Harvard Business School professor and prolific author Kanter (SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, 2009) examines the degrading conditions and increasing inefficiency of American transportation networks.
Following an exhaustive, 20-month survey of our nation’s stalled mobility provisions, the author’s results proved to expand beyond the widely known theory that America has “coasted on past successes, failed to fully confront mounting problems, lacked sufficient vision about future opportunities, and, in Congress, held essential funding hostage to partisan battles over taxes.” At this point, the United States is lagging behind other international hubs boasting fast-tracked advancements in rail engineering, solar power, automotive excellence, and aerospace innovation. Kanter admits that although her perspective is primarily rooted in the public interest, it’s also personal: on a local scale, transportation issues like bridge collapses, flight delays, and chronic rail and roadway gridlock affect most of the planet’s population to varying degrees. She draws reactions and creative solutions from an exhaustive array of engineers, business professionals, politicians, and innovators, all complemented by pages of often startling statistics and insightful interviews, many with women who have become distinguished leaders in the robotics, logistics, and public transportation fields. Kanter, whose previous books have addressed corporate competitiveness and digital culture, argues that the main issue hindering American innovation in public transit is a stifling combination of corporate underinvestment and a lack of “faith in government.” There is an urgent need to “allocate public money for public works at a national level” and to empower leadership at the grass-roots level. Her accessible solutions encompass sophisticated, futuristic tools and incremental changes toward increasing efficiency while boosting public enthusiasm and cooperation. Though some readers may find the sheer volume of ideas daunting, the author’s intent remains clear: to inspire and promote participation in the development of America’s mobility infrastructure and elevate it to the forefront of the global innovation marketplace.
A busy yet passionately motivating call for action.