Over the past few years a variety of documents ranging from contemporary media to more serious research efforts have addressed the cost of auto ownership and use. These estimates are often used to address two important transportation issues, the household benefits of using transit in lieu of auto ownership and/or the consideration of household location decisions in the context of the total cost of housing and transportation. Two often referenced sources of research on these issues are the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s (CNT) initiatives in developing a housing and transportatio
Once upon a time there was a transportation planner driving thru the sunbelt. He pulled into a truck stop and while fueling his vehicle he noticed a couple of workers working on the shoulder down the road. One man appeared to be digging holes about three feet across and three feet deep along the side of the road.
One of the most widely cited numbers in contemporary transportation media coverage and policy discussions is the cost of congestion estimates that Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) annually produces as part of the Urban Mobility Report series. The 2009 version of that report (http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/) shows an estimate of the cost of congestion of $87.4 Billion for the top 439 U.S.
For serious transportation policy wonks lately every day is like Christmas. Climate change, bailout, deteriorating infrastructure, reauthorization, aging baby boomers, bailout, stimulus, new administration, economic development, global competition, urban redevelopment, bailout, etc. One has all they can do to just keep up with all the relevant news and positioning say nothing of understanding it. In fact, I don’t understand it.
As attention to energy efficiency and climate change continue to pervade the thinking and planning of the future transportation system, we are increasingly challenged to make very real decisions about the prudence of various investments. The current context for decision-making offers perhaps the greatest uncertainty regarding the future witnessed in the lifetimes of people in the planning profession today.
Having become something of a junkie who overdoses on political and economic news, it is only natural that I try to help justify that time investment by scouring the news for tidbits that have professional relevance. Just this past week several things have come across my monitor that have made me reflect.
Transportation and its relationship to the economy have been headline media topics for most of 2008 as we have seen unprecedented swings in fuel prices and travelers responding with declines in vehicle miles of travel (VMT) and unprecedented slowing in new vehicle sales. Transit and Amtrak have seen noticeable ridership growth and there have been cutbacks in demand for and supply of airline capacity. What is increasingly looking like an historic recession combined with a plummeting of gas prices late in 2008 has confounded the diagnosis of energy price impacts on travel.