Sunday, January 08, 2023

Warren Buffet calls bs on rail, remote work permanence, induced demand idiocy, HTX tech + construction + port growth, Ike Dike, and more

Happy new year everyone! Hope you all had a good holiday season and didn't get caught up in the Southwest airlines chaos. Sadly, I accidentally wiped out all my backlog of post topics and blogspot does not have any recovery functionality (why can't it keep history like Google Docs?!). So I'm combing back through my tweets to try to find at least some of them:
Richard Florida: “When I started with the creative class, places didn’t care about young people, they were only trying to attract a family with children to the lovely suburbs, and I’m saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’” Mr. Florida said in an interview. “Twenty years later, people forgot about the families. And now here’s a whole generation leaving cities again, for metropolitan or virtual suburbs.” ...

"A few feet away from her, another group of young workers was playing Jenga. One by one, they took blocks away from the structure, making way for the inevitable collapse."

"Bloom provided data showing strong economic incentives for both corporations and their employees to continue the work-from-home revolution if their jobs allow it:

First, “Saved commute time working from home averages about 70 minutes a day, of which about 40 percent (30 minutes) goes into extra work.” Second, “Research finds hybrid working from home increases average productivity around 5 percent and this is growing.” And third, “Employees also really value hybrid working from home, at about the same as an 8 percent pay increase on average.”
Finally, I'll end with this good short overview video on the Ike Dike:

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At 9:08 PM, January 10, 2023, Blogger TheCastle said...

induced demand is just the anti-car crowds only ace.

Its as dumb as saying don't build new hosptials, it just encourages people to be sick.

Or don't build new schools, it encourages people to have children.

I suspect that if you build a 12 lane freeway around van horn, it won't fill up with traffic..

At 6:02 PM, January 11, 2023, Blogger George Rogers said...

West of there IH-10 is not even a proper interstate (grade crossings because of how desolate that area is.)

At 10:43 AM, January 13, 2023, Blogger Dennis Sanders said...

I'm starting to change my opinion on induced demand for some of the reasons listed. I think that people think that if we don't widen freeways then people will use mass transit, but I don't think that's how people operate. Also, if you want people to use mass transit to alleviate congestion on freeways, then it has to be far more frequent which in many cities it isn't.

It also depends on how a freeway is widened. If it is just to allow more cars, that might not be good. But if it includes more HOV Toll/Bus lanes, then it's going to be beneficial to the transportation of a region.

I'm not against mass transit, (I have a transportation view more akin to Matthew Yglesias) but I am thinking that it isn't being used effectively and we still need freeways to get us from point A to B. We really need to create transit solutions that are all of the above and not the utopian views that some have.

At 11:34 AM, January 13, 2023, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Complete agreement Dennis. The I45N expansion is really to add 4 managed express lanes which will be a boon to transit frequency and speed.

At 7:40 AM, January 16, 2023, Blogger TheCastle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:36 AM, January 16, 2023, Blogger TheCastle said...

If induced demand worked likes its proponents claim, how come bike lines in Houston do not immediately become congested and filled with Bicyclists? Why is ridership down still on light rail lines?

I don't enjoy Houston traffic, the biggest reason is that too much of how my driving experience is determined by the externalities of other drivers. However, the whole theory of making driving worse by the anti-car crowd will induce demand in mass transit, sure hasn't born out in any measurements I've seen.

I also keep in mind that many, many people who are elderly, sick, handicap etc. Cannot do bicycles and mass transit. I remember when my mom had cancer how many times I had to drive her downtown to MD Anderson. There is no way I could walk her to a transit station, get her up and down those stairs. It was a struggle to get her from our house to the car in the driveway.

At 8:43 AM, January 16, 2023, Blogger TheCastle said...

P.S. I for one really appreciated the new 288 tollway, its made a huge difference in my life. I could drive from M.D. Anderson main front door on Holcomb, pickup my mom, and be home in Texas City in under 25 minutes during rush hour no less. A distance of 34 miles. I can't even drive from my house in Texas City to my friends house on Clear Lake City Blvd and El Dorado, a distance of 16 miles in 45 minutes, because of the terrible congested nature of clear lake city Blvd.

So yes freeway improvements make a world of difference for people, and I can say without a doubt I45 is way better since it was widened. The 288 tollway has cut travel time significantly for me, and Its long since passed due that the hundreds of thousands of people who drive i45 north had some improvement in the travel speeds.

At 5:27 PM, January 16, 2023, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Absolutely. On your comment about European transit, I discuss it in my TED talk here:

Basically, pre-WW2 cities are built around walking in density and are ideal for transit. The steam engine was also invented well before cars, so transit got built first in those cities. Post-WW2 cities (like Houston, LA, Phoenix, Atlanta, etc.) are built around the car, and transit simply doesn't work with their form.

At 12:45 PM, January 19, 2023, Blogger TheCastle said...

The other factor often overlooked by folks is the factor of war in Europe. WW2 proved the value of subways and mass transit as bomb shelters for the cities population (london). European cities are not very far from each other and for the most part there are few natural barriers to invasion. So when the bombs get dropped its into the subways for protection. Also the continent has a lot of rain and mud, so rails and highways are the only practical way to advance and supply an army.

The threat of nuclear war also spurred more development of subways. Look at Moscow's rapid building of its subways in the 1950s, the deepest in the world. With secret tunnels connecting government buildings and bomb shelters. It can't be overlooked the strategic value of mass transit as my former Marine's remind me.

Interstates originally served the same purpose for American cities, to allow rapid mass evacuations before the advent of ICBMS. Interstates remain the major / most effective way way to evacuate the population of Houston in the event of hurricanes. A big reason I think more investment in the connections between cities in Texas needs to be a larger priority.


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