Vikings congestion charging zone #wilfare

How to pay for the Vikings stadium is the topic of the hour here in GreaterMSP. I have another solution that has not been broached to recover part of the $77 per ticket subsidy.
Let us establish a Congestion Zone around the proposed Minnesota Sports Complex, which is in effect on game days only (and could be extended for other special events). Drive into this zone on game days and pay $100 $150 (assuming an auto occupancy of about 2, and most fans drive) as a congestion charge. As with the London Congestion Zone, on which it is loosely modeled, residents would get a discount. This would ensure people driving to the game, regardless of where they park, would have to pay.
The funds earned would pay for administering the zone and the new stadium. Wilf would have no say in the matter. I have put a first draft of the zone boundaries on the Google map below, but obviously this could be discussed (should it extend to Cedar-Riverside or to St. Anthony Main? I am counting on the inherent laziness of Vikings fans being unwilling to walk to counter-act their inherent frugality. Every entrance to the zone would be cordoned, starting say 10 am on game days, and running until say the end of the first quarter, and people would have to pay to enter the area or produce evidence of residence.
Fans coming by transit, foot, or bicycle would be exempted.
Obviously there would need to be some new legal framework established for this.

Linklist: April 30, 2012

New Scientist: One Per Cent: Expressive car sends its ’emotions’ ahead

Tyler Cowan notes: Amy Finkelstein wins the John Bates Clark award. Transportationistas may remember her mention here for her work on E-Z Tax

Wikipedia: Rocket mail

Arnold Kling: My Thoughts on Technology and :

“I think that urbanization increases the demand for government. When people are crowded together, many more externalities are created. Water and sewage management become a huge deal. So does planning a road and transportation system.
Technology for long-distance trade also increases the demand for standardization and enforcement of standards. That is likely to raise the demand for government.”

Jason Scheppers writes in at Kids Prefer Cheese: We Get Letters: Polls on I-95. The general point is that if a road is uncongested, and tolls are imposed which reduce use, this is a welfare loss. This is why we should continue to use average rather than marginal cost payment systems for uncongested roads (which is most of them), like the flat mileage-based user fee (in the future), gas tax or worse, property taxes. We still need to pay for the road if it is a worthwhile part of the network, but differential tolls or tolls on some uncongested roads but not others are not terribly efficient (though it may be profitable for the toll collector). The beauty of the gas tax (over the property tax) is that it better gets at road users in proportion to use.

Measuring the transportation needs of seniors

Recently published:

Transportation systems are built with the intention to serve communities by providing accessibility and mobility. Yet seniors residing in these communities face different challenges compared to regular commuters. Seniors have special needs in terms of desired destinations and challenges faced due to limitations in mobility and decline of accessibility levels where they reside. In this research paper we discuss major findings from a mail-out mail-in survey conducted in Hennepin County, Minnesota to measuring met and unmet urban transportation needs of seniors. Compared to previous research this study uses primary collected data rather than relying on travel surveys, which does not measure the unmet urban transportation needs of seniors. The findings from this survey is consistent in term of measuring the existing travel behavior of seniors, which raises our confidence in the information being collected related to the unmet transportation needs of seniors. Seniors are found to be generally independent and rely mainly on auto usage to reach desired destinations at higher rates compared to the rest of the population. The majority of seniors reported although they are currently independent they do know that such independency is not permanent and they have to learn more about alternatives available to them. This study helps transportation engineers and planners in better understanding the current and future challenges that they will face with an aging population.

Linklist: April 27, 2012

From DW: Road Rents not Road Rage. A short clip from youtube that points to a more efficient transport system.

Jim Foti (The Road Guy) asks @ MPR: Having a pro football team may make us feel good, but is it worth it?

PZ sends me to: Strollerderby who asks: Was There a Carmagedoon Baby Boom in Los Angeles?

Wired: As Interest in Autonomous Cars Rises, Google Shops For Automaker Partners:

“A study released by J.D. Power and Associates shows that 1 in 5 consumers would purchase a vehicle equipped with autonomous driving capabilities. The report comes days after Google expressed interest in partnering with automakers to bring the technology to market.”

The Onion Transit Issue. It is moderately amusing, and well worth reading if you find a copy on the floor of the bus and your earphones broke and you finished your book.

Special Issue of Journal of Transport and Land Use on Value Capture for Transportation Finance

The new issue of the Journal of Transport and Land Use 5(1) has landed. Inside are:
Introduction to the Special Issue on Value Capture for Transportation Finance
by David Levinson and Jerry Zhao

This special issue includes 5 articles on value capture strategies used in transportation finance.

Joint Development as a Value Capture Strategy in Transportation Finance
by Zhirong Jerry Zhao, Kirti Vardhan Das, Kerstin Larson

This article examines joint development as a value capture strategy for funding public transportation. We start from the concept of joint development, its rationale, a brief history, and the extent of its use. Joint development projects in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tokyo, and Thailand are profiled, as well as domestic examples in Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Portland, OR, etc. Then we provide a framework to classify joint development models by ownerships (public or private) and by types of transaction (real property or development rights). Next, joint development is evaluated along four revenue criteria including efficiency, equity, sustainability and feasibility. Finally, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of joint development as a transportation finance strategy, and provide recommendations for policy consideration or implementation.

Rail integrated communities in Tokyo
by John Calimente

Tokyo’s railway station areas are models of transit-oriented design. To differentiate them from transit-oriented developments (TOD), the term rail integrated community (RIC) has been created to describe these high density, safe, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly developments around railway stations that act as community hubs, served by frequent, all-day, rail rapid transit and are accessed primarily on foot, by bicycle, or by public transit. Japanese private railways have been instrumental in creating these RICs. Though they receive little financial support from the government, private railways in Japan achieve profitability by diversifying into real estate, retail, and numerous other businesses. Tokyu Corporation is used as the case study to exemplify how government policy and socioeconomic context contributed to the successful private railway model. Ten indicators, such as ridership, population density and mode share are used to analyze two stations created by Tokyu to demonstrate how this model is manifested in Tokyu’s rail integrated communities.

Prospects for transportation utility fees
by Jason Junge and David Levinson

Transportation utility fees are a financing mechanism for transportation that treats the network as a utility and bills properties in proportion to their use, rather than their value as with the property tax. This connects the costs of maintaining the infrastructure more directly to the benefits received from mobility and access to the system. The fees are based on trips generated and vary with land use. This paper evaluates the fees as an alternative funding source in terms of economic, equity and administrative effects. The experiences of cities currently using utility fees for transportation are discussed. Calculations are included to determine the fee levels necessary for transportation maintenance budget needs in three sample cities and a county in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Proposed fees for each property type are compared to current property tax contributions toward transportation. The regressive effects of the fees and the effect of adjusting for the length of trips generated are also quantified.

Financing transportation with land value taxes: Effects on development intensity
by Jason Junge and David Levinson

A significant portion of local transportation funding comes from the property tax. The tax is conventionally assessed on both land and buildings, but transportation increases only the value of the land. A more direct, efficient way to fund transportation projects is to tax land at a higher rate than buildings. The lower tax on buildings would allow owners to retain more of the profits of their investment in construction, and have the expected side effect of increased development intensity. A partial equilibrium simulation is created for Minneapolis, Richfield and Bloomington, Minnesota to determine the intensity effects of various levels of split-rate property taxes for both residential and nonresidential development. The results indicate that split-rate taxes would lead to higher density for both types of development in all three cities.

The value capture potential of the Lisbon Subway
by Luis Miguel Garrido Martínez and Jose Manuel Viegas

This paper tries to build on traditional value capture measures, to estimate the potential of application of some of these mechanisms to the Lisbon subway, examining their ability to contribute to cover the financial costs of the system operation and development. The study will just focus on the municipality of Lisbon where this system mainly operates. This research uses spatial hedonic pricing models of the real estate of the region, calibrated on previous stages of the study, to asses, to which extent, transportation infrastructure is currently capitalised into the real estate market. The paper uses a Monte Carlo simulation procedure to estimate a synthetic population of residential and non residential properties that matches the census blocks statistics, allowing, measuring the subway valuation for each synthetic property and aggregate the results for the whole municipality. This potential value capture estimate is then used to estimate an annual tax that could be charged under different value capture measures configurations (i.e. land value tax, special assessment). The results suggest that there is a significant potential of the use of this instrument to finance the subway infrastructure.

Linklist: April 26, 2012

Via AO: Rock, Paper, Shotgun: And Now The Game: A SimCity Preview :

“It extends to traffic as well, which also initially sounds more boring than a visit to the plywood factory with the lead singer of Keane, but has all manner of fascinating repercussions. When a new citizen moves into your city, they actually move in – removal van, arduous unloading of cardboard boxes, the lot. If your roads are narrow or busy, that big van parking up on the street might cause traffic to slow down or even gridlock in that area. Which isn’t necessarily a problem – this is modern living, right? But what if there’s a fire engine stuck in that traffic queue? And what if one of your buildings has just suffered an arson attack from one of the ‘personality’ NPCs who’s recently pitched up in town looking to cause trouble?”

Spatial Analysis: Sensing the City: Mapping London’s Population Flows [Lots of cool visualizations, some linked here before, some new].

Stephen Levy @ Wired: Can an Algorithm Write a Better News Story Than a Human Reporter? [Yes]

Deconstructing the Minnesota Sports Complex #Wilfare

The Minnesota Sports Complex, like an inferiority complex, plagues the state. If we in Greater>>MSP lack one pro sports team in the Big Four, we are inferior to big cities who have all four teams, like Los Angeles, or New York (er. New Jersey).
But I am not here to talk about psychology, I am here to talk of urban form. The image above, apparently from the Vikings, looking eastward towards the sadly named Minnesota Sports Complex because naming rights have yet to be sold, makes some very significant proposals about urban form.
(1) The LRT will run on a car-free mall with new pavers. This is unlike today. 5th Street will join the Washington Avenue Mall on campus and Nicollet Mall as pedestrian/transit mall. I am cool with that.
(2) The two blocks just north of 5th street will have surface parking lots. Seriously? After this level of investment, the Vikings don’t believe that there will be demand for structures, even structured parking? What kind of redevelopment is this? I am not cool with that.
(3) There will be meandering sidewalks south of the parking but north of fifth, despite the straight pedestrian mall. Why? Is this because it resembles the edge of a football?
(4) I see some open-air transit-like vehicles (lollies in Century Village East retirement community terms). This is for the oldsters who can’t walk a couple of blocks? Why can’t this run on the transit mall? What becomes of the paths the other 357 days a year?

Linklist: April 25, 2012

Via Daring Fireball, @ the I love typography, the typography and fonts blog The design of a signage typeface

Brad Plumer @ WaPo on airline deregulation: Should we worry about cities abandoned by airlines?

Brendon @ Why urbanists (and others) should love the coming of the robot car (Part 1)

Behind the Big Wheel Special Event On Thursday, April 26!:

“Drivers of large vehicles and bicyclists share the road every day but rarely get an opportunity to see the road through each others eyes.
In this special demonstration event, bicyclists & pedestrians will be able to get behind the wheel of a big rig or bus, sit in the driver’s seat, and check blind spots while bikes & pedestrians walk in the street below.
“Share the Road” safety information will be available to all participants.
Thanks in advance for helping us make the University of Minnesota campus a safer place for all!
If you have any questions about the event, please email”

Reihan Salam @ The Agenda on National Review OnlineA Few Thoughts on Sorting and Agglomeration

Linklist: April 24, 2012

SR sends me to Freep: Charitable contributions funding Detroit LRT: Woodward light rail line group says it will pay for first 10 years of operations

GigaOm: U.S.’s first smartphone rail ticketing service headed for Boston: “Boston rail commuters will soon have a mobile alternative to traditional paper tickets, allowing them to use their smartphones to buy and display their train tickets. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which serves 1.3 million people a day, will launch the U.S.’s first smartphone rail ticketing system this fall through a partnership with Masabi, a London company which has been rolling out mobile ticketing services in the UK.”