ACCESS 40, Spring 2012

Transit and the “D” Word

Erick Guerra and Robert Cervero

Without high patronage, new rail investments incur large deficits and fail to deliver promised environmental and social benefits. A system with few passengers and a high price tag is, by most accounting, a poor investment economically, environmentally, and socially. Comparing the costs and the number of passenger-miles traveled for 54 American rail transit investments since 1970, we found wide variation in cost-effectiveness. The worst-performing system costs nearly 50 times more per passenger-mile than the best-performing. What factors distinguish the most successful transit investments?

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2018-02-14T23:29:10+00:00Categories: ACCESS 40, Spring 2012|Tags: , |

Thinking Outside the Bus

Hiroyuki Iseki, Michael Smart, Brian D. Taylor, and Allison Yoh

In an era of stretched tax revenues, shrinking public sector budgets, and partisan debates over the appropriate role and scale of government, investments in public transit systems have been increasing. While the Great Recession has recently squeezed many transit operating budgets, overall public capital and operating subsidies of transit systems have grown dramatically over the past decade. Why have transit expenditures grown when so many other facets of public expenditure have shrunk?

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The Defeat of the Golden Gate Authority: Regional Planning and Local Power

Louise Nelson Dyble

The most ambitious proposal for transportation planning ever considered for the San Francisco Bay Area—the Golden Gate Authority—went down in defeat in 1962, bringing serious efforts for regional government to an end. Authority advocates touted its potential to promote prosperity, provide employment, and relieve congestion, promises that appealed to many Bay Area leaders and interest groups. However, the prospect of a powerful new transportation authority also garnered strong opposition.

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Dynamic Ridesharing

Elizabeth Deakin, Karen Trapenberg Frick, and Kevin Shively

Most cars can carry at least four passengers, but the average auto occupancy rate for all trips in the US is only 1.6 persons. Because all the empty seats in cars represent our greatest source of untapped transportation capacity, promoting ridesharing is of considerable interest. Government agencies across the country employ ridesharing programs both to provide transportation at low cost and to reduce traffic congestion and the other costs of solo driving.

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2022-10-11T19:34:15+00:00Categories: ACCESS 40, Spring 2012|Tags: , |

Can Public Transportation Increase Economic Efficiency?

Matthew Drennan and Charles Brecher

In theory, public investments in mass transit can make urban economies more efficient by enhancing employers’ access to a larger labor pool at lower transport costs. Moreover, as first explained by Alfred Marshall, the concentration of economic activities in urban areas yields efficiency gains due to agglomeration economies. That is, each firm produces advantages that are shared by all firms located in the same area. The concentration of many businesses can thus produce many such external benefits. Can public transportation increase agglomeration economies?

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Solar Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup

Solar panels have begun to find a new place in the sun—on parking lots surrounding commercial and industrial buildings, mounted on canopies providing shade for the parked cars. Parking lots in asphalt-rich cities have great solar potential because the panels can be oriented to maximize power production during summer afternoons when electricity is most valuable. Solar-powered parking lots can mitigate the substantial increase in peak-hour energy demand that major developments create, but few developers now install solar canopies over their parking lots. Although the demand for electricity peaks on days when the sun shines brightest, solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of our total electricity supply.

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2018-02-13T23:37:18+00:00Categories: ACCESS 40, Spring 2012|Tags: , |
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