Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. On to this week's items:
Kuff has a pretty good analysis of why it's fine that the Dallas-Houston high-speed rail will terminate at 290 and 610 instead of downtown, including the opportunity for redevelopment out there. As far as a light rail line connecting it on to downtown, I'm very skeptical on the cost-benefit. I'm open to data otherwise, but my guess would be that any given trainload would have less than a busload that wants to get downtown - why not just have an express bus meet the trains and shuttle them downtown? Not only would it be faster than a net 17mph light rail, it can circulate downtown to get people closer to their actual destinations. In fact, this could be a *great* use for some of those Park-and-Ride express buses that are idle most of the day.
"Based on this, I find it completely reasonable to think that, by 2020, you’ll be able to buy a car that is completely self-driving on many roads and streets, but that may require you to take over on some little-used roads. Moreover, I think these cars will penetrate the market much faster than pessimists think, both because companies like Uber will make them available for-hire at rates of about 25 cents a mile, and because many cars built between now and 2020 will be easily upgradable to be self-driving cars. And, contrary to some expectations, such self-driving cars should almost completely replace transit (at least, outside of New York City) within a few years after they are introduced."
On a related note, I had my first ride in a self-driving Tesla last weekend - limited capability (requires active driver monitoring) but still impressive.
Social Systems Architect and entrepreneur with a genuine love of my hometown. I cover a wide range of topics in this blog - including transportation, transit, economic development, quality-of-life, city identity, and development and land-use regulations - and have published numerous Houston Chronicle op-eds on these topics. I'm a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. I am a native Houstonian, 6th-generation Texan, attended Rice University for my BSEE and MBA, and a former McKinsey consultant and adjunct faculty member with Leadership Houston. I am currently the founder of Coached Schooling, pioneering a transformational new approach for a more effective and engaging 21st-century K-12 education combining the best elements of eLearning, home and traditional schooling. CONTACT EMAIL: tgattis (at) pdq.net - send me an email if you would like to receive these posts via email, or see the Google Groups signup box below.