Orlando’s Sunrail: Blank Checks Induced by Washington


We are supposedly living in an age of austerity, but many federal programs are leading many states into overspending and potential fiscal insolvency.  Transit spending is a case in point, as is indicated by the proposed Orlando Sunrail commuter rail project.  read more »

Inside Sydney's Central Business District: the Retail Core


World famous for its beautiful harbour setting, Sydney’s Central Business District is undergoing a resurgence. As the hub of Australia’s finance sector, it stumbled during the global crisis. Office vacancies jumped from 5.7 per cent in early 2008 to 8.8 per cent in mid 2009, despite stable supply. Ultimately, though, Sydney was spared the worst, owing to its rise as a staging post for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, which averted the havoc of Europe and North America. Recovery is now underway, if slowly.  read more »

Transit: The 4 Percent Solution


A new Brookings Institution report provides an unprecedented glimpse into the lack of potential for transit to make a more meaningful contribution to mobility in the nation's metropolitan areas. The report, entitled Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, provides estimates of the percentage of jobs that can be accessed by transit in 45, 60 or 90 minutes, one-way, by residents of the 100 largest US metropolitan areas.  read more »

Natural Gas Vehicles Floor It in Long Beach

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The Alternate Clean Transportation Expo held in Long Beach earlier this month was a spectacular display of engineering ingenuity by Natural Gas Vehicle providers. The event's theme was that America’s self sufficiency in natural gas has decoupled our energy resources from petroleum prices. But the consensus among the gathered engineers and scientists was to look beyond the current prices of petroleum alone, and consider that domestic self sufficiency includes keeping jobs at home.  read more »

Skepticism Greets US DOT's Draft Transportation Bill


An undated--- and possibly still unvetted by OMB---draft of US DOT’s legislative proposal for surface transportation reauthorization, the "Transportation Opportunities Act," has been making the rounds in Washington for the past week. Its publication, however, has been largely ignored by the inside-the-Beltway transportation community. What would ordinarily be an eagerly awaited event and an occasion to compliment the Department , has passed virtually unnoticed.  read more »

The Public Transport Revolution – Why does it never Arrive?


Since the oil spike in the early seventies, enthusiasts for public transport have predicted that high prices for petrol would trigger a public transport revolution as people finally broke their “addiction” to the motor car and changed their travel mode to buses and trains.

Since then, price bubbles have increased public transport use, and lowered car miles traveled. But these changes have proved to be short-lived. More drive more.  read more »

How China’s Megacities Have Avoided Problems of Other Developing Cities


Urbanist media can’t seem to get enough of the megacity these days. Much of the commentary surrounding this topic is disconcertingly celebratory about these leviathans despite such phenomena as overcrowding, high levels of congestion and sprawling slums.  read more »

Here Comes the Bus: America’s Fastest Growing Form of Intercity Travel


Travel by intercity bus is growing at an extraordinary pace: reflecting a rise in travel demand, escalating fuel prices, and investments in new routes. This confluence of factors has propelled scheduled bus service between cities to its highest level in years and has made the intercity bus the country’s fastest growing mode of transportation for the third year in the row.  read more »

Los Angeles: The MTA's Bus Stop Strategy

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Those who run the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority evidently believe that, since the Consent Decree that forced it to improve service to its bus riders has expired, they are free to rewrite history to justify Metro's elimination of nine bus lines, its reductions in service on eleven more, and its overall elimination of four percent of its bus service hours by attempting to show that MTA bus service is little utilized and not cost-effective.  read more »

A Requiem for "High-Speed Rail"


In the interest of maintaining some balance and perspective on what the Administration proudly calls "President Obama's bold vision for a national high-speed rail network," at InnovationBriefs we have tried to offer our readers a range of different points of view. It is in this spirit that we present below two commentaries.  read more »