Monday, March 30, 2009

Should Ann Arbor buy a bus or 6.67 parking spaces?

After discussing billions of federal dollars for rescue and recovery, $55 million sounds like small change. To put it in perspective, though, let’s do a little simple math.

    • With 670 spaces, the bill for the structure comes to $82,089.55 for each parking space
    • One AATA hybrid bus costs $546,000
    • One new bus could be purchased for the price of 6.67 parking spaces
Larry Krieg .... read more about Washtenaw, Michigan Transportation

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spain's got trains

Spain's sleek new high-speed trains have stolen hundreds of thousands of passengers from airlines over the last year, slashing carbon emissions and marking a radical change in the way Spaniards travel.

Passenger numbers on fuel-guzzling domestic flights fell 20% in the year to November as commuters and tourists swapped cramped airline seats for the space and convenience of the train, according to figures released yesterday.

High-speed rail travel - boosted by the opening of a line that slashed the journey time from Madrid to Barcelona to 2 hours 35 minutes in February - grew 28% over the same period. About 400,000 travellers shunned airports and opted for the 220mph AVE trains.

Last year's drop in air travel, which was also helped by new high-speed lines from Madrid to Valladolid, Segovia and Malaga, marks the beginning of what experts say is a revolution in Spanish travel habits.

In a country where big cities are often more than 500km (300 miles) apart, air travel has ruled supreme for more than 10 years. A year ago aircraft carried 72% of the 4.8 million long-distance passengers who travelled by air or rail. The figure is now down to 60%. Guardian

China's got trains

...China plans to spend more than $1 trillion on expanding its railway network from 78,000 km today to 110,000 km in 2012 and 120,000 km in 2020. Transport Politic

Japan's got trains

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The sad tale of Otto McSprawl

ABC News

Otto McSprawl had built a great mall
Otto McSprawl couldn't pay for it all
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Otto together again

Otto's great castle was too far from town
Hoping the price of cheap hay would stay down
The king lost the war, and hay became dear
And that, esteemed reader, is how we got here

- fpt editors - no rights reserved

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Greensboro, NC - Conservative recognizes private auto negatives

...Politics and the free market got us where into the oil-burning, car-trapped mess we're in.

But if we reversed government policies and started encouraging carless or low-car neighborhoods, we already know that people flock to such neighborhoods wherever they exist, and property values rise....The Ornery American

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We need leaders with vision

Eloquent article by John Grooms, Charlotte, NC - U.S.A.

...During bad economic times, local government still provides police protection and garbage pickup, and it still purifies and delivers water. And so it should be with public transportation. No transit system anywhere pays for itself, nor should it be expected to. Public transportation isn't a business venture that's obliged to turn a profit; it's an essential service, one of those things, like the fire department, that falls into the category of communal responsibilities, something we owe and provide each other as fellow citizens. Simply put, cutting bus service because sales tax revenue is down is like Duke Energy cutting off power an hour per day because its stock value has dropped.

What the city desperately needs are leaders with vision. Big-picture leaders who see problems as opportunities, and act on them. Something like this -- Problem 1: Our roads are clogged with traffic and as soon as we build more roads, those become clogged, too. Problem 2: Because of the large number of vehicles on the region's roads, our air quality stinks, and we're still not doing enough to lower the area's output of greenhouse gases. Problem 3: Our mass transit system is under-funded and scattershot. Solution to all three problems: fare-free mass transit.

That's right, free mass transit. It's not a far-fetched idea anymore; a number of cities in the United States and other nations are having success with fare-free public transit as a way to really entice commuters to leave their cars at home. Clemson and Chapel Hill, in fact, offer fare-free rides for all standard routes; needless to say, ridership has increased dramatically. Other places offering standard fare-free transit include cities in Colorado, New York, California, Utah, Washington and several European countries. The figures are in, and the good news is that if it's done right, fare-free transit works. What's more, there's plenty of information available on how to make it work... read more

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fares exist for the sole purpose of discouraging use.

If you don’t want people to take the Metro from Bethesda to Gallery Place, then you shouldn’t build the Metro. But if you do want people to take the Metro from Betheday to Gallery Place then you shouldn’t charge them to ride. But if it turns out that your route is too popular at certain times of day, then you want to charge them in order to prevent overcrowding.Matthew Yglesias

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Queensland, Australia - free public transport for youth proposed

The Greens - Australia

"We have a real problem in Brisbane with traffic congestion and this is part of the solution," he said.

"I want to see young people encouraged to use public transport and this is a great way to do that, but I also want to see young people rewarded for using public transport because they are doing the community a favour.

"There is a long-term gain of lower congestion, less pollution, and far less pressure to build new roads." The Australian

[see also the new blog: Fare-Free Australia]

Monday, March 2, 2009

England free transport campaign heats up

Robinho rides the bus to practice - The Sun

The Manchester Campaign for free public transport is attracting a lot of support and attention. Voters recently rejected road-pricing, and are now hearing from the advocates of free public transport. Even the football stars are on-board.