The chairman of British Airways has launched an attack on "completely redundant" airport checks and said the UK should stop "kowtowing" to US demands for increased security.
The comments by Martin Broughton reflect broader industry and passenger frustration over the steady accumulation of rules on everything from onboard liquids to hand baggage that have blossomed since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In remarks at the annual conference of the UK Airport Operators Association in London, he said that the practice of forcing people to take off their shoes and have their laptops checked separately in security lines should be ditched.
Mr Broughton said there was no need to "kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done" to beef up security on US-bound flights, especially when this involved checks the US did not impose on its own domestic routes.
October 2010 Archives
I would just note (a) I like cities (by which I mean a dense concentration of activities), (b) I think cities are a nice solution to the accessibility problem, but (c) cities are not the objective, accessibility is.
Also, I am suspicious of the claims about environmental and public health effects of the suburbs, especially after concomitant electrification of vehicles.
Jean-Louis Gassee on Google's Self-Driving Car
The hardware and the software will fail, no question. The real riddle is determining the socially acceptable failure rate. Today, there are about 40,000 car fatalities per year. [In the US, actually slightly less -- dml] Note the euphemistic "car fatalities" or "car accidents", as if the drivers weren't to blame. You can imagine the news headlines when the first self-driving car fatality happens: Killer Robot! Killer Software! (A literal killer app?). Isaac Asimov, the author of the Three Laws of Robotics will spin in his grave.
UberCab tries to automate taxi/limo business, shut down for lack of permits ... Ubercab, Now Just Uber, Shares Cease And Desist Orders
Taxis remain regulated, which ought not be news.
A bridge in Nobles County is closed to traffic following a partial collapse that occurred while a contractor was working on the bridge deck.
The County State Aid Highway 1 bridge, which extends over Elk Creek near the town of Brewster, was being prepared for bituminous overlay Tuesday when a section of the span gave way under an 80,000-pound milling machine.
‘They were milling the bituminous surface off the bridge deck to get it ready for the bituminous overlay,’ Nobles County Engineer Steve Schnieder said. ‘They had milled off the entire surface’ and were making a final run when the failure happened.
The machine operator escaped without serious injury and no one else was hurt. The operator managed to jump off the machine onto a portion of the bridge deck that stayed intact, Schnieder said.
From CNN Flight delays cost fliers billions. The study was lead by Mark Hansen (my Ph.D. advisor).
Air travelers already know the frustration of endlessly waiting for a plane to arrive or depart, but now a new study has put a dollar amount on the economic toll of the problem and it's big.
Flight delays cost the nation $32.9 billion in 2007, with passengers on the hook for more than half of that amount, according to research released by the University of California-Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies.
"This is the most comprehensive study done to date analyzing the monetary cost of airline flight delays," said Mark Hansen, the lead researcher, in a statement.
"Flight delay is a serious and widespread problem that places a significant strain on the U.S. air travel system and its customers."
Here is how the figure breaks down: Air travelers paid $16.7 billion in lost time due to delayed flights, flight cancellations and missed connections, plus expenses such as food and accommodations.
The researchers also recognized that many people spend extra time away from home because they fear and expect flight delays.
"If I have a meeting that begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Washington, I would likely fly out from Boston on Monday night rather than early on Tuesday, just to ensure that I arrive on time," said Cynthia Barnhart, one of the co-authors, in a statement.
Meanwhile, flight delays forced airlines to pay $8.3 billion in increased expenses for crew, fuel and maintenance, according to the study. The carriers also saw almost $4 billion in lost demand due to passengers who avoided air travel because of delays.
The country's economy as a whole suffered, too, the study found. Since air travel inefficiencies raise the cost of doing business for companies, the U.S. gross domestic product was reduced by $4 billion in 2007, the study said.
The Federal Aviation Administration commissioned the research.
The study authors note that many flight delays, such as those caused by mechanical problems or severe weather, are unavoidable. But they also point out the problem of airspace congestion.
"The results of this study suggest that policies and mechanisms that discourage overscheduling should be considered," the authors note. So far this year, more than 18 percent of flights have arrived or departed at least 15 minutes late, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
My favorite five-way intersection (Franklin Avenue/East River Road/27th) has now been signalized for over a month. The video was taken on Oct 11 in the late afternoon (I apologize for the poor angle, but I wanted the same position as before as much as possible, unfortunately the sun did not cooperate (or alternatively the clouds did not obscure the sun), also I reduced the resolution for the Web). Other differences to note are that school is now in session.
The intersection was roughly at capacity (as can be seen), in that most conflicting movements were fully served with approaching cars, though I suspect throughput could be a bit higher.
We observe a throughput of about 1948 vehicles per hour (based on my estimate of 147 vehicles and pedestrians and bicyclists in 4:18), which compares favorable with the more chaotic 5-way stop during reconstruction which served about 1600. There seems a long period of lost time that could perhaps be used to improve capacity/lower delay.
The main difference is the extra capacity due to more systematic parallel movements (yielding more than one critical point). Notice the pedestrians just past the 4 minute mark are still quite confused as to whether to go or not.
As a user, the pedestrian timing is still terrible, and I just go whether or not I have the signal, so long as I am unlikely to be flattened like a pancake by oncoming cars.
According to Oregon Live.com There's an implosion heading down TriMet's tracks
TriMet recently cut service on all light-rail lines and more than 50 bus routes. Agency managers have consistently blamed this on a $27 million revenue shortfall caused by the recession.
But the recent release of TriMet's audited financial statements casts a very different light. According to the auditors, TriMet's total operating and non-operating revenues -- including money from passenger fares, payroll and self-employed transit taxes, and operating grants -- increased by 6.5 percent during fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30.
If revenue is up but service levels are down, where did all the money go? The short answer is fringe benefits for employees. On an actuarial basis, TriMet's cost of fringe benefits equaled 152 percent of wages for the just-ended fiscal year. That's the worst ratio among the 20 largest transit districts in the country. Some districts, such as Denver and Miami-Dade County, have fringe benefit costs that are less than 40 percent of payroll. No other district besides TriMet pays more for fringe benefits than wages.
While Wendell Cox notes that Portland saw a drop in Work Transit Mode Share from 6.3 to 6.1% (a drop of 3%) between 2000 and 2009 while the US average over the same period rose from 4.6 to 5.0%, an increase of 9.2%. Of course, as Yonah Freemark notes, Portland saw a huge increase in Bike and small increase in Walk. These don't of themselves actually help the transit operator.
Scientists in Germany unveiling the latest self-driven car Wednesday said the days of humans behind the wheel are numbered and that their technology can slash accidents and help the environment.
"In the future it will be forbidden for safety reasons for people to drive cars," predicted Raul Rojas, professor at Berlin's Free University (FU). "The cars of today are the horses of yesterday."
"In five to 10 years the technology could be applied in private areas like airports, factories or warehouses. On motorways ... in 10-20 years," Rojas told reporters. "In cities the obstacles could be removed in 20-30 years."
The car, dubbed the "Made in Germany (MIG)" by the FU, uses cameras, laser scanners, heat sensors and satellite navigation -- even in tunnels -- to "see" other vehicles and pedestrians and respond to traffic lights.
The technology will sharply reduce the number of cars on the road because people will no longer need their own vehicle so much, using instead driverless cars pooled in car-share schemes, the MIG's developers believe.
"Autonomous cars are the real 'green' cars," Mexican-born Rojas said. "We could use a fraction of the cars that we now have. "If China and India want the same level of mobility as us, then the world is not big enough. The only real solution when it comes to sustainability and preserving resources is car-sharing."
According to the World Health Organisation, more than a million people are killed in road accidents worldwide every year and 50 million more are injured. Driverless vehicles can slash this, their proponents say. "Cars that use sensors to recognise other vehicles, pedestrians and bikes will in future drive more safely than people who lose concentration and get tired," the FU said.
Wendell Cox summarizes recent US mode share data Decade of the Telecommute . He notes telecommuting is overtaking transit mode shares in the 2000s, though both have risen.
WASHINGTON -- Google and a New York financial firm have each agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the Atlantic Seaboard that could ultimately transform the region's electrical map.
An interesting new network element for transmitting electricity from Virginia to New York, and serving as a backbone for off-shore windmills. New electric generation and transmission capacity is needed for many reasons, not the least of which is the coming electrification of cars.
A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?
Why robot cars (autonomous vehicles), as demonstrated by Google this week (and randomly captured by Robert Scoble in the video above), matter.
1. Safety - cars would be safe if only there weren't drivers behind the wheel. Driverless cars seldom get distracted or tired, have really fast perception-reaction times, know exactly how hard to break, and can communicate (potentially) with vehicles around them with Mobile Ad Hoc Networks. But this improves not only vehicle safety, it improves the safety and environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
2. Capacity - 'bots can follow other driverless cars at a significantly reduced distance, and can stay within much narrower lanes with greater accuracy. Capacity at bottlenecks should improve, both in throughput per lane and the number of lanes per unit roadwidth. These cars still need to go somewhere, so we need capacity on city streets as well as freeways, but we save space on parking (see below), and lane width everywhere. If we can reduce lane width, and have adequate capacity, we can reduce paved area and still see higher throughput. Most roadspace is not used most of the time now.
3. Vehicle diversity - Narrow and specialized cars are now more feasible with computers driving and increased overall safety. Especially if we move to cloud commuting (as below), we can have greater variety, and more precision in the fleet, with the right size car for the job.
4. Travel behavior - if the cost of traveling per trip declines (drivers need to exert less effort, and lose less effective time, since they can do something else), we would expect more trips (my taxi can take me wherever) and longer trips and more trips by robocar.
5. Land use - if acceptable trip distances increases, we would expect a greater spread of origins and destinations, (pejoratively, sprawl), just as commuter trains enable exurban living or living in a different city.
6. Parking - my car can drop me off at the front door, and go fairly remotely to park, so we don't need to devote valuable space to parking ramps (garages) (we still need space, it is just far away), searching for parking is also less critical. On street parking can be abolished.
7. Transportation disadvantaged - children, the physically challenged, and others who cannot or should not drive, are now enabled. Parents, friends, and siblings need not shuttle children around, the vehicle can do that by itself. The differences between transit and private vehicles begin to collapse. We can serious consider giving passes to driverless taxis for the poor, since costs should drop with lower labor costs, and if the point below holds, paratransit services become much less expensive as well.
8. Reduced auto ownership - cloud commuting becomes possible.People no longer need to own a car, they can instead subscribe to a car sharing service.
From KurzweilAI Skylifter airship could carry 150-ton buildings : ""
Australian company SkyLifter has designed a heavy-lifting, vertical ascent and descent aircraft that will operate as a practical flying crane. The aircraft is designed to take off where helicopters leave off, with vertical pickup and delivery capability of over-size, fragile or bulky items up to 150 tons, and potentially more. The long flight duration of 24 hours ensures a good distance range and adds flexibility to logistics. The aircraft can loiter over a ground location for long periods using minimal energy.
Masdar kills its PRT plan.
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2010
Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Government's clean energy company, has put its plan for futuristic transport pods on the back-burner and will instead turn to commercial electric cars, executives said yesterday.
The personal rapid transport (PRT) system, a network of driverless electric vehicles, is in use at the Masdar Institute, the first stage of the city that was completed last month. But the technology would require further development to meet the needs of later stages of the city, said Dr Sultan al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar.
"We're big believers in this technology," he said. "But today does it meet our requirements moving forward? No, not as it is today. "Has the PRT matured over the past three years? Absolutely. But the way to get it from where it is today at the Masdar project to where we want it to be, is going to take a little bit more time than our own design."Today we have access to electric vehicles that have developed very quickly over the past three years."
The emerging electric vehicle industry has accelerated, with the release of two battery-powered cars, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, due before the end of the year. Dr al Jaber confirmed that Masdar had begun talks with Daimler to co-operate on electric cars and said it would make use of developments by other UAE-based companies focused on clean technology, including Aabar, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, and IPIC. Alan Frost, the director of Masdar City, said the project ought to make use of these mass-market technologies instead of developing its own networks. "For Masdar to be a true learning experience it needs to be innovative but it also needs to be tapping into what's available in all the rest of the world," he said.
Masdar had originally planned to build the city on a 7.5-metre platform designed to house delivery stations, utilities and waste collection points under pedestrian areas. However, the city will now feature wider streets to accommodate existing commercial vehicles for these purposes.
The Economist is skeptical about the environmental benefits of electric cars, and in particular their environmental efficiency Highly charged motoring. I of course agree with the notion of a carbon tax, and the gas tax is a weak version of that. The question is then at what rate, which is where the argument should be.
Too bad they don't mention A Better Place, which at least has the potential to solve the charging time issue the article complains about.
Roger K. Lewis asks "Are trolley lines more than just a fashionable bit of nostalgia?" and writes "Unlike a bus line, a trolley line is a relatively permanent infrastructure investment. Thus with fixed rails and stations, a trolley line can positively affect real estate values and greatly augment economic activity near the line. Property owners, developers and lenders are more willing to incur the risk of investing in projects near a trolley line than in projects near a bus stop."OK, I hear this argument all the time. Are we forgetting something (from the history of the Twin Cities streetcar system (see Xie and Levinson (2010) How Streetcars Shaped Suburbia Journal of Economic Geography 10(3), pp. 453-470. for a statistical analysis): Streetcars are not permanent. Roads are pretty close to permanent. Subways are pretty close to permanent. Streetcars disappeared from almost all US cities (in Lewis's lifetime). Second, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can achieve the same effect. Of course BRT is more expensive than a bus stop, and provides better service than buses in mixed traffic, but it is also generally less expensive than trolleys, and a lot more flexible as it can serve in neighborhoods. The evidence from the Twin Cities is that while streetcars disappeared, transit service did not. It is not the technology which is permanent, it is the service. If the demand is there, the service will come; if it is not, the service will leave. See e.g.
Rodriguez, D. A., Targa, F. "Value of Accessibility to Bogotá's Bus Rapid Transit System," Transport Reviews, Vol. 24, Number 5, pp. 587-610, 2004. ; and
Ramon Munoz-Raskin, "Walking accessibility to bus rapid transit: Does it affect property values? The case of Bogotá , Colombia", Transport Policy ,Journal of the Transport Conference on Transport Research Society, Volume 17 (March 2010), pp. 72-84,
Cervero, Robert and Chang Deok Kang (2010) Bus rapid transit impacts on land uses and land values in Seoul, Korea
Perk, Victoria and Martin Catala (2009)Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity on Property Values along the Pittsburgh Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway
and a dedicated issue of the Journal of Public Transportation
(Lewis article Via Greater Greater Washington .)
From NY Times Smarter Than You Think - Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic : ""Google has adopted the Stanford and Carnegie Mellon autonomous car programs it seems. Glad there is some real money behind this stuff in the US, given the financial status of US carmakers. Also see Google blogs: What we’re driving at and TechCruch: World-Changing Awesome Aside, How Will The Self-Driving Google Car Make Money?
This movie was taken by me, with my iPhone, on the way home from work on August 19, 2010 at 5:22 pm. The five-way stop controlled intersection (Franklin Ave/ East River Road / 27th Ave) seems to have a maximum throughput just over 1600 vehicles per hour. Most of the movements are saturated during the peak. This intersection has been blogged about before.
The downside for a stop controlled intersection is that the allocation of time across legs is "unfair", i.e. drivers are supposed to take turns (yield to the right). Thus a leg which is just saturated will get just as much access to the critical points of the intersection as a leg that is supersaturated, resulting in much higher delays on the supersaturated movements. I did not measure delay, but it is longer on this day for travelers moving WB on Franklin Ave.
There are several other points to note.
(1) Drivers do not all know the "yield to the right" rule.
(2) This results in "negotiations" between drivers about who should go. Less aggressive drivers clearly lose, but eventually go.
(3) This generally increases throughput compared to obeying rules (do not start until the intersection is cleared is violated, to the benefit of throughput).
(4) The intersection is confusing but safe. Any crashes during peak times would be very low speed.
(5) It is more confusing because of the construction.
(6) The intersection was configured with operating signals in September 2010.
In the past 50 years, the loops-and-lollipops design has become the basic building block of many urban neighborhoods. In the field of traffic engineering, this combination of cul-de-sacs and loop streets is designed to discourage through traffic and improve road safety, and thus it has the support of many traffic engineers. Perhaps because of its intuitive appeal, few studies have examined the impact of this design on road crashes. The city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, was used as a case study to examine the effects of neighborhood street patterns on the number of reported crashes. In the study, crashes were converted into equivalent property-damage-only crashes using various weighting factors to check the sensitivity of the finding. Results suggest that currently popular road patterns such as warped parallel, loops, and lollipops are safer than the traditional gridiron pattern. Moreover, this result is quite robust regarding severity weights or aggregation schemes, albeit with some variations in the absolute values of the estimated effects. However, changing the aggregation scheme had a significant effect on some of the control variables used in the model, especially the socioeconomic characteristics, although most of the road features and land use estimates remained robust.(bad news for the New Urbanists, Traffic Engineers actually score a point).
What we need is a schoolhouse rock for transportation funding.
The public does not know where the money for roads comes from or goes to. It does not understand trust funds. It has no clue the magnitude of the gas tax or other transportation funding sources.
I could say the same about policy-makers.
Transportation funding is becoming a shell-game promulgated by Washington because of fear that elected officials have of being unelected by the mathematically illiterate.
It has to be cheaper to teach people math than to suffer through inadequate transportation funding out of general revenue because a general sales tax seems cheaper (at e.g. 1/2 percent) than a gas tax (at e.g. 20 cents / gallon) since 1/2 < 20.
From Miller-McCune magazine: Transportation Theorists Rally Around Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax
Another article supporting mileage taxes (citing the UVA confab ... they have a really good PR shop at the Miller Center).
However I dispute Jeff Shane's contention that treating the gas tax as a sin tax is a problem. It is a solution, since by raising it you discourage gasoline consumption, which is consistent with our transportation and environmental policies. In the end I agree this blows up , but that is the point, you want it to start blowing up: that will (a) change vehicle fuel trends, and (b) be the impetus to move to mileage taxes, which are, I suspect given the latest Dutch news (previous post), otherwise unachievable.
In the absence of collapse of the existing system, deploying a new funding framework is fraught with difficulties. What we face now, despite all the protestations of crisis and catastrophe by those in the industry, is a slow bleed.
Indexing gas taxes to fuel consumption to ensure steady revenue (if consumption drops because of mileage improvements, taxes rise) is a good short - term (5-10 year) strategy.
As I said previously, the institutions are broken, so sensible policies are not really possible at the moment. Moving towards a utility model would help. The political governance needs to be resolved before funding is. Establishing an independent, regulated, and perhaps publicly owned "road utility" (or several of them, at different levels of the road hierarchy, and for different geographical regions) is a pre-requisite to successfully implementing pricing. It deals with both privacy and institutional structures and provides the rationale and cover for funding increases to maintain existing infrastructure (and perhaps expand it).
Grush Hour: Lost: Dutch Courage
I am convinced if some small north-western European nation cannot get it done first, it won't happen in the US. I thought that country would be the Netherlands. Real road pricing is not something the US can pioneer.
From WaPoFailing U.S. transportation system will imperil prosperity, report finds. I agree with some of the conclusions.
Infrastructure is deteriorating, roads are over-consumed, pollution is still pervasive, innovation is lacking, and the system kills > 30000 people a year in the US.
And the ocean is still wet. Pardon my cynicism, but this is at least the ninety-dozenth study stating this (with the same set of inter-changeable policy wonks, many of them my friends and colleagues), yet policy is seemingly immovable.
The problem is not in funding, the problem is in *institutions*. The wrong institutions are managing the highway (and other) transportation systems, leading to funding problems. If the institutions were properly structured, funding would fall into place.
Yes this is a bigger issue in the short run, but the same institutions will lead to the perpetual policy crisis surface transportation is in.
Matt Yglesias supports the Land Value Tax Land Value Tax
I wasted an hour or so this morning googling and reading about the idea of a land-value tax and the case for it seems (a) extremely compelling and (b) to be made primarily by cranks.
I hope I am not a crank, but we looked at favorably. (forthcoming in Journal of Transport and Land Use.)
In the comments, Yonah Freemark says
"But I don't think the evidence is there right now to portray CAHSR's estimates as "unreasonable.""
Now I don't know what truly constitutes unreasonable, it depends on how you reason. By my reasoning, the forecasts are high compared to reference-class lines. Of course we do not know for certain what the actual ridership will be in 30 years, just as we don't really know anything 'for certain' about the future. I would however lay money they miss their claimed forecast. This is something that is missing in travel demand forecasting, accountability.
To that end, I will bet $1000 that in 2030 CA HSR doesn't meet current ridership projections as posted currently on their website: "88 - 117 million passengers annually by 2030 for the entire 800-mile high-speed train network". Any takers? Maybe on http://www.longbets.org/ ...
Contingent only on their completion of the project.
(I suppose we could have another bet on whether the line actually gets completed by 2030. I would bet no, but am less certain about this folly being avoided.)
My friend PB asked "can you think of some way to bet [as in to make money, not claim "I told you so"] the CA High Speed Rail (if built) will be a fiasco? Fiasco in the sense of waste of money/albatross on the state due to operational costs, cost overruns, level of subsidy per usage unit etc ... so again not fiasco as in safety, operational downtime etc."
Aside from one-on-one bets, about which PB notes " I dont like making multi-year bets because of the mental overhead and some other weird asymmetries", one would have to set up a betting pool on various operational characteristics, e.g. Policy Analysis Markets.
I have never done that, but am seriously considering setting something up for travel demand forecasts.
Unfortunately there is no obvious company to short (except maybe CAHSR bonds when they come out depending on whether the state is guarantor) (I assume you can short bonds like stocks, but I don't know if the market exists for 20 years out). The consultants and contractors will all make out like bandits. If someone is fool enough to build it privately, short them.
My sense is forecasters should be required to post bonds about the accuracy of their forecast. Either that, or they should have to be paid in stock for the facility they are forecasting. This would greatly reward honesty and punish optimism bias and strategic misrepresentation.
"Questions & AnswersIn contrast:
How many riders are expected and how many passengers are forecast to be diverted from airplanes and cars? The most recent ridership forecasts for the California High-Speed Train Project estimate between 88 – 117 million passengers annually by 2030 for the entire 800-mile high-speed train network connecting Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego. Of the 33 million air trips forecast to be made in the year 2030, over a third or 12 million would be attracted to high-speed trains, bringing the level of air traffic in the state back to the levels of 2000, slightly higher than it is today. In other words most of the growth in air traffic would be diverted, leaving airport capacity for international and out-of-state flights."
The Amtrak concept plan,Somehow, I don't think Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in 2040 will draw 70 - 100 million fewer riders than California's HSR in 2030 (even if California's system is somewhat longer). Given Amtrak has no incentive to underestimate, this suggests some issues with California's forecasts. Can you say "Strategic Misrepresentation", good, I knew you could. See: Curbing Optimism Bias and Strategic Misrepresentation in Planning: Reference Class Forecasting in Practice.
A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor (NEC)(pdf), shows a financially viable route could be developed. Upon its full build-out in 2040, high-speed train ridership would approach 18 million passengers with room to accommodate up to 80 million annually as demand increases in the years and decades that follow.
Why Schmidt should tone down tech utopia talk | Relevant Results - CNET News: "For example, take driving. 'Your car should drive itself,' Schmidt said. 'It's amazing to me that we let humans drive cars. It's a bug that cars were invented before computers.'"
Ian Savage has just published a nice paper The dynamics of fare and frequency choice in urban transit in TR part A (so behind a firewall)
This paper investigates the choice of fare and service frequency by urban mass transit agencies. A more frequent service is costly to provide but is valued by riders due to shorter waiting times at stops, and faster operating speeds on less crowding vehicles. Empirical analyses in the 1980s found that service frequencies were too high in most of the cities studied. For a given budget constraint, social welfare could be improved by reducing service frequencies and using the money saved to lower fares. The cross-sectional nature of these analyses meant that researchers were unable to address the question of when the oversupply occurred. This paper seeks to answer that question by conducting a time-series analysis of the bus operations of the Chicago Transit Authority from 1953 to 2005. The paper finds that it has always been the case that too much service frequency was provided at too high a fare. The imbalance between fares and service frequency became larger in the 1970s when the introduction of operating subsidies coincided with an increase in the unit cost of service provision.
This research complements with the work of Brian Taylor on the problems of Transit Financing, as in his paper Unjust Equity
Federal subsidies of public transit, particularly transit operations, are declining and the responsibility for supporting transit is falling increasingly on states and localities. In California, the Transportation Development Act (TDA) has become the state's principal source of transit operating subsidies. It is found that the strict per capita allocation formulas of the TDA strongly favor lightly patronized suburban transit service over more heavily patronized service in the central cities. Transit riders in San Francisco, for example, receive a TDA subsidy of $0.13 per trip, whereas the TDA subsidy to transit patrons in suburban Livermore is over $5.00 per trip. The built-in suburban bias of the TDA is the result of partisan compromises made to secure passage of the Act in 1971--compromises to assuage a Republican governor opposed to new taxes--and to include the interests of rural and suburban counties. The result has been a proliferation in California of new, well-funded, and expanding suburban transit operators that attract few riders whereas older, heavily patronized central city transit operators are forced to cut service because of funding shortfalls. This paper concludes by proposing a more efficient and equitable method for allocating TDA funds than the current formula, which, in the name of equity, provides all Californians with a "fair share" of public transit whether or not they use it.
So it appears from Savage's work there is too much temporal coverage in Chicago, and from Taylor's too much spatial coverage in California.
Suppose, instead of purchasing road services from the government, (now via gas tax, later via mileage based user fees), travelers would purchase transportation services (the right to travel at a location at a time for a price) from independent road service providers. Road service providers (RSP) would purchase capacity from the infrastructure owner (presumably the government). If an RSP's customers over-consumed the road, the RSP would pay a penalty. RSP would charge its customers accordingly to maximize profits in this new competitive market.
What does this allow?
(1) It allows competing RSPs to offer a variety of bundled services to customers (a per use charge, a charge for a the right to travel 10 times per month, or unlimited service, or service bundled with cell phones, or insurance or other services e.g), but to each have different bundles. RSPs are likely to be better at product differentiation and price discrimination than governments with omnipresent political and equity concerns.
(2) It allows the government to stay out of the data ownership business, it would be responsible only for identifying which RSP a traveler subscribed to, and thus would eliminate "the government is tracking me" problem with road pricing. (We still have big brother business is tracking me, but if you have a cell-phone or credit card, that game is already lost)
(3) It provides new markets for private industry. This could be an app as part of a cell-phone or GPS or in-vehicle service (e.g. OnStar) or insurance (AAA, Progressive). The only technology standard that would need to be established by the government is a simple (e.g. RFID) sticker adjacent to the license plate verifying the RSP and the government with inexpensive RFID readers to count the number of cars on each link by time of day with the RSP. The private firms would be responsible for monitoring their own customers.
(4) It provides a more stable revenue stream from government, which is getting revenue directly from RSPs who bid on road space. In congested areas, road space would go for a higher price, in uncongested areas, RSPs would negotiate a per-use charge with governments.
One can poke some holes (faking RSP, like faking insurance or fake license plates or fake drivers licenses), but I think the idea is worth exploring.
Vol 3, No 2 (2010) of the Journal of Transport and Land Use is out ...
This is a Special Issue: Land Use-Transportation Modeling with UrbanSim
Land use-transportation modeling with UrbanSim: Experiences and progress
Daniel Felsenstein, Kay Axhausen, Paul Waddell
Disaggregate models with aggregate data: Two UrbanSim applications
Zachary Patterson, Marko Kryvobokov, Fabrice Marchal, Michel Bierlaire
Modelling hedonic residential rents for land use and transport simulation while considering spatial effects
Michael Löchl, Kay W. Axhausen
Microsimulating parcel-level land use and activity-based travel: Development of a prototype application in San Francisco
Simulation of urban development in the City of Rome: Framework, methodology, and problem solving
Simone Di Zio, Armando Montanari, Barbara Staniscia
Simultaneous modeling of developer behavior and land prices in UrbanSim
Daniel Felsenstein, Eyal Ashbel