Eno Center Puts 32,000 Pages of Historic Transportation Research Online

October 31, 2018

The Eno Center for Transportation has put over 32,000 pages of its legacy transportation research and policy analysis online for the first time.

From 1947 through 2003, the Eno Foundation (as it was then known) published a quarterly scholarly journal. Called Traffic Quarterly from 1947-1981 and Transportation Quarterly from 1982-2003, the journal published peer-reviewed studies and a variety of policy insights from both academics and policymakers.

All 57 years worth can be accessed at www.enotrans.org/quarterly from now on.

The first issue, in January 1947, set the tone. It featured an article by the head of the Federal Works Agency summarizing the results of the first-ever national highway safety conference, convened by President Truman personally the previous year. That issue also had not one but two articles by Wilbur S. Smith, who had joined the Eno Foundation as technical advisor some years before and who would help edit or otherwise oversee every issue of TQ in some way until his retirement in 1990. As one of the most prominent and successful transportation engineers in the United States after WWII, Smith’s knowledge and extensive contact list made sure that TQ was rarely wanting for content.

We will have more in Eno Transportation Weekly in the coming weeks mining the old TQ issues for valuable perspectives and information, but some of the initial highlights are below.

POLICYMAKERS. Federal policymakers often wrote for TQ. One of the first was actually J. Edgar Hoover, who wrote of the importance of law enforcement training in traffic enforcement in October 1947, in  July 1950, and again in October 1971. The Federal Civil Defense Administrator wrote in 1956 of the need for emergency traffic rules to evacuate cities in the event of atomic attack. The new head of the Bureau of Public Roads explained how he was implementing the new Interstate program in 1957, then he wrote another article later that year about the need for comprehensive planning of urban Interstates. His replacement wrote in 1962 of how the Interstate system would look in 1975.

Bob Weaver, then head of the agency that is now HUD, wrote in 1963 of the need for urban mass transportation as part of urban development. John Kohl (the first of what we would now call the Federal Transit Administrator) wrote in 1964 about the successes of the original mass transit demonstration program. Alan Boyd, the first U.S. Secretary of Transportation, wrote in 1966 (while he was still at Commerce) of the need to create a new DOT and then again in 1967 of the new Department’s initial efforts. The April 1973 issue had articles not only by Transportation Secretary John Volpe (“Trends in Transportation Policy“) but also by EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus (“Transportation and Environmental Protection“).

SCHOLARS. TQ published some of the early work of important transportation scholars, like Herbert Levinson (January 1959), Martin Wohl (April 1959), George Smerk (January 1967), Martin Wachs (January 1969), Gabriel Roth (April 1970), Anthony Downs (January 1979), Ashish Sen (April 1979), Robert Servero (July 1982), Bob Poole (April 1984), Alan Pisarski (January 1986), and Brian Taylor (Winter 2000). (Most of those people published in TQ more than once, but only the first such article is listed.)

CITIES. TQ is a good place to look to see the thoughts behind the major transportation decisions made in individual cities. For example: this article from April 1949 by a designer of the Los Angeles freeway system bragging about how the freeways were going to transform the city. (Another article in 1961 details the original plans for the L.A. mass transit system.) Other snapshots of what local planners were thinking at the time include Houston (1949), Saint Louis (1950), Pittsburgh (1954), New Orleans (1956), the greater Washington DC area (1960), Chicago (1960), San Francisco (1961), Boston (1963), Toronto (1972), Cincinnati (1976), Honolulu (1978), and Atlanta (1979).

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY. Some of the most interesting articles, in retrospect, involve emerging technologies of the time. Check out this article from July 1952 entitled “New York Uses a Mechanical Brain to Aid Traffic Court Problems.” Or, from January 1961, “Mass Transportation by Monorail.” From January 1979: “Return of the Electric Motor Vehicle.” A reminder from January 1990 that what is now called ITS was once called “IVHS Technologies: Promising Palliatives or Popular Poppycock?” (In the don’t-pronounce-it-dead-yet department, in 1994 we published “High-Speed Rail in Texas: Its Rise and Fall.”)

SPECIAL EVENTS. An Indiana traffic engineer wrote in 1950 about special traffic planning around the Indianapolis 500 auto race. A Seattle traffic engineer wrote in 1962 about how his city had planned for the extra traffic around their World’s Fair.

VISIONS OF THE FUTURE. Some were local (October 1954: “Toll Roads Will Solve Indiana’s Transportation Problems.”) In 1963, an engineer wrote about planning “Transportation for Super-regions” (anticipating Secretary Foxx’s Beyond Traffic report’s focus on mega-regions by 50 years). None other than Wernher von Braun was the keynote speaker at the Eno Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala in 1971 and his remarks were transcribed in TQ as “The Promise of Space.” Some are mode-specific like 1977’s “The Future of the Bicycle as a Mode of Transportation in the United States.” In 1979, anticipating the revival of the once-dead-everywhere-but-SF streetcar, TQ published “The Electric Trolley Bus – Revisited.”

Shef Lang (the first FRA Administrator) wrote in 1999 of the need for “A New Transportation Paradigm.” And Steve Lockwood wrote this article in 2002 in the form of looking backwards from the year 2025 at how ITS deployment evolved.

Once again, that URL is www.enotrans.org/quarterly

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