Linklist: October 31, 2011

BBC News: The M25 is 25: “The M25 is celebrating its 25th birthday. The 117-mile (188km) road that orbits London has changed life in the UK in many ways, says Radio 2’s traffic news announcer Sally Boazman. Here are some.
It took more than 11 years to build, cost £1bn and used more than two million tonnes of concrete and 3.5 million tonnes of asphalt. The M25 is a monster of a road in many ways.
The final section was opened by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in October 1986 to a huge fanfare. It has gone on to change many things, including our economy, environment and living habits. Here are just some …”

Time Lee in ForbesThe Arrogance of Suburbia: “Matt Yglesias has an excellent post on the different approaches cities take to urban freeways:

Central Minneapolis is a nice place. But the main conceit of this layout seems to be that it’s a place people who live very far away from need to be able to get to. Meanwhile, the people who live in the residential neighborhoods just outside the very tight inner freeway ring seem to be regarded as inconveniences. The result is that the city perversely disincentivizes living in the downtown-proximate neighborhoods. The freeways make them less pleasant and less-connected to downtown, even while they reduce the cost in travel time to live further away.

The Guardian: How to break into the transport sector : “Transport in the UK is big business, even if funding has dropped off a cliff. Graduates in transport management (as opposed to logistics) can expect to do anything from helping develop local transport plans and policies, to working with schools and businesses to encourage alternatives to the car. Current emphasis tends to be on ways to better manage what the UK already has, rather than new infrastructure. Consultancies are an established career option, as are local authorities, and there are always opportunities with big transport operators, many of which operate internationally.”

Michael Giberson @ Knowledge Problem: Why did water utilities in the U.S. become mostly publicly owned? : “Among U.S. water utilities, some are publicly owned and some are privately owned. Same thing for gas utilities and electric utilities. But unlike in the gas and electric power industries, the water business has become predominantly organized by publicly-owned utilities. Scott Masten explores why it was that public utility ownership became dominant among water utilities in an article, “Public Utility Ownership in 19th-Century America: The ‘Aberrant’ Case of Water,”  appearing in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.”

NY Times: Bob Beaumont, Who Popularized Electric Cars, Dies at 79 – “Bob Beaumont, who thought every home should have an affordable electric vehicle in its driveway and sold more than 2,000 of them, the tiny, trapezoidal creation known as the CitiCar, decades before General Motors and Nissan came up with their own versions, died on Monday at his home in Columbia, Md. He was 79.” [I remember seeing a few of these in Columbia growing up]