IET: Mission Statement

I recall reading a letter to the New York Times from a resident of Brooklyn criticizing proposed imposition of tolls on East River bridges as a barrier to “communication between boroughs”.  Note that even though the writer was referring to movement of automobiles i.e. transportation, he considered such traffic as fundamental to metropolitan life as a phone call. Transportation has played an essential role in human civilization, generally for its betterment, but now, sadly, for its detriment in the era of the pandemic elevated to become a global catastrophe by movement of people.  The letter was written in 1972 when tolls on New York City’s free bridges had already been discussed for a full generation, and would be deliberated on for nearly two more generations before a modified version of “Congestion Pricing” around lower and mid-Manhattan was finally enacted in 2019.  Only to be delayed in its implementation by the pandemic. 

But with soaring unemployment – Nevada’s reaching 33% – and millions facing hunger and eviction, delays can no longer be tolerated for shovel-ready projects only lacking allocation of long-authorized monies, and as explained below key functions of the Institute for Effective Transportation are to coalesce support for worthwhile transportation projects and then lobby for them to be programmed.  Long-deferred infrastructure projects need to go into construction now for injection of stimulus.

There also needs to be an immediate revolution in passenger transportation because conveyances for common carriage whether by surface transit, for-hire vehicles, trains or planes have been implicated in the spread of Covid-19 both across international boundaries and within cities.  Conventional mass transit is even more problematic from the standpoint of virus transmission than are mass gatherings.  Existing policies which fail to account for a dramatic fall-off in transit ridership at least until a vaccine is proven safe and effective need to be placed under a more critical lens provided by the Institute for Effective Transportation if our cities are not to suffer gridlock while their enormous investment in subways is underutilized.

The Institute for Effective Transportation – URL:  and  seeks to catalyze public funding and, where appropriate, leverage private investment into infrastructure projects that will improve physical transportation networks.  Usually the result will be better transportation service for a specific corridor or node, but also sometimes an entire system; Always there will be major economic stimulus by the multiplier effect of injecting funds to hire people for the construction effort and procurement of equipment, materials and ancillary services.  Enhanced quality-of-life, future economic vitality building new institutions, enterprises and residences, more efficient use of energy and materials, smaller environmental footprint and financial sustainability by lessening demands on taxpayers to support current inefficient operations are key benchmarks for evaluating a project’s net benefit and the overall worth of the undertaking.

Research either by actual experience of current inadequate performance such as acute congestion, lack of accessibility or undue impediments to mobility, or dissecting news reports for information and statistics indicating the severity of these problems will identify corridors where an enhancement to existing technology, i.e. paving a road, widening a highway, building an additional track for a railway or grade separation, new crossing signals or reallocation of street space is warranted and feasible.  But in other corridors the situation may call for new innovative technology such as on-demand transit, ultra-light rail, autonomous vehicles, drones, and flying cars landing atop skyscrapers to avoid ground-level congestion and disease.

Research will also lead to critiques of ongoing or programmed investment to reveal waste of limited public funds or excessive use of land and other resources for transportation that should be devoted for other needs of the commonweal.  Redirection of spending is called for in these situations, and particularly where dramatic mode shifts due to the pandemic are not accounted for while ossified public agencies remain in auto-pilot.

The Editor acknowledges bias from his 22-years involvement with a start-up entity seeking to prove commercial viability for an ultra-light rail transit technology privatized by the U.S. Department of Energy in 1989.  However, the Editor is motivated towards establishment of this Institute from a much longer background in the transportation field and broader perspective which compels an impartial evaluation of all available technologies if the best solution is to be achieved for each particular corridor. 

The Institute will be operated as a Non-Profit Corporation under NRS-82.  Initial funding will be by me (Editor) and then supplemented by hoped-for donations and sale of white papers, project analysis and illustrative graphics to defray the time and cost of their preparation.  501(c)(3) designation is sought from the IRS so that donations will eventually be tax-deductible.

William James  Stremmel

(Founder + Editor)