Transportation

The Transit-Density Disconnect

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Around the world planners are seeking to increase urban densities, at least in part because of the belief that this will materially reduce automobile use and encourage people to give up their cars and switch to transit, or walk or cycle (Note 1). Yet research indicates only a marginal connection between higher densities and reduced car use.  read more »

Commuting in Australia

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Data from the 2011 censuses indicates that mass transit is gaining market share in all of but one of Australia's major metropolitan areas. The greatest increase as in Perth, at 21% , aided by the new Mandurah rail line to the southern urban fringe. On average, mass transit's market share increased by 10.8% in the five metropolitan areas with more than 1 million population. This increase seems likely to be in response to both mass transit service improvements (such as in Perth) and higher petrol (gasoline) prices.  read more »

The Beauty of Urban Planning from the Ground

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In a piece called The Beauty of Urban Planning from Space, the Sustainable Cities Collective highlights views from space of uniquely designed street pattern designs in various cities around the world. There are ten examples that illustrate the zenith of urban planning.

As attractive as the street patterns are, they highlight the inevitable inability of designers, or anyone else for that matter, to influence much more than small changes in the overall urban form.  read more »

Transit Legacy Cities

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Transit's greatest potential to attract drivers from cars is the work trip. But an analysis of US transit work trip destinations indicates that this applies in large part to   just a few destinations around the nation. This is much more obvious in looking at destinations than the more typical method of analysis, which looks at the residential locations of commuters.  read more »

How We Should Navigate the Florida Archipelago

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Leafy, timeless rural routes and monotonous, flat highways have characterized Florida’s network of state roads since the early 20th century. Vacationers in the Sunshine State either stick to the interstates – often a hot, frustrating parking lot – or consign themselves to the stop-and-go, confusing local roads. Future Corridors, the state’s vision of a future, integrated road network, is set to finish its conceptual phase this year, and promises to radically revamp the state’s road system.  read more »

Time to Acknowledge Falling Private Car Use

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The prospect of falling car use now needs to be firmly factored into planning for western cities. 

That may come as a bit of a surprise in light of the preoccupation with city plans that aim to get people out of their cars, but it is already happening.  And it is highly likely to continue regardless of whether or not we promote urban consolidation and expensive transit systems.   read more »

Will Driverless Cars Help us Drive Less?

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The war on automobiles is real. Backed by a legion of city officials, environmentalists, and new urbanists, the argument to mitigate vehicle usage has so far been an easy sell – at least in planning circles. Their assumptions echo concerns about the trajectory American cities – the downfall of rural life and open space to name a few.  The problem is the trifecta of pollution, congestion, and urban sprawl. Out with cars, they propose – people could ride high-speed transit instead of sitting in traffic.  read more »

The Drive-It-Yourself Taxi: A Smooth Ride?

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Despite a corporate sponsor that paid handsomely for the naming rights, Londoners stubbornly refer to our bikesharing system as ‘Boris Bikes’, in a nod to our colourful Mayor, Boris Johnson. But what will we call our new drive-it-yourself taxis? My suggestion: ‘Boris Cabs’ – and they are now a reality here, thanks to Daimler’s car2go service, if you happen to live in one of three small and separate sections of town. But why did a one-way carsharing system have to limp into London, when more than a dozen other cities have welcomed these arrangements with open arms? In the US, car2go first appeared in Austin, Texas, and since then has moved into Washington, D.C, Miami, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle. It operates in Canada  read more »

Hong Kong’s Decentralizing Commuting Patterns

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Hong Kong is a city of superlatives. Hong Kong has at least twice the population density of any other urban area in the more developed world, at 67,000 per square mile or 25,900 per square kilometer. The Hong Kong skyline is rated the world's best by both emporis.com (a building database) and diserio.com, which use substantially different criteria.  read more »

As Partisan Rancor Rises, States That Back a Loser Will Be Punished

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Never mind the big-tent debate talk from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about how their respective politics will benefit all Americans. There’s a broader, ugly truth that as the last traces of purple fade from the electoral map, whoever wins will have little reason to take care of much of the country that rejected them.  read more »