ACCESS 22, Spring 2003

Comment: Obsolescence Named Progress

William L. Garrison

Californians are likely to approve bonds for a high-speed passenger train system from San Diego to Sacramento, running via Los Angeles and Central Valley cities with extensions to the Bay Area. Promoters say that, as the alternative to air and highway travel, it will help clean the air, save time and money, reduce congestion, and do other good things. Skeptics point to informal construction estimates reaching upwards of thirty billion dollars, to the long history of cost overruns among large public-works projects, and to the political influence of construction interests.

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2017-05-30T22:47:15+00:00Categories: ACCESS 22, Spring 2003|

Putting Pleasure Back in the Drive: Reclaiming Urban Parkways for the 21st Century

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Robert Gottlieb

These two assessments of Arroyo Seco Parkway (now known as the Pasadena Freeway) are separated by half a century in time and a sea of difference in perception. They encapsulate the rise and fall of urban parkways. Predecessor of the modern freeway and celebrated transportation model of the early 20th century, the urban parkway has fallen on hard times. Designed for uninterrupted, pleasurable driving in park-like settings with views of surrounding communities, parkways were once hailed as marvels of transportation innovation and design—and as safe and efficient alternatives to arterials and boulevards.

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Local Option Transportation Taxes: Devolution as Revolution

Martin Wachs

Ever since the widespread adoption of automobiles, Americans have preferred to pay for highways and bridges with “user fees”—that is, money collected from those who use the roads. Tolls and fuel taxes, which are roughly proportional to travelers’ use of roads, have been the most common user fees. However, revenues from user fees have been falling for three decades, as legislators become ever more reluctant to raise them to meet inflation. It has been easier to try new kinds of fees, such as sales taxes, to pay for transportation infrastructure. In the guise of urgent solutions to immediate problems, seemingly modest local tax increases are setting a national trend. Without deliberating or consciously adopting a change in policy, indeed without much discussion at all, we are gradually devolving transportation finance back to local governments and reducing user fees. Without knowing it, we may be experiencing a revolution in transportation finance, and we haven’t stopped to ask whether this is good or bad.

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Ports, Boats, and Automobiles

Sir Peter Hall

Ever wonder how new cars get from assembly lines to dealers? Especially those imported cars that have been selling so well in the US? From factory to salesroom, automobiles follow a closely choreographed distribution channel. You’ve seen car-carrier trucks on the highway and perhaps even specialized rail cars or square-sided ships designed to carry automobiles. Less visible though are the underlying corporate Ports strategies of manufacturers. Although major automobile importers ostensibly do the same thing—make, import, and sell new cars—their overall business strategies make for very different transportation strategies.

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2017-05-30T22:47:45+00:00Categories: ACCESS 22, Spring 2003|Tags: |

Are Induced-Travel Studies Inducing Bad Investments?

Robert Cervero

Mark Hansen's 1995 ACCESS article presented compelling evidence on induced travel demand. Titled “Do New Highways Generate Traffic?” it drew on eighteen years’ worth of data for fourteen California metropolitan areas and concluded that added road capacity unleashes new travel. The article showed that added trips quickly fill up an improved roadway, bringing it back to its original congested condition. On average, Hansen found, every ten percent increase in road capacity spurred a nine percent increase in traffic volumes within three or four years. That is, around nine-tenths of added road capacity was absorbed by new trips.

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Making Communities Safe for Bicycles

Gian-Claudia Sciara

To those who use a bicycle for transportation, it’s a simple but important machine—cheap, flexible, reliable, and environmentally friendly. Moreover, bicycles are convenient. Someone traveling by bike can usually make a trip door to door, choose among various routes, and easily add stops along the way.

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