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Fighting TrafficThe Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City$
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Peter D. Norton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262141000

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262141000.001.0001

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The Commodification of Streets

The Commodification of Streets

(p.175) 7 The Commodification of Streets
Fighting Traffic

Peter D. Norton

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the decline of the use of the public utility model for traffic with respect to the “floor space” problem. Street railways added to discontent over traffic problems. By the time Herbert Hoover became U.S. Secretary of Commerce, attraction to a new model known as “associationism” was gaining ground. This model mobilized private interests and gave them a direct role in solving social problems. As a result, the National Chamber and Commerce Department opted to work together in solving the problem of big business, taking into account the problem of traffic. A number of experts gathered at the Hoover Conference and sought to come up with new means to improve traffic rather than traffic surveys or other similar investigations on street conditions. Other measures that were taken include a gasoline tax and parking meters, which eventually led to the free-market model of city traffic.

Keywords:   public utility model, floor space, Herbert Hoover, associationism, Hoover conference, gasoline tax, parking meters, free-market model of city traffic

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