Samuel Zimmerman: Transportation in Developing Cities: Issues, Challenges, and a Strategic Approach to Addressing Them

Photographs of street scenes by Samuel Zimmernan

Samuel Zimmerman has been an urban transport planner for more than 45 years. He worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation in various capacities including codirector of planning for the Federal Transit Administration for 28 years. He was principal for AECOM in urban transport planning for eight years. In addition, Zimmerman worked for the World Bank in various capacities for the past 10 years including senior urban transport specialist/urban transport advisor, and currently as a consultant. Previously, he was an adjunct professor at three Washington, DC–area universities — Howard University, the University of Maryland, and George Washington University — and has published numerous papers on a variety of urban transportation technical and policy topics. Zimmerman received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Cornell University.


In this lecture, Zimmerman will outline an approach to strategic urban transport planning. In the past 70 years, cities in the West have developed in ways that reflect the implicit assumption that there will always be enough resources to sustain them. Transport, particularly in the U.S., suffers because land development and transport investments reflect that assumption, though it is increasingly not the case. There are limits on land, water, energy, and financial resources even in "rich" countries. There are also environmental, health, and social pathologies that have arisen, in part, from poor, uncoordinated land use and transport planning and ineffective if not counter productive investment choices. On the other hand, developing cities are growing much faster because of higher fertility rates and the migration of people from poor, rural areas to cities.

Cosponsored by the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Cornell Program on Infrastructure Policy

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