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Interesting Articles Worth the Read

  • 18 Feb 2019 10:21 AM
    Reply # 7171125 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    A Balanced View of the Debate Surrounding Ridehailing and Urban Congestion

    Are Uber and Lyft to blame for growing urban transportation problems? Or, are ride-hailing services symptomatic of underlying deep flaws in transportation?

    • Streetsblogger Angie Schmidt argues that ride-hailing services cause more traffic, less transit trips, ore traffic deaths and greater social stratification.
    • CityCommentary writer Joe Cortright argues that instead of hating on ride-sharing services, look at underlying issues - most importantly, that we don’t price road space at anything approaching its value.

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  • 18 Feb 2019 10:54 AM
    Reply # 7171199 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    American cities with rail transit are more likely to attract well-educated young people to live centrally

    The London School of Economics and Political Science investigates why US cities with a combination of light and heavy rail transit have greater percentages of college graduates residing in dense urban cores.

  • 18 Feb 2019 11:35 AM
    Reply # 7171292 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    The Predictions Were Wrong: Self-Driving Cars Have a Long Way to Go

    • Cars operate on roads, which are highly complex and open systems - for example, they must learn to navigate around obstacles, react to moves from other cars and drivers, and avoid running into pedestrians.
    • While well-trained neural networks can outperform humans at detecting objects, they can still fail in irrational and dangerous ways and can be easily fooled when they see known objects in awkward positions.
    • Adding important technology like smart sensors to 4 million miles of US roadway is a tough if not impossible task, which means self-driving firms are focusing on making cars smarter rather than environments. This means this tech will, in the near future, only take place on designated test areas or relatively simple, fair-weather environments.
    • Roads will need to be re-designed to handle smart cars
    • Ethical dilemmas in the design of these systems still remain, like, who will be held to account when a car accident happens? Or, how should a self-driving car decide when it finds itself in a situation where the loss of human life is inevitable?
    • There is a danger that cities use the promise of self-driving fleets as a reason to postpone investment in public transport when the technology is expensive and will take a long time too perfect.

  • 18 Feb 2019 11:51 AM
    Reply # 7171303 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    The Green New Deal's Huge Flaw

    • Our physical geography—where we sleep, work, shop, worship, and send our kids to play, and how we move between those places—is more foundational to a green, fair future than just about anything else.
    • More Americans live in suburbs than in cities, suburbs that are generally dispersed, inefficient, and impossible to navigate without a car, and sprawl costs America more than $1 trillion a year in reduced business activity, environmental damage, consumer expenses, and other costs. 
    • Americans' jobs are far from where they live. This is particularly true for poor people and people of color.
    • Electric vehicles are nowhere near ready for widespread adoption, and even if they were, half of the world’s consumption of oil would remain untouched.
    • Even with breakneck advances in renewable energy and electric cars, the country must still reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled. 
    • The solution is tied up in the US Housing Crisis: The U.S. has a national deficit of more than 7.2 million affordable and available rental homes for families most in need. If we build those homes in transit-accessible places, we can save their occupants time and money. In addition, the scale of housing demand at this moment is such that we could build them in car-centric suburbs, too, and provide a human density that would not just support transit but also reduce the need to travel as shops, jobs, and schools crop up within walking distance.

  • 18 Feb 2019 11:59 AM
    Reply # 7171321 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    How Two Cities Actually Reduced Driving

    Even with low gas prices, even with population growth, even with Uber and Lyft circling 24/7, Minneapolis and Seattle have reduced the amount of driving in their cities.


    • In the last decade, Minneapolis has made some important investments in rail and has been building a network of bus rapid transit service. It has also been adding bike infrastructure.
    • Walkable development has also helped put a lid on driving miles.
    • Legislation, recently passed by City Council allowing triplexes in every neighborhood and eliminating all minimum parking requirements from the city’s zoning code will no doubt further the city’s densification.


    • Seattle has made major investment in both bus and rail transit. While many miles of rail have been added, which distinguishes Seattle from other cities who have made this investment is its tandem investment in bus transit.
    • Seattle approved a city-only $60 vehicle registration fee and a .1-percent sales tax hike to beef up bus service.

  • 18 Feb 2019 12:09 PM
    Reply # 7171328 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Transit and Emerging Technologies

    This Nelson & Nygaard study looks ahead to future trends and their potential impacts on transit, in particular the adoption of autonomous vehicles. The study presents opportunities for cities and transit agencies to leverage these technologies to make transit more competitive in a rapidly changing mobility marketplace. The writers show how transit priority infrastructure, fare technology, mobility as a service (MaaS), and mobility hubs can help make transit more attractive to potential riders, and they break down when and how public-private partnerships can complement—rather than compete against—transit. The report culminates in a list of action phases for engaging with new mobility technology, providing a roadmap for cities and transit agencies to position themselves for success.

    See attached.

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  • 22 Feb 2019 3:35 PM
    Reply # 7179635 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Lower obesity rates linked with public transportation use, study shows

    Science News – Public transportation systems provide numerous economic benefits for a community. An added public health bonus provided by such systems may be lower obesity rates. A new study compared and analyzed county data from 2001 and 2009. They found that a single percentage-point increase in mass transit ridership is associated with a 0.473 percentage-point lower obesity rate in counties across the United States.

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  • 22 Feb 2019 3:35 PM
    Reply # 7179652 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Roads are dangerous when we build them that way

    The Post and Courier – The number of pedestrians killed in the United States over the past decade or so — 49,340 between 2008 and 2017 — is about seven times higher than the number of Americans killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.

    Perhaps even more troubling than the number of deaths, however, is the primary reason why our streets are so dangerous: We build them that way.

  • 22 Feb 2019 3:36 PM
    Reply # 7179653 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)

    Congestion pricing is the only way to fix our broken transportation system

    Curbed – “What used to sound radical now sounds like common sense—road pricing is urgently needed to address climate change, traffic, and inequity in the transportation system,” said the report’s co-author Stuart Cohen, executive director of TransForm. “We believe road pricing can be a transportation equity solution. It can speed buses and carpools while providing revenue to make mass transit more affordable.”

  • 22 Feb 2019 3:37 PM
    Reply # 7179654 on 7156638
    Rachel Albright (Administrator)


    TransForm – America’s transportation investments and policies have helped to create—and reinforce—racial and social inequities. Meanwhile, in response to worsening road congestion, inadequate transportation funding, and the dire threat of climate change, regions across North America have begun implementing road pricing on highways in the form of tolls and express lanes. A growing number of cities are now considering “congestion pricing” programs for their downtowns.

    Equity issues are often analyzed as part of road pricing studies for good reason: road pricing programs can burden low-income drivers with new costs, just when skyrocketing housing costs are forcing some to move out of transit-rich urban centers and rely more on private vehicles. Unfortunately, most equity studies have focused more on minimizing negative and disproportionate impacts than on using pricing to improve the equity of the transportation system. It is time to change that frame. We need to use the potential efficiencies of road pricing to solve several problems at once, and redressing systemic inequities needs to be at the top of the list.

    If equity concerns and deep community engagement help shape road pricing and associated investment strategies, they can lead to faster and more frequent public transit, safer pedestrian and bicycle routes, and improved mobility and health outcomes for vulnerable communities. Discounts and exemptions for low-income households can create progressive pricing structures. Road pricing programs can help make transportation systems more equitable than they are today.

    The goal of this report and toolkit is to challenge policymakers and equity advocates to act on this key proposition: that structural inequities in our transportation system may be remedied in part by effective, equitable road pricing.

    The report looks at examples from cities in North America and around the world that have implemented some form of road pricing. These international examples are especially relevant to North American cities, including New York, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, all of which are exploring downtown congestion pricing.

    The report then examines a wide range of strategies to achieve equity outcomes, focused on affordability, access, and community health. It also looks at methods for achieving the full participation of vulnerable communities in the planning process.

    Following the report is a companion toolkit, intended primarily for policy-makers and equity advocates who are actively considering a road pricing strategy. The toolkit may be useful to many audiences though, as it contains interesting and useful case studies and examples. Finally, TransForm has developed a stand-alone worksheet based on the toolkit so equity advocates can keep track of where they are in the process, and stay focused on planning and engaging.

    We hope these documents offer a roadmap to ensure that vulnerable populations can derive real, tangible benefit from road pricing projects.

    The goal of this report and toolkit is to challenge policymakers and equity advocates to act on this key proposition: that structural inequity in our transportation system may be remedied in part by effective, equitable road pricing.

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