Sunday reading 2 April 2017

Welcome back to Sunday reading. This week, we’re starting to get evidence of what will happen as a result of the Roads of National Significance: induced traffic and congestion stuff-ups. Here’s Damian George (Stuff) reporting on outcomes after the opening of the first sections of the Kapiti Expressway: The $630 million Kapiti expressway has actually doubled the amount of time it takes to commute into Wellington during the morning rush, some motorists say.…
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We need to stop lying to ourselves about congestion

Without getting back on the topic of pohutukawas or St Luke’s Road again, I did notice something funny in the statement that Greg Edmonds, Auckland Transport’s Chief Operating Officer, made in Metro Magazine in response to the issue: The founding premise of the Auckland super city was that the city’s congestion was costing $1 billion a year in lost productivity and this had to change.…
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Freeing us from traffic

Yesterday the Herald ran a fantastic opinion piece from Dr Jamie Hosking who is a senior lecturer and health and transport researcher at the University of Auckland. As he says at the end, it’s “a timely reminder for the Auckland Council as it considers whether to reduce spending on big new roading projects.…
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Let’s define “congestion” properly

An article in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper just over a week ago, using the rather provocative title of “Sick of Congestion: build roads not transit” has unsurprisingly led to a lot of fisking of the information contained in the article – particularly around the different ways of defining congestion and how easily they can be misused.…
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The perils of ignoring induced demand

Streetsblog draws our attention to an interesting Danish study into the impact of induced demand on the cost-benefit analyses of motorway projects. Here’s the abstract of the article: Although the phenomenon of induced traffic has been theorized for more than 60 years and is now widely accepted among transport researchers, the traffic-generating effects of road capacity expansion are still often neglected in transport modelling.…
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Congestion: Cause or Effect?

Todd Littman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute has put together a really useful critical analysis of the way we measure congestion and how this affects the general approaches taken to reducing congestion – typically seen (especially when undertaking cost-benefit analyses of transport projects) as the main justification for transport expenditure.…
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“Locking in” Vic Park Tunnel’s benefits

The additional southbound lanes over the Victoria Park Viaduct, made possible through the construction of the Victoria Park Tunnel, open to vehicles today. John Roughan’s NZ Herald editorial can barely contain his excitement at this prospect, largely because (he hopes) it will get rid of queue jumpers holding up traffic through St Mary’s Bay.…
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The end of freeways?

An interesting Salon.com article looks at a growing US trend: the removal of urban freeways. Right now, several U.S. cities are scheming to shut down major freeways — permanently. In the push to take back cities from cars, this is what you’d call throwing down the gauntlet.…
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Vic Park Tunnel – causing traffic jams

It’s tempting to be amused by the various stories that have emerged this week about the new Victoria Park Tunnel causing huge congestion. The obvious amusing argument to make is that, just like we saw with the opening of the SH20-SH1 Manukau Connection, the opening of a motorway has just shifted the congestion or – in this case – actually created an even worse problem than we used to have.…
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Speed versus throughput

Somewhat picking up on the point I was trying to make with yesterday’s post regarding how the biggest benefit of the City Rail Link is how it simply massively increases the capacity of Auckland’s transport network, particularly the capacity of the network for trips to the city centre, here’s an interesting article that analyses the issue of whether transport network improvements should be designed around making trips faster (time savings benefits) or whether they should be based around simply increasing throughput: There’s an old joke in computer science circles: never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tapes.…
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