New book: Sustainable Transportation Planning
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In a conventional book about transportation, you’d expect traffic volumes, speed of movement, and engineering-related matters to loom large. Those topic come up in Jeffrey Tumlin’s new book, but they’re far from being his primary focus.
Tumlin, a principal at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates in San Francisco, first wants to put transportation in a broader, more humanistic perspective. That means looking at transportation in terms of how we live, how we should live, how we might like to live.
“Transportation is not an end in itself,” Tumlin declares in the introduction to this vigorously written book. “Rather, it is an investment that cities use to help achieve their larger goals.” The larger goals involve economic development, he acknowledges, but they also involve quality of life, social equity, public health, and ecological sustainability.
It follows, then, that the early chapters of Sustainable Transportation Planning examine what “sustainability” entails, how the dominant modes of transportation affect people’s health, how driving affects social well-being, how willing we should be to devote vast quantities of fossil fuels to getting around, and related questions.
Tumlin has a vision of the ideal community — it’s one in which people can get some essential exercise as part of their everyday activities;