Transportation

Planning for an Unattainable Fantasy

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Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, and the city of Austin and Austin’s transit agency, Capital Metro, have a plan for dealing with all of the traffic that will be generated by that growth: assume that a third of the people who now drive alone to work will switch to transit, bicycling, walking, or telecommuting by 2039. That’s right up there with planning for dinner by assuming that food will magically appear on the table the same way it does in Hogwarts.  read more »

Scapegoating Ride Hailing

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Transit ridership in Chicago is declining. The city wants to tax ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft and give some of the money to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).  read more »

The Expanding and Dispersing San Francisco Bay Area

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This decade has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area or CSA), with the addition of three Central Valley metropolitan areas, Stockton, Modesto and Merced. Over the same period, there has been both a drop in the population growth rate and a shift of growth to the Central Valley exurban metropolitan areas.  read more »

Three Studies That Show Density Doesn't Determine Car Travel

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Recent research sheds new light on the critical issue of the link between car travel and urban density. Conventional planning wisdom has it that increasing development density bestows benefits, most importantly that of reducing driving. This effect seems almost self-evident: more compaction, shorter distances, lower VMTs. Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy’s (1989) Cities and Automobile Dependence reinforced this intuitive assumption with their extensive and in-depth study (1986) which effectively sealed the case for thirty years.  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

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The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »

2018 Commute Data

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The Census Bureau released data from the 2018 American Community Survey last week, and the big news is its finding that income inequality has worsened. America's transit agencies contributed to that problem as they continue to build expensive transit systems into wealthy suburbs while they cut service to low-income neighborhoods.  read more »

The EV Free Lunch Is Coming To An End

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For years the EV’s owners have benefitted from Federal subsidies (financed by the working class) and have been exempt from the fuel taxes that pay for road and bridge maintenance as they use no “fuel” as it relates to powering a combustion engine.

Things are changing and rather quickly. With subsidies beginning to end, states are also hitting electric vehicle owners with high fees in an effort to put all vehicles equally accountable for financing repairs and maintenance of our highway infrastructure.  read more »

New York City Firefighters Union Calls Out Vision Zero, Bike Lanes, and Road Diets

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(QUEENS, NYC) An FDNY truck trapped on the Skillman Avenue road diet in Queens. Photograph courtesy of Dorothy Morehead.

New York City firefighters union calls out Vision Zero, bike lanes, and road diets: “You’re basically eliminating the ability for emergency service vehicles to get around”

Will firefighters unions in other cities follow suit?

After four years of lane reductions, arterial bike lanes, road diets, and other so-called “traffic calming” measures on the streets of New York, the country’s largest firefighters union is saying enough.  read more »

Average Chinese Car Travels as Much as American Car

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China is now the largest automobile market in the world. In 2018, 23.7 million new light vehicles were sold in China, compared to the 17.3 million sold in the United States. During the Great Recession, China displaced the US, which had been the world’s leading car market since the invention of the automobile.  read more »

Transport Costs & Subsidies by Mode

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Supporters of increased subsidies to urban transit and intercity passenger trains often argue that all transportation is subsidized, so it’s only fair that transit and Amtrak should also be subsidized. While it’s true that most transportation is subsidized, it is worth looking at the extent of those subsidies to judge whether subsidies to some forms of transport should be increased or reduced.  read more »