ACCESS is sponsored by UCCONNECT

ACCESS 25, Fall 2004

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In this issue:

  • Park 1

Editorial: Shuttles For The First And Last Mile

Elizabeth Deakin

Transit operators faced with sharp revenue shortfalls due to the economic downturn have reduced or eliminated feeder bus services. Feeder services often carry only five to ten passengers per run, with costs in the range of $6 to $10 per one-way trip, and so are prime targets for cost-cutting measures. Trunk line routes, in contrast, carry two to three times more riders. What happens when feeder services disappear or are sharply cut back? Some former users are able to walk to the trunk line bus or rail service, and some can drive to a station, park, and ride transit the rest of the way. But many others, no longer able to navigate their first and last mile on a shuttle, give up and drive to work instead, adding to the traffic load on city streets and freeways.

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  • Park 2

People, Parking, And Cities

Michael Manville and Donald Shoup

The pop culture image of Los Angeles is an ocean of malls, cars, and exit ramps; of humorless tract homes and isolated individuals whose only solace is aimless driving on endless freeways. From Joan Didion to the Sierra Club, LA has been held up as a poster child of sprawl. This is an arresting and romantic narrative, but also largely untrue. To the extent that anyone has a definition of sprawl, it usually revolves around the absence of density, and Los Angeles has since the 1980s been the densest urbanized area in the United States. This would make it the least sprawling city in America. Compared to other US cities, LA also does not have inordinately high rates of automobile ownership.

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  • Price 1

The Price Of Regulation

Daniel Sperling

The era of social regulation began in the late 1960s. At first the focus was on safety and pollution, and later on energy use. Motor vehicles were the first and most prominent target. Now, forty years later, social regulation is firmly entrenched. Regulators propose increasingly stringent technology-forcing rules on vehicles, expecting automakers to find a way to adhere to them. Automakers invariably resist, asserting economic hardship. Parts suppliers, trade groups, labor unions, consumers, environmentalists, and others intervene on one side or the other in a dance that proceeds through legislatures, courts, and the public arena. What have been the effects of these social regulations? Have individual companies or entire industries suffered economic hardship? Have consumers been disadvantaged?

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  • Why 1

Why Traffic Congestion Is Here To Stay…And Will Get Worse

Anthony Downs

Everyone hates traffic congestion. But despite all attempted remedies, it keeps getting worse. Why don’t they do something about it? The answer: because rising traffic congestion is an inescapable condition in all large and growing metropolitan areas across the world, from Los Angeles to Tokyo, from Cairo to São Paulo. Peak-hour traffic congestion is a result of the way modern societies operate, and of residents’ habits that cause them to overload roads and transit systems every day.

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  • Lesson 3

The Private Sector’s Role In Highway Finance: Lessons From SR 91

Marlon G. Boarnet and Joseph F. DiMento

The gap between needed highway-construction funds and gasoline-tax revenues threatens to widen further. Hybrid vehicles are a reality; alternative fuels are on the horizon; and the gasoline tax—long the workhorse of highway finance in the United States—will inevitably decline in importance. So the search is on for new funds. Can the private sector help fill the gap? Only a few privately financed highways have been built in the US in the past half century. Among them, California’s State Route 91 (SR 91) in Orange County stands out as one of the mature examples. It began as something of a public policy long shot. In 1989, when state legislators debated a bill to allow a limited number of private highway franchises, even the bill’s supporters doubted it had a real chance of passage.

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  • Access 1

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Auto Insurance Redlining In The Inner City

Paul Ong

One of the most controversial issues related to automobile insurance is the accusation of “redlining,” or charging higher premiums in low-income, minority neighborhoods. Insurance companies base premiums on accident rates, which are higher in some neighborhoods. However, why those neighborhoods experience higher risks may not be part of the equation. Traffic volumes vary across the urban landscape. Some areas are exposed to disproportionately high levels of externally generated trips. These increase accident frequencies in those areas, exposing local residents to higher-than-average chances of involvement in a crash. Insurance companies compensate for the higher accident rate by charging residents higher insurance premiums.

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