Highlights from the American Dream Coalition conferenceThe American Dream Coalition just had their annual conference in Orlando. I was unable to attend, but their presentations have been put online here. Here are some key highlights I found:
- This excellent presentation on Houston's unique approach to development from Sam Staley at the Reason Foundation, titled "Opportunity Urbanism: Zoning and Planning for the 21st Century City"
- An accountant definitively calculates that, yes, road users do pay the full cost of their roads (spreadsheet here). Now I have an analysis to point to every time a commenter claims that roads are subsidized just like transit.
- This presentation has excellent stats on the immense value generated by vanpools vs. other commuting options: Moving the Most People for the Least Cost. Users pay nearly 100% of operating costs at a minuscule total cost of $0.20 per passenger mile (vs. $0.85 to $1.70 for buses and $1.15 to $5.39 for rail). They also note that a commuter can reduce their yearly commuting cost from $2,591 by car to $1,044 by vanpool (Tacoma to Seattle example). Houston has a robust vanpool program, but I think it would be even more popular if our HOV/HOT lane network included more job centers than just downtown (mainly by adding them to 610 and parts of Beltway 8). It would also be more popular if they considered roomier vehicles with better amenities on some routes like I talk about and show here.
- Finally, there's also this presentation on Innovations in Bus Rapid Transit, any combination of which would represent a very cost-effective alternative for most of Metro's planned new light rail lines. Especially note the BRT vs. LRT cost and performance comparison chart on p.29. Please have an open mind and give it some consideration, Metro.