From Ideology to Reality:
Transport in Europe
By Christian Gerondeau
• The central city has lost a large percentage of its population since 1950.
• The population of the suburbs has exploded.
• For some time, virtually all new job growth has been in the suburbs.
• Traffic conditions are intolerable.
• About the only place one can go on the transit system is the central city. Virtually no effective suburb to suburb service is available.
• Transit trips take a lot of time --- the average transit work trip takes at least double the time of the average commute by single occupant automobile.
• Air pollution, which is well on the way to being eradicated, is still a problem
• A comprehensive freeway system continues to be taxed by rising levels of traffic congestion.
But the subject of Gerondeau's book is not America --- it is Europe, and the conditions cited above are the conditions he demonstrates exist in major European urban areas.
The book opens with a compelling list of 20 widely held European transport ideas --- all of which he finds incorrect. The well organized narrative then proceeds to provide an effective description of these and other issues.
Gerondeau effectively challenges the conventional wisdom of both urban and intercity transport policy and concludes that significant policy changes will be necessary to solve transport problems. The solutions do not include the usual litany of forcing people out of their automobiles or mandating that more goods be transferred from trucks (lorries) to freight railroads.
He confounds his critics with extensive documentation and positions himself as a modern Copernicus seeking to convince those who make policy that transport problems will only be solved using the facts, regardless of how they track with today's particular ideology. Finally, Gerondeau provides an outline of strategies to improve European mobility.