Sunday, August 19, 2012

The coming traffic reduction miracle, more top rankings, sad crazy CA, and more

The queue of smaller misc items is overflowing, so let's work the stack down a bit:
"Meanwhile, Ford says that, by 2017, it will sell cars that can drive themselves in certain conditions, specifically heavy traffic. Once just one-in-four cars on the road have this feature, the company says, travel times in traffic will be reduced by 37.5 percent."
We need a miracle to turn the tide against increasing traffic congestion, and this very well may be it. 
In the case of Houston, its 12% rise in the number of self-employed workers reflects not only widening economic opportunity, but also structural changes in the energy industry, the metro area’s prime economic driver. Since 2005, self-employment in the energy industry has grown 35% (and a remarkable 75% for support activities for oil and gas operations). At least part of this influx, EMSI suggests, could be attributed to land owners cashing in on royalties after leasing their property for drilling, but also to the demand for the increasingly specialized, and often high-tech, services required by that industry.
The entrepreneurial drive in Houston is clearly not a response to economic disaster – the city has a culture that encourages striking out on your own, and low costs and lighter regulation make it easier. Indeed over the past decade, the Texas powerhouse also led the nation in the growth of its 1099 economy, which expanded by a remarkable 51%.
Houston is known for many things: Oil, NASA, urban sprawl and business-friendly policies. But the Texas city deserves to be known for something else: coolness. 
The Bayou City may not be the first place you associate with being hip or trendy. But Houston has something many other major cities don’t: jobs. With the local economy humming through the recession, Houston enjoyed 2.6% job growth last year and nearly 50,000 Americans flocked there in response — particularly young professionals. In fact, the median age of a Houston resident is a youthful 33. 
The result? Over the past decade, the dreary corporate cityscape has been quietly transforming. Stylish housing developments have popped up downtown, restaurants have taken up residence in former factories and art galleries like the Station Museum have been inhabiting warehouses. 
Combine that with a strong theater scene, world-class museums and a multicultural, zoning-free mashup of a streetscape and you have the recipe for the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities To Live.

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At 5:38 PM, August 21, 2012, Anonymous awp said...

#1) most legitimate city ranking criteria ever. (wish I was joking(more than I am(cause it is close)))

At 12:24 PM, August 30, 2012, Anonymous Mike said...

I didn't notice where the Brookings guy said anything about rendering urban rail transit obsolete in his WSJ op-ed. He actually mentions toward the end that the computers in driverless cars could recommend taking public transit in certain conditions.

Seems like the person at Antiplanner imagined the text they wanted to read?

At 10:03 PM, September 03, 2012, Anonymous Mike said...

To make my point a bit clearer... it's odd that we are so excited about this new Brookings Institute argument against rail, when the referenced article actually says nothing to "undermine the case" for rail.


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