Susan Handy: Roundabout of a Figurative Kind: The Ebb and Flow of Ideas about Transportation and What This Means for Our Communities

Susan Handy is a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and the director of the National Center for Sustainable Transportation at the University of California–Davis. She is internationally known for her research on the relationships between transportation and land use, particularly the impact of neighborhood design on travel behavior. Her current work focuses on bicycling as a mode of transportation and on strategies for reducing automobile dependence. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Transport and Health and sits on the editorial boards of many of the top journals in the transportation field. She holds a B.S.E. in civil engineering from Princeton University, an M.S. in civil engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of California–Berkeley.


Transportation planning in the U.S. has, for more than a century, been guided by several core principles: speed, mobility, vehicle throughput, capacity expansion, traffic control, mode separation. These principles are hugely influential, yet they are largely implicit and rarely questioned, at least not officially, despite their general failure to produce an efficient transportation system. But each of these principles has an equal and opposite principle that, if adopted, would lead to a very different approach to providing for society's transportation needs. In this talk, Handy examines the ebb and flow of these ideas and their implications for our communities.

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