Newly available book reviews from the Journal of Transport Geography

After some negotiation with Elsevier, the TGRG are pleased to announce that we will be making some content from the the  Journal of Transport Geography (JTG) available via our website. This, along with the publisher’s liberal attitude towards preprints, means that more transport geography writing than ever before will be accessible to the public, most of whom will lack institutional access to academic content. So, to kick things off, below we treat you to two interesting and timely reviews, from Volume35: the visually appealing City Cycling (Pucher and Buehler, 2014) and the in depth Economics and Politics of High-Speed Rail (Albalate and Bel, 2013) both available through Science Direct.

Ron Builing (1) provides a reflective review of ‘City Cycling’ by J. Pucher and R. Buehler (available here).  He used this book as a core text in his graduate seminar course to provide context for conversation about historic and geographic development cycles and cycling.  Through this review we receive not just Ron’s perspective but also those of his (more optimistic) students.  The author and his students recognised “infrastructure, gender childhood and health as core themes running through the book” and praised “the book’s optimistic tone, the richness of the included data, the vast and practically exhaustive lists of references” amongst other elements.  Small criticisms existed particularly with respect to lack of a dedicated chapter on the role of cycling and non-motorised transport in the Global South and also and perhaps a scepticism from the author (if not the graduate students) as to whether there has been a cycling renaissance but on balance a positive review, of value to a graduate school seminar series and pleasing to the author, who summarised:  “Cycle Cities can also usefully serve as an essential comprehensive resource for the transfer of knowledge about cycling from transport research into other domains including injury epidemiology and public health.”

This article was published in the Journal of Tranport Geography, Vol 35, Ron N. Buliung, Book Review: City Cycling, J. Pucher, R. Buehler. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2012). £19.95 (pbk), ISBN: 978-0-262-51781-2, Pages 160-161 Copyright Elsevier (2014) 

Andrew Goetz (author of the 2013 Hoyle Lecture) provides an informative review of ‘The Economics and Politics of High-Speed Rail: Lessons from Experiences Abroad’ by D. Albalate and G. Bel., (available here) commending the authors for ‘taking stock’ of the lessons learnt since the introduction of the Shinkansen and emphasising the relevance to the debate in the Unites States as to future investment.  In particular Andrew emphasises that the authors question the economic viability of high speed rail (HSR) drawing on a range of contexts and providing an analytical framework which they apply through the book to assess the feasibility of HSR.  He outlines the case study approach undertaken in the second part of the book highlighting the quality of the data and analyses which underpin these.  The criticism are that “there are a few analytical areas that could have been stronger”, making particular reference to the decision to compare HSR implementation with the existing transport networks as opposed to one with increased capacity in response to forecasted growth and also questioning the assumption that population densities in the US will continue to be lower than, e.g. European cities. He summarised by stating that the authors “raise serious questions which should cause deep reflection for countries that are considering the development or expansion of HSR.”

This article was published in the Journal of Tranport Geography, Vol 35 Andrew R Goetz, Book Review: The Economics and Politics of High-Speed Rail: Lessons from Experiences Abroad, D. Albalate, G. Bel. Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland (2012). £37.95 (Hbk). ISBN: 978-0-7391-7123-3, Pages 158-159, Copyright Elsevier (2014)

Please take some time to read these and share your views on this book with the TGRG community.  Let us know if reading these reviews has helped you find valuable sources for teaching or research or expanded your knowledge of Transport Geography more generally.

Elsevier have provided permission for us to share other book reviews via the TGRG website to provide another avenue to share details of recent publications relevant to research and learning.  If you have a review you would like to discuss, please email Lisa Davison (l.davison1@ulster.ac.uk). If you have a short and less formal review or other article you would like to publish on the TGRG website, please contact Robin Lovelace (R.Lovelace@leeds.ac.uk).

We will keep you post with the next book reviews once these become available through the Journal of Transport Geography.

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