Our Future Travel
About the Book
American engineers and constructors have the experience and knowledge to solve the traffic problems that have begun to overwhelm us in recent decades; the daily traffic congestion and inadequate transit in cities, the congested and near bankrupt airlines, the inadequate train service to fill the gap between air and auto, our dangerous mix of trucks and autos, and our even more dangerous over reliance on petroleum fuels. Our political and economic climate inhibit solution while European and Asian nations surge ahead of us, taking away the leadership role we held since World War II with our Interstate Highway system and jet airliners. How and why did our travel lose its comfort, reliability and convenience? What role did political and economic corruption play in our failures? How did Europe and Japan, and probably soon South, East and Southeast Asia, surpass us in fast trains, magnetic levitation (our own invention!), traffic management and transit?
The author, with an understanding gained from years within high levels of state and federal transportation planning and construction, details problems and describes the effects of unresolved problems. He offers solutions sufficient to remove the blockades to action, and foresees a balanced transportation system achievable by 2050, with minimum use of petroleum and a maximum of cleanly generated electric power supplemented by hydrogen fuel cells. All the science is readily available, or apparently to be attained in the immediate future. The prediction of the velocities of super-safe transcontinental and transoceanic trains is so high they seem impossible until the methods to be used are explained. The author recognizes that in half a century, innovations we cannot now envision will be in daily use. Did we in 1950 expect personal computers, cell phones and the Internet?
About the Author
Highway design engineer, supervisor of design engineering consultants, construction manager, long-range planner, and manager of schedules and budgets in Washington State District 1, from Seattle's King County to Blaine at the Canadian border: 1960 to 1975.
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Agency Engineer for road construction and maintenance, Spokane and Kalispell Indian Reservations: 1975 to 1980.
Assistant Chief and Chief of the Indian Reservation Roads Program (planning, construction and maintenance), representing BIA at the Department of Transportation and at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and participating in AASHTO committees on policy, research and safety: 1980 to 1991.
Licensed to practice as a Professional Engineer (No. 8899) by the State of Washington: 1963 to date. Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers: 1975 to date.
Member of the National Association of County Engineers: 1975 to date.
Author, Transportation Engineering, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-135180-4, 2001, and coordinating author, The McGraw-Hill Civil Engineering PE Exam Guide, Part of ISBN 0-07-136177-4, 2001.
Author, Transportation: New Systems for the New Century, the lead article for the 60th anniversary edition of Civil Engineering, the magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers, October 1990.
Jim Ball is a World War II veteran. Assigned to the 8th US Air Force and stationed in East Anglia, he flew 35 combat missions over Europe as a B17 Flying Fortress navigator and machine gunner.