The Transportationist’s most popular posts of 2014

The Transportationist 13 Most Popular Posts written in 2014 (note some 2013 posts were still popular):

  1. WE DON’T PAY ENOUGH FOR TRANSPORTATION August
  2. HIGHWAYS’ HIDDEN SUBSIDIES November
  3. ACCESS ACROSS AMERICA: TRANSIT 2014 October
  4. DEATH BY CAR: ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO DIE FROM A CRASH OR BREATHING ITS TOXIC EMISSIONS? November
  5. DOGFOODING: WHY TRANSIT EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS SHOULD USE TRANSIT August
  6. IT’S “ONLY” 5 MINUTES, OR GREEN LINE DELAY MONETIZED July
  7. EXTRAPOLATIONS IN TRAFFIC VS. REALITY December
  8. WHEN WILL WE REACH PEAK ROAD? January
  9. IT’S A SMALL MARKET, AFTER ALL. ES GIBT EINEN KLEINEN MARKT, UBER ALLES. December
  10. ALWAYS GREEN TRAFFIC CONTROL April
  11. THE hITE OF ABSURDITY: MINIMUM PARKING IN AN ERA OF DECLINING TRAFFIC January
  12. MOUNT TRANSIT, MOUNT AUTO, MOUNT NEXT February
  13. PEAK SHOPPING AND THE DECLINE OF TRADITIONAL RETAIL February

There is really two types of posts that seemed to be especially popular. One I will call “car subsidized” (1, 2, 4), the other “car over/future of transportation” (6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13). The car is of course neither all bad nor all good, it is a technology and is used and misused all the time, like anything. The car is not quite over yet either, but its trajectory in the US has mostly flatlined. Also some “transit should be better” (3, 5, 6, 10)

This is out of about 300 posts . Of course you should not just be a dedicated follower of fashion and read the top 13, you should read them all.

David King also started posting in the Fall, so I expect to see his posts in this list next year.

The Transportationist’s most popular posts of 2013 may also be of interest. (I did 39 on last year list, so I am 67% more discerning this year). Note, my biggest posts last year were much bigger than my biggest posts in 2013.

Streets.mn also has a list of popular posts; all my posts for streets.mn are cross-listed here, but tend to get views over there.

The next big things for Minnesota in 2015 – Strib

Jesse Van Berkel writes in the Strib on transport in: The next big things for Minnesota in 2015

More idle cars

With new bike lanes, rapid busways and expanding light-rail lines, commuters in the Twin Cities have more options than ever.

Transit officials predict growing popularity of the Green Line, which connects downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. In November, on average, 33,222 people rode the light rail line every day — 10,820 more than the Metropolitan Council had anticipated.

The number of trips and miles people travel in their vehicles has dropped steadily over the past decade, said Met Council planning analyst Jonathan Ehrlich. He anticipates that trend will continue as cycling, walking and other modes of transportation become more popular.

But low gas prices could mean slightly more road congestion, said David Levinson, a University of Minnesota professor who studies transportation.

Gas expenditures in 2015 are expected to be the lowest they have been in more than a decade, with the average household spending $550 less than in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Under $2 a gallon again is pretty significant. That could increase the amount of travel people are willing to do,” Levinson said.

Jessie Van Berkel

I agree on the long term trend with Jonathan, but gas prices have collapsed, and as long as that holds (I will not forecast energy prices, which is a fools errand, except to say the best expectation for next year’s prices is current prices). at the margins people with cars should be willing to use them a bit more, especially for longer trips, and the additional dollars in the pocket should at the margin increase non-work trips like shopping, and thus low energy prices will boost the economy (except for energy producers) which should at the margin increase employment and work trips. So like any good forecaster, I will say the results are contingent on the assumptions.

Peak travel is not over (demographics are more set than anything else, and technological substitutions proceed apace), but mountain ranges are bumpy.

Siege, Surge, and Compression

People don’t like Uber’s surge pricing. The case during the recent Sydney siege was especially controversial. Even though it is just an operationalization of market supply and demand (too much demand, too little supply, raise prices), it has problems.

First, it does not appear to have a mirror. When supply is too large, do prices drop significantly below the base? I think what happens is the drivers queue up (virtually).

Second, it seems to come as a surprise. People say “I started off the evening at regular fares, and end up later that evening with only surge prices available”, this seems unfair.

Other ways to deal with shortages include queueing, which is common on roads during peak hours, since we don’t generally price our roads.

There is a third way though. Compression. We can get more people into cars than we typically do. True shared rides, with multiple parties going to multiple destinations  could be the norm at peak times. This is similar to UberPool and LyftLine. This would split some of the difference between higher fares (more fares should lead to more revenue for drivers) and rationing (more destinations should equal more travel time, for at least one party, if not both, or more). There are of course limits to this, but the typical Uber vehicle holds 5 persons (4 passengers) with some compression of passengers in the back seat. While some parties already have 4 people, many are single or two passengers.

Everyone’s favorite Transportation Network Companies might consider this as an alternative to the surge default.

Access Across America: Transit 2014 Data

Access Across America: Transit 2014 Data is now available for download at the University of Minnesota Library Digital Conservancy.
Abstract

This data was created as part of a study that examined the accessibility to jobs by transit in 46 of the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas in the United States. It is the most detailed evaluation to date of access to jobs by transit, and it allows for a direct comparison of the transit accessibility performance of America’s largest metropolitan areas.
Related Publications

Andrew Owen, David M Levinson. Access Across America: Transit 2014. (2014). Center for Transportation Studies Research Report. September 2014. Report no. CTS 14-11.
http://hdl.handle.net/11299/168102
Suggested Citation

Owen, Andrew; Levinson, David, M.(2014). Access Across America: Transit 2014 Data [dataset]. Retrieved from the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota, http://dx.doi.org/10.13020/D6MW2Q.

New National Accessibility Evaluation pooled-fund study solicitation is live

Accessibility Observatory banner

New National Accessibility Evaluation pooled-fund study solicitation is live 

This new pooled-fund project, led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, will implement a measurement of accessibility to jobs across the entire United States. For every Census block, it will calculate the number of jobs that can be reached, by driving or by transit, within various travel time thresholds. Each pooled-fund partner will have direct digital access to these detailed accessibility datasets. In addition, an annual report will summarize the accessibility dataset for metropolitan areas across the country.

Accessibility combines the simpler concept of mobility with an understanding that travel is driven by a desire to reach destinations. Accessibility metrics combine network travel times with the locations and value of the many origins and destinations served by a multimodal transportation system. Accessibility evaluation has applications in a variety of areas, including performance management, scenario evaluation and analysis, transportation and land use research, and transportation equity.

To join the study, view the Transportation Pooled Fund Program solicitation. For more information, visit the pooled-fund study web page.

Main Street – Glencoe, Minnesota

Welcome to Glencoe: Small City - Big Future
Welcome to Glencoe: Small City – Big Future

In my family’s quest to visit the county seats of Minnesota, on a Sunday morning in early November we went on a trip to Glencoe, Gaylord, Le Sueur (not a county seat), and Saint Peter. We had never been to Glencoe before, and in all honesty, would find it unlikely to be there again, as our travels generally do not take us that far in that direction.

Glencoe, just past Norwood-Young America and thus 60 minutes Southwest of Minneapolis, is the seat of McLeod County, and is home to over 5600 people. While still mostly white, the Hispanic population is about 15%. It is most famous to the rest of the world as the site of a Louis Malle documentary “God’s Country“.

The Enterprise, in Glencoe
The Enterprise, in Glencoe

As with many such towns, there is a Courthouse, a Grain Elevator, churches, a school, a small set of local shops on a Main Street (the main corner I judge to be Hennepin and 11th), including a local cafe (Gert and Erma’s), a Hardware Hank, a bank, a post office, a former bank converted to something else, a local newspaper. There are also specialty stores not found in every county seat, e.g. Therapeutic Attainment Options, offering massage and bodywork, and a local watch store – which Central Place Theory says “should” be in higher order towns. Off the historic main street, but on the road connected to the highway, are the farm implement stores.

Glencoe Independent Grain Elevator
Glencoe Independent Grain Elevator

Glencoe is off of Highway 212 in an awkward way. [Map] A rebuilt Highway 212 is south of the old gridded town. Some newer suburbs have emerged just south of 212, enabled by the faster accessibility the divided highway brings.

Glencoe Mexican Market - La Michoacana
Glencoe Mexican Market – La Michoacana

A full set of photos are available on Flickr

Cross-posted on streets.mn.

Driverless Cars on KFAI

I talk about Driverless cars on the KFAI Morning Blend (2014-12-18). The link is here. My interview starts at 1:31:30.

Bus Love

buslove

Inspired by a hand-written final exam.

Journal of Transport and Land Use: Vol 7, No 3 (2014)

Journal of Transport and Land Use: Vol 7, No 3 (2014)

Table of Contents

Residential self-selection in the relationships between the built environment and travel behavior: Introduction to the special issue PDF
Jason Cao 1-3
Residential self-selection, built environment, and travel behavior in the Chinese context PDF
Donggen Wang, Tao Lin 5-14
Residential self-selection in travel behavior: Towards an integration into mobility biographies PDF
Joachim Scheiner 15-28
Revisiting residential self-selection issues: A life-oriented approach PDF
Junyi Zhang 29-45
Estimating the effect of land use and transportation planning on travel patterns: Three problems in controlling for residential self-selection PDF
Daniel G. Chatman 47-56
Tempest in a teapot: The exaggerated problem of transport-related residential self-selection as a source of error in empirical studies PDF
Petter Naess 57-79
Reaction to the paper Tempest in a Teapot: The exaggerated problem of transport-related residential self-selection as a source of error in empirical studies PDF
Bert van Wee, Marlon Boarnet 81-86
Response to Van Wee and Boarnet PDF
Petter Naess 87-92
Satisfaction with travel and residential self-selection: How do preferences moderate the impact of the Hiawatha Light Rail Transit line? PDF
Jason Cao, Dick Ettema 93-108