ARCHITECTURE: Transportation Planning [and Architects].

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29-OCT-1993 16:18:40.41
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Subj: Transportation Planning in the US

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Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1993 15:36:54 -0400
From: Dharm Guruswamy <[email protected]>
Subject: Transportation Planning in the US
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I mentioned yesterday that I listened to Frank Pentii from the US
Department of Transportations Office of Intermodalism speak on 10/27. He
stressed to us that, there will be a HUGE demand for transportation
planners in the United States created by ISTEA.

To put this in context he was giving his lecture to the Transportation &
Logistics Society of the University of Maryland. These are BUSINESS
students studying primarily to be logistics personnel for major US
corporations. Then I read the only letter to the editor published in the

In that letter, Bruce O. Bender, AICP with the Vermont Department of
Transportation. He remarked that a friend went to the APA Conference
this year in Chicago. He was particularily interested in the
transportation planning track at the conference. What dissapointed his
friend was all the none APA types at the conference (FHWA officials, for

He then reflected on his own personal experience when he attended the
NASTO (Northeast Association of Transportation Officials) conference held
at the same time as the APA conference. In the conference officials
responsible for spending $120 million dollars in PLANNING money was
present. To his dismay however, of the more than 600 officials present
only about 30 had the word "plan" in their job titles. Of those 30, only
FOUR were APA member, and only TWO, of those were AICP. At the NASTO
conference the officials present would be at least partially responsible
for spending $4.8 billion dollars in FEDERAL transportation funding alone
in FY 1993.

Yes, I imagine there were quite a few ITE (Institute for Transportation
Engineers) and ACSE (American Society of Civil Engineers) members present.
Planners work closely with transportation engineers, but even so, a lot of
those 570 non planners were neither transportation engineers nor
transportation planners.

I believe this should alarm urban planning schools in the United
States. Virtually ALL OF THEM should offer concentrations or
specializations in transportation planning. Of the 50 or so schools with
accredited planning programs in the US, the sad fact is only about a
dozen or so offer transportation planning as an option. Wright in his
book FAST WHEELS: SLOW TRAFFIC points out that, transportation an
extremely important issue facing civilization, is studied by SO FEW its
almost scandalous.

Since I am getting ready to attend graduate school, I have been reading
the various journals and magazines that deal with transportation
planning. I can name perhaps 15 people in the United States that have
written 75% of the published material out there. Most of those people
are not planners (not that engineers, economist, geographers, and even
architects don't make important contributions, they do, its the lack of
planners I'm trying to point out), and that disturbs me.

Well I've rambled on long enough... Any opinions?

Dharm Guruswamy Senior Urban Studies & Planning Major
University of Maryland at College Park - A Flagship Institution
I cant believe its my last year! | MD Basketball 93-94 is almost here!
[email protected] [email protected]
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