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)
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
Russian government seeks urban decentralization, suburban home ownership.http://www.newgeography.com/content/001639-aspiring-the-russian-dream
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.
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.
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.
For some time, theorists have been suggesting that it is time to redefine the American Dream of home ownership. Households, we are told, should live in smaller houses, in more crowded neighborhoods and more should rent. This thinking has been heightened by the mortgage crisis in some parts of the country, particularly in areas where prices rose most extravagantly in the past decade. And to be sure, many of the irrational attempts – many of them government sponsored – to expand ownership to those not financially prepared to bear the costs need to curbed.
Those who would reduce home ownership to ensure mobility need lose little sleep.
The $138,990 new house in suburban Indianapolis (2,760 square feet, excluding garage, 255 square meters) will be of particular interest in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and some US areas (California, Portland, Seattle, New York, Boston), where such prices became a thing of the past in recent decades as serious constraints on land were implemented, forcing house prices up substantially in relation to incomes. See the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (http://www.demographia.com/dhi.pdf)
Abstract: Many of the claims and assertions that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood makes on behalf of the transit industry are inconsistent with the data and studies produced by many agencies of the federal gov ernment, including his own Department of Transportation. Secretary LaHood has based his policy largely on the work of lobbyists, rather than on the work of analysts and statisticians who work in the DOT, and has largely ignored the extensive work by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Office, United States Bureau of the Census, and U.S.-based aca demics and independent research organizations. Virtually none of Secretary LaHood’s claims can withstand scrutiny. Unless realistic expectations based on objective and reliable information replace the ideological and undeliverable goal of trying to divert travel away from cars to transit, the nation could find itself spending hundreds of billions more dollars without accomplishing anything but further congesting its urban areas, increasing unemployment, and retarding productivity.