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This study evaluates the various arguments for urban transportation projects and analyzes whether the most economical methods are being selected or if better alternatives are available. The authors formulate and test a series of fundamental hypotheses on the social and economic structure of American cities that redefines the key problems and presents a new assessment of the appropriate roles of automobile, bus, and rail transport in urban areas. Generally speaking, these empirical evaluations suggest that the conventionally accepted views on these hypotheses are either wrong or serious oversimplifications.
Part I of the study is essentially concerned with describing the environment within which urban transportation systems and policies must operate; Part II focuses exclusively on cost analyses—that is, the development of procedures and figures for more accurately evaluating the relative costs and efficiency of different modes of urban transportation; in Part III, the implications of these different empirical and cost findings are developed for policy formulation and planning.