Monthly Archives: June 2010

High Speed Rail: Untimely Extravagance

Video at http://vimeo.com/12896264

Narrative and slide show from high speed rail seminar by Wendell Cox at the Heritage Foundation in Washington (DC) on 25 June 2010.

The presentation covered genuine high speed rail (over 150 mph) and slower speed rail (top speeds of 79 or 110 mph)

Sections:
HSR Passengers and Congestion (Air and Highway)
HSR Environment (especially greenhouse gas emissions)
HSR Costs and Subsidies
HSR Jobs and Economic Impacts
Slower Speed Rail

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Aspiring to the Russian Dream

Russian government seeks urban decentralization, suburban home ownership.http://www.newgeography.com/content/001639-aspiring-the-russian-dream

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Sustainability in Urban Areas: Opportunities and Possibilities

http://vimeo.com/12901301

This is an April 2009 presentation by Wendell Cox, visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris in a conference at the Palais du Luxembourg (Senat) in Paris.

The presentation notes that there is a need to consider sustainability in more than one dimension. Failure to do so is likely to result in a failure to achieve sustainability (especially with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions ). It is proposed that there are four dimensions of sustainability:

(1) Environmental – This is the dimension nearly exclusively discussed.

(2) Financial: Financial sustainability relates to the use of strategies for reducing GHG emissions that are cost effective and within reasonable limits (generally, the IPCC indicates a cost per ton of GHG reduced of $20-$50US as being sufficient to achieve necessary objectives.

(3) Economic: Economic sustainability involves the use of strategies for reducing GHG emissions that do not interfere unnecessarily with economic growth and the reduction of poverty.

(4) Political: Political sustainability involves strategies that are acceptable to the public.

It is argued that without the last three dimensions of sustainability, environmental sustainability is not likely to be achieved. It is further suggested that technological strategies can produce sufficiently robust results in urban areas, without resorting to social engineering.

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The Transportation Regulatory Threat to the Economy: VIDEO

http://www.vimeo.com/12896719

Presentation by Wendell Cox to the American Highway Users Alliance Conference in Washington, DC (23 June 2010).

There are proposals to expand the restrictive land use regulations and anti-automobile policies that have been adopted in places like Portland (Oregon), California, Seattle and other areas to the rest of the nation.

These radical land rationing or densification (smart growth) policies would lead to greater traffic congestion, more intense local air pollution and longer travel times by failing to provide sufficient roadway capacity for growing demand. Because of the association between superior mobility (minimized travel times) and economic growth, such policies are also likely to constrain job creation and lead to higher rates of poverty. Finally, the slower, more "stop and go" traffic would increase greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per mile (because fuel efficiency declines markedly in congestion), which could cancel out any GHG reductions from reduced levels of driving.

In addition, smart growth rationing policies, which contributed so substantially to the housing bubble and subsequent bust would substantially increase the price of housing in more affordable metropolitan areas, such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and others. In these metropolitan areas, house prices were kept within historic norm, even during the housing bubble, as their more liberal land use regulation permitted sufficient housing to be developed to meet the increased demand from more profligate lending policies.

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Smart Growth’s Role in the 2008 Financial Crisis: Video

http://www.in.com/videos/watchvideo-wendell-cox-smart-growths-role-in-the-2008-crisis-4845383.html

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US Transit Market Share by Urban Area: 1983-2008

In 2008, US transit posted its highest ridership since 1950, a development widely noted and celebrated in the media. Ridership had been increasing for about a decade, however, 2008 coincided with the highest gasoline prices in history, which gave transit a boost.

Less reported was the fact that despite higher ridership, transit’s market share (of transit and motor vehicles) has fallen since the 1950s. In 1955, transit’s market share was over 10%. By 2005, transit’s share had dropped to 1.5%, but recovered only to 1.6% in 2008. Transit’s all time peak ridership was in 1945, driven up by World War II and gas rationing. It is thus not surprising that national transit ridership (boardings) declined 3.8% in 2009 as gasoline prices moderated.

More at

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001634-despite-transits-2008-peak-longer-term-market-trend-down-a-25-year-report-transit-rid

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Decentralization and “Interstate” Highways in China

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001627-decentralized-growth-and-interstate-highways-china

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