Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Fluff mia

Fluff mia, mi gato,

cuando tu miau, quieres decir que tienes problemas?

Tienes muchos problemas?

Son problemas grandes y eterna?

Son profundos y trĂ¡gicos?

Son horribles, dolororos, y muy grandes?

De verdad tienes problemas muy grandes, eterna, profundos, doloroses y trĂ¡gicos?


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How to get transit to 10%, 20%, then 30% market share

Our metro region essentially does not do long range transportation planning. We react to conditions, we allocate funds, and do studies, but we don’t plan in the sense of thinking through alternatives and crafting a plan whose parts work together towards some greater effect. Highways, transit, land uses, water, and schools are all planned separately. Fundamental questions, like what is the optimal highway network for the next few decades, are never asked and never answered. Yes, we do detailed traffic models and we can predict with some accuracy that we will have worsening traffic conditions, but we fail to take the results of those predictions to heart and design the system differently to improve conditions. People are dying every year in accidents and families are shattered, and we know that how we plan the future has the potential to save lives, yet we don’t follow through and find the future scenario that saves the most lives. Our failed politics is literally killing us. We define highway expansion in terms of “need” for capacity, which is circular logic because it is precisely the way we design our auto-dependent future that creates the “need”. Transit plods along serving 1% of regional trips, with no long term vision for improving that dismal performance record. The most “visionary” idea in the last few years is to add 8-mph streetcar service to Central Ave, a project that will have no effect on system wide ridership due to its insignificant speed. We should be discussing high speed backbone services that will attract major ridership gains, but that discussion is not on the table. The fact that a few 100+ M$ interchanges might not be needed if we had higher transit ridership in not on the table either, because remember: the people who plan highway interchanges don’t work with the people who plan transit. The fact that zoning and other details that shape developments have major impacts on transportation demand is well known, but again those things are not planned together. Read the rest of this entry »

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Comments to RITA on structuring ITS goals to ensure transformational change

Abstract: It’s one thing to say we want transformational change, and quite another thing to structure a program to ensure that it happens. The built-in incentive for all players in government sponsored research is to string out the research money and keep the organizations afloat, without ever “finishing”, and this dynamic can put a cap on any real change that affects the stated goals. ITS has been around a long time, and despite all the important research that has been done, Americans still drive ever longer distances and are stuck in worsening traffic conditions, and the gains made in environmental, economic and safety fronts are marginal. The current proposed statement of goals and objectives would allow a research program to be devised that fulfills them to the letter, but does not represent any real change in the economy, the environment, or everyday life of Americans on any significant scale.

These comments are aimed at the structure of goals, objectives, and funding, to request that they be set up a little differently, to ensure that the ITS program is effective.

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