A bicycle built for seven

Conference Bike
Conference Bike

So, you may have seen the cover of our book: The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport (kindle, iBooks). It’s from a photo I took wandering the streets of Amsterdam. I didnt really know what it was. It turns out this crazy contraption is a “conference bike” or CoBi. Similar in functionality to a pedal pub, all of the conferees can face themselves around a table while pedaling. One conferee is steering, the others are simply adding power through pedaling and a weird gear system.

The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport, by David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek
The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport, by David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek

Tanya Muzumdar writes:

The CoBi was invented by internationally-known artist Eric Staller, whose curious large-scale works include the Magic Garden – a series of domes in a plaza in Osaka, Japan – and copper windmills with eyeball centers hanging from the ceiling of Media Plaza, in Utrecht, Netherlands. Stateside, his “Angelville” sculpture and man-shaped cabinets are housed at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

The bike is six feet wide and eight feet long. Manufactured in Germany, only 300 have been produced; indeed, in the U.S., a CoBi is a rare bird. Most reside in Europe, although Google has two at corporate headquarters. … [I]ts cost approaches that of a new economy-sized car.

So there you have it, the future of transportation might about meeting in motion, while using your own power to actively transport yourself on a conference bike. Wikipedia even has an article.

Agglomeration, accessibility and productivity: Evidence for large metropolitan areas in the US

IMG_0444Recently published

This paper estimates the productivity gains from agglomeration economies for a sample of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States using measures of urban agglomeration based on employment density and employment accessibility. The latter is a more accurate measure of economic proximity and allows testing for the spatial decay of agglomeration effects with increasing travel time. We find that the productivity gains from urban agglomeration are consistent between measures, with elasticity values between 0.07 and 0.10. The large majority of the productivity gains occur within the first 20 minutes, and do not appear to exhibit significant nonlinearities.

Accessibility dynamics and location premia: Do land values follow accessibility changes?

Recently published

The strIMG_0171ucture of transportation networks and the patterns of accessibility they give rise to are an important determinant of land prices, and hence urban spatial structure. While there is ample evidence on the cross-sectional relationship between location and land value (usually measured from the value of improved property), there is much less evidence available on the changes in this relationship over time, especially where location is represented using a disaggregate measure of urban accessibility. This paper provides evidence of this dynamic relationship using data on home sales in the Minneapolis-St Paul, MN, USA metropolitan area, coupled with disaggregate measures of urban accessibility for multiple modes, for the period from 2000 to 2005. Our investigation tracks the effects of marginal changes in accessibility over time, as opposed to static, cross- sectional relationships, by using an approach in which the unit of observation is a ‘representative house’ for each transportation analysis zone in the region. This approach allows us to control for changes in structural attributes of houses over time, while also isolating the effect of changes in accessibility levels. Results of this approach are compared with a cross-sectional model using the same variables for a single year to illustrate important differences. Empirical estimates indicate that while most of the models estimated using a cross-sectional specification yield positive and significant effects of accessibility on sale prices, these effects disappear when the models are transformed into first-difference form. We explain these findings in light of the state of maturity of urban transportation networks.

Keywords: accessibility, land value, transportation – economics, urban dynamics, urban structure

On “Don’t Vote for Bernie” Logic

I don’t have a horse in this race, but I read lots of people on the web (e.g. Dave Winer) saying don’t vote for Bernie, because (if he wins the Democratic nomination) then the Republicans will win in November. This makes little sense.

If Hillary Clinton can’t beat Bernie Sanders, (and she couldn’t beat Barack Obama, so this is a distinct possibility) why does anyone think she would nevertheless be able beat a magician like Donald Trump (or whomever, should Donald implode along the way) while Bernie would not be able to?

Let’s think this through:

Democrats H v. B

Republicans D  v. N

(H=Hillary, B=Bernie, D=Donald, N=Not Donald)

Let’s further assume that the winner in each race has majority support in their party, with at least enthusiasm from their supporters, which has been the case in most primary elections by the end.

So at this point there are 4 possible general election contests (sorry Martin),

H v. D, H v. N, B v. D, B v N

The probability of Hillary having been able to defeat D (or N) when she received less than half the support in the Democratic primary (and loosely say less than 25% strong support nationally, since Independents and Republicans don’t like her) two campaigns in a row (2008, 2016) seems weak.

For this to be true, one has to assume there are more Independents who would swing to Hillary but away from Bernie than the converse. This may hold if Hillary is perceived as more moderate and Independents were moderates, but that is not really the case.

One also has to assume that Bernie voters are more likely to turn out for Hillary than Hillary voters would be to turn out for Bernie. There is no evidence for this assumption, and the converse is more likely to be true, since Bernie is the insurgent. (Similarly, I think it is plausible that non-Trump republican voters are more likely to turn out for Trump than Trump primary voters are to turn out for non-Trump, since  Trump is attracting less mainstream voters, while party members want to win).

Sure the Democrats (or Republicans) will rally round the nominee, but as someone who was not preferred by the party she is purported to lead to victory in the General Election, she will not generate much widespread enthusiasm. The slogan “Resigned to Hillary” says it all.

Given the General Election contests are often tight, not having support of your own party is a problem (Bush ’92, Carter ’80). Given the possibility of a third party centrist candidate, this is even more tenuous, since the centrist will pull more from Hillary than from Bernie.

Being the first woman President will be attractive to some (and repulsive to others), perhaps, but so will the first Jewish President, or the first Canadian President, or the first Billionaire President, or whatever other socio-ethnic group is chosen.

In the event that Bernie won the nomination, it is evidence (in a Bayesian sense) that this “history” was not even important enough to her own party to nominate her.

So vote for who you want to be President, it’s like buying a lottery ticket but free. Not voting for someone because of how someone else might vote in the next election (when the probability of your vote being decisive is pretty close to zero) is silly, the kind of FUD the Clintons are known for.

A bicycle in every garage

Cergy-Pontoise - 19

A thought experiment:

For $30B or so, we could buy everyone in the United States a bicycle. For $6B, we could buy every kid in the US a bicycle.

To gain some perspective, this is a lot less than the cost of our present vehicle fleet or major infrastructure investments, and$30B  is less than the cost of rebuilding all the NFL stadiums in the US, which we collectively do every 25 years anyway.

What kind of changes would we see if bicycles were more ubiquitous? Would people ride more? Would they drive less? Would they demand different infrastructure? Would health actually improve?

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

To be clear I am NOT saying that the government necessarily should do this.

Catalysts And Magnets: Built Environment Effects On Bicycle Commuting


Recently published:

What effects do bicycle infrastructure and the built environment have on people’s decisions to commute by bicycle? While many studies have considered this question, commonly employed methodologies fail to address the unique statistical challenge of modeling such a low mode share. Additionally, self-selection effects that are not adequately accounted for may lead to overestimation of built environment impacts. This study addresses these two key issues by using a zero-inflated negative binomial model to jointly estimate participation in and frequency of commuting by bicycle, controlling for demographics, residential preferences, and travel attitudes. The findings suggest a strong self selection effect and modest contributions of bicycle accessibility: that bicycle lanes act as “magnets” to attract bicyclists to a neighborhood, rather than being the “catalyst” that encourages non-bikers to shift modes. The results have implications for planners and policymakers attempting to increase bicycling mode share via the strategic infrastructure development.

This is based on Jessica Schoner’s Master’s Thesis.

Alternative fuels will help shape Minnesota’s transportation future

The mix fuels used to power the vehicles on our nation’s roadways is diversifying rapidly.  While gasoline and diesel are still dominant, an increasing percentage of vehicle power is coming from alternatives such as biofuel, natural gas, and electricity. What could this shift mean for Minnesota’s transportation future? The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Local Road Research Board turned to U of M experts for analysis.

“The rise of alternative fuels is something we need to keep a close eye on, because it presents a number of issues that may significantly alter our state’s transportation system,” says Adam Boies, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering (CEGE).

Minnesota leads the nation in biofuel use, in part due to a series of legislative acts designed to encourage ethanol production and consumption. Boies predicts, however, that biofuel consumption in the state is near saturation and that future shifts will likely be between biofuels. “These shifts may alter the routes of heavy-goods vehicles in the state as refineries shift from corn and soy to fuels derived from agriculture wastes and forest byproducts,” he says.

If the price of natural gas remains significantly lower than diesel fuel, natural gas vehicles will likely make up an increasing share of the heavy-duty vehicle fleet in Minnesota. A larger natural gas refueling infrastructure will need to be developed, most likely by private organizations that manage fleets of vehicles. “As this happens,” Boies says, “efforts must ensure that natural gas vehicles and refueling infrastructure do not emit significant quantities of methane, which has a high global warming potential.”

Minnesota electric vehicle sales have lagged behind the nation—winter temperatures are one factor—but Boies expects the numbers to rise. He estimates 16 percent of new cars sold in Minnesota in 2035, and 56 percent in 2050, will be electrified. The growing numbers will require a more robust charging infrastructure, likely supplied or subsidized by government agencies, he says.

In the long term, on-road charging systems are being investigated. In these systems, under study in several countries, charging coils embedded within the roadway transfer power wirelessly to vehicles. “The systems could make electric vehicles drastically more efficient by reducing vehicle battery size,” he says.

Better vehicle efficiency is likely to continue the trend of falling fuel tax revenues. “Minnesota will need a method for producing revenues from electric vehicles to maintain long-term funding for the transportation road network,” he says. “Currently the higher price of electric vehicles results in increased revenues during vehicle registration, which tends to offset the difference in fuel tax revenues. However, as the price differential between electric vehicles and traditional vehicles shrinks, there will be decreased funding for Minnesota roadways unless additional revenue sources are found.”

Finally, emphasis on fuel efficiency in the light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle fleets will drive the weight of these vehicle segments in opposite directions. “Light-duty vehicles will get lighter and heavy-duty vehicle fleet operators will lobby for increased weight limits on Minnesota roadways to reduce the energy intensity of goods deliveries,” Boies says. “This growing disparity in weight between the two vehicle classes may require increased safety measures to reduce the severity of crashes between vehicle classes.”

“The question of how alternative fuels and electric vehicles will impact the transportation system, ownership models, and operating costs, as well as vehicle and driver safety, are extremely important topics to study,” says Ken Buckeye, MnDOT program manager. “The potential for these trends to impact our revenue streams is also very significant. When you couple those trends with the federal mandate for a CAFÉ standard of 56 mpg by 2025, we are likely to see some profound impacts that reach across modes, jurisdictions, and funding mechanisms.”

Boies’s research is part of a multi-pronged study funded by MnDOT and the LRRB that analyzed the technological shifts altering surface transportation and the implications for Minnesota. Other contributors included CEGE professor and principal investigator David Levinson and associate professors Jason Cao and Yingling Fan of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Their high-level white papers are compiled in a final report: The Transportation Futures Project: Planning for Technology Change. Future issues of Catalyst will share findings from other chapters.

The Transportation Futures Project: Planning for Technology Change

Recently published

The Executive Summary is reproduced below.

Executive Summary

The next two decades will see more change in the transportation sector than have been seen in 100 years. The introduction of autonomous vehicles, from a few cars initially, to all new cars, to eventually all cars will radically change how transportation is used. The concomitant electrification of vehicles will provide further opportunities to better optimize the use of transportation systems. Finally, continuing advances in information and mobile communications technology will up-end the way people think about transportation systems. This report explores in eight chapters the changes that are coming.

Fully autonomous test vehicles from automakers and new entrants like Google have traveled in general traffic over 1 million miles collectively. Semi-autonomous vehicles are already here. Tesla auto-pilot (available in about 100,000 cars), for instance, can both keep lanes and follow the car in front, in addition to automatically changing lanes with direction from the driver. Tesla cars drive over 1 million miles per day nationally, though the amount of that in semi-autonomous mode is proprietary. The transition from human driven vehicles to fully autonomous vehicles is tricky. Some automakers believe that incremental transition is viable. Others note the danger of semi- autonomous vehicles that require periodic human intervention, and argue instead for step-jump to fully autonomous vehicles. The impacts described below are associated with fully autonomous vehicles (no driver control).

We anticipate the following timeline for the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles (Chapter 1):

  • 2020 market availability,
  • 2030 regulatory requirement for all new cars,
  • 2040 prohibition of non-autonomous vehicles from public roads at most times.

The consequences of fully autonomous vehicles are numerous. Some of the more important ones are listed below and discussed more fully in the report.


  • Increased safety overall as driverless cars don’t get tired and have better sensors and algorithms than humans. If driverless cars are not significantly safer, they will not be permitted. Total fatalities may drop over 90% with driverless vehicles as human error is eliminated. No system can be perfectly safe, but it will be significantly safer. Road designs and sight-lines will be far less relevant than design criteria as a result.
  • An explosion of vehicle forms, including new, narrow, single-passenger vehicles, which will be safer than motorcycles given their automated drivers and new structural designs enabled by electrification. People will feel more comfortable in small vehicles mixed with large vehicles if all are automated.
  • Increased capacity from existing pavements as cars can follow with a shorter headway and can occupy narrower lanes. This implies far more capacity in existing lanes, and less need to expand roads.
  • Higher speeds on limited access roadways, as driver comfort with car-following and speed is no longer determinative of the maximum speed of travel.
  • Lower speeds on local streets as automated vehicles better obey traffic laws and slow down to avoid collisions with other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Vehicles moving without people. After dropping off passengers, vehicles will redeploy to park or to pick up other passengers, meaning there will be many unoccupied vehicles on the road. Freight and delivery vehicles may similarly be unoccupied. Unoccupied vehicles have less need for speed than vehicles carrying people, creating opportunities for differentiating network speeds.
  • Mobility for everyone. Children, disabled persons, and others who today cannot drive will be able to achieve the same level of mobility as others with the full deployment of automated vehicles, especially mobility as a service.
  • Lowered vehicle costs (for all vehicles as all user-facing vehicle control equipment is eliminated — saving money — even as new vehicle sensors are added)
  • Lowered vehicle insurance costs (as crash insurance is offered by vehicle manufacturers)
  • Lowered vehicle repair costs (as crashes, particularly small property damage crashes are reduced and vehicles are simplified with electrification)
  • Lowered labor costs (for transit, taxis, freight) as all vehicle types are automated. This implies these modes will be more price competitive than presently.
  • Retrofitting rights-of-way so that small lightweight neighborhood electric vehicles don’t need to mix with heavyweight trucks and large cars.
  • Roadspace reallocation so that lanes no longer needed for moving or storing cars can be used for other purposes (bike lanes, exclusive transit lanes, linear parks).
  • Increased ability to use time for non-driving tasks (see Chapter 2), which implies both bigger and smaller vehicles
  • Increased willingness to travel longer distances. In-vehicle time becomes more useful, and therefore less likely to be avoided. The saved travel time and the increased utility of travel are likely to encourage visits to more distant but more attractive destinations.
  • Increased gender equality as household chores like shopping and pick-up/drop-off services are increasingly automated.
  • Increased willingness to live farther out. People will be more likely to make housing location choices based on their residential preferences (such as school quality, neighborhood security, neighborhood cohesion, etc.) than spatial accessibility

The ownership structure of automobiles will also change in coming years as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) (Chapter 4) becomes more prominent. Sharing implies a reduction in auto ownership (increased mobility-as-a-service) in cities as car-sharing (Car2Go, Zipcar, Hourcar) and ride- sharing (Uber, Lyft, taxi) converge into a single driverless service that provides the right-size car for a given trip on a per-trip basis. While the degree to which people will give up the on-demand convenience of owning a car is unclear, it is far more likely in large cities where people rent apartments and car ownership is a hassle, than in rural areas, where response times of car rental will be larger. MaaS has a number of implications:

The average age of the car will be younger, as shared vehicles are utilized more hours per day and turn-over more quickly. Cars become more like phones and less like long-lasting durable goods.

  • The average size of car will be smaller as firms can right-size the fleet for demand, in contrast with privately owned cars, which are typically sized for extreme or unusual uses, rather than the daily one- or two-person trips.
  • MaaS customers will travel less frequently than those who own cars, as they will pay out- of-pocket for capital costs each trip, while those who own cars forget about the sunk cost of ownership, which is paid for independent of the number of trips made.
  • Streets will need to be redesigned to favor loading and unloading passengers, rather than on-street parking.
  • Sharing implies an increased willingness to live in cities, which will be cleaner, safer, and more accessible with electric, automated, and shared vehicles respectively.

Information and communications technologies (Chapter 3) are changing travel demand patterns. Work at home, now at 4.4 percent, is rising, and while unlikely to replace all or even most work outside the home in the next two to three decades (when still fewer than 10 percent of workers are likely to work at home), it can certainly substitute in significant ways for many information economy jobs, and for the information-rich components of traditional jobs. Part-time telecommuting can reduce peak travel, both by shifting the time-of-day when commutes occur and avoiding it on select days altogether. Online shopping continues to grow, and is now about 8% of retail sales, and it could continue to rise to upward of 50% of retail activity, leading to a substitution of delivery for many more shopping tasks. The rise of virtual connectivity has occurred at the same time that the amount of in-person interaction has fallen in the past decade.

Yet, information and communication technologies (ICT) not only reduce travel and but also induce new travel. For telecommuting, the key findings include the following:


  • Telecommuting reduces commute travel during both peak and non-peak hours;
  • Telecommuting enables commuters to move farther away from their employment location and become even more auto-dependent;
  • Telecommuting increases non-work travel, which takes place mostly close to home;
  • Telecommuting reduces vehicle miles traveled (VMT) slightly, but it helps mitigate the growth of congestion on freeways;

For e-shopping, the literature shows that


  • Online searching is positively associated with store shopping and people who buy online also buy in person more;
  • Studies are mixed on whether e-shopping reduces travel to stores and other leisure activities in the short term;
  • E-shopping for now digital products (books, records, videos) has already changed retail patterns and shopping travel behavior;
  • Online buying increases delivery traffic and freight transportation;
  • Existing studies are based on the small share of e-shopping in retail industries. If its share is large enough to change the distribution of commercial land uses in the region, e-shopping will have a profound effect on shopping-related travel.

ICT are often promoted as a virtue alternative to physical travel, but transportation planners should be realistic about the relationships between ICT and travel: Although the short-term effect of ICT on travel may be substitution, in the long term, travel demand has historically grown as ICT demand increases.

New sensors (Chapter 5) attached to the vehicle, person, and roadway will create increasing streams of information about real-time conditions on all transportation systems. This should have numerous applications, for instance, enabling transportation agencies to improve traffic signal

timing, and better matching of supply to demand. Connected vehicles are coming independent of automated vehicles. Whether the infrastructure providers add intelligence to their road and signal systems (for instance, telling vehicles when the light is about to change) is an open question.

The potential transition away from gasoline is another important change confronting the transportation sector (Energy -Chapter 6). The timeline for electrification is similar but slower than that for automation. Though automated vehicles need not be electric, and electric vehicles need not be automated, we expect these systems to track and both see increasing deployment. If current trends hold, electric vehicles (EVs) may make up 68% of new car sales by 2050. This number is highly dependent on gasoline prices and environmental regulations. Minnesota will likely lag the US as the cold weather is less conducive to EVs than the US as a whole.

Electricity generation costs are dropping, as are battery storage costs. There are new opportunities for in-roadway electric charging (dynamic wireless power transfer), probably beginning with buses at bus stops, that should be explored by transportation agencies. The advantage of such charging systems are a reduction in on-board battery storage weight required, which greatly improves vehicle efficiency (since energy is not consumed moving around stored energy). Gasoline remains the fuel to beat, and if gasoline costs remain low, electric vehicle deployment will be slower. Other fuels like methanol have an opportunity to become more significant, especially for truck fleets, for which electrification is much less efficient. Urban fleets with a lot of stop-start activity may see hybrid electric vehicles.

We anticipate a reduction in energy consumption overall per distance traveled with reductions in vehicle weight for passenger cars and more efficient use of trucks (which are likely to get heavier, as they carry larger loads).

Biofuel use for surface transportation is likely to plateau near existing use levels; however, it may increasingly be used in the electricity sector (and thus indirectly for an increasingly electrified transportation sector).

Importantly, a reduction in gasoline consumption has large implications for transport financing. The lack of user fees for electric vehicles is a growing inequity that creates opportunities to move toward road pricing, as discussed below

Pricing (Chapter 7) transportation proportionate to use has been a holy grail for transportation economists for decades. Pricing can be used to reduce or eliminate congestion by managing demand so that it does not exceed available supply. However, to date, it has been technologically and politically difficult to implement such a system. The advent of electronic toll collection (ETC) in the 1990s has resulted in a small resurgence in the number of toll roads, but there is no evidence that individual toll roads will expand to be a significant share of all roads anytime soon.

Cities like Singapore, London, and Stockholm have established congestion charging zones. However, urban congestion charges have yet to be deployed in any large US city, and are unlikely to come to Minnesota before playing on the more congested New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago stages.

High occupancy toll lanes, such as the MnPASS lanes in Minnesota, are being deployed at a more rapid rate. The additional merit of these lanes is the opportunity to have this converted to serve automated-only traffic much sooner than all roads can be, providing a much higher throughput than general purpose lanes. This could occur as soon as 2025, and provide a decade of additional road capacity before human-driven cars are driven-off the freeway for the last time.

Notably, EVs do not pay gas tax. (And hybrid electric vehicles pay much less per mile in gas tax than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles). As EVs gain market share, if the user-pays principle is to be maintained and reinforced, a new financing system needs to be found for these vehicles. This provides an opportunity to implement mileage charges with off-peak discounts, helping spread the peak and better-use road capacity. Phasing in road pricing one electric vehicle at a time seems the most promising strategy to deploy pricing on roads without the risks of a new large-scale system deployment.

Logistics (Chapter 8) identifies a number of potential changes affecting the freight sector and how goods are delivered. Automation will affect deliveries as it has changed passenger transportation. A variety of automated delivery systems are likely to trialed in the coming decade, as distributors and retailers aim to connect directly to customers.

On the logistics side, there are a number of changes enabled by information technologies. Supply chain network pooling and the physical Internet for long-distance shipments may become increasingly common as a means of getting better capacity utilization out of vehicles and drivers or vehicle controllers. Similarly efficiencies can be garnered through consolidated home delivery. All of these mean that fewer, but heavier trucks will be using Minnesota roads. Same day delivery in business-to-business, and more significantly, in business-to-consumer sectors is also likely to become more common, reducing shopping trips, and making online purchasing even more spontaneous, but in the net not affecting road usage much in terms of amount, but perhaps more in terms of additional traffic in evening and weekend periods.

The overall conclusions are complex, but they suggest significant changes in the transportation sector over the coming few decades. Business-as-usual practices will need to change consistent with changing technologies and their effect on both supply and demand.


Download PDF (4 MB)

A Prolegomenon To Bill Garrison

The remarks I gave at the Memorial for Bill Garrison held January 11

Bill Garrison lived from 1924 to 2015. Over this time he witnessed rise of the car (the automobile/highway system as he called it), the fall of transit, the rise of aviation and the fall of intercity rail.

Bill Garrison (2007)
Bill Garrison (2007)

When I first applied and came to Berkeley in 1994, I didn’t know who Bill Garrison was. This was the age before the World Wide Web made information available at your fingertips. Once I arrived, I saw he was a Prof. Emeritus, which still did not make much impression.

But he was one of those people everyone (but me) knew somehow. Students from earlier years said I should take his course (co-taught with Mark Hansen) in the Spring, even though it had a mundane title like Transportation Policy and Planning, which sounded like a class which I had taken several times before. It was nothing like any class I had taken before.

Before each class, he would write all of the relevant lecture’s notes on the chalkboard, and then he would just lecture from them. He also had typed course notes available at the library.

It was a great class, where I learned about and fell in love with the S-Curve. It explained so much, and technology change was never considered anywhere else in transportation planning.

When I ultimately landed at Minnesota, I would teach a similar course in January 2000. I had photocopied the notes from the library, but this was the new millennium, so I asked him for his notes electronically so I could share with students.

He wrote:

Those are vintage notes, David.  Most of them are now in computer files, but having been written in fragments by a person who is not well organized, it would be a considerable undertaking to pull them out and send in any reasonable order.

But I would like to see them used and would be willing to do that. It would take about a month, I think, and that might be too late for your use. Also, there is some need for revision to include modern times.

I’ve had in the back of my mind developing the notes in book form, but other things get in the way. Would you be interested in doing that?

He sent me a bunch of WordPerfect files (on a Zip Disk) which I managed to convert, and scanned some others for which the electronic files were lost .

I organized and edited them and put them in book form (The Transportation Experience) and sent them to him. We met in person in 2002, at which point he said, something like, “Oh, have you seen these notes for CE256,” which were for another course he taught before me time. He then sent those to me, and I reorganized the book. With some back and forth it was put into shape and sent to a publisher.

Over time I came to realize who he was, his significance to Quantitative Geography, Transportation Policy, and ITS. He is one of the few academics who has had papers written about him and his contributions.

But his insight, the ability to see farther than his peers, hit home. In the early 2000s I shared with him some work that I thought was interesting that I was doing on the evolution of transportation networks. He said, you should look at this paper, from 1965, he wrote with Duane Marble, one of his famous Space Cadets, students of his from the University of Washington who rocked Geography. It was called “A PROLEGOMENON TO THE FORECASTING OF TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT” *   It was an obscure report done for the Naval Ordinance Laboratory of all places, which anticipated work on the growth of networks 4 decades later.

In short, I have come to realize there are no original ideas in transportation, they all were anticipated by Bill Garrison and his students in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s Bill Garrison’s world and we are just living in it.


  • “Prolegomenon” is defined as “A preliminary discussion, especially a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity.”