Urban Transportation Policy Evolution
In addition to competing with there public needs, there has been tension between different aspects of transportation policy. The competition between policy aspects has resulted in constant changes in the policy area. While there was some agreement during the periods when transportation policy remained constant, there were also some disagreements emerging from time to time whether some changes should take place. This paper will discuss how different transportation policies emerged, how they evolved, and how they changed overtime.
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There are two kinds of agendas discussed in the paper: a government agenda and a session agenda. The factors that contribute to an agenda setting are described. All these factors will explain how and why an agenda is set in the way it is. The discussion of transportation policies will focus on two broad and competing policies. One of them aims to address the supply side of transportation problems. It is called a supply management policy. Another policy is the policy, which focuses on addressing the demand side of the problems.
It is also referred to a demand management policy. To analyze the agenda setting for transportation policy and its evolution, this paper ill present a framework which categorizes transportation evolution into three stages (between 1944 and present): an initial condition, a period of disturbances, and a period after disturbances. This paper will describe the change of transportation policy in each stage including why one policy emerges when another does not. Problems relating to transportation problem are complex and controversial.
In general, there are two kinds of problems related to transportation systems: those that affect the transportation system and those that are affected by the transportation system. Rapid growth of population and people’s desire for low- insist neighborhoods are examples of problems affecting the transportation system. On the other hand, air pollution and traffic congestion are problems produced by the transportation system. In addition to their complexity, transportation problems are quite controversial. Many causes contributing to the problems lead to many ideas and solutions that can be used to solve them.
As a result, those advocating different ideas compete with each other to bring their solution to practice. 2 As transportation problems are so complex and controversial, policies which aim to address them tend to be complex and controversial ones. This paper will describe the evolution of transportation policy. It will discuss concepts which are important to understand the policy evolution. Those are the emergence of transportation policy onto the political agenda, the change in agenda-setting, and the stability of policy.
The main focus of this paper is on two groups of policies: policies related to supply side of transportation problem, which will be called a supply management policy (or supply policy), and policies related to the demand side, which will be called a demand management policy (or demand policy). Examples of highway policy and arrant policy will be used to represent a supply policy and a demand policy respectively. Chronologically, this paper examines three stages. The first stage addresses the initial conditions. The discussion of the initial condition will start from 1944.
Period of disturbances will be the second stage. The third stage will focus on the period after disturbances. The Agenda Explained: Agenda Definitions Kingdom (1995, p. 3) defines an “agenda” as the list of subjects or problems to which government officials, and people outside of government closely associated with those officials, are paying serious attention to at any given time. According to this definition, when a certain transportation policy is given serious attention, it is considered on the agenda. Types of Agenda According to Kingdom, there are two types of agenda: a government agenda and a decision agenda.
A government agenda is the list of subjects that are getting the attention (Kingdom, 1995, p. 4). A decision agenda is the lists of subjects within the “government agenda” that are up for an active decision (Kingdom, 1995, p. 4). Three factors affect government agenda setting: problems, politics, and visible together to be able to set a government agenda. Any of the three factors is enough to push an issue onto the government agenda. For example, a congestion problem alone is enough to get attention from government. If traffic congestion is severe, government will tend to pay attention and bring this problem onto the government agenda.
Occasionally, visible participants such as elected officials set a transportation issue onto an agenda, even though a transportation problem does not currently exist. For example, during the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set highway construction on the agenda principally to expedite economic growth. According to Smirk (1965, p 124), ” increased federal aid to urban highways became available during the dark days of the depression. It was one of the radical schemes born of the desperate national plight. When Franklin D.
Roosevelt began the vast New Deal program to relieve unemployment, highway construction was among the first items on the list. ” The government agenda is the list of issues to which government is paying attention. It does not include issues involved in an authoritative decision. In order to be implemented, the government agenda has to be transformed into a decision agenda. Kingdom (1995, p. 02) states that the complete Joining of problems, policies, and politics, which are relatively independent streams, dramatically increases the odds that a subject will become firmly fixed on a decision agenda. Stage One: Initial Conditions Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 A number of government policies have been adopted to provide mobility for people. However, these policies were mixed among many transportation modes such as buses, rails, and automobiles. It was not until 1944 that a highway-only policy was initiated (Smirk, 1965), when President Franklin D. , Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944. Agenda Setting How did the highway-only policy emerge onto the government agenda? As already mentioned, three factors – problems, politics, and visible participants- play a major role in government agenda-setting.
In case of the supply policy (such as a highway policy), it was brought to the agenda solely by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who could be defined as a visible participant. This policy originated from the idea that highway construction would create Jobs and stimulates the U. S. Economy. According to Kingdom, there are three streams that play a vital role in decision agenda-setting: a robber stream, a political stream, and a policy stream. A problem stream is an event or a condition which is considered a problem and needs to be solved.
A political stream is a political event that has a powerful effect on agenda-setting. Such events include change in political administration. National mood or the climate of public opinion is considered a political stream (Kingdom, 1995). Finally, a policy stream is the process conducted by public agencies to analyze a problem and produce solutions in stream, a political stream, and a policy stream contributes to the issue being fixed on the decision agenda. The problem stream was clear in 1944: the nation had experienced an economic depression.
Resolution of this problem demanded solutions. The political stream was composed of the national mood or a public opinion (Kingdom, 1995, p. 145-146). Since people were unemployed and poor, they wanted some kind of government programs that would generate Jobs and personal income. The national mood was in favor of a program that would lead to economic recovery. Finally, the Bureau of Public Road (BPR), which was the pro-highway public agency and considered a policy stream, proposed a solution to the problem: highway construction.
In this case, a solution came to be coupled with the problem Joining the three streams together, the highway construction policy emerged on the decision Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 was handicapped by a lack of money to support highway construction. Excise taxes and toll were not popular, and the government opposed special bond issues and increased debt. Therefore, highways construction in this period totaled less than 40,000 miles (Winner, 1992, p. 4). The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 signed by President Eisenhower launched the largest public works program yet undertaken (Winner, 1992, p. , the construction of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. This program has been dramatically touted as the greatest program of public works since the Great Wall of China (Smirk, 1965, p. 131). The following paragraphs will address how this policy was brought to a political agenda. After the war ended and the national economy recovered, new concerns about transportation problems centered on traffic congestion, especially urban traffic congestion. Since traffic congestion was a public concern, the U. S. Government began to pay serious attention to this problem.
Urban traffic congestion, a part of the robber stream, had brought the Interstate Highway program onto the government 4 How did this policy emerge onto the decision agenda? The answer lies in the coupling of the three streams (Kingdom, 1995). The severity of traffic congestion confirmed the existence of a problem stream. The problem stream was coupled with a policy stream, which suggested the solution that more roads had to be built. Since traffic congestion was thought to be a problem of insufficient roads, adding more roads was believed to be the solution.
Since monetary problems hampering in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 were successfully solved, building the interstate highways became a feasible solution. The monetary problems were solved by creating a Highway Trust Fund. Since excise taxes debt increase, highway construction had to rely on other sources. Consequently, the Highway Trust Fund, which collected money from a gasoline tax, was established, becoming a primary source of money used to build interstate highways. It was the first time that the tax income from motor vehicles and highway expenditures had been linked.
The Highway Trust Fund had made the highway program self-financing. The problem and the policy streams conformed to the political stream. The national mood shifted from concerns of economy to those of mobility (efficiency of travel, travel time saving). People desired to drive their automobiles and would not tolerate driving on the congested roads. They wanted the government to build more roads. In addition, powerful interest groups such as oil industries, automobile industries, and steel industries, also wanted the government to build more roads, so that they would benefit from increased use of automobiles.
The Eisenhower administration came into office in 1953 with particularly close ties to the automobile and oil industries (Latherer, 1979, p. 8). This can be considered as a policy window. An open policy window is an opportunity for advocates to push their pet solutions or to push attention to their special problem (Kingdom, 1995, p. 203). Kingdom (1995, p. 203) also states that windows can be opened by events in either the problem or political streams. The oil and automobile industries had waited until the window in the political stream opened (when Eisenhower came to office) so that they could push highway policy on the agenda.
Period of Stability The result of the Joining of three streams was the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. This highway-only policy stayed in power for about 20 years, a period of stability. Figure 1 illustrates the total number of articles related to the supply policy and the demand policy listed in the transportation-related articles catalogued by Transportation Library of Northwestern University, one of the largest transportation information centers in the world. The supply policy is represented by articles related to highway, and the demand policy is represented by articles related to transit.
Tracing transportation policy changes Number of articles per year Highway Policy Transit Policy 50 20 0 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Years Figure 1 . Annual Numb ere of Articles on the Highway and Transit Policy. Source: Transportation Library of Northwestern University (Trainee, 2000) 5 As can be seen, between the mid-sass, when the first highway-only policy was initiated, and the midi sass, there was no sign of any controversy about transportation policies. The condition of the transportation policy was perfectly stable, and dominated by highway policy.
According to Banterer and Jones (1993, p. 15), stability may be maintained over long periods of time by two major devices: he existing structure of political institutions and the definition of the issues processed by those institutions. During the period of the mid-sass and the mid-sass, both federal government and state government were proponents of highway construction. In addition, traffic congestion was defined as a function of too little highway to meet demand. This problem definition, obviously, supported the highway-only policy.
Understanding a period of stability In order to understand the period of stability, this paper will introduce two characteristics that contribute to stability. They are a policy monopoly, and a policy immunity. Policy Monopoly The highway policy had been in a period of stability for about 20 years as a result of a policy monopoly. During that period, the image of highway policy was strong. People should be more roads so that they could drive as long as they wanted, and traffic congestion would disappear. In addition, all levels of political venues (federal, state, and local) were proponents of the highway policy.
According to Banterer and Jones (1993, p. 6), a policy monopoly is a monopoly on political understanding concerning the policy of interest, and an institutional arrangement that reinforces that understanding. In the supply policy, idea of addressing transportation problem (which was traffic congestion) was unified, that is, to build more roads. Almost everyone involved in policymaking, including people who were suffering from traffic congestion, agreed that traffic congestion was the problem of insufficient roads.
Moreover, the Bureau of Public Road (BPR) – which emerged as the only policymaking agency in the federal level dealing with surface transportation, and its mission was to recommend highway projects to solve transportation problems – was assigned to carry out the transportation policy. In addition, a series of transportation laws advocating the supply policy had been enacted. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 introduced a highway-only policy for the first time (Smirk, 1965). This act coupled with the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (which started the interstate system) ensured highway policy domination a ND stability.
A policy monopoly was thus created. Those who had different ideas for solving traffic congestion, were outsiders, and were viewed by insiders as not qualified to make decisions regarding transportation policy. Policy community According to Marsh and Rhodes (1992(c) as quoted in Smith, 1995, p. 60), a number of important characteristics of a policy community can be identified, such as limited number of participants, professional interest, and common values among participants. Transportation policy during period of highway policy can be considered as a policy community.
There were a limited number of participants. The participants involved in policy making were BPR engineers, representatives from oil and automobile industries, and congressional committees. All participants shared the same value: to build as many roads as possible. Policy communities have two internal structures: an institutional and an ideological structure (Smith, 1995, p. 01). The institutional structure included the congressional transportation committee, the Bureau of Public Road (BPR), and interest groups such as the oil and automobile industries.
The ideological structure 6 is the dominant set of beliefs shared by members of the policy community (Smith, 1995, p. 101). Belief shared by the transportation policy community was that building more roads was necessary. The member of the community. The member of the community had to believe in the supply side solution of building more roads. The initial condition (stage one) can be called a period of stability. Transportation logic in this period was exclusively a highway policy.
The supply policy could dominate in this period because it had established a policy monopoly and a policy community, which empowered policy entrepreneurs to manage their policy without any interference from opponents. Stage Two: Period of disturbances Agenda Setting of a Demand Policy As already mentioned, three factors affect government agenda-setting: problems, politics, and visible participants (Kingdom, 1995, p. 197), and each factor can independently contribute to government generating. The first demand-related policy was mass transit.
The is sue of mass transit was brought to the government agenda by the action of visible participants. The development of a mass transit agenda began as a reaction of big-city mayors to the Transportation Act of 1958, in which railroad services could be discontinued if they were losing money Cones, 1979, p. 83). Although this reaction pushed transit issue onto the government agenda, this agenda could not become a decision agenda due to some initial rebuffs from the Eisenhower administration and Congress. After repeated rejection from the government, the mass transit agenda emerged onto the decision agenda as policy windows opened.
Following the mid-sass, traffic congestion was not the only concern of people. Concerns over air pollution, energy problems, and equity problems became widespread. Solutions to these problems could lie in the mass transit. In addition, the national mood had changed. While in the sass and the early sass concerns centered on the national economy and traffic congestion, by the mid-sass people’s concerns include energy problem, civil rights, and the environment. Moreover, elections from sass onward brought new administrations to power and new partisan or ideological distributions to Congress.
The change of administrations from Eisenhower to Kennedy opened the policy window for mass transit. As a solution came to be coupled with the problem, which joined to the political stream, the mass transit policy emerged onto the decision agenda. Since 1961, big-city interests had been working with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and Congress to develop a transit program that would provide federal capital grants. Success was achieved with the passage of the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 (Smirk, 1979, p. 84).
Punctuated Equilibrium The emergence of the mass transit issue ended the period of stability for transportation policy. The policy monopoly and the policy community of the highway- only policy had declined. The period of change or disturbances, which was the period between the mid-sass and the mid-sass, is depicted in Figure 1. Figure 1 illustrates the high attention on both highway policy and transit policy. Advocates of each policy tried to support their ideas. This circumstance brought to an end of the reasons: the collapse of the highway policy monopoly and the change from policy community to policy network. The collapse of the highway policy monopoly According to Bump ratter and Jones (1993, p. 8), destruction of policy monopolies is almost always associated with a change in intensities of interest. Public interest changes over time. After interest in traffic congestion peaked, public opinion began to change in the 1 sass (Black, 1995, p. 42). The awareness of other transportation-related issues grew such as traffic safety, energy shortage, air pollution, and equity. Moreover, the image of the highway policy transformed from positive to negative.
The perception grew that building more roads only increased the number of automobiles, which lead to energy and air pollution problems. In addition, monopolies are often broken up by the intrusion of power groups from there areas (Banterer and Jones, 1993, p. 9). In the initial condition, most participants in transportation policy making were engineers, employees of policy- making agencies such as BPR, or congressman. This condition changed when people from other professions began participating in policy making. In the sass, most participants in the transportation policymaking process were engineers.
In the sass, however, planners emerged as a new class of transportation authorities, becoming key participants in transportation policy making. In addition, environmental experts, scientists, and economists have emerged as participants in the transportation policy making. The collapse of the highway policy monopoly brought about the end of stability period and introduced the period of disturbance. The change from policy community to issue network As already mentioned, the policy community has two types of internal structure: institutional and ideological (Smith, 1995, p. 101).
The institutional structure of the highway policy had changed. The Bureau of Public Road (BPR) was no longer the only agency dealing with surface transportation. The new Department of Transportation (DOT) was established in 1966 (U. S. DOT, 2000). The Department of Transportation consists of the Office of the Secretary and eleven individual operating administrations dealing with all types of transportation (the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Maritime Administration etc. ).
The establishment of the DOT revealed that there are a number of institutions participating in the transportation policy. The change in the ideological structure was as dramatic as that in the institutional structure. The beliefs shared by transportation policy makers became diverse and regimented. Transportation problems were no longer limited to traffic congestion, but included problems such as energy, equity, and the environmental. Moreover, even in the traffic congestion problem, transportation policy makers tended to For example, the definition of traffic congestion changed from insufficient roads to too many automobiles.
The solution has changed from building more roads (supply management) to reducing the use of automobiles (demand management). Moreover, a number of groups have been introduced into the network. For example, interest groups were no longer only from the oil and automobile industries. Other interest roofs, such as environmental groups, safety groups, and energy conservation groups, have continually participated in the transportation policy arena. This widens the transportation policy network. The access is no longer highly restricted and fluctuates.
As a result, it becomes hard to tell who belongs to the community. Since there are many groups and participants involved in the policy network, there are conflicts of values. These changes have led the transportation network, which used to be a policy community, to become an issue network. As the transportation policy community became an issue network, the period of disturbance or punctuated equilibrium began. The collapse of the policy monopoly and the changes in the policy community in the second stage led to the decline of highway policy.