Category Archives: Cars

Quick Note: Are Freeways Safer?

Freeways are, in principle, much safer than roads with at-grade crossings. With postwar design standards, they eliminate the frictions that are responsible to a vast majority of accidents: grade crossings, left turns, opposite traffic (since they have medians by design), … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Transportation | 69 Comments

The Urban Geography of Park-and-Rides

The urban geography of transit cities and of car cities is relatively well-understood. In a transit city, there will be a strong CBD surrounded by residences with spiky secondary centers, all quite small geographically but dense, centered around train stations … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, New York, Regional Rail, Transportation, Urbanism | 7 Comments

Surreptitious Underfunding

One third of the MBTA’s outstanding debt, about $1.7 billion, comes from transit projects built by the state as part of a court-imposed mitigation for extra Big Dig traffic; interest on this debt is about two-thirds the agency’s total present … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Politics and Society, Regional Rail, Transportation, Urban Transit | 27 Comments

Macrodestinations and Microdestinations

In her book Dark Age Ahead, Jane Jacobs complains that freeways as built are good at getting people to macrodestinations (downtown) but not microdestinations (particular addresses within city center). In her example from Toronto, this is correct, but in general, … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Development, Providence, Regional Rail, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Transit, Urbanism | 29 Comments

Trip Chaining

Gendered Innovations’ charts of trip chaining and gender breakdown of public transit riders got me thinking about how different systems of transportation handle a mixture of short and long trips. Eric Jaffe at The Atlantic Cities reports this and suggests … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Development, Good Transit, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Transit, Urbanism | 16 Comments

Transit Alternatives to the Tappan Zee Widening

Cap’n Transit is virtually alone in the transit blogosphere in opposing the Tappan Zee Bridge widening and replacement. Unfortunately, merely opposing a highway project, expensive as it is, is not enough; as we’ve seen in the failure of the ballot … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, New York, Regional Rail, Transportation | 17 Comments

Electrification and Carbon Emissions

Railvolution reports FTA numbers that say the average CO2 emissions of the New York City Subway are 0.17 pounds per passenger-mile (48 grams per passenger-km). That’s the equivalent of 114.6 passenger-mpg of gas, if you prefer to think in those … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Environmental Issues, Transportation, Urban Transit | 44 Comments

Highways and Cost Control

I’ve been reading Earl Swift’s The Big Roads, and the early biography of Thomas MacDonald had passages that jumped at me. Unlike Owen Gutfreund, who focuses on MacDonald’s industry ties and use of astroturf, Swift portrays MacDonald as a Progressive … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Construction Costs, Good Transit, Transportation | 4 Comments

The Tappan Zee Replacement’s Outrageous Cost

The Tappan Zee Bridge is about to fall down. As a result, the replacement and widening project is in spare-no-expense mode. Ordinarily, widening a bridge from seven lanes to ten would be judged in terms of costs and benefits, after … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Construction Costs, Incompetence, New York, Transportation | 18 Comments

Congestion, Freeways, and Size, Redux

As a followup to my previous post about the TTI’s new congestion report, I finally did a multivariate regression analysis, with the dependent variable being cost and the independent variables being size and freeway lane-miles per capita. Such an analysis … Continue reading

Posted in Cars, Good/Interesting Studies, Studies, Transportation | 1 Comment