2019/01/21: The physical and psychological toll of brutal commutes can be considerable the average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush-hour traffic. In the Los Angeles area, the figure is nearly twice that, equivalent to more than three days. A 2015 Los Angeles Times poll found that among residents of that city, traffic concerns exceed those pertaining to personal safety, finances or housing costs.
A recent analysis of Los Angeles traffic, published in the Journal of Public Economics, documented a link between congestion and domestic violence. From 2011 to 2015, the study found, extreme evening traffic on two major highways — I-5 and I-10 — increased the incidence of nighttime domestic violence by about 9 percent.
2018/12/15: Either the subway or the highway option for the pedestrian is a solution that only an essentially anti-democratic society could have come up with.
We need to recognise that those who walk to work or to a point where they can access public transport constitute more than 60% of daily commuters. Let us also remember these are people going to work, children going to schools, young people travelling to colleges and universities, or home makers walking to the neighbourhood market or to pick-up their children from school.
2018/10/24: Uber and Lyft are not just increasing congestion and hurting transit, they are literally killing us.
A new study [PDF] from the Booth School at the University of Chicago estimates Uber and Lyft have increased traffic deaths by 2-3 percent nationally. That’s as many as 1,100 additional deaths a year — a small, but significant contribution to the increase in traffic deaths in the U.S. since 2011, the authors say.
Uber and Lyft have tried to market themselves as green companies that can help solve urban transportation problems, but the evidence keeps piling up that they are making many problems worse.
This new study backs up previous findings that Uber and Lyft have cannibalized transit trips and increased driving. The study found that cities with high adoption of Uber and Lyft had 3 percent more total miles driven daily on average than cities with low adoption. The effect was even bigger in larger cities and cities that had high rates of transit ridership. And more miles mean more deaths.
Even drunk driving deaths were essentially unchanged by the presence of Uber and Lyft, Barrios and his team found.
On total car ownership, more bad news. Cities with high Uber and Lyft activity actually had 3 percent higher new vehicle registrations (see this for New York City’s experience). Uber and Lyft might discourage car ownership among some higher-income riders, but app-based taxis seem to induce more car buying among lower-income people that work as drivers, Barrios found.
As Streetsblog reported, Uber and Lyft increase congestion partly because drivers spend 40 to 60 percent of their time circling without passengers, also known as “deadheading.” Barrios and his team said, Uber and Lyft’s policies make the problem worse.
2018/09/18: They stopped cars crossing the city and got rid of street parking, as people looking for a place to park is what causes the most congestion. They closed all surface car parks in the city centre and opened underground ones and others on the periphery, with 1,686 free places. They got rid of traffic lights in favour of roundabouts, extended the car-free zone from the old city to the 18th-century area, and used traffic calming in the outer zones to bring the speed limit down to 30km/h.
The benefits are numerous. On the same streets where 30 people died in traffic accidents from 1996 to 2006, only three died in the subsequent 10 years, and none since 2009. CO2 emissions are down 70%, nearly three-quarters of what were car journeys are now made on foot or by bicycle, and, while other towns in the region are shrinking, central Pontevedra has gained 12,000 new inhabitants. Also, withholding planning permission for big shopping centres has meant that small businesses – which elsewhere have been unable to withstand Spain’s prolonged economic crisis – have managed to stay afloat.
The difference between emission levels across the sites was more correlated with the number of large trucks on the road rather than number of cars.
Researchers found that air pollution levels right beside a major trucking route within a city were close to levels seen beside Highway 401, despite the road carrying less than one-tenth of the vehicle traffic. “This was in part due to differences in wind and proximity to the road but, surprisingly, the number of vehicles didn’t make that much of a difference,” said Evans.
The data also revealed a significant drop in emissions on the 401 on the weekends, when personal vehicle traffic is still very high, but the volume of large truck traffic is low.
2018-07-29: In the 1930s, New York building commissioner Robert Moses built one highway and bridge after another, with the aim of relieving congestion in America's biggest city. But each time, the result was the same: worse traffic.
Today, Uber and Lyft are making traffic in major cities even worse because people tend to take them instead of walking, biking or taking mass transit, say multiple studies. Net effect is 5.7 *billion* additional miles of driving in 9 major U.S. cities
2018/07/03: “There is this false narrative, this dangerous lie, that people on bikes are somehow getting away with something, that they’re not paying their way,” Toderian explains. “This isn’t just a little wrong, it’s a lot wrong. We know factually that walking and biking are the two ways of getting around that actually save society money for each kilometre travelled. And that’s even before we consider all the many benefits that aren’t just about money.”
the main issue was not the technology change: it was the decline in transit service
At the turn of the 20th century, when transit companies' only competition were the legs of a person or a horse, they worked reasonably well, even if they faced challenges. Once cars arrived, nearly every U.S. transit agency slashed service to cut costs, instead of improving service to stay competitive. This drove even more riders away, producing a vicious cycle that led to the point where today, few Americans with a viable alternative ride buses or trains.
Now, when the federal government steps in to provide funding, it is limited to big capital projects. (Under the Trump administration, even those funds are in question.) Operations -- the actual running of buses and trains frequently enough to appeal to people with an alternative -- are perpetually starved for cash. Even transit advocates have internalized the idea that transit cannot be successful outside the highest-density urban centers. And it very rarely is.
an independent data journalism series that aimed to dive deeper into data about Metro Vancouver's transportation system.
The implications of autonomous vehicles are vast, complex and difficult to predict. One thing is certain - their impact will be broad and significant.
Ride-hailing apps and robot cars promise to change how we get around and the effects are already being felt.
That's why more and more towns are deciding to wrest control of their streets from the tyranny of the automobile.
Duranton , G., & Turner , M. A. (2011). The fundamental law of road congestion: Evidence from US cities . The American Economic Review, 101...
Self-driving cars are at a fascinating juncture right now. We know they're coming soon. We know they're going to change things. But we don't know how they're going to change things - in what...
Working with Waze signals a recognition that, if cities don't involve the company in planning, the app and its users will reshape cities on their own.
The key: Making room for bikes, buses, and other mass transit, and no new concessions for cars.
The top reason Americans give for wanting a partially autonomous car is lower insurance costs.
The evidence that human driving isn't the hottest idea keeps coming. This week, we've got two studies to add to the pile.
The planning for any new road should include plenty of mathematical modelling. But getting the right numbers can be a challenge and there's the odd paradox to deal with as well.