMs to
offset travel growth,
oxygenated fuel and
controls, and fuel volatility could not be credited toward the 15
percent reduction. These areas also had to adopt a basic I/M
program (Hawthorn, 1991).
"Serious" areas, in addition to meeting the requirements for
moderate areas, had to show "reasonable further progress." These
areas had to submit SIP revisions within 4 years of enactment that
included all feasible measures to achieve VOC emission reductions
of 3 percent annually for each consecutive 3-year period beginning
6 years after enactment. For areas with 1980 populations of
250,000 or more, a clean-fuel program had to be established which
required fleets of 10 vehicles or more to use nonpolluting fuels.
Areas exceeding 200,000 in population had to adopt an enhanced I/M
program within two years of enactment. After 6 years, and for each
third year after that, areas had to demonstrate that vehicle
emissions, congestion levels, VMT and other relevant parameters
were consistent with those used in the SIP. If not, an SIP
revision was required within 18 months that included transportation
control measures (TCMS) to reduce emission levels consistent with
the levels forecasted in the SIP (U.S. Environmental Protection
Urban areas that were classified as "severe" had to meet the
requirements for "serious" areas and also submit SIP revisions
within two years of enactment which identified and adopted TCMs to
offset the growth in emission and the growth in trips or VMT. This
offset was in addition to the 2.5 percent annual reduction required
for "moderate" areas. The SIP had to include a requirement for
employers of 100 of more to increase average work trip passenger
occupancy by not less than 25 percent above the average for all
work trips in the area. Employers had to submit compliance plans
within two years of SIP submission demonstrating compliance four
years after submittal of the SIP.
"Extreme" areas, those which exceeded the standard by more than
133 percent, had to meet the requirements for "severe" areas. In
addition, the SIP could contain measures to reduce high-polluting
or heavy-duty vehicles during peak traffic hours.
Similar provisions were established for the two categories of CO
nonattainment areas. Areas classified as "moderate" had to submit
an emissions inventory within two years of enactment and every
three years thereafter. For some areas, fuel with a 2.7 percent
oxygen content 2.7 was required during winter months. Within two
years of enactment, moderate CO areas had to revise their SIPs to
contain VMT forecasts until attainment using EPA guidance for the
forecasting. Some of these areas had to adopt an enhanced I/M
program within two years of enactment. For the most severe of the
moderate areas with 1980 populations of 250,000 or more, a clean-
fuel program had to be established which required fleets of 10
vehicles or more to use nonpolluting fuels. All SIP revisions had
to include contingency measures to be automatically implemented if
VMT levels exceed projections or if attainment by the deadline was
In addition to meeting the requirements for moderate areas,
"serious" CO areas had to submit SIP revisions within 2 years of
enactment that included TCMs to reduce CO emissions and offset
emission increases from VMT growth and the seasonal use of
oxygenated fuel. The oxygen content of the fuel had to be
sufficient in combination with other measures to provide for the
attainment of the CO standard by the applicable date. If the area
failed to meet the standard, a program of TCMs and economic
incentives had to be implemented.
The "conformity" provisions in the 1990 Act were expanded from the
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977. A conformity determination was
required to assure that Federally approved or financially assisted
projects or actions conform to a SIP. The 1990 provisions shifted
the emphasis from conforming to a SIP to conforming to a SIP's
purpose of eliminating and reducing the severity and number of
violations of the NAAQS and achieving expeditious attainment of the
standards. In addition, no activity could cause or contribute to
new NAAQS violations, nor increase the frequency or severity of any
existing violations of any standard, nor delay the timely
attainment of any required NAAQS. The new provisions still
required the DOT and MPOs to make conformity determinations but
they were to be much more dependent on quantitative analyses
The process recognized that transportation-related air quality
issues had to be analyzed on a system-wide basis and be controlled
through regional strategies to be effective. Consequently,
projects had to be analyzed in the aggregate rather than on a
project basis as previously required. At the project level, three
conditions had to be met in order to make a conformity
determination. One was that the project come from a conforming
plan and program. The second was that the design concept and scope
of the project had not changed once the plan and program were found
to conform. Third was that the design concept and scope of the
project at the time of the conformity determination for the program
was adequate to determine emissions. If the project had changed,
it had to be reanalyzed with the other projects in the conforming
plan and program to determine that it would not increase emissions
or otherwise interfere with meeting the deadlines (Shrouds, 1991).
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 expanded the "sanctions" where
states failed to carry out requirements of the Act. Previously,
sanctions were only applied for failing to submit a SIP. Under the
new provisions, sanctions could additionally be triggered when EPA
disapproved a SIP or a State or MPO failed to implement any SIP
provision. Moreover, sanctions could be imposed for failures
unrelated to transportation or mobile sources, for example, for
failures related to stationary sources.
Under the 1990 provisions, there were two mandatory sanctions.
They were withholding approval of Federal-aid highway projects, and
a two-for-one emissions offset for new or modified stationary
sources. Areas had 18 months to correct the deficiency before the
sanctions took effect. Previously, sanctions could only be applied
to the nonattainment area. The 1990 provisions expanded the
application of sanctions to any portion of the State that EPA
determined reasonable and appropriate. The 1990 Act also expanded
the list of projects that were exempt from the sanctions. These
project types included: safety demonstrations, transit capital, HOV
lanes and other HOV incentives, traffic flow improvements which
would reduce emissions, fringe parking, single occupant vehicle
disincentives including pricing, and incident management.
The planning procedures of the 1990 Act required State and local
agencies to review and update, if necessary, the SIP planning,
implementation, enforcement, and funding responsibilities. It also
required the certification of the Leading Planning Organization
(LPO) to prepare the SIP, which was to include local elected
officials, representatives of the State and local air agency, MPO,
and State DOT. The 1990 Act expanded the boundaries for
nonattainment areas to the metropolitan statistical area (MSA),
unless the Governor requested the exclusion of certain unaffected
The 1990 Act called for the development of implementation guidance
on various aspects of the process. EPA, in consultation with DOT,
was to issue guidance for forecasting VMT within 6 months of
enactment. Transportation planning guidance was to be issued
within 9 months by EPA in consultation with DOT and State and local
officials. EPA, with concurrence of DOT, was to issue criteria and
procedures for conformity determinations within 12 months of
enactment. Also within 12 months of enactment, EPA was to issue
guidance on the formulation and emission reduction potential of 16
TCMs including public transit, trip reduction
ordinances, HOV lanes and traffic flow improvements.
Title 2 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 contained
provisions related to mobile sources. The Act set more stringent
emission standards for automobiles and light duty trucks to be met
between model years 1996 to 2003; beginning with 40 percent of
vehicles in 1994 and increasing to 100 percent by 1998. An
additional 50 percent reduction was to be required after 2003 if
EPA found that it was necessary and technologically feasible.
Emission control equipment need to be warranted for 10 years and
A pilot program was set up for the sale of clean fuel vehicles in
California. Other cities could opt-in to the program. The Act
also required government and private fleets in polluted areas to
purchase 30 percent of the vehicles to be clean fueled. The Act
required the sale of "reformulated gasoline" with specified oxygen
content in the nine cities with the most severe ozone problems. It
also required the sale of gasoline with higher oxygen content to
reduce winter CO pollution. As of January 1, 1996, lead was banned
from use in motor fuel.
Particulate matter standards for buses were set at .10 grams per
brake horsepower hour in model year 1993. EPA was directed to set
bus emission standards and could by regulation require the purchase
of alternate fueled buses in urban areas over 750,000 population.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 created a major challenge to
transportation planners to continue to provide urban mobility while
meeting the requirements to improve air quality under tight time
Strategic Planning and Management
Planning in many transportation agencies evolved through the 1970's
from a long range multiyear process directed at developing projects
for implementation to attempts that considered possible future
events and planned strategically to influence them. A 1983 review
of strategic planning in transportation agencies found that some
form of strategic planning existed in a few state transportation
and port authority organizations (Meyer, 1983). The main problem
with these early efforts was that there was little connection
between these plans and the day-to-day operations of the agency.
Consequently, few of these strategic plans were implemented
(Tyndall, et. al, 1990).
In 1982, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began a
process which marked a fundamental change in strategic planning
which became known as "strategic management." The Department
established an iterative process that linked its strategic planning
to day-to-day management and operations as a means to deal
effectively with the continually changing internal and external
environments in which they had to function.
An NCHRP project, "Strategic Planning and Management Guidelines for
Transportation Agencies," reviewed the status of strategic planning
in transportation agencies and developed guidelines for
successfully institutionalizing it (Tyndall, et. al, 1990). The
project found 25 transportation agencies nationwide that were
actively engaged in some form of strategic planning and management.
It also found that many other agencies had little interest in or
understanding of strategic management and focused instead on day-
to-day operational deemed more important.
Although there was no consensus on the definition of strategic
management, an operating definition was adopted for the project.
"Strategic management is an interactive and ongoing process
consisting minimally of the following fundamental components:
mission statement (including goals and objectives), environmental
scan, strategy development, action plan development, resource
allocation, and performance measurement" (Tyndall, et. al, 1990).
The project developed guidelines for transportation agencies to
evolve their current management system into a strategic management
system. It recognized that there were many approaches to effective
strategic management. The essential ingredients were a future
vision, involvement of all managers, top level commitment,
integration of existing management systems and processes, and
focused planning of activities.
Strategic planning and management was gradually adopted by more
transportation agencies in coming to grips with the many changes
that they faced and to improve their organization's effectiveness.
Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed by President
Bush in July 1990 after passage by the Congress with an
overwhelming majority. The ADA prohibited discrimination on the
basis of disability in both the public and private sectors. Its
primary purpose was to make it easier for persons with disabilities
to become part of the American mainstream.
In April 1991, DOT issued a proposed regulation to implement the
ADA. The new regulation incorporated and amended those regulation
governing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The new
regulation applied to all providers whether they received Federal
funds or not, whereas the earlier regulation only applied to
Federal fund recipients. The Department of Transportation had
previously issued a regulation on October 4, 1990, that required
transit authorities to only buy or lease accessible transit
vehicles. A plan to implement the new regulation had to be
submitted by January 26, 1992, and implemented by July 26, 1992,
one year after the ADA was signed into law (U.S. Dept. of
A major feature of the new regulation was the requirement that any
operator of a fixed route transit system provide paratransit or
other special services to persons with disabilities. The
paratransit service had to be comparable to the level of service
provided to individuals without disabilities who use the fixed
The regulation required that the paratransit services be provided
to all origins and destinations within a corridor of a given width
on each side of any fixed transit route. The service area width
varied depending upon the population density. The service had to
be operated the same days and hours as the fixed route service. A
24-hour advanced reservation system was required where service had
to be provided if requested on the previous day. The fare had to
be comparable with the base fare of the fixed route service. Each
transit system had to establish a system to determine eligibility
for the new paratransit service. A waiver provision was included
if the transit system could demonstrate that providing full blown
paratransit service would cause an undue financial burden. The
system was still required service to the extent that it could.
Under the regulation, transit systems with inaccessible commuter,
rapid and light rail stations would be required to identify "key"
stations, following a public participation process, and make them
accessible to persons with disabilities within three years. "Key"
stations were those with high volumes, transfer points, ends of
lines, and stations that served major activity centers. Some
extensions were available for "key" stations, up to 20 to 30 years,
as long as certain progress was made in making other stations
The regulation also incorporated the proposed standards by the
Architectural and Transportation Compliance Board for accessible
vehicles and facilities, issued in April, 1990.
DOT estimated the average annual cost for providing paratransit
service. These costs ranges from $28.7 million for the ten largest
urban areas, $10 million for other areas over 1 million in
population, to $750,000 for areas under 250,000 in population. DOT
indicated that there would not be additional Federal funds to
implement this regulation.
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
With the completion of the National Interstate and Defense Highway
System provided for in the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of
1982, the debate on the reauthorization of the surface
transportation legislation focused on the nature and size of the
post-Interstate program. Clearly, the shortage of financial
resources was still a serious concern, as well as the issues of an
increase in the Federal gas tax, the level of funding for the
program, the amount of flexibility in using those funds for other
than highway purposes, the Federal matching share, and the degree
of authority that local agencies would be given in programming the
funds. Other issues were also in dispute relating to the
continuance of Federal transit operating assistance, criteria for
new rail transit systems, and the earmarking of funds for specific
highway and transit projects.
The bill that was finally signed into law by President Bush on
December 18, 1991, opened a new era in surface transportation. The
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
authorized $151 billion over six years for highways, mass transit
and safety programs. (Table 10) In a major breakthrough, the Act
created a surface transportation program with flexible funding that
opened the door to new opportunities to address
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statewide and urban transportation problems. (U.S. Dept. of
The purpose of the Act was set forth in its statement of policy:
"It is the policy of the United States to develop a National
Intermodal Transportation System that is economically
efficient and environmentally sound, provides the foundation
for the Nation to compete in the global economy, and will move
people and goods in an energy efficient manner."
Title I, Surface Transportation, established a new National Highway
System (NHS) consisting of 155,000 miles (plus or minus 15 percent)
of Interstate highways, urban and rural principal arterials, and
other strategic highways. The final system was to be proposed by
the by the Department of Transportation, after consultation with
the States, and be designated by law by September 30, 1993. In the
interim, the NHS was to consist of highways classified as principal
highways. The NHS was funded at $21 billion over six years at a 80
percent Federal matching share. States could transfer up to 50
percent of their funds to the Surface Transportation Program, and
up to 100 percent in States with nonattainment areas with approval
of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Interstate system retained its identity even though it became
part of the NHS. It was renamed the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National
System of Interstate and Defense Highways." Funding was provided
for completion of the remaining links and for continuation of the
Interstate maintenance and Interstate Transfer programs.
ISTEA created a new block grant program., the Surface
Transportation Program (STP), which made funds available for a
broad range of highway, mass transit, safety and environmental
purposes. STP funds could be used for highway construction and 4R;
bridge projects; transit capital projects; carpool, parking,
bicycle and pedestrian facilities; highway and transit safety
improvements; traffic monitoring, management and control
facilities; transportation control measures; and wetland mitigation
The STP was authorized at $23.9 billion over six years at a 80
percent Federal matching share. Additional funds could be
transferred to the program from the so called equity adjustments.
Each State was required to set aside 10 percent of the funds for
safety construction activities and another 10 percent for
transportation enhancements, which included bicycle and pedestrian
facilities; acquisition of scenic easements, or scenic or historic
sites; landscaping and beautification; preservation or
rehabilitation of historic sites; preservation of abandoned rail
corridors including conversion to bicycle or pedestrian trails;
control of outdoor advertising; archaeological research; and
mitigation of water pollution from highway runoff. The remaining
80 percent had to be allocated statewide as shown in Figure 15.
(U.S. Dept. of Transportation, 1992a)
The Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation program was continued
with minor changes. Up to 40 percent of a State's funds could be
transferred to the NHS or STP. In addition, 539 special projects
were Congressionally designated at a total cost of $6.2 billion.
A new Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program was
established, with a 80 percent Federal matching rate, for
transportation projects in ozone and carbon monoxide nonattainment
areas. These projects must contribute to an area meeting the
NAAQS. If a State does not have any of these areas, it could use
the funds as if they were STP funds. The funds were to be
distributed based on each State's share of population in
nonattainment areas weighted by the degree of air pollution. A
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minimum apportionment of 1/2 percent was guaranteed to each State.
The were a number of equity adjustment provisions in the ISTEA that
were designed to achieve equity in funding levels among the States.
The 90 Percent Minimum Allocation and Donor State Bonus addressed
equity between contributions to the Highway Trust Fund and
allocations for major program categories. A sum of $2 billion
annually was set aside to reimburse States for highway segments
constructed with State funds that were later incorporated into the
Interstate system. Another equity account was established to
insure that annual State shares would not be reduced from prior
year amounts. The 90 percent of Payment Guarantees assured that
States would receive 90 percent of their contributions to the
Highway Trust Fund for all highway programs except special
Special projects and programs were created is several areas. The
National Magnetic Levitation Prototype Development Program was
authorized at $725 million to develop a prototype maglev system
selected from applicants from across the Nation. A Maglev Project
Office was to be established jointly between the Department of
Transportation and Cops of Engineers. A separately funded $25
million High Speed Ground Technology Development Program was
created to demonstrate and promote new high speed ground
technologies already under construction or in operation. Another
provision of the Act allowed the use of Federal-aid highway rights
of way for commuter or high speed rail, maglev systems and mass
transit facilities where there was sufficient land or space and
that would not adversely affect automobile safety.
Tolls were permitted on Federal-aid highway facilities to a much
greater degree than in the past. Projects that would become
eligible for Federal funding was expanded to include initial
construction of toll facilities, 4R work on toll facilities, and
reconstruction or replacement of free highways (except Interstate
facilities), bridges and tunnels and conversion to toll facilities.
The Federal matching share for highway projects was 50 percent and
50 or 80 percent for bridges and tunnels depending on the nature of
A Congestion Pricing Pilot Program was established for five
congestion pricing pilot projects with up to three of them on
Interstate highways. The program was funded at $25 million
annually with a 50 percent Federal matching share. In addition,
the ISTEA created a program to fund State planning, design, and
development activities of Scenic Byways.
The Symms National Recreational Trails Act of 1991, in Title IB,
provided $180 million over six years for the creation and
maintenance of recreational trails for motorized and non-motorized
vehicles. A new trust fund was created in Title VIII to finance
the program, drawing 0.3 percent of the revenues to the Highway
Trust Fund. Funds were to be allocated to the States based in part
on the amount of non-highway recreational fuel used and could be
used for land acquisition, construction, maintenance, restoration,
ISTEA strengthened the metropolitan planning process and expanded
the role of MPOs in project selection and transportation
decisionmaking. MPOs continued to be required in all urbanized
areas with population of 50,000 or greater. Existing MPO
designations remained valid unless revoked by the Governor and
local units of government representing 75 percent of the affected
population in the metropolitan area or as otherwise provided under
State or local procedures. New MPO designations or redesignations
could be made by agreement between the Governor and local units of
government representing 75 percent of the affected population in
the metropolitan area or in accordance with applicable State or
local law. More than one MPO could be designated for an urbanized
area if the Governor determines that the size and complexity of
the area warrant it. Where more than one MPO existed in an urban
areas, they were to consult with each other and the State to
coordinate plans and programs. (Highway Users Federation, 1991)
Metropolitan area boundaries were defined for carrying out the
metropolitan transportation planning process and for expenditure of
STP funds suballocated to areas over 200,000 in population. The
boundaries were to be established by agreement between the Governor
and the MPO and were to encompass the current urbanized area and
the area to be urbanized during a 20 year forecast period, and
could extend to the MSA or CMSA boundary. In nonattainment areas,
the boundary had to encompass the nonattainment area unless the MPO
and Governor decided to exclude a portion.
Large urbanized areas over 200,000 in population were designated as
transportation management areas (TMAs). These areas had additional
requirements related to congestion management, project selection,
and certification. The Governor and MPOs could request additional
designations as TMAS.
Each metropolitan area had to prepare a long range plan, updated
periodically, that identified transportation facilities which
functioned as an integrated transportation system, including a
financial plan, assess capital investment and other measures to
preserve the existing transportation system, and make the most
efficient use of existing transportation facilities to relieve
congestion, and indicated appropriate enhancement activities. A
reasonable opportunity for public comment was required before the
long-range plan was approved. In nonattainment areas, development
of the long-range plan had to be coordinated with the development
of transportation control measures for the State implementation
plan required under the Clean Air Act.
ISTEA required MPO's to include consideration of 15 interrelated
factors in the development of their 20-year metropolitan
transportation plan. (Table 11) One important factor was the effect
of transportation decisions on land use and development and
consistency with land use and development plans. Abbreviated
planning procedures could be prescribed for areas not designated as
TMAs based on the complexity of the transportation problems,
however, not in nonattainment areas for ozone and carbon monoxide.
In TMAS, the transportation planning process had to include a
congestion management system (CMS) for the effective management of
new and existing transportation facilities through the use of
travel demand reduction and operational strategies.
A Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) was required to be
developed by the MPO in cooperation with the State and transit
operators. The TIP has to be updated at least every two years and
approved by the MPO and Governor, with a reasonable opportunity for
public comment prior to approval. The TIP had to include a
priority list of projects and a financial plan consistent with the
funding that could be reasonably be expected to be available.
In TMAS, all projects, except those on the NHS, and projects under
the Bridge and I-maintenance programs, were to be selected by the
MPO in consultation with the State from the approved TIP in
accordance with the priorities established in the TIP. The other
projects were to be selected by the State in cooperation with the
MPO from the approved TIP. In all other metropolitan areas,
projects were to be selected by the State in cooperation with the
MPO from the approved TIP.
Federal certification of the transportation planning process was
required for TMAs at least every three years. TMAs that were not
certified were subject to funding sanctions. One percent of
highway funds, except those for Interstate construction and
substitution, were authorized for metropolitan transportation
Metropolitan Transportation Planning Factors
1. Preservation of existing transportation facilities and, where
practical, ways to meet transportation needs by using existing
transportation facilities 8 more efficiently.
2. The consistency of transportation planning with applicable
Federal, State, and local energy conservation programs, goals,
3. The need to relieve congestion and prevent congestion from
occurring where it does not yet occur.
4. The likely effect of transportation policy decisions on land
use and development and the consistency of transportation
plans and programs with the provisions of all applicable
short- and long-term land use and development plans.
5. The programming of expenditures on transportation enhancement
activities as required in section 133.
6. The effects of all transportation projects to be undertaken in
the metropolitan area, without regard to whether such projects
are publicly funded.
7. International border crossings and access to ports, airports,
intermodal transportation facilities, major freight
distribution routes, national parks, recreation areas,
monuments, historic sites, and military installations.
8. The need for connectivity of roads within the metropolitan
area with roads outside the metropolitan area.
9. The transportation needs identified through use of the
management systems required by section 303 of this title.
10. Preservation of rights-of-way for construction of future
transportation projects, including identification of unused
fights-of-way which may be needed for future transportation
corridors and identification of those corridors for which
action is most needed to prevent destruction or loss.
11. Methods to enhance the efficient movement of freight.
12. The use of life-cycle costs in the design and engineering of
bridges, tunnels, or pavement.
13. The overall social, economic, energy, and environmental
effects of transportation decisions.
14. Methods to expand and enhance transit services and to increase
the use of such services.
15. Capital investments that would result in increased security in
planning (PL). Additional funds could be spent from the NHS and
STP programs. States were required to develop formulas for
distributing PL funds using, based on population, status of
planning, and metropolitan transportation needs, attainment of air
quality standards and other factors necessary to carry out
applicable Federal laws.
ISTEA created a new requirement for States to undertake a
continuous statewide transportation planning process modeled on the
metropolitan transportation planning process. States were required
to develop a long-range plan covering all modes of transportation,
coordinated with the transportation planning carried out in
metropolitan areas, with opportunity for public comment. The State
plans and programs were to provide for the development of
transportation facilities that functioned as an intermodal State
transportation system. Twenty factors were specified to be
considered in the process. (Table 12)
A statewide transportation improvement program (STIP) was required
to be developed and Federally approved at least every two years.
The STIP was to be consistent with the long-range statewide and
metropolitan transportation plans and expected funding, and there
had to be opportunity for public comment. In nonattainment areas,
the STIP had to conform to the SIP. Two percent of Federal-aid
highway funds were made available for planning and research
programs. Not less that 25 percent of these funds had to be used
for research, development, and technology transfer activities,
unless the State certified that planning expenditures would exceed
75 percent of the funds. Statewide planning activities were also
eligible under the NHS and STP programs.
One of the factors that had to be considered in both the
metropolitan and statewide planning processes was the results of
the management systems. This refers to the requirement that
States and metropolitan areas develop, establish and implement six
management systems for: highway pavement, bridges, highway safety,
traffic congestion, public transportation facilities and equipment,
and intermodal transportation facilities and systems. These
management systems were to be designed to obtain the optimum yield
from the transportation system.
Title II, the Highway Safety Act of 1991, continued the
nonconstruction highway safety programs at $1.6 billion for the
six-year period. The Act expanded the list of uniform guidelines
for the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program. Amounts
from this program were made available for specific purposes to
encourage the use of safety belts, motorcycle helmets, alcohol
countermeasures, and National Driver Register. The Act
reauthorized the Highway Safety R&D program and regular NHTSA
activities. It also made permanent the law allowing a 65 mph speed
limit on rural sections of non-Interstate highways constructed to
Title III, the Federal Transit Act Amendments of 1991, authorized
$31.5 billion for the six-year period. The Act renamed the Urban
Mass Transportation Administration to be the Federal Transit
Administration (FTA) to reflect the broader responsibility of the
agency. The Section 3 Discretionary and Formula Capital Grant
program was reauthorized with minor changes. The funds were split
40 percent for new starts, 40 percent for rail modernization and 20
percent of bus and other projects. The Federal matching share was
increased from 75 percent to 80 percent.
New fixed guideway projects had to based on the results of
alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering, and justified by
expected mobility improvements, environmental benefits, cost
effectiveness and operating efficiency and supported by an
acceptable degree of local financial commitment. These criteria
could be waived if the project was in an extreme or severe
nonattainment area and is included in the SIP, if the project
requires less that $25 million in Section 3 funds, if the Federal
share is less than one-third, or the project if the project is
funded entirely with FHWA funds.
The Act established a three-tier formula for distributing rail
modernization funds. The first $455 million was to be distributed
to nine urbanized areas using statutory percentages. The next $45
million was to be allocated to six urbanized areas using specified
percentages in the statute. Tier three distributed the next $70
million 50 percent to the urbanized areas mentioned in the previous
two tiers, and 50 percent to the other urbanized areas with fixed
guideway systems seven or more years in operations according to the
Section 9 rail formula. Any remaining funds were to be distributed
according to the Section 9 rail formula.
Authorization for bus and other projects totaled $2.5 million. At
least 5.5 percent were to be spent in non-urbanized areas.
The Section 9 Formula program was authorized at $16.1 billion for
the six-year period. There were few changes in the program
structure. The funds could be used for highway projects in TMAs if
the requirements of ADA were met, and if the MPO approved, and if
there was a balanced local approach to highway and transit funding.
Operating assistance caps became subject to an annual inflation
Funding for the Section 18 Small Urban and Rural Transit program
was raised from 2.93 to 5.5 percent of the Section 9 program.
Funds could be used for a new category of intercity bus service.
The Section 16(b)(2) program, which provides transportation
services for elderly and disabled, was authorized at 1.34 percent
of the Section 9 program. Funds could be used for service
contracts and could go to nonprofit groups.
A new Transit Planning and Research program was established and
funded by a 3 percent set aside from the entire transit program.
This program replaced the Section 6 Research, Section 8 Planning,
Section 10 Managerial Training, Section 11(a) University Research,
Section 8(h) Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP), and
Section 20 Human Resources programs. Of these funds, 45 percent
was for MPOs for Metropolitan Transportation Planning, 5 percent
for RTAP, 10 percent to States for planning, research, and
training, 10 percent for a new Transit Cooperative Research Program
(TCRP) to be administered by the TRB, and 30 percent for a National
Planning and Research program. The metropolitan transportation
planning requirements paralleled those in Title I. An additional
amount was made available for the University Centers program.
Title IV, the Motor Carrier Act of 1991, reauthorized the Motor
Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) and required State
uniformity in vehicle registration and fuel tax reporting. MCSAP
funds could be used for State enforcement of Federal truck and bus
safety requirements, drug interdiction, vehicle weight and traffic
enforcement, uniform accident reporting, research and development,
and public education. The Act required that States join the
International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax
Agreement. The Act limited the use of longer combination vehicles
to those States and routes where they were lawful on June 1, 1991.
Title V, Intermodal Transportation, established a national policy
to encourage and promote development of a national intermodal
transportation system. It created an Intermodal Advisory Board and
an Office of Intermodalism in the Office of the Secretary to
coordinate policies to promote intermodal transportation, maintain
and disseminate intermodal transportation data, and coordinate
intermodal research. The Act authorized a program to develop model
State intermodal transportation plans, including systems for
collecting intermodal data, at $3 million with no more than
$500,000 to any one State. The Act also established a National
Commission on Intermodal Transportation to report to the Congress
by September 3, 1993.
Title VI, Research, provided major increases in funding for
research and applied technology. The Act authorized $108 million
to implement the results of the Strategic Highway Research Program
(SHRP) and for the Long Term Pavement Performance Program. The
responsibilities of the National Highway Institute were expanded
and they were allowed to charge fees to defray the costs of their
programs. The Act authorized the Federal government to engage in
collaborative research and development with other private and
public organizations with up to a 50 percent Federal share. A new
International Highway Transportation Outreach Program was
established to inform the U.S. highway community of foreign
innovations and promote U.S. expertise and technology
The Act established a Bureau of Transportation Statistics to
compile transportation statistics, implement a long-term data
collection program, issue guidelines for data collection, make
statistics accessible, and identify information needs.
The transit bus testing program was expanded to include emissions
and fuel economy. A new National Transit Institute was established
to develop and administer training programs for those involved in
Federal-aid transit activities. Five new University Transportation
Centers were added to the original ten to be funded by FHWA and
FTA. In addition, five University Research Institutes were
Part B of this Title, Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems (IVHS)
Act, established a six-year program with funding of $659 million
with $501 for the IVHS Corridors program and $158 for IVHS research
and development. The Act required the promotion of
compatible standards and protocols to promote the widespread use of
IVHS technologies, the establishment of evaluation guidelines for
operational tests, and the establishment of an IVHS clearinghouse.
The Act also called for the development of a completely automated
highway and vehicle system which would serve as the prototype for
future fully automated IVHS systems. The fully automated roadway
or test track was to be in operation by the end of 1997. The IVHS
Corridors program was designed to provide operational tests under
real world conditions. Corridors which meet certain criteria could
participate in the development and implementation of IVHS
Part C, Advanced Transportation Systems and Electric Vehicles,
established a program for advanced mass transportation systems
including electric trolley buses, alternative fuel buses, or other
systems that employ advanced technology to operate cleanly and
efficiently. The Federal government could pay a 50 percent share
for at least three consortia to acquire plant sites, convert the
plant facilities, and acquire equipment for developing or
manufacturing these systems.
Title VII addressed air transportation. Title VIII, the Surface
Transportation Revenue Act of 1991, extended the Highway Trust Fund
through fiscal year 1999. The Act reduced the motor fuel tax rate
by 2.5 cents after September 30, 1995 to 11.5 cents for gasoline
and 17.5 cents for diesel fuel. At that time, the Mass Transit
Account would be credited with 1.5 cents per gallon of the tax with
the remainder going to the Highway Account.
Urban transportation planning evolved from highway and transit
planning activities in the 1930's and 1940's. These efforts were
primarily intended to improve the design and operation of
individual transportation facilities. The focus was on upgrading
and expanding facilities. Early urban transportation planning
studies were primarily systems-oriented with a twenty-year time
horizon and region-wide in scope. This was largely the result of
legislation for the National System of Interstate and Defense
Highways which required that these major highways be designed for
traffic projected twenty years into the future. As a result, the
focus of the planning process through the decade of the 1960's was
on this long-range time horizon and broad regional scale.
Gradually, starting in the early 1970's, planning processes turned
their attention to shorter-term time horizons and the corridor-
level scale. This came about as the result of a realization that
long-range planning had been dominated by concern for major
regional highway and transit facilities with only minor attention
being paid to lesser facilities and the opportunity to improve the
efficiency of the existing system. This shift was reinforced by
the increasing difficulties and cost in constructing new
facilities, growing environmental concerns, and the Arab oil
Early efforts with programs such as TOPICS and express bus
priorities eventually broadened into the strategy of transportation
system management. TSM encompassed a whole range of techniques to
increase the utilization and productivity of existing vehicles and
facilities. It shifted the emphasis from facility expansion to
provision of transportation service. The
federal government took the lead in pressing for changes that would
produce greater attention to TSM. At first there was considerable
resistance. Neither institutions nor techniques were immediately
able to address TSM options. A period of learning and adaptation
was necessary to redirect planning processes so that they could
perform this new type of planning. By the 1980's, urban
transportation planning had become primarily short-term oriented in
most urbanized areas.
By the early 1990's, there were major changes underway that would
have significant effects on urban transportation and urban
transportation planning. The era of major new highway construction
was over in most urban areas. However, the growth in urban travel
was continuing unabated. With only limited highway expansion
possible new approaches needed to be found to serve this travel
demand. Moreover, the growth in traffic congestion was contributing
to degradation of the urban environment and urban life and needed
to be abated. Previous attempts at the selected application of
transportation system management measures (TSM) had proven to have
limited impacts on congestion, providing the need for more
comprehensive and integrated strategies. In addition, a number of
new technologies were reaching the point of application, including
intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS) and magnetically
Many transportation agencies entered into strategic management and
planning processes to identify the scope and nature of these
changes, to develop strategies to address these issues, and to
better orient their organization to function in this new
environment. They shifted their focus toward longer term time
horizons, more integrated transportation management strategies,
wider geographic application of these strategies, and a renewed
interest in technological alternatives.
Through its evolutionary development, the urban transportation
planning process has been called upon to address a continuous
stream of new issues and concerns, methodological developments,
advances in technology, and changing attitudes. Usually it was the
requirements from the federal government to which the planning
process was responding. Major new issues began affecting urban
transportation planning in the latter half of the 1960's and on
through the 1970's. The list of issues included safety, citizen
involvement, preservation of park land and natural areas, equal
opportunity for disadvantaged persons, environmental concerns
(particularly air quality), transportation for the elderly and
handicapped, energy conservation and revitalization of urban
centers. Most recently these have been joined by concerns for
deterioration of the highway and transit infrastructure and its
effect on economic growth. The growth in suburban congestion has
now become a major focus of urban transportation planning.
During this same period there have been advocates for various
transportation options as solutions to this vast array of problems
and concerns. They ran the gamut from new highways, express buses,
heavy and light rail transit systems, pricing, automated guideway
transit, paratransit, brokerage, dual-mode transit, IVHS and
maglev. It was difficult at times to determine whether these
options were advanced as the answer to all of these problems or for
just some of them. Transportation system management was an attempt
to integrate the short-term, low capital options into reinforcing
strategies to accomplish one or more objectives. Transportation
demand management seeks to merge various strategies to affect
travel behavior and its effects on congestion and air quality.
Alternatives analysis was designed to evaluate tradeoffs among
various major investments options as well as transportation
management techniques. However, broader evaluation approaches are
needed to assess effects of a wide array of strategies on travel
demand, land development and environmental quality.
Transportation planning techniques have also evolved during this
time. Procedures for specific purposes were integrated into an
urban travel forecasting process in the early urban transportation
studies in the 1950's. Through the 1960's improvements in planning
techniques were made primarily by practitioners, and these new
approaches were integrated into practice fairly easily. The FHWA
and UMTA carried out extensive activities to develop and
disseminate analytical techniques and computer programs for use by
state and local governments. The Urban Transportation Planning
System (UTPS) became the standard computer battery for urban
transportation analysis by the mid 1970's.
During the 1970's new travel forecasting techniques were developed
for the most part by the research community largely in
universities. These disaggregate travel forecasting approaches
differed from the aggregate approaches being used in practice at
the time. They used new mathematical techniques and theoretical
bases from econometrics and psychometrics that were difficult for
practitioners to learn. Moreover, the new techniques were not
easily integrated into conventional planning practices.
Communication between researchers and practitioners was fitful.
While researchers were developing more appropriate ways to
analyzing this complex array of issues and options, practitioners
stayed wedded to the older techniques. The gap between research
and practice is only gradually being closed. The requirements of
the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 are forcing a reevaluation of
travel forecasting procedures that is likely to bring significant
Microcomputers have become integrated into all aspect of urban
transportation planning and the use of GIS is spreading. But, few
agencies have the resources to develop their own software and are
left to the vagaries of the commercial market. Moreover,
microcomputers are now available to smaller agencies and even
interest groups. This provides the opportunity for analyses to be
carried out by these organizations but may increase the difficulty
of achieving consensus.
The 1990's have brought new challenges to urban transportation
planning organizations. After a decade of decentralization of
authority and responsibility, urban transportation planning is
faced with the problems of low density land developmant patterns,
congestion and air pollution which need to be addressed at the
regional scale or even on a statewide basis. The institutional
arrangement in most urban areas, however, does not lend itself to
the coordination and integration of the various elements needed to
bring about more efficient land use patterns. The institutional
arrangement is fragmented vertically between various levels of
government; and funcdtionally among transportation, land use, air
quality, and other service areas. There is little effort aimed at
merging these institutions in most urban regions. In a few
instances, states have begun to provide some institutional
integration. But, increased coordination between air quality and
transportation planners will be needed if the requirements of the
1990 Clean Air Act Amendments are to be met.
The demands on urban transportation planning are now greater than
ever. The range of issues that need to be addressed os continuing
to lengthen. Analytical requirements are more comprehensive and
exacting than previously was true. Some states have requirements
beyond those of Federal Agencies. However, little effort is being
made to assist urban transortation planning agencies to meet these
demands and requirements. Funding for research and development has
gradually declined and the funding for urban transportation
planning has not kept pace with increasing requirements.
The budgets of urban transportation agencies are still tight.
There is little money for methodological development or research.
Data bases in many areas are old and agencies face
difficulties in collecting large-scale regional data sets such as
home-interview, origin-destination surveys. The NPTS and Census'
UTPP have provided an opportunity for the updating of older data
bases at a reduced cost. However, most urban transportation
planning agencies have not upgraded their travel forecasting
procedures for some time and a large scale effort will be needed to
carry out this task.
All of this demonstrates that urban transportation planning is
still dynamic and changing to further adapt to new issues and
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AASHO American Association of State Highway Officials
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation
AGT Automated Guideway Transit
ANPRM Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
APTA American Public Transit Association
ATA American Transit Association
BART Bay Area Rapid Transit
BOB Bureau of the Budget
BPR Bureau of Public Roads
3C Continuing, Comprehensive, and Cooperative
CAFE Corporate Average Fuel Economy
CATI Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing
CATS Chicago Area Transportation Study
CMS Congestion Management System
CEQ Council on Environmental Quality
COG Council of Governments
CUTS Characteristics of Urban Transportation Systems
CUTD Characteristics of Urban Transportation Demand
DMATS Detroit Metropolitan Area Traffic Study
DPM Downtown People Mover
DOE Department of Energy
DOT Department of Transportation
DEIS Draft Environmental Impact Statement
EIS Environmental Impact Statement
E.O. Executive Order
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
ERGS Electronic Route Guidance System
FARE Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Elements
FAUS Federal Aid Urban System
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FONSI Finding of No Significant Impact
FTA Federal Transit Administration
FY Fiscal Year
GIS Geographic Information Systems
GRT Group Rapid Transit
HEW Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
HHFA Housing and Home Finance Agency
HHS Department of Health and Human Services
HOV High Occupancy Vehicle
HPMS Highway Performance Monitoring System
HP&R Highway Planning and Research
HRB Highway Research Board
HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development
ICE Interstate Cost Estimate
IM Instructional Memorandum
I/M Inspection/Maintenance Program
IPG Intermodal Planning Group
IRT Institute for Rapid Transit
ISTEA Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
ITE Institute of Transportation Engineers
ITLUP Integrated Transportation and Land-Use Package
IVHS Intelligent Vehicle-Highway Systems
LPO Lead Planning Organization
LRV Light Rail Vehicle
LRT Light Rail Transit
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization
MSA Metropolitan Statistical Area
NCHRP National Cooperative Highway Research Program
NEPA National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
NHS National Highway System
NMI National Maglev Initiative
NPTS Nationwide Personal Transportation Study
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OTA Office of Technology Assessment
QRS Quick Response System
PATS Pittsburgh Area Transportation Study
PCC Electric Railway Presidents, Conference Committee
PLANPAC Planning Package (of computer programs)
PPM Policy and Procedure Memorandum
PRT Personal Rapid Transit
3R Resurfacing, Restoration, and Rehabilitation
4R Resurfacing, Restoration, Rehabilitation and
SEWRPC Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
SHRP Strategic Highway Research Program
SIP State Implementation Plan
SLRV Standard Light Rail Vehicle
SLT Shuttle Loop Transit
SMD Service and Methods Demonstration
SMSA Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area
SOV Single Occupancy Vehicle
STIP Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
STP Surface Transportation Program
TAG Transportation Alternatives Group
TCM Transportation Control Measure
TCP Transportation Control Plan
TCRP Transit Cooperative Research Program
TDM Transportation Demand Management
TRO Trip Reduction Ordinance
TIGER Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and
TIP Transportation Improvement Program
TMA Transportation Management Association
TMA Transportation Management Area
TOPICS Traffic Operations Program to Improve Capacity and Safety
TRB Transportation Research Board
TSM Transportation System Management
UMTA Urban Mass Transportation Administration
UPWP Unified Planning Work Program
UTCS Urban Traffic Control Systems
UTPP Urban Transportation Planning Package
UTPS Urban Transportation Planning System
296 U.S. Printing Office: 1 9W - 715-000/66164
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