Blogs

Kudos to Houston Traffic from IBM

IBM has released its annual "Commuter Pain Index," which ranks traffic congestion in 20 metropolitan areas around the world. According to IBM, the Commuter Pain Index includes 10 issues: "1) commuting time, 2) time stuck in traffic, agreement that: 3) price of gas is already too high, 4) traffic has gotten worse, 5) start-stop traffic is a problem, 6) driving causes stress, 7) driving causes anger, 8) traffic affects work, 9) traffic so bad driving stopped, and 10) decided not to make trip due to traffic."  read more »

University of California Report Calls Cambridge Systematics High-Speed Rail Ridership Forecast Unreliable

A just-released report by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Berkeley finds that the ridership projections prepared by Cambridge Systematics (CS) for the California high speed rail system are "not reliable."  read more »

Surprise, Frisco and Beaumont Among Fastest Growing

The Bureau of the Census has updated its city (municipality or local government area) population estimates for 2009. Predictably, anti-suburban interests saw more indication of the elusive (read non-existent) exodus from the suburbs to the central cities. One analyst even suggested that a "high quality" of life in one central city (Washington, DC) might have kept people from moving to the suburbs.  read more »

Aspiring to The Russian Dream

Bloomberg Business Week reports that the Russian government wants to move urban residents from their "cramped" high rise apartments to new suburban developments. Single family houses would be built in joint ventures with private developers. Present plans are to develop 2.5 million acres of suburban homes. This is a very large program.  read more »

Decentralized Growth and "Interstate" Highways in China

Andrew Batston of The Wall Street Journal writes of China's decentralization, with the growing employment in interior urban areas.  read more »

Second Thoughts on the Condo Market

Mega-builder Larry Murren, whose company (MGM Mirage) opened the "largest privately funded construction project in U.S. history" told WSJ (the Wall Street Journal Magazine) that if he had to do it all over again, he would reconsider the condo-residential component of the project. “We would have built about half of those units” at the new $8.5 billion "City Center" development.  read more »

Curbing Euro-Envy

Times are tough in the newspaper business. For example, The New York Times used to have a robust fact-checking department. Either the staff has been laid off or maybe they can't keep up with the errors, either of which could explain the op-ed piece "Europe Energized."  read more »

Striking a Balance

As noted by Wendell Cox, commuting and congestion have a large economic cost. Time spent behind the wheel, slowed by traffic, is time that could otherwise be put to more productive economic pursuits. Commuting and congestion also have social costs. Every minute lost trapped in snarled traffic is time that might have been spent with family, friends, relaxing, or getting involved in community building activities.  read more »

Dhaka's Dangerous Development

It has been a horrendous week in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh and the world's most dense urban area (104,000 population per square mile/40,000 per square kilometer). On Tuesday, a five story residential building collapsed, killing 23 people in the building and in other structures in the path of the collapse. Then, on Thursday evening, a fire started on the lower floors of an 8-story residential building in the old town section of Dhaka.  read more »

Urban Economies: The Cost of Wasted Time

Much has been written in recent years about the costs of congestion, with ground breaking research by academics such as Prud'homme & Chang-Wong and Hartgen & Fields showing that the more jobs that can be accessed in a particular period of time, the greater the economic output of a metropolitan area.  read more »