JTLU 4(3)

We are pleased to announce the publication of Vol. 4, Issue 3 of the Journal of Transport and Land Use, available at https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu

Table of Contents

Journal of Transport and Land Use, Vol. 4, Issue 3 

Introducing the World Society for Transport and Land Use Research  
Kevin J. Krizek, University of Colorado 
Kelly J. Clifton, Portland State University

The impact of the residential built environment on work at home adoption
frequency: An example from Northern California 
Wei (Laura) Tang, Patricia L. Mokhtarian, and Susan L. Handy, University of
California, Davis

Mobile phones and telecommuting: Effects on trips and tours of Londoners 
Grace Uayan Padayhag, Tokyo Institute of Technology 
Jan-Dirk Schmöcker, Kyoto University 
Daisuke Fukuda, Tokyo Institute of Technology 

The attributes of residence/workplace areas and transit commuting 
Bumsoo Lee, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Peter Gordon, University of Southern California 
James E. Moore II, University of Southern California 
Harry W. Richardson, University of Southern California 

The impact of residential growth patterns on vehicle travel and pollutant
emissions 
Deb Niemeier, Song Bai, and Susan L. Handy, University of California, Davis

Divergence of potential state-level performance measures to assess
transportation and land use coordination 
John S Miller and Linda D Evans, Virginia Transportation Research Council 

Using multi-criteria decision making to highlight stakeholders’ values in
the corridor planning process 
Bethany Stich, Mississippi State University
Joseph H. Holland, University of Mississippi 
Rodrigo A. A. Nobrega, Mississippi State University
Charles G. O’Hara, Mississippi State University

The Journal of Transport and Land Use is an open-access, peer-reviewed
online journal publishing original interdisciplinary papers on the
interaction of transport and land use. Domains include: engineering,
planning, modeling, behavior, economics, geography, regional science,
sociology, architecture and design, network science, and complex systems. 

Thank you for the continuing interest in our work,

David M Levinson
University of Minnesota

 

Linklist: December 28, 2011

Sam Staley: Is It Time to Bury Roads? [yes, Air rights are a good thing]

USATODAY: Airports court fliers with rewards programs [how many rewards programs can we track?]

David Leonhardt at NYTimes; The Lives They Lived : “In the 1950s, a longtime trucking executive named Malcom McLean decided there had to be a better way, and he turned to Keith W. Tantlinger, an engineer at a truck-trailer manufacturer in Spokane, Wash., to solve the problem. Tantlinger developed a lock that connected to the corners of containers and that crane operators could mechanically open and close from their seats.”

The Independent (UK): The hunt for Britain’s ghost trains: “The Gerrards Cross ghost train is one of several ethereal services that wend their eerie way around Britain’s rail network, almost unknown to the public and running mostly empty, since they operate at deliberately inconvenient times – often offering their passengers no prospect of getting home again.
Yet these zombie services have a very real existence in the minds of the bureaucrats who control our rail system, since they help to maintain a fiction that a railway line is still open, when it has effectively been abandoned.
For the price of an occasional train service with a clapped-out diesel, or in some cases even a bus, the train operators are able to duck the long and costly consultation, accompanied by inevitable howls of public protest, that the law stipulates when a railway line is to be closed. For these reasons the ghost trains are sometimes known as “parliamentary trains”.”

[On the last, this would be useful for rail-to-trails when there is some desire to return to rails, which takes years to get approvals. Montgomery County's "Purple Line" is an example, where if they only kept the trains running on the Georgetown Branch, it would be much easier to convert to LRT than to have abandoned it for train service and restore.]

Linklist: December 22, 2011

Not exactly robot cars … Runaway Golf Cart Bowling at Cowboys Stadium – YouTube: “http://youtu.be/khg1Xh70x1o”

Michigan Capitol Confidential: Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle: “Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.” [The analysis allocates the very large R&D subsidies to the few cars sold so far. This seems a bit unfair, as by this logic, the first car would have been enormously expensive. If they never sell another Volt, then this is more fair. It does point out the large public subsidies that have gone into this project though.]

The New Minneapolis Plan

Stone Arch Bridge
Stone Arch Bridge

Crossposted at streets.mn and transportationist.org
The Minneapolis Downtown Council recently released “Intersections” a plan for Downtown Minneapolis. I had nothing to do with this plan, and so am free to comment. The plan is organized according to 10 major initiatives for 2025, I will list and comment on them, occasionally with snark, in order [my comments in brackets]:

  1. “Double Downtown’s residential population. Expand the residential population to 70,000 as a catalyst for driving Downtown’s next wave of business vitality, social improvement and cultural renewal.”
    [This seems like a good idea, the demand has been burgeoning for a couple of decades now, and with the Metrodome site coming available for productive uses again, there is an entire eastern side of downtown which could stand new housing. Demographics seem to be favorable for at least a modest return to downtown, and capturing another 1 percent of the region's total population (or about 7% of its growth over the next 15 years) should be feasible.]
  2. “Transform Nicollet into a “Must-see” Destination. Extend and invigorate the original mall segment; establish “must-see” destinations along its route. Redesignate the Nicollet corridor as running from the Walker Art Center, through Loring Park to the Mississippi River, and ending at the foot of the Father Hennepin Bridge.”
    [Calling this the "Nicollet" corridor is just confusing, since the real Nicollet Ave does something different than passing the Walker. Perhaps the plan wants to change Nicollet to "Eat Street" officially. The residents may have a different view. In short, there must be a better name. As a physical entity, re-establishing the mall, and keeping private cars off of it, are both good things. I am not sure how many "Must-see" destinations need to be along it, since so many of the region's best things are not. And really, "Must-see"? Is this Thursday Night 1990s NBC? The rest of the concept seems good, if a bit over-wrought, "iconic identity", I would have gone with "main street", though that I am sure is not sufficiently high-tech and resembles Sinclair Lewis a bit too much.]
  3. “Build Gateway park. A new linear park, stretching from the light rail station on 5th Street to the river, will constitute the new Nicollet’s north end.”
    [Good, and converting these parcels into parks drives up the value of the remaining developed blocks (a) by adding amenity and (b) by eliminating competition, good for existing building owners]
  4. “Create a consistently compelling Downtown experience.
    Deliver a consistently excellent pedestrian experience that inspires people to explore Downtown block after block, no matter the season or time of day—24/7/365.”
    [24/7, really? 4 am, you have 35,000 more residents, and you want street life? I don't want people exploring my neighborhood at 4 am. Stuff closes. Stuff should close. Even transit doesn't run 24/7 in some of the world's biggest cities, or if it does, it is very scaled back. This may be aimed to contrast with St. Paul "The city that sleeps".]
  5. ”Establish a downtown sports district that includes a new Vikings stadium.
    The district, centered around Target Field, will also include a renovated Target Center and the region’s busiest transit hub (the Transportation Interchange), all designed to maximize Downtown’s long-term entertainment value.”
    [This is the first really terrible idea in the plan. First why should a Vikings stadium exist. Second, why should it exist in Minnesota, since most people watch football on TV anyway, really they ought to play in a TV studio. Third, why don't they use an existing brand new stadium, and enhance it if need be? It has to be cheaper to just give Zygi Wilf the money in foregone profits than subsidize a new stadium (The Cardinals play at University of Phoenix stadium [this is a joke]). Fourth, why should it exist downtown, when it is only used 8 games a year, and downtown real estate is apparently valuable (so the plan tells us), and everyone drives in and out without actually experiencing much of the city (The term “helicopter fans” might be appropriate). I realize there can be some cost savings with a few more hours of use for existing parking ramps and bars, but that is trivial compared to the wasted real estate (and subsidies, and opportunity costs). (I suspect this is about voicing support for the Vikings downtown rather than a real effort, but downtown Boosters cannot admit indifference.) Do stadiums really interact synergistically?]
  6. “Lead the nation in transportation options. Maintain and improve high capacity for commuters on our streets. Increase transit’s mode share for daytime commuters from 40 percent to 60 percent. Increase circulation within Downtown by installing a Downtown Circulator (whether streetcars or zero- emission buses) while intensifying regular transit service in close-in neighborhoods. Emphasize accessible, forward-leaning transportation technology. Improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility. Build the Transportation Interchange as the metro area’s primary transit hub. Secure stable, reliable transit funding for expanding and maintaining the system.”
    [The heart of downtown peak hour mode share for transit is about 40% for commute trips. This is the easiest to expand, and given the billions of dollars the region is spending on downtown-oriented rail transit, one would hope the share goes up, especially given there is no employment growth downtown. One can see why the downtown businesses interests advocate this spending, what is harder to see is why the rest of the region does. However, if transit is going to work anywhere in the region, it will be the downtowns and the University of Minnesota. This does fall short of the "doubling" of regional mode share the Metropolitan Council advocates though. Given the reduction in drivers to downtown due to increased transit, and due to the large number of nearby residents who can now walk or bike, what will we do with all the empty parking ramps. Maybe the Vikings can play Indoor Football on them.]
  7. “Create and sustain a green infrastructure—and showcase the riverfront.
    Establish and intensify the tree canopy throughout Downtown. Create green corridors that connect downtown districts and close-in neighborhoods. Enhance and emphasize the Riverfront as a world-class destination and Downtown’s green focal point. Beautify Downtown’s entry points, including freeway embankments, ramps and medians. Launch a Greening and Public Realm Conservancy to perpetuate the greening program.”
    [I like trees.]
  8. “Forge connections to the University of Minnesota. Leverage the Central Corridor’s light rail service to create a stronger link between campus and Downtown. Extend green corridors over the freeway trench that separates the CBD from the West Bank campus and establish a major new residential district on and around the Metrodome site. Generate business synergies that benefit both the U’s mission and Downtown’s prosperity.”
    [I like Air Rights too.]
  9. End street homelessness. Extend housing and outreach efforts so that the 300–500 people who sleep outside or in inhumane places have shelter, treatment and job training that keep them off the streets.
    ["We don't want homeless people in Minneapolis" "We don't want people to be homeless in Minneapolis". Ok, call me unfeeling, but somehow I don't think it is the lack of public services that leads the remaining 300-500 homeless to be homeless. From the point of view of Minneapolis as a whole, housing 300-500 people is approximately trivial if the issue is giving shelter. I am fairly confident there are that many vacant hotel units city wide on a random night. More to the point, We could build a shelter for that many people for something in the $10 million range (about $25 per person). Yet if we did that, we would still find 300-500 homeless people. Clearly that is not the real issue. Of course there should be some form of assistance for those who are simply down on their luck, I just think that this ignores the "choice" aspect of homelessness if we are not going to round them up and drug them like we once did (which I do not advocate). And perhaps they are just exploring the city 24/7.]
  10. Launch a Festival of Ideas and Civic Engagement. An annual festival will bring visitors, innovative thinking and civic energy to a city already noted for its citizen involvement. The festival will focus on creating a better future for all—locally, nationally and globally.
    [What a great original idea]

[Comment: The 345 MB version I have have 10377_PlanBook_forWeb.pdf has some production problems, duplicated pages, and pages out of place, but I did read all 111 pages of it (most were pictures). Otherwise, it is very attractive and fairly well written as planning documents go].

(39) Highway Cost Overruns

The Antiplanner takes a crack at Highway Cost Overruns : ““Transportation costs too much,” argues a blogger who calls himself The Transportationist, which I suppose isn’t any more ridiculous than calling yourself the Antiplanner. The Transportationist lists several good reasons why transportation costs too much, including the fact that–despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on transportation planning–no one really does benefit-cost analyses. But he misses the point about user fees: projects funded out of user fees are more likely to be efficient, partly because the agencies or private parties receiving those fees know the fees are limited and partly because they want to spend them in ways that will generate more fees (which means in ways that benefit users enough that the users are willing to pay for them).”

I will number this (39) on my list. I am not sure I agree with this (Robert Bain has shown toll road over-forecasts of demand, though I am not sure about under-forecasts of costs). I do agree that indirectly political “commission” governance probably beats governance through a more directly political agency, and have some work coming out soon showing this.

Linklist: December 17, 2911

Eric S. Raymond: SOPA and the oblivious: “A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything away from you – including your Internet freedom.”

USA Today: In-flight dating? Using social media to find a seatmate: “In what could be fodder for a flight from hell – or potential membership in the Mile High Club – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is launching a “meet and seat” service early next year that will let passengers tap their social media accounts and pick seatmates based on similar interests.” [And they cannot guarantee me an aisle or window seat? Or keep my family together?]

The Scholarly Kitchen: Measuring the Wrong Things — Has the Scientific Method Been Compromised By Careerism? : “Perhaps we’re measuring the wrong things — number of publications, number of citations, impact factors of publication outlets — as a way of measuring a scientist’s productivity, which we then reward with money, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps we should measure how many results have been replicated. Without that, we are pursuing a cacophony of claims, not cultivating a world of harmonious truths.”

The Hive Mind predicts transportation futures

The Hive Mind (via the NY Times) predicts the future:Imagining 2076: Connect Your Brain to the Internet:

“2024: PRACTICAL ROBOT CARS “By 2018, freeway car pool lanes will be opened to robot-driven cars.”
Larry Smarr, the founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. Readers moved this date 646 times.
2060: FLYING CARS “By 2040, more people will use personal air vehicles for their daily commute than cars.”
Sebastian Thrun, developer of Google’s self-driving car. Readers moved this date 1338 times.”

Building a Better Gas Tax

A new report is out from Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy Building a Better Gas Tax: How to Fix One of State Government’s Least Sustainable Revenue Sources.
I like the report and generally agree that increasing the gas tax, and building a better one, is appropriate as a short-term fix (until vehicle electrification and better fuel economy overtake it), so long as the funds are not spent on system expansion until the existing system is properly maintained (or abandoned where appropriate). I have some quibbles:
“As Figure 4 indicates, even a twenty cent per gallon tax increase would cost the average driver under $9.00 per month, and at least some of that cost would undoubtedly be offset through lower vehicle repair costs and less wasted gasoline burnt while stuck in traffic.” – If raising the gas tax is a socially good thing, all of it should be offset by private gains on average. The average driver should save time and money (or achieve value and avoid losses) which exceeds the additional tax (over the long term). If they don’t, why should they support such a thing?