Rivalry and Anti-rivalry, Excludability and Anti-excludability

Walking home the other day, I invented the terms “anti-rival” and “anti-excludable”. These terms are not widely used, yet sadly I do not earn coinage credit.

Many things are important and essential that are largely done by the private sector. Many things are neither important nor essential that are done by the public sector. What differentiates in which sector a good or service is provided is not essentialness, nor its importance. Rather it is its excludability and its rivalry. A good is excludable if I can charge you for it and keep you from using it if you don’t pay. A good is rivalrous if my consumption prevents yours.

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

Goods that are both excludable and rivalrous are classified by economists as private goods, and are often provided by the private sector. Food is both important and essential, yet most Americans get food from private vendors in the US, ranging from the local farmer’s market to the largest Big Box store.

In contrast, goods that are neither excludable nor rivalrous are categorized as public goods. The classic example is national defense, which serves me whether I want it or not, and I pay with taxes. No private firm provides a nuclear defense in case my property is invaded by a foreign army. Over-the-air broadcasting is also a public good, though it is privately provided. Anyone with a receiver can get any over-the-air channel. In that case, broadcasting is funded not by taxes but by advertising. The model is switched and the viewer is the good being sold to the advertiser, since the market for advertising on over-the-air television  is both excludable and rivalrous (since time is rivalrous and the broadcaster can sell it to whomever they like for the market rate).

Goods that are excludable but not rivalrous are called club goods.

Goods that are rivalrous but not excludable are congesting or common pool resources.

The opposites of Rival and Excludable are generally taken to be Non-rival and Non-excludable. Yet, that is incomplete. Is the opposite of one zero or negative one? Hence the need for the ideas of Anti-rival and Anti-excludable.

The term Anti-rival is important enough to have its own wikipedia page. They credit Prof. Steven Weber from Berkeley with the idea from his book The Success of Open Source.

The concept of Anti-excludability was, as far as I can tell, first defined in a blog post by Pierre de Vries

He writes:

These definitions, however, don’t take into effect the network effects that have become so prevalent on the web. Social networks like amazon reviews and del.icio.us tags are not just non-rivalrous, as one would expect from knowledge; the more one uses them, the more value is created.

These goods are “anti-rivalrous”. Their use increases the amount available for consumption by others.

One can play the same game with exclusiveness. An “anti-exclusive good” might be one where the my giving it to you actively encourages you to pass it along to others. Viruses are one example; another is peer-to-peer software which someone cannot use without becoming a server node for others.


We usually think of transportation as a tangible good, but it is also often an Anti-rival or Network good, and far more valuable the more people there are, until congestion sets in.

Your consumption of bike lanes is much more a complement for mine than a substitute. Your presence increases the demand for bike lanes (and thus network coverage – through a politically intermediated process) and spreads the fixed costs of construction across more users (if it were in fact user financed, in practice it is a complement because of lobbying the government, but that’s another story).

Your consumption of transit is a complement to mine, increasing the likelihood there will be a bus on the route I want to travel, and lowering my wait time. This is dubbed the Mohring effect in transportation.

Even your consumption of driving complements mine where network density is low, ensuring there will be a road network, which I could not afford myself. In short, not only is transportation usually non-rivalrous in the long run, it is anti-rivalrous. Even in the short run, significant congestion is the exception not the rule.


But how can such a good be anti-excludable?

We hypothesize the more people who walk, the more likely the next person will be to walk, not because the network changes, but because walking invites more people to walk, the act of walking acts as an advertisement for the act of walking. Similarly for biking, riding transit, or driving a car. The more you see it, the more plausible it becomes. I feel more comfortable walking the more pedestrians there are. I feel safer walking. Every pedestrian is a reminder to drivers that there are pedestrians. Every pedestrians acts as Eyes on the Street extending the words of Jane Jacobs which she applied to local proprietors.

 Filling in the Table

The northwest corner of the table below (suggested by de Vries is standard. Does it make sense to think about  the remaining five cells as de Vries suggests?

Table: Types of Goods

Excludable Non-excludable Anti-excludable [Includable]
Rival[Congesting] Private Congesting or Common Pool Resource Rally Good
Non-rival Club Public Viral Good
Anti-rival [Network] Social Network Broadcast Media Memetic Good


There are five cells in the table requiring names. I hereby coin the following:

  • Anti-Rival and Excludable: Social Network Good (For example, Facebook, it is excludable, but my membership makes yours more valuable)
  • Anti-Rival and Non-Excludable: Media Good (For example any broadcast activity (de Vries suggests Social Tagging) but really any type of social media like Twitter)
  • Anti-Rival and Anti-Excludable: Memetic Good (Perhaps Walking or Biking)
  • Non-Rival and Anti-Excludable: Viral Good (For instance as per de Vries, Peer-to-Peer software)
  • Rival and Anti-Excludable: Rally Good (Envision a rally on a public square (for instance to overthrow a government) which attracts protestors, but does get crowded)



In short there are some additional types of goods beyond rival/non-rival and excludable/non-excludable.

Anti-rival goods – I benefit if others use

Anti-excludable goods – I spread the use of the good to others every time I use.

Anti-rival, anti-excludable items include many ideas or memes. My possessing an idea does not prevent you from possessing it, so it is certainly non-rival. Unlike tangible property, ideas cannot be easily protected. (There are of course patents and copyrights, but those affect physical (or electronic) production, not what’s in your head). However many ideas are better if more people possess them, so we could class them as network goods, or anti-rival. Similarly many ideas are so good people want to share them. Like a juicy secret, telling someone induces it to spread more widely, making it anti-excludable.

MUCH ado about something: An economic framework

This post introduces the MUCH framework for understanding supply and demand interactions when there are economies of scale and network externalities. This has special relevance in transportation and urban economics, where both properties may exist.

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

Most of introductory economics is explained according to a traditional view of downward sloping demand curves and upward sloping supply curves. As price (on the y-axis) increases, the quantity (on the x-axis) of demand decreases. However as price increases, quantity that is supplied increases, as more suppliers are willing to sell their goods. If an exchange is to be realized, these curves must intersect, which they do in the case of conventional “market goods”.  We will call this a type M good.

This is shown as the right-side equilibrium in Figure A or B (Figures from here, by author).


Upward Sloping (Scale Diseconomies) (Rivalrous) Downward Sloping (Scale Economies) (Non-rivalrous)
Downward Sloping (Network Diseconomies) Market Utility
Demand Upward Sloping (Network Economies) City Hub
A - supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is increasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is decreasing
A – supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is increasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is decreasing
B - supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is decreasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is decreasing
B – supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is decreasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is decreasing
C - supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is increasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is increasing
C – supply intersects demand twice: when cost is decreasing and demand is increasing, and when cost is increasing and demand is increasing
D - supply does not intersect demand
D – supply does not intersect demand


Economics is far from silent on economies of scale, which are an especially important property in transportation economics. Thus we can draw U-shaped supply curves, falling on the left side of the curve, rising on the right.  With scale economies, the price per user falls with additional users because the cost structure is dominated by fixed costs rather than variable costs. (There are also economies of scope and economies of density, I will include those with this discussion here – densities refer to capacity utilization rather than size of the system, scope refers to the number of different goods or services provided). Any system with a large physical plant and relatively low unit costs falls into this category. A public utility, which are often termed natural monopolies, are like this, as because of their cost structure, once they enter a market, it is largely uncontestable in practice, since a new firm would have to duplicate the large physical plant. This is shown as the left-most equilibrium in Figures B. This is a type U good

While introductory economics assumed a downward sloping demand curve, we might have an apparently upward sloping demand curve. This would give us a parabolic-shaped demand curve, rising on the left, falling on the right.  In this case, demand seems to increase with price. One example of this is a prestige good. Faber College‘s education must be better, they charge $50,000 per year. Another example is where prices signal something else, our research on HOT lanes showed that people apparently use price as a signal for time savings. The major case that I will use is that of Network externalities – the more people on the network the more valuable it is, so while the curve is apparently upward sloping, really people are paying a premium for a good with more members. Transportation and communications networks have these properties, ranging from telephone systems (which are more valuable if more people have phones) to airlines (which are more valuable to me if they go to more places, which they do because there are more passengers).

Third  we have systems that have network externalities, but without the cost savings of economies of scale. In other words, the economies of scale that exist get fully exploited, and additional users drive up costs. Cities are an example, so we will call this a type C good. The value of a city increases with more citizens, but its costs increase as well due to scarcity of land. Cities will grow so long as the increasing benefits with number of users exceeds the increasing costs with number of users. That is not to say there are no economies of scale and density in cities, for their surely are, but those are part of a lumpy system. So for instance, does multi-story development exhibit economies or diseconomies? On the one hand, the developer only pays for land once, so a high rise achieves economies on land. However construction costs increase with distance from the ground. Perhaps more importantly, usable space decreases per floor with the height of the building because of elevator shafts. A building that can be served by a single elevator loses one elevator shaft of space per floor. Once the building requires a second elevator, every floor loses an additional shaft of space. For a 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 story building, this is non-trivial. The Empire State Building e.g has 73 elevators. This is the right equilibrium in Figure C.

Finally, if we have both economies of scale or density and network externalities, we have a system that can get very large. All of the world’s successful networks are examples: telephone, internet, social networks, the airline system and so on. In the long run, free market competition or even contestability is likely to be insufficient to enforce good behavior on the owners of such Hub networks, who are likely to charge more than is welfare maximizing in order to achieve high profitability. Hence regulation, or even public ownership, is often used. This is the left equilibrium in Figures A and C.  Call this a type H good.

There are of course many things which, with current technologies and preferences,  no-one is willing to pay enough, or the cost is too high, to profitably supply. Space travel is an obvious example. This is shown in Figure D.

It is arguable whether the left equilibria are stable, and the right equilibria  generally produce more social welfare. If we are at a right equilibrium, the benefits from the scale economies and network externalities may have been fully exhausted.


Minnesota Mobility (A scenario for 2020)

The following is excerpted from my 2013 report Enterprising Roads.

It is 2020 and a new road enterprise, Minnesota Mobility (M2), which was spun out of the old state Department of Transportation (MnDOT), has recently taken over the operations and maintenance of the state’s main roads. This new organization emerged from the local culture of Minnesota and has quickly become a popular institution, responsive to the needs of its citizens, who now see clear value for their transportation-related payments.

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

A. Revenue

M2 has the authority to raise revenues from road users via fees assessed at the fuel pump (for older vehicles), or by using special, in-vehicle equipment that charges according to mileage and axle weight (for newer ones). In both instances, fees are subject to regulatory approval by the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC).

In urban areas there is a peak period congestion surcharge on all roads. This has reduced congestion, but has not eliminated it. For those who require reliable transportation and guaranteed travel times, there is a complete network of MnPass managed lanes throughout the Twin Cities. These also contribute revenue to M2. All trucks pay a new weight-distance charge that varies by axle loadings and the route used. Automatic Vehicle Identification has improved considerably, dramatically reducing collection costs, and all in-state cars have an account with M2 for their vehicle license. For those that don’t drive in the peak period, don’t use MnPass, and don’t pay at the fuel pump, a monthly bill is issued. Out-of-state drivers are billed too, thanks to a cooperative agreement among all the state road enterprises, and the few remaining DOTs in states still using the old model.

In addition to conducting normal road operations, M2 exports services related to ramp meter control and snowplow technology, where it has expertise. This gives it an additional source of income. It manages traffic data collection and freeway management from a multi-state traffic management center in the suburb of Roseville, using the most advanced technology available. Neighboring state transportation organizations, as well as counties within the state of Minnesota, contract with M2 to manage their traffic using ramp meters. They find this less expensive and more effective than doing it themselves.

M2 clears snow from major local roads (under contract to counties and cities) and from freeways in adjoining states. They do this using advanced technologies such as largely autonomous snowplows, which through advanced GPS technologies can traverse and clear snow-covered roads despite the absence of visible road markings. With recent improvements in weather forecasting, M2 is able to pre-deploy snowplows along corridors likely to be hit hard and make better use of its expensive capital-intensive equipment.

B. Regulation

“The Minnesota Public Utility Commission’s mission is to create and maintain a regulatory environment that ensures safe, reliable and efficient utility services at fair and reasonable rates.”

The PUC has an important role. By regulating rates, it in effect determines the quality of service on the roads. M2’s natural instinct is to push for higher revenues and to produce a higher quality service, for instance by resurfacing roads more frequently, making lane markings more visible, or clearing snow-covered roads more quickly. The PUC’s job is to compare the rates and quality of output in Minnesota with other states and to determine whether its residents are getting value for money. M2’s board of directors plays an important oversight role, but its main responsibility is to the road enterprise and its shareholders. The PUC, by contrast, explicitly serves the interest of service users. While M2’s users and shareholders are similar groups, they are not necessarily identical.

C. Responsibilities

M2 provides a number of services related to infrastructure, traffic, seasonal operations and licensing. The major categories are listed below.

Infrastructure Services:

  • Pavement maintenance, repair and reconstruction;
  • Bridge maintenance, repair and reconstruction;
  • Sidewalk maintenance, repair and reconstruction.

Traffic Operations:

  • Traffic enforcement (police services);
  • Parking enforcement;
  • Traffic control (signs, signals and markings), including monitoring.

Seasonal Operations:

  • Snow removal;
  • Street sweeping.


  • Driver Licenses;
  • Vehicle Licenses;
  • Revenue collection.

D. Differences

Unlike MnDOT, but like some other state DOTs and the Australian road enterprises, M2 has the authority to license vehicles to use roads, and to license drivers. It has a special safety and security service that enforces its rules on road use. As a result, it also incorporates what used to be the Department of Driver and Vehicle Services and the Minnesota State Patrol (once part of the Department of Public Safety). M2 can also develop land adjacent to existing state roads, generating additional revenue by capitalizing on the accessibility benefits it creates. M2 has not yet done very much of this, but there is potential.

M2 differs from MnDOT in several other significant ways. For example, it is not responsible for the construction of new roads. This responsibility now lies with land developers, newly chartered turnpikes, and local governments. After construction, some of these new roads are turned over to M2 for operation, management, maintenance and reconstruction. However, many remain as private turnpikes or toll roads, integrated into the network through individually negotiated interoperability agreements, which enable M2 to handle billing.

While it does have a voice on state and local transportation planning, M2 is not responsible for this. It plans for its own future, and makes decisions about the capacity required on its existing roads, but for the most part broader strategic planning takes a back seat to management.

Like MnDOT, M2 is not responsible for the operation of transit services, which the state has separately contracted out through the use of Public Private Partnerships. Aid to local governments for roads and transit is distributed directly by the Department of Finance. However, such funding has been considerably reduced, leading to ongoing discussion about the role of local vs. state government in the management of roads and other transportation services.

E. Ownership

Minnesota Mobility was chartered to provide road services to the people of Minnesota, and as such, the citizens of Minnesota are, collectively, its owner. Its board of directors is composed of members nominated by the state governor and approved by the state legislature. They serve staggered terms, which helps prevent M2 being overly swayed by the political process and ensures a degree of continuity in management. There have been suggestions that M2’s board should be directly elected, but so far Minnesotans have been content to let their democratic representatives attend to personnel details. The board of directors selects a chief executive officer and has approval rights over the CEO’s other ‘C-level’ officials. The board sets the CEO’s salary through a compensation committee. It also approves M2’s annual budget, revenue requests and major expenditures. Unlike MnDOT, M2’s budget does not have to be approved by the legislature. Nor is the legislature responsible for the rates it charges.

F. Employees

The employees of M2 no longer work for the state of Minnesota, and therefore are not subject to the vagaries of state politics and the occasional state shutdown. Roads have become a public utility and they must be kept operating. When M2 was formed, MnDOT employees were allowed to apply for positions in the new organization, but they were not guaranteed jobs. About 10% did not apply (many choosing to retire) and about 15% were not rehired. The old unions did not carry over and, so far, employees have not chosen to form any new unions. The state absorbed the pension system of the old MnDOT, giving M2 a clean slate.

G. Reporting

Every year M2 publishes an annual report identifying revenue from users, from services and from other sources, as well as expenses. It also publishes an important time series of performance indicators demonstrating the quality of pavements, roads, lane markings, snow clearance, traffic congestion and so on. The organization has set goals for performance in each area, and budgets enough funding to achieve these goals. Nonetheless, every year, after it has invested funds and ensured sufficient capital for present operations and contingencies, M2 runs a small surplus. This comes in large part from the congestion surcharge, which earns money by charging more in the peak periods.

H. Dividends

Even after making deposits to a reserve fund, which helps smooth financial flows and ensures that long-term maintenance and reconstruction is properly financed, M2 is able to put part of its annual surplus toward paying a dividend to its owners—the people of Minnesota. M2 could probably run a larger surplus by raising user fees to “what the market will bear,” but that would be politically contentious and not in line with its public service mission (nor would it be approved by PUC, its regulator). As it is, there is no more chatter about how state roads are subsidized by taxes: the argument has moved on and everyone acknowledges that roads are paid for by their users (and then some). The annual road dividend warms the heart of local taxpayers, coming as it does every April 15.

I. Future

There has been talk of M2 fully taking over the road and highway departments of counties and cities in Minnesota. Doing so would relieve the local governments of a major expense that must be paid out of property tax revenues, as local governments are unable to assess gas taxes under current law. Furthermore, just as phone companies and electric utilities own both “the last mile” and “the linehaul,” there is now a debate about whether there should be vertical integration in roads. Some argue that the economies of scale this would allow, and the professional management and specialization it would entail, could reduce costs and improve quality significantly. There is even discussion of M2 merging with road enterprises in neighboring states in order to achieve additional economies, but these have not yet advanced very far. A few states have even begun to sell shares in their road enterprises on the stock market, in an effort to raise additional capital and introduce private-sector efficiencies. However, most states, Minnesota among them, have resisted investor-ownership so far.

Clearly, some legal changes were needed to implement a dynamic, politically independent system like this. But they were neither unimaginable nor unfamiliar, as aspects of this approach were already in place on some U.S. highways and turnpikes. Once some states started down the path toward road enterprises, others quickly followed.

Washington Avenue SE Revisited | streets.mn

Cross-posted from streets.mn:  Washington Avenue SE Revisited.

Washington Avenue SE Revisited

As test trains already run, an in-service Green Line will be puffing honking, whistling, zooming, gliding, buzzing down Washington Avenue through the University of Minnesota campus shortly. Already there are issues.

Green Line on Washington Avenue SE - The Crane is becoming the state bird

  1. Signs, signs, everywhere signs. The more signs and signals there are, the less each sign means.
  2. Violators – as seen in the second figure, Metro Transit Police should be able to make up the line’s operating deficit by ticketing violators.
  3. Bus bunching abounds on the road, though one hopes it reduces once the LRT starts operating and the 16 and 50 (and maybe the Campus Connector) stop running.
  4. Signal timing – which leads to pedestrians ignoring the signals. (see also Signal Priorities should Signal Priorities)
  5. Noise, bells and whistles and honking and pedestrian warnings, and so on have significantly altered the ambient sound quality of the route.
  6. The road has hardly even been open to traffic and already the paint is disappearing. Paint is of course cheap, but either we need to invest in it more frequently or do something somewhat more substantial.
  7. The crosswalks are particularly slippery in winter. I am told this is being remedied.

Violations abound of cars in the bike lane on Washington Ave. SE


I argued two years ago, when streets.mn was much smaller, that the car-free Transit Mall should be extended all the way from Walnut to University Avenue. It’s almost all six story walk-ups now, with nary a driveway needing to be accessed from Washington (and one assumes those will disappear shortly).

I suspect the violators problem will be reduced (though not eliminated) were Washington Avenue more clearly designated a transit/ped/bike mall for its entirety. Additional design features (but please no more signs) may help the road become more self-explaining to its users.


Modern Streetcar in Istanbul

The signals are just absurd, and along the lines of advocating drivers and pedestrians wear helmets. The road should be open to pedestrians except when there is a train or bus, and even with buses, this should be doable as a shared space with a minimum number of signals (ideally zero, but perhaps something for trains, though lots of trains operate in perfectly civilized and safe areas of the world with many fewer signals). The ideal solution in my mind is that the signals are default to pedestrian phase (Barnes Dance) except when there is an explicit call from cross-traffic, emergency, or transit vehicles, flipping the tradition beg button philosophy.

(Yes, I know, liability).

A twitter conversation about Uber

The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.
The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.

Gabe Klein said he was talking on Bloomberg about Uber. I tweeted him my article.

@trnsprttnst good piece. What do u think of Instagram vs kodak? Same issue, tech vs people + reach via internet and lower cust aquis. cost?

@gabe_klein Social networks mostly don’t stick around (Friendster, Myspace). We’ll see whether Twitter or FB will be around.

@gabe_klein Kodak lasted more than a century and earned great profits. It was undone not by Instagram but by digital cameras and smartphones

@gabe_klein Nothing stops taxis from (or anyone) from emulating Uber. E.g. Lyft. An app does not get you a monopoly position.

@gabe_klein Taxi industry is trying to fight back with TaxiMagic etc.

@trnsprttnst great points. I think Uber can be displaced for sure. People  said same things about Amazon though when just selling books.

@gabe_klein Amazon has an actual distribution system. (And cumulative profits to date are only $2B.  Uber doesn’t even own cars

@trnsprttnst platform to have multiple offerings can be very effective

@trnsprttnst true but that’s why making $ too.  I think @gett is going to be good competitor, and @lyft as well.

@gabe_klein @gett @lyft It’s great people are interested, and it should of course be made legal (& safety regulated) but $10B is a lot of $.

Is Uber worth $10 B?

The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.
The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.

So Bloomberg reports that Uber, a so-called Transportation Network Company is worth $10 B. Clearly I am in the wrong business.

This implies that the net present value of all future revenue from Uber minus the costs of that revenue will amount to $10B (assuming they invest the money they raise).

Nationally there are under 250,000 taxi cab drivers who earning a salary of $23,000 apiece, giving a total labor cost of $5.7 B. New York City has about  20% of US taxi cabs and NYC alone serves 241 million annual passengers. Let’s assume 1 billion taxi passengers per year nationally in the US, and $15 revenue per trip. So if Uber captures 100% of the  market, there will be $15 B in revenue per year. But that is before labor costs, which are $5.7 B, leaving $9.3B per year. (I am assuming no international profits, since urban surface transportation is highly localized, and why would any other country let a US company dominate?)

If Uber’s gets  100% of this market keeping 10% of remaining revenue for profit margin, they are plausibly worth $10B. This leaves the remaining 90% of that $9.3B to pay for the costs of fuel, maintaining the vehicle, owning the vehicle, and operating a back end app.

Currently Uber has 900 employees. I assume most of them are in the field.

Let’s just say there is a lot of “hope” and “if” in this valuation.

The Financial Times lists companies by Market Value (March 2013). The smallest company with over $10B is Chipotle. Chipotle uses 37000 employees to be worth $10B. $10B is more than Southwest Airlines, an actually profitable airline, was worth. It is about the same size as United Continental.

We have other comparisons – Mastercard is worth $63B. Which would you rather own 1/6 of Mastercard or all of Uber? UPS was worth $62B with 400,000 employees. Do you think Uber with less than 1000 employees will be more valuable than 1.6 of  UPS? FedEx was worth $31B with 278,000 employees.

Is this a bad investment for the current investors? That depends. Are there greater fools, or are they at the bottom of this pyramid?

The End of Car Culture? Socio-Demographic Trends and Travel Demand

CTS 25th Annual Transportation Research Conference

May 21–22, 2014


Saint Paul RiverCentre
175 West Kellogg Boulevard
Saint Paul, MN 55102




Download the conference brochure (5.2 MB PDF)

Conference web page


Opening Session: The End of Car Culture? Socio-Demographic Trends and Travel Demand

Wednesday, May 21, 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

In the next 30 to 40 years, the transportation industry will face many new and emerging trends that will dramatically reshape priorities and needs. To help practitioners face these changes and effectively shape the future, a National Cooperative Highway Research Program study is investigating these trends and their implications for the transportation system.

One trend—changing socio-demographic factors—is expected to considerably affect travel demand. Although America has long been one of the world’s prime car cultures, that status might be shifting because of new population and demographic trends. The graying and browning of America, slow household growth, and a hyperlinked younger generation are all playing a role.

Image of John NjordIn the opening session, John Njord, former CEO of the Utah Department of Transportation and now with Tom Warne and Associates, will discuss key socio-demographic trends, their potential impacts on future travel demand, and their implications for state DOTs and MPOs. He will also provide an overview of a customizable tool that can help planners and policymakers explore the interaction of demographic trends and travel demand in their regions.

Following Njord’s presentation, a panel of experts will share their perspectives on these socio-demographic trends and their implications for transportation professionals.


I am one of the featured “panel of experts” who will share perspectives.

Flashing red at Franklin Avenue/East River Road/27th

My favorite five-way intersection that should be a roundabout was on flashing red yesterday, and I concluded that was a time for me to monitor this natural experiment. At 4:30 on May 12 I video of the intersection for 4 minutes. I counted 100 cars and 11 pedestrians and bikes in just over 4 minutes. Simply multiplying 111*15 gives a capacity of 1665 units per hour. This is somewhat off my estimates from a signalized intersection. On the other hand, delays were rather short, and while there were short queues at some of the approaches (which helps ensure the intersection is fully utilized), they were not getting longer over time.

The video is below:

A map of the location.

Previous videos can be found here (4-way stop) and here (signalized).

Introduction to Transportation Engineering – Shockwave Formation and Dissipation