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Week of 10.10.08

Driven to Despair

With gas prices spiking and home values crumbling, the American dream of commuting to work from the fringes of suburbia has become an American nightmare. Many are facing a hard choice: Paying for gas or paying the mortgage. How did it come to this? It's not just about America's financial crisis; it's also about big problems with our national infrastructure. Overstressed highways and too few public transportation options are wreaking havoc on people's lives and hitting the brakes on our already-stretched economy.

This week, NOW on PBS takes a close-up look at our inadequate transportation network and visits some people paying a high price—in both dollars and quality of life—just to get to work. Do we have the means to modernize both our infrastructure and our lifestyles?

This is the first installment in "Blueprint America," a year-long, PBS-wide series focusing on the nation's infrastructure. "Blueprint America" is an initiative of Thirteen/WNET.

Related Links

Blueprint America: Timeline of L.A. Transit Infrastructure Isn't Partisan: Gridlock Sam's Advice for the Next President

Streetfilms' goal is to produces short, online videos that are educational, entertaining, and inspiring films for a sustainable urban environment.

The Atlantic: The Next Slum, an article on the future of America's suburbs.

Brookings: Finding Exurbia: America's Fast-Growing Communities at the Metropolitan Fringe, a study locating and describing the U.S. exurbs of large metropolitan areas.

CEOS for Cities: Driven to the Brink, a study on gas prices and the housing crisis.

Reconnecting America: Affordability Index Toolbox. This study describes a new tool for measuring the affordability of housing choices.

The CATO Institute: Roadmap to Gridlock: The Failure of Long-Range Metropolitan Transportation Planning, a study on transportation planning in major Metropolitan areas.

LA Times: Suburbia's not dead yet, don't bet on the end of suburbia any time soon, says Joel Kotkin.

NY Times: Fuel Prices Shift Math for Life in Far Suburbs, article on the economics of American suburban life given rising energy prices.

Blueprint America Rockefeller Foundation Thirteen/WNET
Driven to Despair

Video: An Exhausting Commute

Paul Krugman on Obama's Infrastructure Plans

Reinventing American Transportation

Quiz Yourself: Public Transit

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