Transportation - latest news and research

Dodge growing commuting costs. Switch to carpooling.

Save money and connect with neighbors. Find a rideshare network in your area.

Mobility Austin rideshareAs climate change erodes the comfort and convenience of driving, traffic congestion costs are expected to grow 50% by 2030 (costing the average American household $2,301 per year). Using a rideshare network could help you avoid the rising costs and hassle of commuting alone.

If you live in a smaller city like Austin, TX, rideshare transportation is not often used. With no problem […]

Walkability – good vs. bad

Are the sidewalks in your town (or lack thereof) anti-pedestrian?

Safe sidewalks help climate-proof your personal financesWalking to your destinations around town can help you Climate-Proof Your Personal Finances. In fact, two-car households average savings of more than $10,000 a year by downsizing to one vehicle. Maybe you have every intention of walking as a primary mode of transportation, but what if your town is preventing you from using their sidewalks?

A Strong Towns article documents the ways […]

Commuting costs are only going up

Want to know where it’s cheap to commute? Check around your area with the H + T Index.

Commuting traffic SFOTime spent in traffic congestion cost the average San Francisco driver $1,996 last year. The Chamber of Commerce, Police Department and MTA are all noodling ideas to lower commuting times, like deploying officers to enforce “blocking the box” violations. But most of these ideas cost money.

What’s more, a new survey shows that a majority of San Francisco […]

What infrastructure projects should we want?

What’s the cost of building new stuff compared to repairing what we have?

A climate-proof municipal budget means spending on maintenance, not new infrastructure.We may soon see an explosion of infrastructure spending. Trump, Clinton and Sanders all campaigned on the sorry state of America’s roads, water works, transit and bridges.

But what type of project will benefit you and me the most? Persuasive research says ‘Fix what we have. Don’t build more!’ There are two reasons: first what we have […]

Floating structures. Sustainable? Or not so much?

Good: we safeguard them from sea-level change. Bad: it’s like we’re paving over farmland.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-40-48-amSwale, an open-to-all garden on a 130′ x 40′ barge in Brooklyn, floats in the East River. It not only provides new public space but, because it’s on the water, Swale avoids the city’s prohibition on growing and picking food in public areas.

A 6-mile floating pontoon on the Chicago River is being planned to serve as a bike path.

There are clusters of houseboats in […]

Public transportation deprecated?

Some measures to climate-proof our lives will need government. But for transportation, it’s likely to be the opposite. Free-market transportation system, 1970s

Now only available in nostalgic model form.

When I lived in Hong Kong, I’d usually take a yellow minibus (privately-owned) or a pak-pai (private taxi) to get around. Compared to a public bus or legal taxi, the system was cheap, fast, and infinitely flexible. The swarm of minibuses would change routes from minute to minute to accommodate demand.

Climate-proofing […]

Walkability 2

Some previously unnoticed advantages of walkable neighborhoods.

Walkable WashingtonA walkable neighborhood can help climate-proof our lives; we know that. It cuts the number of gallons of gas we buy, maybe the number of cars we own. Reduced traffic lowers road maintenance costs and thus our state and local tax bill. Walking improves our health and lowers long-term healthcare costs.

Now comes another advantage: much greater economic activity in the community. A new study finds that in Washington DC, deemed the […]

Save money. Rip up some streets.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.19.57 AMGravel is cheaper than asphalt, and well-graded gravel is easier on cars than potholed asphalt. With worsening summer temperatures speeding up road decay, and worsening road conditions heating up fiscal debates from Capitol Hill to City Hall, is converting some roads to gravel a way to help climate-proof your town’s finances, free up taxpayer money for more pressing uses, and actually improve driving conditions? Towns in Vermont, Wisconsin, Texas, and elsewhere are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars by unpaving, rather than repaving roads.

A simple life is hard to imagine. Here’s one way.

Lost driver: “Can you tell me how to get to Union Grove?” Roadside farmer: “No. But if I was you, I wouldn’t start from here.”

Most of us have trouble seeing from here down the road. If we ponder what life would be like with a lot less water, air-conditioning, meat, or municipal services, it’s hard to visualize. How would limited transportation, lower home values, more community conflict, and food scarcities feel? We can’t quite imagine.

World Made By Hand

Falling bridges, rising taxes

Collapsing bridges and collapsing federal fuel tax revenues mean the cost of fixing our deficient infrastructure will likely fall on state and municipal taxpayers. […]