The Transportation Experience in America
A Research Guide


The following journal titles frequently include relevant articles:

The following journal articles in particular provide in-depth treatments of more specific issues related to transportation:

Collins, C. M., & Chambers, S. M. (2005). Psychological and situational influences on commuter-transport-mode choice. Environment and Behavior, 37(5), 640-661.

The authors of this study explored the relationship between psychological and situational factors and choice of transport mode by testing four different hypotheses, identified as: mediation (relating to environmental threat of cars), moderation (consideration of future consequences), situational (cost, time and access) and interaction (combined effect of all factors.) Among their conclusions, they observed that choice of mode based on environmental concerns is more likely if a direct personal effect is perceived by the subject.

Crane, R. (1996). Cars and drivers in the new suburbs: Linking access to travel in neotraditional planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 62(1), 51-65.

Crane examines analytically the conventional wisdom of neotraditional urban planning. In particular, he argues that the benefits of a return to grid layouts (reminiscent of New England towns), especially as they pertain to automobile use and overall transportation experience, are not self-evident. Previous studies seem to have yielded contrary results. His most salient conclusion is that, in most cases, trip frequency increases even while trip length decreases.

Evans, G. W., & Wener, R. E. (2006). Rail commuting duration and passenger stress. Health Psychology, 25(3), 408-412.

The authors of this study measured stress levels of rail commuters in the New York City metropolitan area through the use of four metrics. These included physiological effects, motivation levels, self-reported perceptions and evaluation by the subjects’ spouses/partners. This study reveals a direct relationship between length of commute and stress levels, as measured here.

Gatersleben, B., & Uzzell, D. (2007). Affective appraisals of the daily commute: Comparing perceptions of drivers, cyclists, walkers, and users of public transport. Environment and Behavior, 39(3), 416-431.

In this study, the authors polled the staff of the University of Surrey in an attempt to assess the respondents’ commuting experiences. Whereas previous studies have focused on commuting stress, this study examines other affective factors such as boredom. The authors observe a strong correlation between transportation mode choice and affective appraisal of the commuting experience. Both motorized forms (car, public transit) and non-motorized (walking, cycling) are discussed here.

Mohl, R. A. (2004). Stop the road: Freeway revolts in American cities. Journal of Urban History, 30(5), 674-706.

This brief historical sketch outlines the causes of and circumstances surrounding organized resistance to freeway building in American cities during the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, such revolts in Miami and Baltimore are compared and contrasted. Regarding an era so fraught with civil unrest, this paper elucidates yet another venue within which communities sought to redress their grievances.

Roots, R. (2007). The dangers of automobile travel: A reconsideration. American Journal of Economics & Sociology, 66(5), 959-975.

This article provides a strikingly different perspective than many of the resources on this guide in its glowing appraisal of automobile travel as one of the safest modes ever developed. Rather than attempting to deconstruct arguments made by supporters of alternative modes, such as rail and bus systems, the authors build up an argument based on the safety of automobile travel. They accomplish this primarily by comparing automobiles with older forms of transportation (horse-drawn, steam-powered, and the like). Other arguments include economic and environmental benefits of an automobile-based society, the former citing reduced cost of transportation and increased domestic product, and the latter citing decreased land use for and waste from horses.

Sanchez, T.W. (2008). Poverty, policy, and public transportation. Transportation Research Part A: Policy & Practice, 42(5), 833-841.

This article takes a new look at a relatively old investigation: the relationship between public transportation service and income and employment levels. Sanchez argues that since disparities related to transportation access persist, little research has been conducted in recent years; this is in marked contrast to the amount of resources dedicated to other transportation issues, such as infrastructure development.

Sanchez, T. W., Shen, Q., & Peng, Z. (2004). Transit mobility, jobs access and low-income labour participation in US metropolitan areas. Urban Studies, 41(7), 1313-1331.

This study evaluates the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, which was instituted as part of the Welfare Reform of 1996. Through analysis of employment data in six metropolitan areas, the authors found that the increased access to public transportation did not significantly affect employment status of those on public assistance. A plethora of other factors are considered, including gender, race, education and automobile ownership, to name a few. The conclusions of this study challenge the assumption that increased public transit can have an immediate effect on employment levels.

Voss, P.R. & Guangqing, C. (2006). Highways and population change. Rural Sociology, 71(1), 33-58.

The authors of this study test a hypothesis that population change and highway expansion have a two-directional causal relationship: either can affect the other. Using a variety of statistical models to analyze population and highway data in Wisconsin, they conclude that population change does not have an appreciable effect on highway expansion; the reverse effect, on the other hand, is modestly supported.