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Large City Transportation Issues

America's large cities play a vital role in the nation's economy and its transportation network.  The Final Report the federally funded Large City Technical Exchange and Assistance Program explores critical large city transportation issues concerning interjurisdictional cooperation in traffic management, sharing of fiber optic networks, and walkable cities.  It represents an important step in addressing the vital role of large cities in the nation's transportation system and is the first research effort of its nature.

This study was conducted by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.  The study was conducted for the Federal Highway Administration with the cooperation and support of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), which represents the central cities of the nation's ten largest metropolitan areas.

The report contains in-depth analysis and case studies of three issues identified by NACTO members as critical to large city transportation needs. The first two case studies focus on inter-jurisdictional coordination of traffic management and interagency sharing of fiber optic systems. These case studies reflect the importance of cooperative, coordinated and shared efforts among city, state and federal agencies with responsibility for urban transportation systems. The report highlights a series of "lessons learned" in developing coordinated and cooperative arrangements, particularly for the purpose of bringing the benefits of ITS to the management and operations of transportation systems in large urban areas.

The third topic, "Planning for Pedestrians in Large Urban Areas," recognizes cities' re-emergence as centers of commerce, leisure activity and tourism, and the growing importance of active downtowns to cities' economic fortunes. The third chapter of the report is a practical resource detailing the experience of large cities with a broad array of strategies, markings, devices and signage conducive to high-volume pedestrian activity.

The report was researched and written by Bruce Schaller, Henry Peyrebrune and Nancy Bower under the direction of Bruce Schaller, a Visiting Scholar at NYU, and Lee Sander, Director of the Rudin Center.

This report and the ongoing exchange of information among transportation professionals facilitated by the Large City program, advance the understanding of transportation officials in managing the nation's largest and most complex transportation systems.

We would welcome your comments on this report and suggestions for future research efforts.

You can download the full report (1.1 megabyte pdf file) or each chapter individually:

Report published November 2000

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