Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Andrew Schroeder

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Rights Information

© 2013 Benjamin N. Feldman


This thesis asks the following question, “What are some of the reasonable ethical theories used by urban transportation planners and how have these theories shape public transportation developments in Los Angeles today?” I reply to this question by interpreting the philosophical theories of Jeremy Bentham, Richard Posner, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls as an urban transportation planner. The approach I take for each philosopher is the following: I explain the basic philosophical arguments, interpret it for the transportation planner, provide critiques of the theory applied to transportation, and relate (if possible) the ethical theory to a recent public transportation project in Los Angeles. Finally, I conclude that 1)existing ethical theories can be applied to transportation development projects, 2) not all ethical theories applied to transportation projects are reasonable or functional theories, 3) some transportation development projects can be philosophically justified, and 4) there is not a singular theory that justifies current transportation development projects in Los Angeles.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.