Bad transit investments, Econ 101 for planners, expensive liberal cities worsen income inequality and reduce standards of living, and more
1. Capital costs are costs.
2. Maintenance costs are operating costs.
3. Economic growth requires new economic activity.
4. New economic activity requires lower costs or higher quality.
5. Whenever possible, user fees are the best way to pay for infrastructure.
6. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
7. If you subsidize something enough, people will come, but that doesn’t make it a success.
8. If you create of shortage of something, the price will go up, but that doesn’t mean you have increased demand.
9. Demand is a line, not a point.
10. If most people who like something fit a certain demographic, that doesn’t mean most people in that demographic like that thing.
- Those principles lead directly to this post with 4 logical arguments against rail, and this post with a pretty comprehensive and devastating case for why BRT is superior to light rail in almost every way. Light rail is slower, lower capacity, less flexible and yet far, far more expensive!
- And now taking those arguments to our local situation, it looks like we're getting dramatically reducing returns from our new rail investments, just as I feared. METRO released statistics on the expanded Red Line (known to most people as the Main St. Line), and they're grim. Back when it was only 7.5 miles, it got 1,162,000 boardings/month, and after increasing the length 73% to 13 miles back in December, ridership only increased 22% to 1,419,000 boardings/month in September. This means that the new miles are generating far, far fewer trips than the the original length, and does not bode well for the future lines if they're just as unproductive at generating new trips.
- Great presentation on the future of self-driving cars and their impact, including on transit (presentation link came from this blog post). This story asserts that it could more than double freeway capacities, which would be a godsend for us.
- Great graphic from the Houston Planning Facebook feed showing that Houston is still more affordable than comparable sized cities.
Labels: affordability, commuter rail, home affordability, land-use regulation, Metro, mobility strategies, planning, rail, toll roads