SOCIAL COMPLEXITY AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHOICE: THE BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM

There are two strategies in planning transportation for a metropolitan area; one is flexible and can adapt to future changes in the area. The second adopts a particular technology and the area must adapt to it in the future. The Bay Area Rapid Transit System is an example of the inflexible strategy. In this case community leaders decided that improving transportation in the area, thus improving accessibility, would save San Francisco from decay. The flaw in the decision making process was that even though consultants were used, they designed and implemented on particular form of transit system rather than deciding what the future needs of the region would be and then deciding what mode would best fit those needs. The choice of rapid rail implies a political strategy. A bus system would have been more flexible, less expensive, use already existing and multipurposes facilities. The building of a rail system forces development, growth and prescribed uses of land. Technology becomes an independent variable in political decision making because it forecasts what the future will be. This is called technocracy; rule by technology. The author proposes a socio-political impact statement which would report probable consequences of a proposed investment in a particular technology.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Washington University, St Louis

    School of Law
    St Louis, MO  United States  63130
  • Authors:
    • Zwerling, S
  • Publication Date: 1974

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 97-120
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00099334
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 18 1981 12:00AM