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167176-1 Report Abstract

Graduate Course Development: Transportation Policy and Politics

Eric Lindquist, Texas A&M University, August 2009, 45 pp. (167176-1)

Transportation, public policy, and politics are inextricably linked and have been, in the United States, from at least 1956, with the birth of the federal highway system and the Interstate Highway Act, if not earlier. Much of the transportation system we enjoy today is paid for by public funds—which in and of itself invokes a political process. From the 1956 Act to the present day debate on the latest federal transportation reauthorization effort, the effort to solve the transportation problems in this country has been a political process. As this report was being drafted, for example, the future of the latest federal transportation reauthorization, originally scheduled for debate this spring and summer has been put on hold by the Obama Administration as a result of political maneuvering. It is anticipated that the formal reauthorization will be put off for 18 months, while the current authorization will be extended through temporary measures. In spite of these linkages there are few graduate level courses that systematically explore the dynamic interaction of transportation, policy, and politics. The objective of this project was to address this situation and assess the potential for such a course at Texas A&M University (TAMU). We conducted content analysis of existing course syllabi at other universities, implemented an internet survey, and found a significant level of interest in providing such a course. A draft syllabus is included, as are reference lists and summaries of similar courses being offered elsewhere.

Keywords: Transportation Policy, Transportation Politics, Transportation Education

SUMMARY REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 325 KB)