The Transportation Experience: Second Edition

The Transportation Experience

William L. Garrison and David M. Levinson are pleased to announce the publication of their book The Transportation Experience: Second Edition

The Transportation Experience: Policy, Planning, and Deployment Second Edition

The book is available for order at Oxford University Press (see Flyer for 20% discount),  AmazoniBooks,  and Barnes and Noble

ISBN-10: 0199862710 and ISBN-13: 978-0199862719

Book Description

The Transportation Experience explores the historical evolution of transportation modes and technologies. The book traces how systems are innovated, planned and adapted, deployed and expanded, and reach maturity, where they may either be maintained in a polished obsolesce often propped up by subsidies, be displaced by competitors, or be reorganized and renewed. An array of examples supports the idea that modern policies are built from past experiences. William Garrison and David Levinson assert that the planning (and control) of nonlinear, unstable processes is today’s central transportation problem, and that this is universal and true of all modes. Modes are similar, in that they all have a triad structure of network, vehicles, and operations; but this framework counters conventional wisdom. Most think of each mode as having a unique history and status, and each is regarded as the private playground of experts and agencies holding unique knowledge, operating in isolated silos. However, this book argues that while modes have an appearance of uniqueness, the same patterns repeat: systems policies, structures, and behaviors are a generic design on varying modal cloth. In the end, the illusion of uniqueness proves to be myopic. While it is true that knowledge has accumulated from past experiences, the heavy hand of these experiences places boundaries on current knowledge; especially on the ways professionals define problems and think about processes. The Transportation Experience provides perspective for the collections of models and techniques that are the essence of transportation science, and also expands the boundaries of current knowledge of the field.


Reviews of the first edition of the book appear in:

Reviews of the second edition of the book appear in:

Table of Contents

(with accompanying [Video] links)



Part One – Wave One: 1790–1851

  • 1. Rivers of Steam [Video]
  • 2. Design by Design: The Birth of the Railway [Video]
  • 3. The Turnpike Era [Video]

Part Two – Phase 1 of the Life-Cycle

  • 4. Inventing and Innovating [Video]

Part Three – Wave Two 1844–1896

Part Four – Phase 2 of the Life-Cycle

  • 10. Magic Bullet  [Video]

Part Five – Wave Three 1890-1950

  • 11. American Shipping  [Video]
  • 12. Taking Flight [Video]
  • 13. Railroads Regulated [Video]
  • 14. Bustitution [Video]
  • 15. Public Roads [Video]
  • 16. Urban Planning: Who Controls the Turf?  [Video]
  • 17. Telephone  [Video]

Part Six – Phase 3 of the Life-Cycle

Part Seven – Wave Four: 1939-1991

  • 19. Logistics  [Video]
  • 20. The Jet Age [Video]
  • 21. Railroads Rationalized [Video]
  • 22. Interstate [Video]
  • 23. Recapitalization [Video]
  • 24. Lord Kelvin’s Curse [Video]

Part Eight – Life-Cycle Dynamics

Part Nine – Wave Five: Modern Times

  • 27. Energy and Environment [Video]
  • 28. Higher-speed rail [Video]
  • 29. Internet [Video]
  • 30. Technology: Hard and Soft [Video]

Part Ten – Beyond the Life-Cycle

Part Eleven – Afterwords: Reflections on Transportation Experiences

  • 33. I-35W [Video]
  • 34. Design of a Life [Video]
  • 35. Commencement [Video]

Part Twelve – End Matter

  • Appendix
  • Notes
  • Bibliography

From the Back Cover

“It’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive survey of transportation history than The Transportation Experience. The book guides readers from the days of steam engines and turnpikes to those of high-speed trains and robot-driven cars-blending top academic insight with colorful biographical bites. Whether your interest is infrastructure, public policy, transport theory, or just travel in general, you’ll grow wiser from the journey.”

“Everything you wanted to know about transportation is in this book. It is not only a comprehensive look back at the transit methods that built the nation, but a look forward based on how the lessons from the past can be applied to the modern metropolitan economies. This book could not come at a better time.”

  • — Robert Puentes, Director, Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, Brookings Institution

From the Back Cover of the First Edition

“The Transportation Experience takes a no-gloves approach with well-thought-out and provocative statements on transit, energy, the environment, induced demand, and even the choice of paving materials and aid to developing nations. Garrison and Levinson have produced a timeless book.”

  • Reg Souleyrette, Gerald and Audrey Olson Professor of Civil Engineering, Iowa State University

“The Transportation Experience is wholly unlike any other text on transportation out there. It is wide-ranging, eclectic, well-argued, discursive, nonlinear, historical, futuristic, insightful, and sprawling; it takes us off in many directions at once; and it epitomizes what’s so intrinsically enthralling and at the root of transportation: connectivity.”

“Two of the most original thinkers in transportation-Garrison and Levinson-have joined forces to created a truly unique book. While most scholarship examines transportation problems from distinct disciplinary lenses, these two self-proclaimed ‘transportationists’ argue in twenty-eight wide-ranging chapters for a new, transportation-centered disciplinary lens through which economic, political, and technological issues can be viewed in a very different light.”

  • Brian D. Taylor, AICP, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of Urban Planning, Director, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies

“Comprehensive, insightful, and well-written, this volume should be of interest to everyone interested in how we got to where we are and where we will most likely go in the future with transport. It should also be the first volume read by the planners, engineers, and social scientists who intend to devote their careers to transport research.”

“The Transportation Experience is an important book. Written by Professor Wiliam L. Garrison, one of our most distinguished transportation educators, and Professor David M. Levinson, an up-and-coming star in the field, it gives a variety of interesting perspectives on the transportation enterprise. Their overarching theme is that we can do better through effective operations, investment and policy and through better understanding of ‘why people, systems and institutions do what they do’. This is a valuable book for faculty, students and practitioners alike in the transportation field.”