Table of Contents

Handbook on Transport and Development

Handbook on Transport and Development

Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister

This Handbook provides an extensive overview of the relationships between transport and development. With 45 chapters from leading international authors, the book is organised in three main parts: urban structure and travel; transport and spatial impacts; and wider dimensions in transport and development. The chapters each present commentary on key issues within these themes, presenting the debate on the impacts of urban structure on travel, the impacts of transport investment on development, and social and cultural change on travel. A multitude of angles are considered – leaving the reader with a comprehensive and critical understanding of the field.

Chapter 6: Spatial structure and travel: trends in commuting and non-commuting travels in US metropolitan areas

Peter Gordon and Bumsoo Lee

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, environmental economics, transport, environment, environmental economics, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


The economist Robert Lucas famously noted that, once you start thinking about economic growth, it’s hard to think about anything else. Those who think about cities also think about economic growth, to the point that describing cities as the “engines of growth” is almost a cliche. Paul Romer, perhaps the father of modern economic growth theory, has launched his Charter Cities project, which recognizes that the most promising option for lagging economies is successful cities. He seeks to foster well-run big cities as “opportunity zones especially for the working poor.” Human capital, entrepreneurship and creativity, Julian Simon’s (1995) “ultimate resource,” are most potent when ideas can be exchanged. But some analysts simply tout the advantages of proximity to a “knowledge base” found in cities. This is misleading. Knowledge is highly fragmented, specialized, and dispersed. Various locators seek the peculiar benefits of interactions with highly specialized sources of ideas. Urban districts and clusters of specialized firms and outlets are well known. Matt Ridley (2010) has famously discussed human progress this way: “I believe that at some point in human history, ideas began to meet and mate, to have sex with each other.” This was surely not casual or random sex. It refers to specific interactions involving specific proximities. But this denotes complex spatial organization.

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