Category Archives: Transit

The discussion on elders in transport continues

Ed Stevens made such a great comment that I wanted to highlight it:

My own parents retired in place. They paid off the home where my 3 brothers and I were raised. While they might not necessarily still need a 5 bedroom home in there 70′s they also have no desire to move. They were also able to come up with new uses for some of the space. My childhood bedroom was converted into an office. Another of my brothers childhood bedroom was converted into the craft/computer room. The other two boys childhood bedrooms became guest bedrooms. When I ask them why they stay they say they know and like their neighbors. If they moved somewhere else they would need to make new friends and my mom fears that as they have get older that might be difficult. For similar reasons my parents don’t want to attend a different church or find new places to shop. While the current furniture is dated, it matches the house that also hasn’t been updated significantly from the 1970′s. Lastly the large house provides plenty of room for the kids and grandchildren to sleep when we go to visit them.

There is a great deal of wisdom in this comment. There comes a point in your life when you do wish to stay put–for a variety of perfectly understandable reasons.

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Duranton and Turner on the fundamental law of traffic congestion in AER

This paper in AER is getting its kicking around the web from the transit fanboys and those outside the transport field who don’t get why managing congestion is treated as a goal for public transit. The commentariat is in umbrage: surely transit riders benefit from transit, yada, yada, and this result means nothing. Andrew Gelman gets a buy on his comments because he’s brilliant, I love his Bayes book, and I learn more from his blog than I learn from most books. Everybody else needs to chill.

The Duranton and Turner paper is significant for multiple reasons. First of all, transit fanboys have nobody to blame but themselves for the widely held perception that transit investment decreases congestion. It’s part of every “More rail, more rail, more rail” chant I’ve ever read in about 20+ years of professional life in transport planning. Why? Because if you didn’t promise those who don’t ride transit a benefit from the billions we spend on transit, they’d never hand over the billions to you. Outside of the few major transit markets in the US, transit riders themselves have never been a big enough constituency to hold their own in budget battles, which is one reason why they are at such a disadvantage in Federal budget talks.

Promising nonuser benefits has been the major marketing strategy of transit agencies for at least 40 years. Transit saves the air! It makes us skinny! It decreases congestion! And so on and so forth. Promises of this type, however, have the tendency to prompt empirically minded researchers like Matt Turner to get out their datasets and their instrumental variables and get all hypothesis testy on you.

Again: Gelman gets a buy because he readily admits he hasn’t been at the party for 20+ years, but it’s some serious gaslighting at this stage of the game, after transit advocates have spent decades schilling the investment based on nonuser benefits, to respond with “how silly those economists are! Transit provides mobility! Of course, that’s the benefit of transit!” Especially when ridership figures on many systems are so disappointing. That’s a pretty politically dangerous response for everybody who, unlike Gelman, doesn’t live in NYC because if we do cost-benefits on transit investment based on benefits to riders alone, we’d see a lot less investment. I assume that’s not what the fanboys want.

Anyway, so what’s interesting in the manuscript itself? Here’s the actual citation:

Duranton, Gilles, and Matthew A. Turner. 2011. “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities.” American Economic Review, 101(6): 2616–52.
DOI:10.1257/aer.101.6.2616

Here’s the abstract:

We investigate the effect of lane kilometers of roads on vehicle-kilometers traveled (VKT) in US cities. VKT increases proportionately to roadway lane kilometers for interstate highways and probably slightly less rapidly for other types of roads. The sources for this extra VKT are increases in driving by current residents, increases in commercial traffic, and migration. Increasing lane kilometers for one type of road diverts little traffic from other types of road. We find no evidence that the provision of public transportation affects VKT. We conclude that increased provision of roads or public transit is unlikely to relieve congestion. (JEL R41, R48)

So what? Anthony Downs (and other smart people) pointed out the theory of triple convergence quite some ago–that additional capacity on an unpriced system will erode until a congested re-occurs. In the absence of money prices, the only thing that disciplines demand on a facility are the time costs, and the time costs rise with…congestion. So one of the most misguided commenters asks: Where do all the extra drivers come from? The answer is easy:

a) population growth or
b) nowhere, since you don’t need additional bodies. You just need additional trips.

So if we provide a whole bunch of new supply, transit or otherwise, on a high-demand corridor, that supply will get used as the time costs are lower, and the out-of-pocket money costs of car ownership at that point are sunk and unrelated to trip time of day–until congestion starts in again. So if the congestion on the 405 clears up suddenly because we’ve provided commuter rail (I’ll just hold my breath until that happens), other drivers may opt on to the facility, or some of the drivers left may decide to sneak in a few more trips during the day.

There is a point when supply can become saturated: if you put a 50 lane road down in Des Moines, I doubt you’ll get gridlock. But that’s a flummery example. Nobody proposes such things.

Transit fanboys are reacting so strongly to the Duranton and Turner paper because for a very long time, people have argued Down’s triple convergence only in terms of highway supply. It was a rational for all those who said “You can’t build your way out of congestion” at the same time they argued for building more rail. The problem appears to be–and most people who understand economics have known this for awhile—that triple convergence holds regardless of whether the additional supply is highway or transit.

The problem that Duranton and Turner highlight concerns the highly counterfactual nature of most purported environmental benefits in public investment, not just transit. The promise that transit “clears the air” or “reduces congestion” or “reduces auto use!” contains an implicit caveat that few people acknowledge: transit is a cleaner mode than if we were to meet the additional travel demand with highway supply rather than transit supply. But it’s much snappier to say “Transit clears the air” than it is to say “Transit clears the air relative to what it would be had transit users driven cars.” These are benefits that occur from shifting future user behavior.

That’s why the California HSR advocates argue that their new $98 billion HSR investment is a bargain compared to the $127 billion of airport and highway expansion that nobody has actually proposed yet.

The point from Duranton and Turner: if your metro area has a problem with cars now—either related to congestion or to air quality—you are going to keep your problem, even if you build transit.

HOWEVER. And this is for the fanboys:

a) If you don’t have a problem yet with auto-related externalities, new transit supply may forestall those problems. Probably not forever, but you may buy yourself some time, and

b) Restated: if you already have a problem with auto-related externalities, new transit supply may help change the slope of how bad those problems get over time.

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Transport London and its farebox ratio

The BBC ran a story yesterday that Mayor Ken Livingstone promised to drop fares on Transport London by 5 percent by October 2012 if he is elected.

Boris Johnson, by contrast, has said that he will stick to the existing formula for raising fares, which is the retail price index plus 2 percent.

So that formula says it all; it’s a policy-level move to shift more of the burden onto the users themselves.

Sure enough, that’s what the Beeb’s numbers suggest, showing that users are covering about 54 percent of TCL’s costs–certainly not bad by any measure to US operators.

The other part of the story I don’t quite understand–they’re arguing over a surplus, which is not a word I’m used to seeing in transit finance, and I can’t quite figure out if there is an actual surplus or there isn’t–or there was, but central government austerity measures meant the agency used that surplus already.

What do you think of the approach? At least with a formula, transit riders would know what kind of fare increases to budget for, as I think US austerity measures are likely to pull back on federal support for transit very hard.

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Where’s my transit revolution? Today’s infuriating commuting numbers from the ACS

Ok, so the answer to the question I pose is, inevitably: we haven’t spent enough on transit yet. However, the mode choice numbers in a report this morning from the American Community Survey discourage and, since I don’t take being discouraged very well, infuriate.

Let’s take a look at some of the graphics:

Voila Capture45

Blargh! WHAT? WE’RE TALKING FIVE DECADES OF TRANSIT INVESTMENT AND THE MODE SHARE AND COUNTS HAVEN’T CHANGED HARDLY AT ALL? WHA? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?! “Wah wah wah I don’t liiiiiiiiiike buses. I neeeeeeeed light rail plunked down all over hell and gone just like Europe. THEN I’ll stop driving.”

We’ve done our part. We’ve built rail line after rail line after rail line. We’ve been condemning sprawl since the 1980s, advocating for denser residential patterns since roughly the same time. Living in the suburbs in our popular media is treated as the moral equivalent of being fat or smoking. DAVID FREAKING BYRNE IS WRITING ABOUT HOW COOL IT IS TO BIKE IN CITIES FER CRYIN’ OUT LOUD. We’ve romanticized places like New York and Portland. WHAT’S IT GONNA TAKE, PEOPLE?

With mode shares, the percentage taking transit masks the fact that more people are taking transit in 2009 than in 1960, but still. In reality, this time period reflects a changing geographic distribution of the US population where, yes, people left the precious central city for the suburbs (something that doesn’t seem to have hurt NYC-NJ transit one little bit, BTW), but people also left rural areas for metropolitan areas. These numbers should be shifting simply by virtue of that phenomenon.

So that graphic shows the commute counts. Maybe commutes just aren’t shifting and we’d see a different story from 1960 to 2010 if we had leisure travel here.

Voila Capture46

So transit operators should advocate for open borders because immigrants are good customers.

This last one may be too hard to see. The report is freely available (until the Republicans decide to shut down the Census), so go look at the report.

Voila Capture47

Thirty years ago in public transit, there was NYC, and then there was everybody else. Today, apparently, it’s still NYC and everybody else.

I don’t see happy things ahead in terms of changing these numbers, especially with big systems like BART reducing frequencies, even with higher gas prices.

Blargh. Bad way to start my day.

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The 1-mile per hour transit ride

I live 4 miles from downtown. I went to dinner downtown with some of my colleagues. I turned down a ride as nobody was going in my direction.

I left my cell phone in the office. This was a terrible tragedy.

Went to Union Station, got on the purple line, went from Union Station to Wilshire/Western. I got off, waited 30 minutes for Metro Rapid bus.

Onboard, the changable message sign does not flash the next stop. No, it flashes super-useful information, like the date.

The bus driver, who is supposed to verbally announce the stops, doesn’t. I miss Crenshaw and Wilshire and finally realize this when I see La Brea pass. Damn! I pull the cord. It’s an express, so it finally lets me off at Fairfax.

Now, in theory, that’s my fault. But having the date instead of the next stop is truly useless in every possible regard. Oh, there’s the date. How splendid. I can now write checks on the bus and be sure I have used the proper date.

I get out and cross the street to get on a Metro 720 bus eastbound. I wait 20 minutes for that.

I ask the driver as I get on: “Do you stop at Wilshire and Crenshaw?” “Yah” he grunts.

How jolly.

Again, no next stop information on the changeable message sign, which helpfully shows me the date and time. He doesn’t announce it either.

So I stand in the center aisle hunched over looking at the street signs in the dark as they whiz by.

Aha! Wilshire and Crenshaw is the next stop. I reach to pull the cord, but somebody is reaching faster than me, and they get to it first.

The bell rings. The sign says “Stop requested: please use rear door exist.”

Alrighty! I can use the rear-door exit. It’s my favorite, in fact.

But, alas, the driver slows down for the stop at Crenshaw, sees the light is green, and then accelerates past the stop without stopping or opening his doors.

Me and 4 other people yell “WTF?”

The next stop is Wilshire and Western, where I first alighted the 720 an hour ago to trundle along the same stretch of Wilshire BLVD twice.

Third time is the charm. After another 20 minute wait, another 720 comes, and I pull the cord immediately.

He stops! It’s magical.

We get out. I walk over to the Metro 710 sign. A nice lady says to me: “That doesn’t run at night. You have to take the 210.” There is not a single map of the route posted. There is not a single schedule posted. Were it not for that woman, I would have had no way of knowing that the 710 doesn’t run at that time of night because waiting an hour for a bus is not unusual in my experience.

During this time, I have not seen a single taxi.

So I go stand at the 210 station. It is pitch black except for headlights on Wilshire and some sad streetlights.

I wait for 45 minutes. I see a taxi coming, but the 210 is right behind.

Eh, I think. I’ll save the 10 bucks and take the bus. I let the taxi go by.

I look up. The 210 bus now says “Not in Service.”

I utter words you can not put on a family blog and I turn around and walk 1.7 miles from Wilshire/Crenshaw home, to Crenshaw on Washington, at 10 o’clock at night.

As I turn the corner from Crenshaw& Washington, 500 yards from my house, a taxi turns around and says “Honey, let me give you a ride. You don’t need to walk in this neighborhood at night.”

My travel time: approximately 4 hours.

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David King on the Co-Development of Subways and Real Estate in JTLU

The Journal of Transport and Land Use always has good things in it, and this time out is no exception. I’ll pull out two papers to discuss this week.

The first is from fellow UCLA alumni and now assistant professor at Columbia University, David King. His manuscript is

King, D., 2011, Developing Densely: Estimating the Effect of Subway Growth on New York City Land Uses The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 4(2), pp. 19-32.

From the abstract:
Abstract:In the early twentieth century, New York City’s population, developed land area, and subway network size all increased dramatically. The rapid expansion of the transit system and land development present intriguing questions as to whether land development led subway
growth or if subway expansion was a precursor to real estate development. The research described in this article uses Granger causality models based on parcel-level data to explore the co-development of the subway system and residential and commercial land uses, and attempts to determine whether subway stations were a leading indicator of residential and commercial development or if subway station expansion followed residential and commercial construction. The results of this study suggest that the subway network developed in an orderly fashion and grew densest in areas where there was growth in commercial development. There is no evidence that subway growth preceded residential development throughout the city. These results suggest that subway stations opened in areas already well-served by the system and that network growth often followed residential and commercial development. ăe subway network acted as an agent of decentralization away from lower Manhattan as routes and stations were sought in areas with established ridership demand
.

This is a wonderfully written paper, and I can’t claim any particular objectively because I think David is the shizzle. However, it’s worth chatting about the paper in some depth.

In this introduction, King notes three factors that reinforced the idea that the subway followed people rather the other way around:

1. The subways were developed by private transit companies with public financing. These companies were not real estate developers: they relied on fares alone for their business. I strongly suspect that this is the biggest single factor in the story he has to tell. If you are a private company, you don’t pour capital investment into places unless you are pretty clear that there are going to be passengers. Contrast this behavior with the behavior of pork-barrel, get-my-slice-of-the-capital-funding-pie-no-matter-how-few-passengers-there-are temptations of public funding for capital improvements.

2. There was no real zoning prior to the 1960s, so developers could cram as many units as they could pencil out into the parcels they owned.

3. Land values were on the rise, which would reinforce #2, and which drove manufacturing off Manhattan in favor of offices–so that we today can stroll around Manhattan and oooh and aaaah at its sustainable urban form populated by, among others, billionaire I-bankers holding the reigns of a capitalist machine that is currently eating the entire universe. But they live in apartments and walk more than everybody else, so they must be The Better Environmental People.

Anyhoozily, I am not the world’s biggest fan of Granger models, but King’s application of them is clever here. To make a long story short, the models look for a first period change in a variable that correlates with a second period change in different variables. King sets up the analysis to look at both possible directions: subway supply change lagged against real estate development (the subway following the people hypothesis) and the alternative, development lagged against subway supply (the people follow the subway hypothesis).

He tests against both commercial and residential development, and he finds that there is no support for the belief that the subways were speculative–that is, that they came before the development. Instead, subways followed development, and commercial real estate most importantly.

One quibble is that I wish he’d left Staten Island in the analysis. He drops it because it’s not a part of the subway network, but I think that makes for an interesting control. Another swing at the questions King brings up concerns whether there is a change in the rate of development once the station appears.

David King blogs about transportation over at Getting From Here To There.

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Brookings’ Transit Access and Zero Vehicle Households

I got this in the mail from Brookings this morning:

This Thursday, August 18, the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program will release a report that analyzes how well public transit systems serve households that do not own cars and so have few other transportation options.

Transit Access and Zero Vehicle Households uncovers, for the first time, the fact that 700,000 households across the country have no access to cars or transit and so are severely constrained in getting to jobs and commercial centers. This presents a significant challenge to metros working to grow their economies, which, in turn, presents a challenge to our nation’s economic future.

The report will go live on the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program website at 10 AM ET on 8/18. Accompanying the new report will be individual profiles showing how the country’s 100 largest metros perform individually in this area.

Also on Thursday, we will be launching an online interactive mapping tool that uses Bing maps technology to analyze transit data for all 100 metropolitan areas. This tool will give users a wealth of information on how well transit systems perform.

If you have any questions in advance of this release, please feel free to contact Rachel Harvey, 202.797.6073, rharvey@brookings.edu, or John Fairbanks, 202.797.6087, jfairbanks@brookings.edu.

Heaven help them if there is the vaguest hint that transit in NYC could improve its service in any way, shape, or form given the histrionics that greeted their last report…

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Would transit funding be better off with devolution?

This topic has arisen quite often given our Federal budget brinkmanship: would transit in the US be better off with devolution?

Let’s define some terms. Devolution is the political science speak for movement of fiscal and governance responsibility from higher to lower levels of governments–usually federal to state governments. Traditionally, the governance of cities has been a complex blend of home rule and state statute, and since I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on tv, I can’t explain much more than that.

My grouchy libertarian (actually quite genteel and decent) colleagues tend to refer to transit funding in the US as “making bets with other people’s money.” That is, the transit revival so far in the US, with a few notable exceptions like much of the LA system, has been funded via cracking into Federal revenues, largely from gas taxes, for regional transit projects (capital investment). Perhaps nothing embodies the old lobbying adage that “this issue isn’t going to go away until we pass it” more than transit advocacy–unless perhaps high speed rail advocacy. And advocates have been successful, even if they don’t have the funds they’d like.

Beginning in 1992, the US opened progressively more of gas tax revenues to nonhighway purposes. In fact, in the tradition of “not going away” to get funding at the Federal level, I’d argue, prompted a bunch of livable city folks to begin advocating for Federal support of bike and pedestrian projects. (And there is money used for those; if you are going to allocate Federal cash for projects and expect a match, localities are able to afford much more in the way of bike and pedestrian stuff even if nominally it has to look like the money for those things comes from their funds.)

Many people have grumped about Federal funding for transit another such local/regional projects, and I’m one of those, with caveats. It’s not clear to me that Federal taxpayers should pay for the sidewalk outside my door. I realize that the earth will crash into the sun at the mere mention of property taxes, but land value improvements that I capture directly as homeowner, like sidewalks, are what property taxes or private homeowner association fees are for.

Arguably, local leaders would make more prudential developments if they were to be accountable to their constituents for investing wisely, instead of what they are accountable for now–chasing for their share extra-jurisdictional dollars.

I’m not particularly sympathetic to whining that roads got their investment at the Federal level and now fairness requires that transit get its fair share. I tend to reserve social justice arguments for people rather than modes, and if we want to support transit for civil rights reasons, let’s do so based on those compelling reason—and do it right, by concentrating the dollars in the communities, projects, and services where civil rights and access are most needed rather than overcapitalizing into low-density, low-employment suburbs because of political payola.

I also don’t expect Federal taxpayers to pay for the pothole outside my door.

Federal gas taxes were initially dedicated for an interstate system, which we did, in fact, build (though some may be surprised to remember that the “urban freeways” they deplore do connect into a larger network). So the Federal role in high speed rail money makes far more sense, in terms of network coordination and connectivity, than the idea that Federal taxpayers should be on the hook for the Crenshaw Line Light rail (wonderful project though it is) or the Number 8 express busline in Upper Sandusky.

Federal involvement in transit also has led to a heavy capital bias in transit investment, prompting local and regional agencies to build transit projects, again and again, that they can’t afford to run with any frequency. This leads to a wider geographic coverage for transit–which probably still isn’t wide enough to deal with spreading regions–and with lower frequencies than really make for high service quality. (And sprawl is bad, bad, bad, evil and terrible! The worst thing ever! There? Will that sentence keep some of you land-use people outta my grill for the purposes of this post? Can I talk about something else now? Thanks.)

Transit has been on the teeter-tottery edge of those issues and criticisms for a long time. Why can’t New York pay for its own subways? Or Los Angeles? Or anywhere? That’s why we have local taxes and general funds, right? If you want transit, don’t go holler at the feds. Make it happen if you want it. Perhaps there would be a greater chance of that self-helping if leaders know that the buck really began and stopped with them, and they might instead be much more careful to match investments to operations.

The US Congress is overly dominated by rural interests, and many of us for years have argued that this creates a hostile environment for transit funding in the first place, as many rural senators wonder: “what’s in it for my constituents?” and the ineffectual spreading of scarce resources around to systems that aren’t particularly viable or worth investing in. Porky McPorktown.

This graphic appeared in the Economist (where I have been a devoted subscriber for a very long time; please don’t sue me) accompanying this story about US Federal spending by donors and recipients of Federal largesse:

Voila Capture122

I encourage you to read the entire story. This is about all Federal spending, and I’d rather like to dig into their numbers when I get time. This map, I suspect, would be basically the same if it were to map out gas tax revenues and disbursements. The big states, like New York and California, give more than they get. The states with Senator Bedfellows making careers out of yammering on about the evil Feds get a lot more than they give. Who can explain these politics? I can’t.

So if places like California, New York, Illinois, and Minnesota were running their own budgetary shop, they could keep the revenues they are currently sending to Portland and Memphis and Charlotte.

Here’s the glitch: these donor state are only fiscally better off with Federal gas tax elimination or erosion if those donor states prove capable of passing a gas tax on its residents equal to or better than the 18 cents a gallon [- whatever the Feds give away to other jurisdictions]. And I’m not seeing that happen, at least not in California. Maybe in Minnesota. Maybe in New York, or Massachusetts. Maybe.

And there’s another question: would there have been a Portland at all if there hadn’t been Federal taxation, redistribution, and willingness to invest in smaller regions? It’s not clear that Portland wouldn’t have been willing or able to raise the money for its own perky transit miracle, but I have my doubts as to whether Portland as a region would have evolved as it had had it not been for their aggressive pursuit of Federal funding early on.

Wouldn’t many people feel rather bad about that?

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Technos versus politicos–which one are you?

Reader Gabriel sends along this piece from the National Review online, which is responding to this distinction made by Alon Levy in a piece on technos versus politicos in transit thinking.

The politicos are the fanboys that advocate for every transit project under the sun, no matter how much of a boondoggle, because they know that spreading the money around is the right way to keep the money flowing.

The technos are the fanboys who actually do analysis and think that money should go to effective service and projects. If you are going to live in a reductive world, I’m probably a techno. (I reduced, not Alon, who goes on to discuss the camps in far more nuance and detail.)

Here is Alon’s attempt to reconcile the two:

Ultimately, the two camps are on the same side when it comes to supporting a transit revival. However, the strategies are diametrically opposed. Ask Clem Tillier or Systemic Failure’s Drunk Engineer how to do it and they’ll propose modernizing the regulations, minimizing community impact through smart engineering to reduce NIMBYism, and making sure to build the most cost-effective projects in order to appeal to fiscal conservatives. Ask a political, such as Bruce McF, and he’ll propose to build locally popular projects and spread money around until there’s a critical mass of train riders willing to lobby for more cost-effective regulations. The two camps’ goal is the same, and there can be agreement on individual issues such as the need for FRA reform or support or opposition for specific projects, but the general strategies have the opposite sequences of steps.

I’m dubious of that description, but if it fits the sites Alon reads, perhaps he is right. For me, anecdotally, I personally don’t know as I believe in a transit revival. I’m not sure I even really know what a transit revival really is, as I don’t believe there was a golden age of transit to begin with, and if there was one, it took place in regions that are entirely different than the metropolitan regions we’re staring at today: smaller, less affluent, less connected trade-flows, etc. I think there was a prior age of hot and crowded streetcars contemporary transit fanboys can look back on with adoration because they never had to ride the damn things. (But that were, nevertheless, useful in providing mobility to people without the means to have a car or a cart, and thus, worth having.)

The way I see it: I’ve got a job, and that job is to train urban planners and policy professionals to work effectively in transit agencies, and that means you have to understand both the technical side and the political side. That way, when the political side spends billions on a train to some far-flung, voter-rich suburb, your technical side can explain the empty train in techy, importanty-sounding terms and keep your job.

:^).

A bit more seriously, transit is a fact of life in urban areas; it’s an urban service. There’s cost-effective, useful transit, and there are projects that pretty much such suck up billions and keep construction companies and politicians happy. My job as a researcher is to help sort between those and try to get more to fall in the first camp than the latter, or–home run–derive cost-effective services that make politicians and a whole bunch of other people happy. My job as a teacher is to help my students become the sort of professionals who can walk through the minefield, contribute to the endeavor of good cities and good government (yes, I believe in those things), even though we wind up falling short more often than we’d like. I tend to teach the technical stuff because by the time they get to graduate school in planning, they have drunk deeply from the religion of advocacy. They don’t need me to teach how to scream and shake their fist on transit’s behalf, or to blither on for hours about how it fights obesity, stems pollutions, creates jobs, turns grey skies to blue, and builds community. They already know how to do those things–and I can’t help with the agency-level politics because I’ve never been able to stand to work as anything other than a freelancer. Instead, I try to help them understand dwell time models, capacity calculations, signalization, and the pros and cons of mid-block stops.

One thing I will note: the technos and the polticos have one thing in common: virtually all of the places Alon and Salam talk about on their blogs are fanboy sites.

Can’t a girl play?

Transport has always been male dominated, and in the loudmouth world of transit advocacy, that’s been especially the case. But there are girls out here, too, fellas.

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Some weblinks on Australia’s carbon tax move

While the US is busy dealing with its self-made debt hairpulling crisis and Carmageddon, Australia actually decided do something useful with its time: pass a carbon tax.

Now, forgive me, Australians, because even though I think of myself as an intelligent person, I can’t get myself to remember that Australia has one “i” in it. I’m an American, and so I consider myself well-educated and cosmopolitan because I a) know you exist at all and b) can find you on a map and c) know who your federal leaders are. I know the metric system too! Praise me.

Anyhoodily, here is a collection of things I’ve been reading about the carbon tax.

Jennifer Bennet in the Los Angeles Times

 

Peter Smith in the Financial Times

 

Richard Flanagan from the Gaurdian

 

Timothy Hurst for Reuters a pro op-ed

 

The Independent’s Op-Ed (con)

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Filed under climate change, finance and pricing, Transit