Sydney’s roads carry a heavy toll

I was interviewed Tuesday on local radio station 2SER: Sydney’s roads carry a heavy toll.

Sydney currently has 9 toll roads with an additional 5 to come by 2023. This means that Sydney has the most toll roads by kilometre than any other urban area in the world. The goal here is obviously to make getting around Sydney easier, faster and less congested. However, with 15 toll points between the 9 roads, costs quickly add up for your average Sydney-sider, leaving many to wonder if the convenience is even worth the cost.

We were joined by David Levinson, Professor of Transport Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney to discuss the repercussions of these new tolls.

Audio link at 2SER.

Get from Melbourne to Sydney overland in one hour? Hyperloop pipedreamers to pitch to senate

Liam Mannix at The Melbourne Age reports: Get from Melbourne to Sydney overland in one hour? Hyperloop pipedreamers to pitch to senate.

My quote:

So… Does it work?

“No – I want to be very clear on that. They’ve never moved a single person a single metre on a hyperloop,” says University of Sydney transport expert Professor David Levinson.

He compared HyperloopTT’s plans to the Wright brothers trying to convince governments across the world to build airports – before they had invented a plane.

An artist's impression of what a hyperloop station could look like.
An artist’s impression of what a hyperloop station could look like. CREDIT:HYPERLOOP TRANSPORTATION TECHNOLOGIES

Transport Findings launches

We are pleased to announce the launch of Transport Findings, a new, independent, community-led, peer-reviewed, open-access journal focused on short, clear, and pointed research results. We welcome submissions.

Transport Findings

The launch includes the following articles:

 


You can follow the release of new articles on Twitter and RSS feeds, or check back in on the website from time-to-time

On Debt Repudiation

The US Debt, a national blessing in the words of Alexander Hamilton, continues to rise in size despite an economy as strong as its going to get. Over recent decades it has risen as a share of gross domestic product.US-Debt-GDP-Ratio

 

 

We can discuss causes: decline in revenue due to recession and tax cuts; increased spending due to interest on the debt (which is a positive feedback system), economic stimulus during recessions, and defense spending. While it is not at the World War II record high, it’s higher than its been in the post-war period. While interest rates have been low for the past few decades (especially the last decade), there is no guarantee this will continue. And when interest rates rise, the debt will be more and more difficult to repay.

Who owns the debt? The $21T debt ($65,000 per capita) is owned both by Americans and by foreigners. About 28% of the debt is owed to the government itself (think about the Social Security Trust Fund). Of the remainder ($14.8T) half is owned by foreigners. China owns a bit over $1T. That’s a lot of money of course. The interest on that at 2% per year is $20B/year (you can do the math at different interest rates). So far, that’s hardly enough to break the economy over, though you can easily imagine an unwise President doing so.

In olden days, a superpower could send troops into a foreign country to seize assets when debts were unpaid, such as the US invasion of The Dominican Republic in the early 20th century.  Instead today it is the most powerful that is becoming increasingly financially strapped.

An historic example is England’s King Edward I whose populace was in debt to Jewish money-lenders (since Jews were not bound by Catholic prohibitions on usury but were prohibited from other activities), choose to issue the Edict of Expulsion in 1290. Only after the Monarchy was deposed by Oliver Cromwell were Jews readmitted to England in 1657.

Imagine it’s 2030 and there is a financial crisis of some form. Interest rates rise because confidence in repayment collapses. The economy locks up. The US is no longer the world’s most trustworthy economy. However, the US still has the strongest military. The US can choose to issue still more debt at ever higher interest rates, or it can turn the table over and no longer play the game. What might a populist President and Congress do?

So instead of the debt-holders being compensated, they are repudiated. The US stops paying interest on all bonds, or selected bonds, or bonds held by selected parties (non US nationals, Chinese) under some trumped up excuse.

Obviously the US can no longer borrow internationally in these circumstances, or even domestically, not for many decades until financiers forgive and forget. But if the interest on the debt is sufficient, this may be a trade-off worth making. Should the US continue to pay, say, $100B annually to its lenders, and borrow more, and get deeper in debt, or just keep the $100B and live within its means going forward.

The US in 2030 is not likely to be the Dominican Republic of 1916, foreign powers cannot simply invade to collect their debt. At best they can declare a trade war and impose tariffs.

I obviously don’t know if something like this plays out, but I do know the market is undervaluing the possibility.

Transportist: February 2019

Welcome to the February 2019 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the  blog or on Twitter.

I spent much of the last month in the Northern Hemisphere, visiting the relos in California, Arizona, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, as well as attending the Transportation Research Board conference and seeing many old friends and colleagues. We presented a bunch of papers. Let me know if you want copies.

TransportLab

  • We are pleased to launch TransportLab, a new interdisciplinary research group at the University of Sydney, aimed at finding solutions to transport problems, independent of domain.Members of the group come from the Faculties of Architecture, Design, and Planning (Somwrita Sarkar and Jennifer Kent) and Engineering (David Levinson, Mohsen Ramezani, Emily Moylan, and Mengying Cui). Our research themes are: AccessConnectControlDesignRelySustain.Current question we are researching include:
  • System Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Transport and Land Use Interactions
  • Transport System Performance Measures
  • Traffic Operations and Control
  • Network and Spatial Inequalities

Let us know if you want to collaborate on or sponsor research.

Follow us on Twitter @TransLab_Sydney. Subscribe to our Newsletter. Visit the website.

Conferences

WalkSydney

Jobs

Posts at the Blog

News

Macromobility:

Transit and Microtransit

Automated, Autonomous, Driverless, and Self-Driving Vehicles, and Semi-Autonomous Systems 

Human-Driven Vehicles, Signs, Signals, Sensors, and Markings, and Roads

Mesomobility:

Shared Vehicles/Ride-sharing/Ride-hailing/Taxis/Car Sharing

Micromobility:

Human-Powered Vehicles/Bikes/Pedestrians/Scooters/eBikes/Last-Mile/First-Mile/Last-Meter/First-Meter/etc.

Electrification

Kerbs and Curbs

Land Use

Intercity Trains

Aviation and Space

Infrastructure

Equity and Justice

Funding and Finance and Governance

Climate

History

Behavior

Fantasy

Media

Professoring

Publishing

Research & Data

Papers by Us

  • Huang, Jie, David Levinson, Jiaoe Wang, Haitao Jin (2019) Job-worker spatial dynamics in Beijing: Insights from Smart Card Data. Cities 86 89-93 [doi]

Papers by Others

Books

TransportLab

TransportLab.Sydney
TransportLab.Sydney

We are pleased to launch TransportLab, a new interdisciplinary research group at the University of Sydney, aimed at finding solutions to transport problems, independent of domain.

Members of the group come from the Faculties of Architecture, Design, and Planning (Somwrita Sarkar and Jennifer Kent) and Engineering (David Levinson, Mohsen Ramezani, Emily Moylan, and Mengying Cui). Our research themes are: Access, Connect, Control, Design, Rely, Sustain.

Current question we are researching include:

  • System Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Transport and Land Use Interactions
  • Transport System Performance Measures
  • Traffic Operations and Control
  • Network and Spatial Inequalities

Let us know if you want to collaborate on or sponsor research.

Follow us on Twitter @TransLab_Sydney. Subscribe to our Newsletter. Visit the website.

TransportCamp Sydney 2019

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TransportLab at the University of Sydney is pleased to sponsor TransportCamp Sydney.
The TransportCamp Sydney ‘unconference’ will bring together transport professionals, researchers and technologists interested in how transport and technology can help improve mobility in urban environments. TransportCamp is a global phenomenon – This event is the inaugural TransportCamp Sydney event.

Recent advances in technology—mobile apps, open source software, open data and spatial analysis—present an opportunity to improve mobility more immediately and at a lower cost than has ever been possible in the past.

TransportCamp raises awareness of this opportunity and builds connections and knowledge between the often siloed innovators in public administration, transport operations, urban planning and entrepreneurship.

It is the only event where the attendees set the agenda and collaborate to determine what are the key topics they want to hear about and discuss.

Get all the latest updates via @TransportCampAU

Thank you to all of our fantastic sponsors including GTA Consultants and Meld Studios.

What is an ‘unconference’?

This event is being run as an ‘unconference’, where the sessions topics and activities are programmed by the attendees. Yep! Attendees set the day’s agenda and run the sessions themselves. Visit our What is TransportCamp? web page to find out how it all works. See below for the event schedule.

On Friday 22 February 2019 at 8:30am

Event schedule

8.30am – 9am: Arrive and Register

9am: Introductions – ALL (yes, everyone will introduce themselves)

9.30am: Agenda setting!

10.15am – 12.25pm: Unconference sessions (40mins each)

12.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm – 3.45pm: Unconference sessions

3.45pm: Closing statements

4.30pm: Post event drinks

LOCATION

Abercrombie Building, The University of Sydney
Darlington Ln & Abercrombie St, Darlington, NSW 2008

REGISTRATION

Go Here.

Transport Newsletters: An Incomplete List

A list of Transport Newsletters,iu

As you all know, among the many things I do, I publish the monthly Transportist Newsletter. This is not my first foray into newslettering. Back in the days of the US Mail and desktop pubishing, I maintained a quizbowl newsletter for a couple of years.

I get a few newsletters in my inbox that are of interest, and no employed person could possibly read them all, and there is no complete list (nor is this), but here is a go. Thanks to my Twitter followers for filling in. I do NOT subscribe to all of them. I currently subscribe to the ones in green

Independent

Think Tanks

News Verticals

Urban Blogs w/Newsletters
Government

Corporate

Societies

Public Sector

University Transport Centers

Advocacy Groups

Industry Verticals
Freight and Logistics and Supply Chain

Shipping

Rails

Infrastructure

Regional Business

Podcasts

Also of interest, a list of Transport Podcasts collected by Reinventing Transport.

Others

 

Job-worker spatial dynamics in Beijing: Insights from Smart Card Data

Recently published:

Highlights

Beijing Metro
Beijing Metro
  • We evaluated the ratio of jobs to workers from Smart Card Data at the transit station level in Beijing.
  • A year-to-year evolutionary analysis of job to worker ratios was conducted at the transit station level.
  • We classify general cases of steepening and flattening job-worker dynamics.
  • The paper finds that only temporary balance appears around a few stations in Beijing.
  • Job-worker ratios tend to be steepening rather than flattening from 2011 to 2015.

Abstract
As a megacity, Beijing has experienced traffic congestion, unaffordable housing issues and jobs-housing imbalance. Recent decades have seen policies and projects aiming at decentralizing urban structure and job-worker patterns, such as subway network expansion, the suburbanization of housing and firms. But it is unclear whether these changes produced a more balanced spatial configuration of jobs and workers. To answer this question, this paper evaluated the ratio of jobs to workers from Smart Card Data at the transit station level and offered a longitudinal study for regular transit commuters. The method identifies the most preferred station around each commuter’s workpalce and home location from individual smart datasets according to their travel regularity, then the amounts of jobs and workers around each station are estimated. A year-to-year evolution of job to worker ratios at the station level is conducted. We classify general cases of steepening and flattening job-worker dynamics, and they can be used in the study of other cities. The paper finds that (1) only temporary balance appears around a few stations; (2) job-worker ratios tend to be steepening rather than flattening, influencing commute patterns; (3) the polycentric configuration of Beijing can be seen from the spatial pattern of job centers identified.