Linklist: March 19, 2012

Steven Johnson Why The Bay Area Needs The Bay Lights [Transportation as art]

Created with over 25,000 energy efficient, white LED lights, it is 1½ miles wide and 500 feet high… The Bay Lights is a monumental tour de force seven times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th Anniversary lighting.

Pioneer Press Planning for [Sprawl in the] South Concord Corridor is in the works:

“A key part of the plan is building a frontage road for I-494 that connects the Hardman Avenue and Concord Street interchanges.

“This convenient frontage road access will open the area up to the market forces generated by the traffic on I-494 and will provide an improved environment for fostering retail, including restaurants,” the study reads.”

Via SR, Pretty cool use of US census data. From Hairycow

Atlantic Cities: Saving Detroit’s Public Transit By Privatizing It [A foot in the door to privatization.]

Authenticated electricity: Sony power outlets will charge you for charging:

“Sony is building a new kind of power outlet that raises a not entirely pleasant prospect—in the future, plugging a phone into a public wall socket might require authentication and take a chunk out of your bank account. But the technology will have many important uses, Sony says, from managing payments for recharging electrical vehicles to avoiding blackouts by intelligently regulating the use of power.”

MasterCard is pitching: Leave the Hassle at Home: Commuting can be Easier with ONE Card for ALL Stops:

“The vast majority of commuters we surveyed think so.  In fact, 72% of respondents in U.S., 85% in Singapore and 86% in South Korea told us they wish there was one card for use across all local mass transit systems. They also estimated that with one payment card they could save close to one hour (55 minutes!) per work week. Well, the capability already exists in MasterCard PayPass and for many, it’s already in your wallet.”

[Yes, I agree, though the time savings is probably exaggerated.].

Baruch Feigenbaum @ Reason says: I-85 Managed Lanes are A Success. [They may or may not be, these data do not prove one way or another yet, since total flows dropped and speeds rose. More people faster would be conclusive (from a transportation perspective, environmentalists would disagree). Fewer people faster is ambiguous, and depends on Value of Time. In percentage terms, speeds rose (3.2% in the GP lanes, 4.6% in the managed lane) more than flows dropped (1.7%)].

One thought on “Linklist: March 19, 2012”

  1. Regarding sucess of projects. I would go with the much simpler picture of pricing. If fewer people are using a facility then the overall cost to users (both direct and indirect costs) have risen.
    Sucessful project almost always have more users since the cost of the service is reduced or the project provides more value than the increased price. Mohring’s work stating that the optimal toll is the tolls that pays for the project is paramount in getting projects right.
    It is hard to reconcile how projects like Interstate 95 in North Carolina, and Interstate 5 over the Columbia River in Portland can promote build solutions that propose tolls such that the preferred alternative solutions have less use than the no build alternatives.
    Externalities such as pollution if large enough could change the balance, but in the I-85, I-95 and I-5 cases substantial enough externalities to change the simple method are unlikely.

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