New Thinking for a New Transportation Age

This fact sheet (PDF, 1 MB) highlights five principles of the “New Transportation Age.” These principles derive from research and cutting-edge thinking that is often surprising and counterintuitive in that it contradicts many of the axioms of the post war era of automobile-oriented transportation engineering and planning.


Hallmarks of this shift include engineers reevaluating the approach they use to define and solve problems. For instance, many are now questioning the high value placed on moving vehicle traffic if it comes at the expense of other transportation and community goals. Is it acceptable to increasetraffic flow through urban neighborhoods and commercial districts if that reduces pedestrian mobility and degrades community livability? Is it such a good idea to add highway capacity if it exacerbates urban sprawl and does little to reduce congestion? As noted transportation planner and researcher Reid Ewing, of Rutgers University, points out, transportation and traffic engineering leaders are now creating more accessible, multi-modal communities with diverse travel options – communities where the need to travel is reduced.

New Thinking for a New Transportation Age (PDF, 1 MB).

For more information, call the Local Government Commission at 916-448-1198, or 1-800-290-8202.

Resources on Information in Fact Sheet Introduction

  • Reid Ewing, Performance Standards for Growth Management, edited by Douglas Porter, American Planning Association, Planning Advisory Service Report Number 461
  • Walter Kulash, “The Third Motor Age,” Places 10.2 (Winter 1996) pp. 42-49, Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)
  • Reid Ewing, Best Development Practices; Doing the Right Thing and Making Money at the Same Time, Planners Press (Chicago;, 1996.
  • Todd Litman, “Reinventing Transportation; Exploring the Paradigm Shift Needed to Reconcile Sustainability and Transportation Objectives,” Transportation Research Record 1670, Transportation Research Board (, 1999, pp. 8-12; available at
  • Barbara McCann, Driven to Spend; The Impact of Sprawl on Household Transportation Expenses, STPP (, 2000.
  • Harrison Bright Rue, Real Towns: Making Your Neighborhood Work (, Local Government Commission ( and Citizen Planner Institute, 2000.
  • VTPI, Online TDM Encyclopedia, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (, 2000.

More and Wider Roads Create More Traffic

  • Mark Hansen, Yuanlin Huang, “Road Supply and Traffic in California Urban Areas,” Transportation Research, A, Vol. 31, No. 3 pp. 205-218, 1997. (PDF, 872 KB) Cited in Fact Sheet
  • Lewis Fulton, Robert Noland, “A Statistical Analysis of Induced Travel Effects in the US Mid-Atlantic Region,” April 2000, Journal of Transportation and Statistics. (PDF, 60 KB) Cited in Fact Sheet
  • Why are the Roads So Congested? A Companion Analysis of the Texas Transportation Institute’s Data On Metropolitan Congestion, Surface Transportation Policy Project, November, 1999, (see Reports & Resources section)
  • Road Work Ahead! Is Construction Worth the Wait? Four case studies on the true costs and benefits of road construction projects. (see Reports & Resources section)
  • Mark Hansen, “Do New Highways Generate Traffic?” Access, University of California Transportation Center. Fall 1995.
  • Kevin Heanue, “Highway Capacity Expansion and Induced Travel: Evidence and Implications,” Circular #481, Transportation Research Board (Washington, DC; February 1998
  • Patrick De Corla-Souza and Harry Cohen, Accounting for Induced Travel in Evaluation of Urban Highway Expansion, FHWA, 1998
  • Todd Litman, “Generated Traffic; Implications for Transport Planning,” ITE Journal, Vol. 71, No. 4, Institute of Transportation Engineers (, April, 2001, pp. 38-47; also available at Victoria Transport Policy Institute (
  • Sierra Club:

Good Health and Transportation

Walking Is Transportation

  • James Corless, Sharon Sprowls, Beyond Gridlock, Surface Transportation Policy Project, May 2000

Beware of Biased Language

  • City of West Palm Beach language policy, a memo from the City Manager. (PDF, 28 KB)

This project is funded by the Physical Activity and Health Initiative, California Department of Health Services under a Preventive Health Services Block Grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Work performed as part of a UC San Francisco contract.