Car-dependency is a bad deal

Is it a good idea to have a transport system oriented primarily around the car? Cars are useful for a lot of things, but is it a good idea for most people to use them for most trips? This is a practical question rather than a philosophical one.…
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Factors influencing PT use

A comprehensive US study looks at different factors determining modal choice – in particular looking at what makes particular people more likely to use public transport than others. The key findings are shown below: None of the findings are particularly surprising at this level, although it is interesting to note that the basics of getting PT right – fast, reliable and affordable service – are seen as more important than flashy add-ons.…
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More highways failing to meet projections

An article on Philly.com highlights a number of new or expanded highway projects in the US are vastly failing to meet traffic projections: Before beginning a $2.5 billion project to widen the New Jersey Turnpike, turnpike officials said the construction was necessary to reduce existing congestion and to cope with future traffic.…
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Understanding US transit ridership trends

An article in the New York Times looks at the recent announcements that transit (PT) ridership in the USA in 2013 was the highest since the 1950s – much the same as in Auckland. What’s perhaps most interesting in the 2013 numbers is that petrol prices doesn’t seem to have featured as much in the reasoning behind the increase:The trade group said in its annual report that 10.65 billion passenger trips were taken on transit systems during the year, surpassing the post-1950s peak of 10.59 billion in 2008, when gas prices rose to $4 to $5 a gallon.…
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Does building roads harm the economy?

Most proposals to build new roads or widen existing ones seem to boil down to an ultimate belief that it will “help the economy”. Whether it’s by improving freight reliability or getting people to their jobs faster or helping business travel or whatever, there seems to be a fundamental belief among many that quite a strong relationship must exist between building more roads and improving the economy.…
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Conservatives & Smart Growth

We’re increasingly seeing two of the biggest urban issues – housing and transport – unnecessarily turned into “left/right” debates – most significantly in the USA but also in New Zealand, particularly in recent times it seems. Over the next few days I’m going to be looking at how this is playing out and how when you actually look at the arguments being put forward that traditional left/right ideology just doesn’t fit.…
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Is the shopping mall dying?

The indoor shopping mall turns 60 this year, but an Atlantic Cities article questions whether it’s dying: At the mall’s peak popularity, in 1990, America opened 19 of them. But we haven’t cut the ribbon on a new one since 2006, for reasons that go beyond the recession.…
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US Traffic Volumes – something weird is happening

We’ve spoken a lot about traffic volumes over the past few weeks on this blog – and for good reason too: there are some strange things going on with traffic volumes on state highways now static for around seven years and vehicle kilometres travelled on both state highways and local roads in the Auckland area increasing at a much slower rate than population growth over the past five years.…
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