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Randal O’Toole is a Cato Institute Senior Fellow working on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. O’Toole’s research on national forest management, culminating in his 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, has had a major influence on Forest Service policy and on-the-ground management. His analysis of urban land-use and transportation issues, brought together in his 2001 book, The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths, has influenced decisions in cities across the country. In his book The Best-Laid Plans, O’Toole calls for repealing federal, state, and local planning laws and proposes reforms that can help solve social and environmental problems without heavy-handed government regulation. O’Toole’s latest book is Romance of the Rails Why the Passenger Trains We Love Are Not the Transportation We Need. O’Toole is the author of numerous Cato papers. He has also written for Regulation magazine as well as op-eds and articles for numerous other national journals and newspapers. O’Toole travels extensively and has spoken about free-market environmental issues in dozens of cities. An Oregon native, O’Toole was educated in forestry at Oregon State University and in economics at the University of Oregon.

More from Randal O'Toole


San Antonio Transit Isn’t Worth Preserving

Big Jolly Times. November 19, 2018.

Why Passenger Trains Don’t Work in Europe

Real Clear Policy. November 1, 2018.

Take Passenger Trains off Life Support

Morning Consult. October 19, 2018.

Blog Posts

Census Data Detail Transit’s Decline

September 19, 2018.

Commuting in 2017

September 14, 2018.

Commuting in 2017

September 14, 2018.

Cato Studies

Charting Public Transit’s Decline

Policy Analysis No. 853. November 8, 2018.

The Coming Transit Apocalypse

Policy Analysis No. 824. October 24, 2017.

The New Feudalism: Why States Must Repeal Growth-Management Laws

Policy Analysis No. 802. October 18, 2016.


How the Met Council Misplans the Twin Cities

Thinking MN. No. 7. Spring 2017.

The Streetcar Scam

MI Report. May 31, 2012.

Taking Illinoisans for a Ride

Transportation Brief. July 2009.

Public Filings

Comments on Proposed Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Mandate

Public Comments. April 7, 2017.

Managing Federal Lands

Testimony. February 9, 2016.

FTA’s Capital Investment Grants

Testimony. December 11, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Book Review: Sprawl: A Compact History

Regulation. Spring 2006.

Money to Burn?

Regulation. Winter 2002.

The Folly of “Smart Growth”

Regulation. Fall 2001.