Talk abstract: Public transportation is a critical element in US transportation planning. Planners and others advocate for better public transit as a means to achieve a broad array of urban planning objectives: attracting people out of private vehicles; reshaping US metropolitan areas; solving congestion, energy and air pollution problems; revitalizing urban neighborhoods; and supplying basic mobility for those who have no or limited access to private vehicles. Over the past four decades, support for public transit has greatly increased. In 2006 all levels of government spent an estimated $36 billion on transit capital investments and operating expenses. However, public transit continues to serve a small share of the travel market even in the largest metropolitan areas. This talk examines outcomes of four decades of transit policy. Using two examples, mobility for the disadvantaged and transit impacts on land use, I show that little progress is being made in achieving transit’s objectives. Public transit, however, continues to receive strong public support, and subsidies continue to grow. I argue that investment and service decisions that generate public support are major barriers to achieving public transit’s urban planning objectives.
About Genevieve Giuliano: Genevieve Giuliano is Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Research and Technology in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California, and Director of the METRANS joint USC and California State University Long Beach Transportation Center. She was named the Margaret and John Ferraro Chair in Effective Local Government in 2009 for her work in regional transportation policy. She also holds courtesy appointments in Civil Engineering and Geography. Professor Giuliano’s research focus areas include relationships between land use and transportation, transportation policy analysis, and information technology applications in transportation. She has published over 140 papers, and has presented her research at numerous conferences both within the US and abroad. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Urban Studies and Journal of Transport Policy. She is a past member and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board. She was named a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, received the TRB William Carey Award for Distinguished Service in 2006, and was awarded the Deen Lectureship in 2007. She has participated in several National Academies of Sciences policy studies; most recently for the NAS study, America’s Climate Choices.