Most regular readers of this blog would know I’m a huge fan of Melbourne based transport academic Paul Mees and what he has to say about transport policy. In particular, the work that he has done on finding ways to improve public transport in dispersed cities like Melbourne and Auckland, is fascinating and utterly essential reading in this field. Unfortunately, the one book he has published previously is out of print, otherwise I would own it in a flash (when I got it out of the Auckland University Library it inspired a rather large number of blog posts!)

Fortunately, Dr Mees has another book out very soon! Called¬†Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age, it promises some further fascinating insights – this time focusing on finding effective and viable alternatives to the automobile over the next few decades as environmental and resource scarcity concerns make it impossible for the auto age to continue. Here’s a full description:

The need for effective public transport is greater than ever in the 21st century. With countries like China and India moving towards mass-automobility, we face the prospects of an environmental and urban health disaster unless alternatives are found–it is time to move beyond the automobile age. But while public transport has worked well in the dense cores of some big cities, the problem is that most residents of developed countries now live in dispersed suburbs and smaller cities and towns. These places usually have little or no public transport, and most transport commentators have given up on the task of changing this: it all seems too hard.

This book argues that the secret of European-style public transport lies in a generalizable model of network planning that has worked in places as diverse as rural Switzerland, the Brazilian city of Curitiba and the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver. It shows how this model can be adapted to suburban, exurban and even rural areas to provide a genuine alternative to the car, and outlines the governance, funding and service planning policies that underpin the success of the world’s best public transport systems.

I must admit that I have pre-ordered this book and greatly anticipate it arriving some time in the next couple of months.

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  1. Can you organise a reading for him?

    While you’re at it can you get Tony Friedlander and his Road Transport Forum buddies to sit on the mat and listen to the reading as well?

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