Transportation systems analysis is a multidisciplinary field which draws on engineering, economics, operations research, political science, psychology, management, and other disciplines. The major text synthesizes from these fields an approach that is intellectually coherent and comprehensive.
Numerous details are provided to indicate how major concepts can be applied in practice to particular modes and problems. But the major objective of this book is to provide the reader with a basic framework onto which many different areas of specialization can be added by later coursework and practical experience.
Fundamentals of Transportation Systems Analysis identifies concepts that are truly fundamental to serious work in the planning, design, or management of transportation systems. It also emphasizes, through more detailed treatment, certain topics, such as transportation demand and performance and the processes of evaluation and choice, that are inadequately treated in the available literature.
A unique feature of the book is its emphasis on multimodal solutions to transportation problems. The student is taught to view the transportation system as a unified whole and to evaluate it within the context of the overall social, economic, and political system of a given region. According to Professor Manheim, "The challenge of transportation systems analysis is to intervene, delicately and deliberately, in the complex fabric of a society to use transport effectively, in coordination with other public and private actions, to achieve the goals of that society."