A Political Economy of Access

Now available: A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King, in paper and PDF.

About the Book

Why should you read another book about transport and land use? This book differs in that we won’t focus on empirical arguments – we present political arguments. We argue the political aspects of transport policy shouldn’t be assumed away or treated as a nuisance. Political choices are the core reasons our cities look and function the way they do. There is no original sin that we can undo that will lead to utopian visions of urban life.

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

The book begins by introducing and expanding on the idea of Accessibility. Then we proceed through several major parts: Infrastructure Preservation, Network Expansion, Cities, and Institutions. Infrastructure preservation concerns the relatively short-run issues of how to maintain and operate the existing surface transport system (roads and transit). Network expansion in contrast is a long-run problem, how to enlarge the network, or rather, why enlarging the network is now so difficult. Cities examines how we organize, regulate, and expand our cities to address the failures of transport policy, and falls into the time-frame of the very long-run, as property rights and land uses are often stickier than the concrete of the network is durable. In the part on Institutions we consider things that might at first blush appear to be short-run and malleable, are in fact very long-run. Institutions seem to outlast the infrastructure they manage.

Many of the transport and land use problems we want to solve already have technical solutions. What these problems don’t have, and what we hope to contribute, are political solutions. We expect the audience for this book to be practitioners, planners, engineers, advocates, urbanists, students of transport, and fellow academics.


Table of Contents

Preface

Accessibility

  • 1.1  The duty of the sovereign
  • 1.2  Access as efficiency
  • 1.3  Access as equity
  • 1.4  Why A Political Economy of Access?

I Infrastructure Preservation

2 Hierarchy of Needs

  • 2.1  The nature of need
  • 2.2  The state of infrastructure
  • 2.3  Infrastructure triage
  • 2.4  Report cards
  • 2.5  Infrastructure heal thyself

3 Road Revenues

  • 3.1  From Snicker’s Gap to funding gap
  • 3.2  How the gas tax may fail
  • 3.3  Fix-it-first

4 Subsidy

  • 4.1  Car subsidies
  • 4.2  Bicycle subsidies
  • 4.3  Transit subsidies
  • 4.4  Subsidize users not systems
  • 4.5  Refactoring subsidies

5 The Solution to Congestion

  • 5.1 Welcome to the club
  • 5.2  Supply-side solutions
  • 5.3  Demand-side solutions

6 Pricing

  • 6.1  Temporal variations
  • 6.2  Spatial variations
  • 6.3  You can toll some of the roads some of the time
  • 6.4  You can toll some of the cars some of the time: Phasing in road pricing one vehicle at a time
  • 6.5  Billing systems
  • 6.6  Road service providers
  • 6.7  What about the revenues?
  • 6.8  Planning with prices
  • 6.9  Congestion is over! If you want it

7 Externalities

  • 7.1  Pecuniary and technical externalities
  • 7.2  Negative externalities
  • 7.3  Positive externalities
  • 7.4  Are reductions of negative externalities positive externalities?
  • 7.5  Pollution ethics
  • 7.6  The art of noise
  • 7.7  Safety vs. speed

8 The Solution to Pollution and Greenhouse Gases

  • 8.1  Global warming
  • 8.2  Supply-side solutions
  • 8.3  Demand-side solutions
  • 8.4  Pollution trust funds
  • 8.5  Domain alignment

II Network Expansion

9 Hierarchy of Wants

  • 9.1 Transport costs too much
  • 9.2 Transport benefits too little
  • 9.3 Transport takes too long to build
  • 9.4 Benefit/cost analysis
  • 9.5 Big infrastructure

10 Macroeconomics: Is Transport Stimulating?

11 The Magic of Streetcars, the Logic of Buses

  • 11.1 Ride quality
  • 11.2 Speed
  • 11.3 Operating costs
  • 11.4 Navigability
  • 11.5 Payment and boarding times
  • 11.6 Nostalgia
  • 11.7 Novelty
  • 11.8 Conspiracy
  • 11.9 Amenity
  • 11.10 Sexuality
  • 11.11 Respect
  • 11.12 Status
  • 11.13 Pedestrian accelerator
  • 11.14 Traffic calming
  • 11.15 Superstructure
  • 11.16 Feedback
  • 11.17 Congestion reduction
  • 11.18 Transportainment
  • 11.19 Permanence and directness
  • 11.20 Development-oriented transit
  • 11.21 Discussion

III Cities

12 Clustering

  • 12.1 Multi-sided markets
  • 12.2 Clustering and economic development
  • 12.3 Constraints drive growth
  • 12.4 Simpli-City
  • 12.5 Beyond density
  • 12.6 Competing centers

13 Zoning

  • 13.1 Zoning tries to solve the externalities problem
  • 13.2 Height limits
  • 13.3 Should the Bay Area have 11 million residents?

14 Fielding Dreams

  • 14.1 Defining induced demand
  • 14.2 Induced demand can be a good thing
  • 14.3 Forgetting faster than we learn

15 Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

  • 15.1 Mapping high-speed rail
  • 15.2 A national high-speed rail network
  • 15.3 Nationalize the rails
  • 15.4 Supercities

16 Value Capture and the Virtuous Cycle

  • 16.1  Infrastructure create saccess
  • 16.2  Access creates value
  • 16.3  Value can be captured
  • 16.4  Captured value can fund infrastructure
  • 16.5  Policy implications

IV Institutions

17 Devolve Responsibility

  • 17.1  Subsidiarity
  • 17.2  Ending the federal surface-transport program .
  • 17.3  Transport finance without the feds: The Canadian model
  • 17.4  Transit federalism
  • 17.5  Whose values?
  • 17.6  ‘Dogfooding’: Ensure managers use the system
  • 17.7  Should voters have full information when voting on transport projects?
  • 17.8  Coordinate local transport and land use policies
  • 17.9  Department of Accessibility
  • 17.10  Metropolitan Department for Transport
  • 17.11  The lump of government mistake

18 Private | Public

  • 18.1  Ownership and network size
  • 18.2  Public-private partnerships
  • 18.3  Tender routes
  • 18.4  Thought experiment: Auctioning green time
  • 18.5  Asset recycling

19 Utility Models for Transit and Roads

  • 19.1  What is a Utility?
  • 19.2  TransLink: organizing transport like a utility
  • 19.3  Transit should focus on core markets
  • 19.4  Think of transit like a club
  • 19.5  Enterprising roads
  • 19.6  Minnesota Mobility: A scenario
  • 19.7  Takeaways

20 Politics and Politicians

  • 20.1 Political parties, three axes, and public transport
  • 20.2  Trust as a positive externality
  • 20.3  Lying as a vicious cycle
  • 20.4  It’s a success
  • 20.5  Mischief in Minnesota
  • 20.6  Taking credit
  • 20.7  Expertise
  • 20.8  Frontiers or values as instruments

21  Transport Poverty

22  Pretexts of Safety and Justice

  • 22.1  Safe Streets for All
  • 22.2  Racial Bias in Traffic Enforcement
  • 22.3  US police interactions are needlessly violent
  • 22.4  Why is traffic safety used as a pretext?
  • 22.5  Not in our name

V Conclusions

23 Jam Today, Access Tomorrow, or Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Appendices

A Goods Framework

  • A.1 Rivalry and excludability
  • A.2 Goods and roads
  • A.3 Goods and transit
  • A.4 Anti-rivalry and anti-excludability

B Network Economies, Supply and Demand

C The Price of Privacy

D Governance and Performance

  • D.1 Introduction
  • D.2 Governance
  • D.3 Performance of state highway systems
  • D.4 Analysis
  • D.5 Conclusions

E Long Range Funding Solutions

Postscript: Homo Gridicus

Bibliography


Features

  • 470 pages.
  • Color Images.
  • ISBN: 9780368349034 (Blurb)
  • ISBN-10: 0368351599 (Amazon)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0368351594 (Amazon)
  • Publisher: Network Design Lab

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