Monday, August 12, 2013

Call for Papers: How Did We Lose Our Fortitude as a Nation to Levy Gasoline Taxes to Fund Transportation Improvements, and How Do We Get it Back?

No, it’s not a real call for papers, but maybe it should be. 
Most of my readers will be familiar with the TRB (Transportation Research Board) annual meeting in January in Washington, DC, which brings together more than 10,000 transportation academics, agency officials, consultants, and other transportation professionals to cram into stuffy hotel meeting rooms to hear the latest research results and best practices on a wide variety of topics.  (We non-engineers often ask: How many research topics can possibly be left regarding the properties of asphalt pavement?  The answer: an endless number.)
More than 5,000 papers were submitted by the deadline for the January 2014 conference.  Papers can be submitted on virtually any transportation topic, but many are submitted in response to calls for papers from TRB subject area committees.  These calls for papers suggest topics that the leading lights in a particular specialty feel need urgent attention.
Below are some calls for papers I found on transportation finance issues for the coming session:
·      How to Creatively Stretch the Dollars We Have Through Partnering and Process Management
·      Exploring Innovative Transportation Financing Methods in an Era of Constrained Resources
·      Public-Private Partnerships Research, Education & Evaluation
·      Issues Relating to Privatizing Roads
·      Understanding Traveler Behavior in Response to Pricing Using Behavioral Economics
·      Public-Private Partnerships Research, Education & Evaluation
·      The Impact of Congestion Pricing and Managed Lanes on Mobility Performance
·      Doing More with Less: Improving Transportation on a Shoestring Budget
Notice a common thread here?  Something between despair and resignation concerning public funding of transportation infrastructure?
I don’t know how many papers were submitted on these topics, but I’m hoping someone has submitted a paper entitled: “How Lost Our Fortitude as a Nation to Levy Gasoline Taxes to Fund Transportation Improvements, and How We Can Get it Back.”

If not, maybe I’ll submit my call for papers idea for the next round.

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