Wednesday, June 05, 2024

New Zealand learns from Houston, why airport rail doesn't make sense, Tokyo vs HTX High Lines, crazy housing reforms, and more

 Some more smaller items this week:

  • The 2024 Demographia International Housing Affordability reportThe 2024 Demographia International Housing Affordability report is out (Antiplanner discussion here). Houston is surprisingly high at a median price-to-income ratio of 4.4, but still better than other Texas Triangle metros and one of the most affordable growing metros in America (vs. the stagnant ones mainly in the Rust Belt).  The more interesting note is that New Zealand's affordability is rapidly improving after adopting supply-side reforms that they learned on a visit to Houston!
  • Chronicle: Why isn't there a train to Houston's airports? I've made similar points on my blog: it always makes more sense to invest in work transit over airport transit. It's a ridership disaster in DFW. There used to be a fast, frequent nonstop express bus from the downtown transit center to IAH but they shut it down from low demand. ~1-2 riders per bus, which is why even slower multi-billion$ LRT there is a massively bad investment. 

"Now count how many times you go to the airport versus how many times you drive or take a bus to the office.

“Even if they use the train for every airport trip they take, that might be eight trips a year,” Spieler said.

Business travelers, some of the most frequent fliers, meanwhile have different considerations.

“They are on expense accounts and not price-sensitive,” Spieler said."


Three recent rail projects to airports are illustrative, Spieler said, for how a train's service, location and the layout of the airport make a difference. In Washington, the train to Dulles Airport, which opened in 2022, gets around 2,500 boardings per day, less than half that of the train to Reagan National Airport, which is closer to the metro core but also a smaller airport. In Dallas, fewer than 1,100 riders daily hop on the train to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. 

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At 9:55 PM, June 07, 2024, Anonymous GMcK said...

When I lived in downtown Boston some years ago, I attempted to take the T to the airport a few times, because parking at Logan was a nightmare. Have you ever tried to lift a suitcase over a turnstile? Not to mention transferring from the green line to the blue line. And ordinary city buses don’t work either. There’s a reason that airport parking shuttles are van-like vehicles with special luggage racks.

At 10:04 PM, June 07, 2024, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Agreed! Similar experiences in London and New York, although at least the NYC MTA LaGuardia shuttle has luggage racks. But then you're still lugging them up and down the stairs to the subway...


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