Urban Transportation Policy Requires Factual Foundations

In 2009, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood touted the purported economic, energy, and time-saving benefits of urban rail systems—based entirely on a 2004 study for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), America’s principal transit lobbyist.

A 2010 Heritage Foundation report, “Washington’s War on Cars and the Suburbs,” critiqued the Secretary’s claims. Todd Litman, the author of the APTA study, took issue with the Heritage report, though he was unable to undermine the conclusion of “Washington’s War” that many of LaHood’s claims are inconsistent with available data.

This new 2011 paper evaluates Litman’s responses to “Washington’s War”—and concludes that newer large rail systems have not attracted drivers from their cars for work trips; increased transit funding produces a much smaller corresponding increase in transit ridership; transit costs are excessive, precluding potential for expansion; transit has only limited competitiveness with the car; and the claimed benefits of transit are exaggerated.

More at: http://heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/02/Urban-Transportation-Policy-Requires-Factual-Foundations

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