Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 23

Asphalt Nation: How the
Automobile Took Over America
and How We Can Take It Back
By Jane Holtz Kay
Published in 1997
eISBN 978-0-307-81997-0

large garages, separating people
further from their neighbors;
n Influenced how public dollars are
spent, leading governments at all
levels to dedicate more and more
public funds to building roads
rather than to other needed public
programs such as mass transit;
n Changed architecture in
metropolitan areas by requiring
the buildings to be "automobile
friendly" with parking space,
leading to still more human
separation and less walkability
of areas;
n Influenced environmental quality
by requiring more land to be
paved, impacting the surrounding
ecosystems and polluting the
atmosphere;
n Impacted human health by
increasing the stress associated
with driving and by reducing
exercise and physical activity in
general ; and
n Led to the "geography of
nowhere"-suburbs that are
identical across the U.S., diluting
and confusing an individual's sense
of place.
Kay, in her excellent but scathing
critic's prose, demonstrates the
interconnectedness of these topics.
She highlights the most sobering
point of all-engineers understand
that we cannot build our way out

of this, even as politicians continue
to push it. Kay clearly understands
that if roads are "improved" to
accommodate more traffic, then more
traffic results, thus increasing the
need for yet more improvement, thus
facilitating yet more traffic.
In America, despite our learning
these lessons decades ago, by and
large, we have not changed our
transportation policies.
For me, the importance of this
book is that it is the best illustration
I've encountered of the law of
unintended consequences. The most
well-intentioned ideas can often
be saturated with them. Improving
personal mobility is a great thing!
However, when every U.S. citizen
views it as a God-given right to drive
anywhere at any time, it causes the
issues we face today. This topic is a
bellwether for me. If America can take
steps to address this issue, then it
gives me hope that the United States
can address other climate change and
sustainability challenges.
Like The Story of Stuff by Annie
Leonard, this book helps answer the
questions: "What can I do? I am just
one small individual in a massive
crowd. I don't control much of
anything. Why are you not talking to
the big corporations? They are who
can make a difference." This book
substantiates the fallacy of those

statements. Yes, each individual
driver makes a very small impact.
However, taken together, on-road
sources in the U.S. are among the
largest emitters of greenhouse
gases, pollutants, and air toxins.
The big corporations-whether they
are the automobile manufacturers,
the petrochemical producers, or
the road-building companies-all
respond to demand: the everincreasing want for vehicles and their
countless accoutrements. What we
can do individually is to vote with
each dollar we spend. If we have to
buy a vehicle, buy the most efficient!
We can also vote with our feet: walk
more places; take mass transit. If
we thus increase demand for better
modes of transit, corporations and
governments will respond. Above
all, we need to stop underpricing
and subsidizing vehicles (via fuels
and roads).
There are only a few events that
have led to decreases in the annual
Vehicle Miles Traveled in the U.S.
They are: World War II, OPEC oil
embargoes, and the 2008 economic
downturn. The fact that people turned
to mass transit during these times
is encouraging. However, recent
data suggests that, in an improving
economy, more commuters return to
their vehicles.
Think about some of these ideas.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018

Letter from the CEO
Cyber Security—Everyone’s Business
Scammed—How to Protect Your University
Have Festival, Will Travel: Virginia’s Advocacy Program for Small-, Women-, and Minority-owned Businesses
What Is It You Can’t Do?
Heard on the Street: New Hot Topics from the NAEP Exchange
Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time— Part Eight
Best and Final: Crowdsourcing Beyond the Buzzword
Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Intro
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - cover1
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - cover2
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 3
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 4
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 5
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Letter from the CEO
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 7
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Cyber Security—Everyone’s Business
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 9
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 10
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 11
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Scammed—How to Protect Your University
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 13
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 14
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 15
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Have Festival, Will Travel: Virginia’s Advocacy Program for Small-, Women-, and Minority-owned Businesses
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 17
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - What Is It You Can’t Do?
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 19
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Heard on the Street: New Hot Topics from the NAEP Exchange
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 21
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time— Part Eight
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 23
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 24
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 25
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Best and Final: Crowdsourcing Beyond the Buzzword
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 27
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 28
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - 29
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - cover3
Educational Procurement Journal - Spring 2018 - cover4
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