ianmclaury + transit   19

Cap'n Transit Rides Again: Car dependence is overdetermined
I came across a word that I think helped me to put my finger on something that’s been unclear: "overdetermined." It's a Freudian term (he first used it for the content of dreams) that means that an effect has a number of causes, and you don’t need them all to get it. I realized that we've been having so much trouble ending car dependence because it is overdetermined.

If everyone purely voted their interests regarding transportation, and transportation spending were proportional to population, we’d have no drivers in a few generations, because transit is so much cheaper than car infrastructure and subsidies. But car dependence persists, because there are a number of factors that skew the politics, and even if you can knock out one factor, the others often are strong enough to keep things skewed.

The current New York City mayoral campaign is an example of this. In a city where a majority of residents live without cars, and a vast majority commute by transit, even the most progressive candidate, Sal Albanese, finds it necessary to pander to drivers occasionally, and the other candidates go even further. Here are some of the factors that I’ve identified.
transit  driving  new-york  psychology  sociology 
7 weeks ago by ianmclaury
Inside The Times' deep dive into the factors behind the MTA's massive cost problems - Second Ave. Sagas :: Second Ave. Sagas
For years, those watching the MTA have rung the alarm on the agency’s high construction costs. I’ve written about cost concerns and the ever-increasing budgets for big-ticket MTA capital projects for years, and I’m not alone. Alon Levy has, since this post in 2011, charted the absurd costs of U.S. rail construction in detailed comparisons with international peers, and Stephen Smith, via the @MarketUrbanism twitter feed, has beaten the cost drum. When challenged, MTA officials have acknowledged that construction costs, but no one has tackled the twin issues of cost transparency and cost control. No one, that is, until last week, when The Times ran a massive front-page story charting all the reasons why NYC transit construction are so high.

As the finale in the series that started with an in-depth look at our unfolding transit crisis, Brian Rosenthal, with help from Doris Burke and Alain Delaquérière, has done what the MTA or the New York State Comptroller should have done years ago: They scrutinized MTA spending and took a deep dive into the agency’s contracting practices, staffing policies and lack of productivity in a way that lays bare just how bad the MTA is at managing big-ticket construction projects or getting a good return on its dollar. The article is, essentially, the story of how institutionalized corruption has become the norm in New York City.
nyc  transit  mta  costs  corruption 
january 2018 by ianmclaury
The Real Reason U.S. Gas Is So Cheap Is Americans Don't Pay the True Cost of Driving - CityLab
This national refusal to increase gas taxes—which have gone unchanged at the federal level since 1993—has two enormous impacts on everyday life. The first is that drivers no longer cover the cost of road and bridge maintenance, as the gas tax originally intended. UC Davis scholar Mark Delucchi recently estimated that drivers fall short in this respect by 20 to 70 cents per gallon. General taxpayers have made up the resulting budget gap in recent years, whether they drive or not.

That's not a horrible injustice, since most Americans still travel by car. The far bigger problem is that America's gas taxes are too low to offset what economists call the "externalities" of driving. Don't let the word spook you; all it means is that driving creates all sorts of negative social impacts that aren't being compensated for: personal time and work productivity lost to traffic congestion, lives lost to car crashes, and health risks created by air pollution, to name just a few.

When Delucchi tallied up these costs, at least as they existed for 1991 driving patterns, he estimated them at upwards of $3.3 trillion a year (below, our highlight). As he told me recently by email, discussing the use of that figure in an infographic for The Atlantic, "clearly driving is way underpriced."
transit  driving  taxes  cars  gasoline 
january 2015 by ianmclaury
U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs - Bloomberg
A huge part of the problem is that agencies can’t keep their private contractors in check. Starved of funds and expertise for in-house planning, officials contract out the project management and early design concepts to private companies that have little incentive to keep costs down and quality up. And even when they know better, agencies are often forced by legislation, courts and politicians to make decisions that they know aren’t in the public interest.
Comparing American transit-construction practices with those abroad yields a number of lessons. Spain has the most dynamic tunneling industry in the world and the lowest costs. In 2003, Metro de Madrid Chief Executive Officer Manuel Melis Maynar wrote a list describing the practices he used to design the system’s latest expansion. The don’t-do list, unfortunately, reads like a winning U.S. transit-construction bingo card.
transit  economics  government  management 
august 2013 by ianmclaury
A Subway Map for Pedestrians - Emily Badger - The Atlantic Cities
The Polis Blog points us to the smart map above from the Spanish city of Pontevedra. It looks like a transit map, with those universally recognizable black nodes of subway stops and the colorful connecting lines associated in most cities with rail corridors. These routes, however, are intended for pedestrians, and they come complete with walking distances and travel times (assuming a casual pace of 5 kilometers an hour) between just about anywhere in Pontevedra a pedestrian might want to travel.
map  design  walking  transit 
march 2013 by ianmclaury
Average Commute Times | WNYC
The average travel time to work in the United States is 25.4 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Move around the map or enter your town or zip code to find commute times for your area.
transit  traffic  commute  map 
march 2013 by ianmclaury
The Straight Dope: Is mass transit a waste of energy?
"On the face of it, then, transit currently offers no energy advantage over cars except in the handful of cities with heavy rail — and not all of those. [...] The real issue isn't energy efficiency or foreign oil dependence. The fundamental problem is that petroleum is sure to be scarcer in coming decades and alternative energy sources will have to be developed. Many of the obvious ones (wind, solar, nuclear) are best suited to producing electricity. Transit electrification is well understood. Electric cars, not so much."
transit  environment  bus  train  car  energy  urban 
january 2010 by ianmclaury
How To Convince A Conservative To Support Public Transportation (William Lind Explains) » INFRASTRUCTURIST
"MATT DELLINGER: Your book is very interesting. It’s a conservative argument for public transportation, but it’s also a guidebook for classic supporters of public transportation, on how to talk to conservatives.
WILLIAM LIND: That is essentially at the heart of all of our transit work."
transit  transportation  policy  advocacy  politics  conservatives 
october 2009 by ianmclaury
Walk or Bus? - Visualmotive
Pretty cool pictograph. My cutoff for walking to work is 20 minutes until the next bus, but if there's a transfer downtown it's really more like 40 minutes.
transit  walking  infographic  chart  annarbor  aata  via:getdowntown 
september 2009 by ianmclaury
Germany Imagines Suburbs Without Cars - NYTimes.com
"Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home." -- also coming soon to Hayward, California
urban  transit  planning  cars  walkability  via:wbwc 
may 2009 by ianmclaury
Minimuni - ultrapersonalized transit info
A personalized muni train tracker in App Engine. "Personalized" as in specifically for a gent named Paul Hammond near Duboce Park, San Francisco. The interface would be ideal for other trackers elsewhere though, like the fabled AATA planner.
iphone  transit  mobile  app  sanfrancisco  muni  aata  rawdatanow  via:vielmetti 
may 2009 by ianmclaury
commuting.in - Commuting In Chicago - CTA Bus Commuting Perfection
Personalizable bus schedule web app; iphone-friendly. Another application made possible by RAW DATA NOW.
chicago  transit  rawdatanow 
april 2009 by ianmclaury
Great Lakes Law: Legislature approves privately-funded light rail for Detroit
Light rail down Woodward -- the missing link between the Amtrak station and everything else (WSU, DIA, Comerica, downtown)
detroit  transit  commuter  amtrak 
april 2009 by ianmclaury
Great Lakes Law: Car free in the Motor City - riding the rails from Ann Arbor to Detroit
Amtrak from Ann Arbor to Detroit -- an almost-practical solution for commuting to WSU.
detroit  amtrak  transit  annarbor  via:a2chronicle 
april 2009 by ianmclaury
Lessons from DC Metro and BART - Seattle Transit Blog
Seattle considers whether to emulate BART or the DC Metro: "BART serves the suburbs. Metrorail serves the suburbs and the urban core. BART saves money by using existing rights of way; Metrorail maximizes ridership by puting lines where the transit demand is. BART stations are where the cars are; Metrorail stations are where the people are."
transit  train  subway  sanfrancisco  washingtondc  seattle  urbanplanning 
march 2009 by ianmclaury
The Goodspeed Update » Information Design and Public Transit
Good and bad designs for bus maps and schedules in the metro DC area. AATA hews mostly to the bad. (16 month old post, but still relevant to AATA anyway; dunno about DC. See also comment by Ed Vielmetti on mobile.theride.org. Also, the stem and leaf schedule design would work great on a mobile phone, perhaps including arrival time data.)
design  graphics  transit  bus  aata  tufte  via:yglesias  washingtondc  goodspeed  cynicalideation 
january 2009 by ianmclaury
Kevin Drum: Walkability
Explains why, according to Joel Garreau's Laws of FAR, why economics doesn't favor the development of walkable exurbs: basically because an urban area can't get dense enough for transit and hence walkability without first going through a period of traffic snarls. But the point at which the traffic snarls is not yet dense enough for transit and walkability, so instead of building light rail, people just expand to another exurb.
urban  walkability  transit  density  development  suburbs 
september 2008 by ianmclaury
Google Transit Feed Specification - Google Code
Transit agencies prepare a GTFS file and hand it off to Google, which checks it periodically. This page is all about what's in that GTFS file.

- so, where is the AATA feed?
transit  feed  googletransit  bus  transportation  google  reference  aata  via:vielmetti 
september 2008 by ianmclaury

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