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Keeling publishes research on Latin American transportation problems

A new cablecar system in Medellin, Colombia, links poorer neighborhoods with the city center.

A new cablecar system in Medellin, Colombia, links poorer neighborhoods with the city center.

The latest issue of the international Journal of Latin American Geography features an article by Geography and Geology Department Head David Keeling on the region’s transportation challenges.

After working in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia, over the past nine months on social and economic development issues, he found that accessibility and mobility adequacies explained much about the inability of Latin American societies to build up their economies.

Inadequate transportation infrastructure not only plagues Latin America but continues to be a serious problem for the United States. Many of the infrastructural weaknesses highlighted in this article are also evident throughout North America, as illustrated recently by interstate highway bridge collapses, computer failures at major airports, and a lack of alternate sources of energy (A recent Op Ed on this issue is available here.)

Solutions to Latin America’s transport ills include the introduction of new analytical techniques such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), more attention to regional integration opportunities and new infrastructure.

Dr. Keeling will follow up on this regional research with a more in-depth analysis of transportation challenges in Colombia as part of a long-term research project funded by the American Geographical Society and the Foreign Military Studies Office.

Others from WKU participating in the Colombia project are assistant professor of sociology Dr. Holli Drummond; adjunct history instructor John Dizgun; GIS Center director Kevin Cary; geoscience graduate student Brandon Fowler of Bowling Green; and Gatton Academy student Samuel Crocker of Franklin.

More information about the Colombia research is available here.

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