Transportation

Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

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With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release.  read more »

Taxpayers Need Protection from Dallas-Houston High Speed Rail Bailout? New Report

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The proposed privately financed high-speed rail line from Houston to Dallas is projected to have a revenue shortfall of $21.5 billion in its first 40 years of operation. This is the conclusion of a Reason Foundation report by Baruch Feigenbaum, the Foundation’s assistant director of transportation policy (Texas High Speed Rail: Caution Ahead).  read more »

Los Angeles Traffic: Likely To Worsen with Higher Densities

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A few recent days driving the Los Angeles freeways impressed me with how different they are from in most other places in the country. The intensity of the traffic is astounding. Even on the weekend, travel over Sepulveda Pass on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) was highly congested. Traffic really never stopped, but frustratingly inched along for parts of the way and approached 60 miles per hour on other parts. A Saturday trip I feared might take an hour and a half was completed from Simi Valley in less than 60 minutes.  read more »

Dallas-Fort Worth & Dayton: World Large City Least Congestion: 2017 Tom Tom Traffic Index

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Dallas-Fort Worth and Dayton Ohio have the least traffic congestion among larger cities (urban areas) in the world, according to the 2017 Tom Tom Traffic Index. Dallas-Fort Worth had the shortest average all day delay, at 18 percent of the 43 cities with more than 5 million population. Dallas-Fort Worth also had the least average peak period traffic delay. This is the second year in a row the Dallas Fort Worth has had the best all day traffic congestion.  read more »

Focusing on Mobility Not Travel Mode for Better Economic Growth

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The last article outlined research on job access by cars, transit and walking by the University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory that assesses mobility by car, transit and walking in 49 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. Of course, it is to be expected that the metropolitan areas will have the largest number of jobs accessible to the average employee simply by virtue of their larger labor markets.  read more »

Access in the City

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Access for residents to employment is critical to boosting city productivity. This has been demonstrated by researchers such as Remy Prud’homme and Chang-Woon Lee of the University of Paris, David Hartgen and M. Gregory Fields of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Generally, city productivity (economic growth and job creation) can be expected to improve more where employment access is better . Access is measured in the number of jobs that can be reached by the average employee in a certain period of time, like 30 minutes.  read more »

Are America’s Cities Doomed to Go Bankrupt?

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I’m a fan of Strong Towns and share their thesis that the biggest sustainability problem with much of suburbia is its financial sustainability.

recent article there about Lafayette, Louisiana has been making the rounds. That city’s public works director made some estimates of infrastructure maintenance costs and which parts of the city turned a “profit” from taxes and which were losses. Here’s their profit and loss map.  read more »

World Automotive Sales Setting New Records

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The world has come a long way since 1929, when 80 percent of the world’s car registrations were in the United States, which also manufactured 90 percent of the vehicles. Now China produces the most cars and its annual sales rank top in the world. China overtook the United States in vehicle sales during the Great Recession. But it’s not like Americans are no longer buying cars; the US broke its own record last year.  read more »

New Year, Same Old Streetcar Named Disaster

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On December 30 the city of Atlanta began Year 3 of operating its much-ballyhooed Atlanta Streetcar System, and so far, all that can be discerned is a lot of bally hooey.

This month, the Atlanta City Council approved the final payment to URS for the design-build of the 2.7-mile Atlanta Streetcar project, making the total payment $61,630,655. That was, according to Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza, “$6 million less than URS originally submitted.”  read more »

Advancing the Texan City-Building Model

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Reading the recent report “The Texas Way of Urbanism” promptly reminded me of my status – twice a migrant; from small town to big city (Athens) and from big city to another country. These moves were propelled by a singular motivation: seeking opportunity to better my lot. I knew next to nothing about the cities I moved to: their shape and history, their culture, their social divisions and even language were absent from my viewfinder. All that mattered was the chance for a new start.  read more »