On October 19, an Amtrak passenger train hit 111 mph in a test run on a 15-mile stretch of track between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois. It was the first tangible return from a three-year $1.5 billion program of improvements funded under the Administration's high-speed rail initiative. The program hopes to shave about an hour off the 5 ½ hour rail trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who were aboard, called it a "historic" event. read more »
Is the "infrastructure crisis" a myth or a reality? read more »
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has just published a list of 10 "monster commutes" around the world. Some are to be expected, and are usually found on any list of extreme traffic congestion, such as Jakarta, Bangkok, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Nairobi and Dhaka. read more »
Last year, in congressional testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on high speed rail, we cited the Chicago-to-St.Louis "high-speed rail" project as an example of the Administration's wasteful use of its economic stimulus money. We pointed out that the $1.4 billion program of track upgrades will allow top speed of 110 mph but will raise average speeds of Amtrak trains between Chicago and St. Louis by only 10 miles per hour, from 53 to 63 mph. read more »
Today the US Bureau of the Census released a fascinating report on metropolitan area population growth by radius from the corresponding city halls. The report provides summary tables indicating the metropolitan areas that had the greatest and least growth, for example, near the downtown areas. I was surprised to find that Salt Lake City had done so well, having seen is population rise from 336,000 to 355,000 within a two mile radius of city hall (Table 3-7). That struck me as odd. read more »
With California State Redevelopment Agency money gone, the city of Los Angeles ought to welcome new large-scale private development, and the economic stimulus and job creation it brings, with open arms. City Hall, faced with an anemic municipal budget, could also use the increased tax revenue. One such project that would help abate the city’s budget woes and create new jobs for the city is the University of Southern California’s proposed $1.1 billion “The Village at USC” project. read more »
The Census Bureau's American Community Survey released its annual one-year snapshot of demographic data in the United States. As usual, this included journey to work (commuting data), which is summarized in the table below. read more »
The Democratic Party in Chicago is at war. The one party town is seeing an important element of the coalition on strike. Rahm Emanuel is at war with a real adversary: teacher’s union boss Karen Lewis. Last year Lewis began laying the groundwork for a strike as witnessed in this Chicago Magazine interview with reporter Carol Felsenthal: read more »
In a recent Evolving Urban Form article, we speculated that Tokyo, the world's largest urban area (population more than 35 million) could be displaced by fast-growing Jakarta or Delhi as early as 2030. If the prediction of central jurisdiction administrators and academics come true, Tokyo could be passed by many other urban areas in population by 2100. read more »
In an article entitled Fourth Time Unlucky, The Economist wonders why Brazil, with "a long list of more worthwhile infrastructure projects", does not dismiss high speed rail "out of hand."
After three unsuccessful attempts to attract international bidders to build its Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo and Campinas line for a bargain basement price, the nation has decided that taxpayers will foot some (probably all) of the bill.
The Economist continues: read more »