Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cars and Civilization

Jesse Ausubel sends along a link to his recent article: Cars and Civilization (pdf).

Rising incomes mean rising speed at all social levels. The rich, of course, accelerate more than
the poor. While poor means slow, even the slow today speed when compared with Queen Victoria.
In industrial countries, a poor man has a car and mobility superior to an ancient nobleman and at least equal to the Great Gatsby. When new travel modes are introduced, such as supersonic Concorde planes or maglevs, they will first be the province of the rich.

Worth reading if you like S-curves, travel time budgets, and other Macro-transportation topics. (Which of course, I do.)

Maturity of Bike Share Systems

Bike Sharing Takes Off by Statista
Bike Sharing Takes Off by Statista

I recently saw the above info graphic with an article in US News: The Exploding Growth of Bike Sharing

But if you look at the number of systems, the rate of growth is actually slowing

Cumulative Number Added

2002

7

7

2003

11

4

2004

13

2

2005

17

4

2006

25

8

2007

62

37

2008

128

66

2009

209

81

2010

328

119

2011

431

103

2012

497

66

This is a good thing in many respects. At some point we need to stop adding systems and start making them bigger, inter-connecting and inter-operating, and even merging them. Ideally I should have one subscription that can be used on any system in the world (I have said similar for transit passes, see Club Transit), and bikes could be borrowed and deposited anywhere. Very few people will of course take a bikeshare bike from Minneapolis to Chicago, but Minneapolitans should automatically be able to use the Chicago system (and vice versa). And like the electric inter-urban users of yore (one could take an electric inter-urban (trolley) from Elkhart Lake Wisconsin to Oneonta, New York, it was said), one should be able to bike share between major places, even if transferring bikes periodically. So while the chart does not represent what it purports to represent, the number of bike share users (and bike share bicycles) may still be growing at an increasing rate, i.e. we may still be on the left side of the S-Curve for the technology, even if the number of systems, like the number of cities (and railroads and airports) is not growing as much or at all.

Call for Host 2017 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research

The World Society for Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) invites all interested parties to propose hosting the 2017 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research. WSLTUR is an international professional organization that promotes the understanding and analysis of the interdisciplinary interactions of transport and land use, offers a forum for debate, and provides a mechanism for the dissemination of information. The main vehicle for this promotion is the triennial symposium, which aims to bring together the leading researchers in the field to present scholarly papers on the broad set of topics falling within this enterprise. The Journal of Transport and Land Use (JTLU) is the official journal of WSTLUR and will publish select papers from the symposium. More information about WSLTUR and past and current symposia can be found at http://wstlur.org.

The second symposium in this triennial series will be held on June 22-27, 2014 in Delft, the Netherlands, hosted by Delft University of Technology and the University of Twente. We are planning for approximately 140 attendees and 100 paper presentations This follows the inaugural conference held in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada in July of 2013, which was a great success – with 80 participants and 60 paper submissions. For the 2017 symposium, we expect the numbers of attendees and presentations to grow at a modest pace from the 2014 conference.

Entities interested in hosting the conference should submit a full application including the following information:

  1. Name of the city (or town) where the conference will be held. The symposium can be held in remote areas, but a clear transport plan will be needed, regarding how participants will arrive at the conference location.
  2. A brief description about the suggested venue (stating what makes the venue (and/or its near surroundings) an interesting place to visit, seen from the perspective of transport and land use research).
  3. The strengths and profile of the host institution(s) in terms of research within land use and transport field.
  4. A detailed budget, including:
    • Total expected budget for the entire conference,
    • Expected registration fees, and
    • Number of meals included in the registration fees.
  5. Details of tours that the local host can accommodate in the conference city or nearby venues.
  6. Special agreements with local hotels in providing group rates for conference attendees.

WSLTUR will be responsible of all printable materials, conference proceedings, and gifts to attendees. All proposals should be received by email to Ahmed El Geneidy before May 1, 2014, and an announcement will be made regarding the host location during the conference in Delft in June. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

– Kelly Clifton and Ahmed El Geneidy

Overshoot and the Selective Pruning – WalkableDFW

Walkable DFW makes a nice distinction between inter-city and intra-city highways. They are nominally same technology, but placed in the wrong context they can have adverse unintended consequences.

That’s why we must understand that there are two types of highways:  Inter-city and Intra-city.  Inter-city highways are those necessary for linking regional economies, such as Houston to DFW.  They are necessary, provided they’re also competing with overlapping regional linkages by air and rail.  Intra-city highways are inner-city highways.  These disrupt and disconnect more than they actually connect.

You can’t have a conversation about improved and optimized cities and public infrastructure without understanding the two types of highways and which is appropriate and beneficial.

The reason is the point of any highway is free flow.  Anything that interrupts free flow thereby diminishes the efficacy of the infrastructure.  The closer you get to an urban core, the more friction there will be due to the more interchanges, exits, intersections, and crosswalks (as these frictional elements decrease in scale closer to the core).

Free flow and friction cannot coexist.  They are antagonists. Thus in Lewis Mumford’s terms, they are anti-city and city.  Therefore, bodies politic must prioritize, which is more important:  free flow or the friction of economic vibrancy.  Otherwise, free flow will erode the friction until there is none.  We must also remember what that free flow is in service towards, economic activity.  If it is killing economic activity that it is supposed to be supporting, we have indeed entered a cancerous stage of infrastructure and in turn city building.

Do Smartphone Traffic Apps Really Work? – Strib

Katie Humphries at the Star Tribune asks: Do Smartphone Traffic Apps Really Work? I briefly get quoted:

While tech-fueled traffic updates aren’t always accurate, they can help people adjust their expectations, said David Levinson, a civil engineer at the University of Minnesota who specializes in transportation.

“If it’s going to be 15 or 30 minutes because of some incident and you can’t change it, then you can notify people or feel much more comfortable about accepting it,” Levinson said. “You feel better about the situation when you have more information about it.”