GEOGRAPHIC ILLITERACY RAMPANT

The following comment was deposited at the end of the “THERE IS STILL A CHANCE” post below. That post sketches out a potential shared-vehicle system to serve the National Capital Subregion. The comment was made by the well-known scholar and transportation expert “anonymous.”

“For a long time the assumption has been that offering more public transit service options would reduce traffic congestion. But despite the more than $300 billion in taxpayer money spent to expand the quantity and quality of public transit over the last four decades, its share of travel has declined. While the number of transit passenger-miles has risen slightly over this period, its share of urban travel has decreased.”

Sage sounding comments such as this are made by those who mistakenly believe that mobility and access can be provided to 21st century human settlement patterns by expanding roadways for private-vehicles. Almost all these statements are paid for directly or indirectly by those who profit from Business-As-Usual.

The sponsors of lobby groups and some “think tanks” and university “research centers” believe they would lose economic advantage from the evolution of functional human settlement patterns and efficient mobility and access systems that could effectively serve these patterns of urban land use.

What statements like this really demonstrate is the profound Geographic Illiteracy of the poster, anonymous or not. See “Geographic Illiteracy” and “The Myths That Blind Us” at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com

Here are some Antidotes for the misconceptions in this comment:

The root cause of “traffic congestion” is dysfunctional human settlement patterns. No transport system can effectively or efficiently serve scattered urban land uses in large New Urban Regions, period. See “Spinning Data, Spinning Wheels” and “Regional Rigor Mortis” at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com

The high cost of contemporary shared-vehicle systems is in large part cause by imbalanced system loading. (E.g. for METRO, most of the trains leave most of the stations, most of the time, essentially empty.) Some of this is due to inept management but most of it is due to dysfunctional human settlement patterns in the shared-vehicle station areas. See the “METRO WEST – 22 YEARS TOO LATE” post on this Blog (28 March 2006 now archived) and “It Is Time to Fundamentally Rethink METRO” at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com

The reason that ridership of shared-vehicle systems has not increased faster is that the grossly subsidized scatteration of urban development cannot be served even by heavily subsidized shared-vehicle systems.

Dysfunctional settlement patterns mean that most citizens who need to travel have no choice but to resort to a private-vehicle. See Jim Bacon’s current column on Pod People at db4.dev.baconsrebellion.com

Urban citizens of Virginia (many of them Pod People) do not love their cars any more than urban Bavarians, they just do not have the choices which citizens of most First World New Urban Regions enjoy. Again this is due to settlement patterns that prevent citizens from meeting life’s needs without resorting to any vehicle or conveniently using shared vehicles. Those who choose to drive can do so until gasoline and its substitutes become too expensive.

Jim Bacon has recently noted government actions that thwart competition in the provision of shared vehicles. Eliminating these barriers will help.

In the long run there must be New Urban Region-wide (and Urban Support Region-wide) settlement patterns that can be served by functional transport systems. The backbone of those system will be a public, shared vehicle system supported by many integrated sub-systems including ones that support private-vehicles.

Recent applications of 21st Century Shared-Vehicle Systems (CSVS21s) demonstrate that New Urban Regions with functional human settlement patterns can be served effectively and efficiently.*

How are functional human settlement patterns achieved? Fairly allocate location-variable costs of all goods and services and let the market do the rest.

How do citizens achieve the Fundamental Change in settlement patterns and the Fundamental Change in governance structure necessary to fairly allocate location-variable costs of goods and services and replace the current system of subsidies and pork barrel transport?

In a democracy with a market economy the only answer is better educated citizens who vote and buy based on their enlightened self-interest.

PROPERTY DYNAMICS coming to an Alpha Neighborhood near you soon.

*Note: CSVS21 systems are some times called Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) or Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and, in some cases (where the system capacity matches demand) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Nineteenth century and early 20th century systems like “heavy rail” (aka, METRO), “light rail,” “commuter rail” and conventional “bus” have useful applications but are not as well suited to contemporary needs as contemporary systems.


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16 responses to “GEOGRAPHIC ILLITERACY RAMPANT”

  1. Chris Brancato Avatar
    Chris Brancato

    I can’t let this pass by.

    Urban citizens of Virginia do not love their cars any more than urban Bavarians, they just do not have the choices that citizens of most First World New Urban Regions. Again this is due to settlement patterns that prevent citizens from meeting life’s needs without resorting to any vehicle or conveniently using shared vehicles.

    With trying to apply even a modicum of academic logic to this reply, I’ll reply from the gut.

    You’re going to blame the transit problems on a “dysfunctional settlement pattern”? There is no dysfunction about our settlement patterns. Since the end of WWII, our patterns have been quite functional in terms of achieving our desired quality of life. The allure and dream of a white picket fence and a plot of land to putter around in is hardly a dysfunctional settlement pattern in my opinion. I believe most Americans have no problem trading urban blight with suburban sprawl in that regard. We’re trading one dysfunctional transportation system (a subway, bus) for another (traffic choked highways)

    Dear Sir, You have to be kidding me? My point of reference is this: I was born and raised just outside of NY city where mass transit abounded. Never once during my twice daily bus-rail-bus commute crossing the Hudson River did I ever enter into a moment of pause on how great my life would be if I never had to have a car again. Not a single synaptic firing lamenting the freedom from the highest car insurance rates in the nation.

    Quite the contrary! My lament was always that I had to share my ride with my fellow man and all of his eh hem…glory.

    Here’s where I think America wants to live and why. A car is a truly megalomaniacal and narcissistic experience. My car is my sanctuary. I have total and complete control over the environment I’m cocooned in. I can set the temperature to my liking. I can receive 100% digital, crystal clear, commercial free radio (and soon video) entertainment from a satellite 26 miles in space available to me virtually any where I go.

    I set the car’s direction, acceleration and all of the infinite minor operational adjustments to optimize my comfort and driving capability.

    I can go where I want, when I want, taking as many people with me, I want-if at all.

    And you want me to trade my car for a shared ride vehicle?

    With all due respect…that’s delusional thinking.

    /back to the drawing board.

  2. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Chris:

    I have no problem with you doing just what you want to do, as long as you pay your fair share of the cost.

    The market documents that most citizens do not share your views. In fact they pay a huge per square foot premium to avoid what you find enjoyable.

    If everyone paid the full location-variable cost of goods and services, almost no one would agree with your choices, especially if the playing field were leveled and more of what citizens really want was avaliable at prices that they could afford.

    EMR

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Gee, Chris, I’m getting pounded around here, and my views are mild compared to yours. I do agree that much, but not all, of promotional activity for transit and shared vehicles is delusional – at present. Times could change, but if they do, we probably won’t like it.

    EMR leaves the impression that the idea transit is carrying fewer riders in spite of massive infusions of cash is false by referring to it as “sage sounding”, yet he later concedes that shared vehicle systems are not working.

    The car is out of the box and we can’t put it back any more than we can nuclear weapons. It will always be a preferred mode of transit, but it may eventually become the province of the ultra wealthy. Until then, I’m not willing to blame our present condition on think tanks and lobbying groups, not even even PEC. They, after all, are funded by citizens and businesses, and as such they are unofficial representatives of the (balkanized) public interest.

    Let’s take EMR’s argument that it is not possible to provide mobility and access through roadways and private vehicles as fact. Is that any reason to continue to throw more money down the hole for transit systems that exhibit increasingly lower ridership in spite of increasingly higher funding? Is that any reason to cut funding for the transit system of choice (autos), even if we can’t provide all the funding that people have shown they would like?

    EMR is right. I can’t fix dysfunctional settlement patterns, but I can go buy a car to deal with the patterns there are. I have the choice of resorting to a private vehicle, or adapting myself to the (rare, expensive, and choice limiting) condition under which I can do without. But even if I relocated that way, I would still be better off and have many more choices with the car than without.

    Where I really don’t have a choice is in rearranging the entire world just to reach some (as yet unknown) functional settlement pattern. A “choice” that can’t happen in my lifetime is not a choice.

    I don’t see any point, really, in undoing what EMR refers to as grossly subsidized scatteration in such a way that it now grossly subsidizes a shared transit system that is a proven failure otherwise. If the issue is to reduce subsidies, then reduce them all, don’t trade one for another.

    By the way, despite EMR’s claims, both First World and Third World cities are facing the same “problems” as we have here: more wealth, larger homes and gardens, more cars and increasing suburbanization. That is in spite of their superior rail systems.

    And Personal Rapid transit is just another way of operating cars: it is an admission that transit cannot work. Until this visionary system becomes commonplace, it is going to be a niche system for specially designed areas, and its costs will be in addition to our automotive system costs, not instead of them. It is a common problem associated with not being first to the marketplace, too bad, maybe, but there it is.

    We know how annoying it is to get a book from the library and find that the previous user has his notes and thoughts all over the margins. Imagine how we will feel when that shared vehicle arrives at out door and we find evidence that some young couple has already been using the back seat.

    I have said that we cannot solve our transportation system problems as long as everyone wants to go to the same place at the same time. In order to fix unbalanced system loading, it is apparent to me that we need to move jobs away from the center of the system. It is not scattered development that causes congestion, it is concentrated development. Any contention otherwise, flies in the face of everyday observation and congestionin cities all over the world.

    But this idea of moving jobs is an anathema to EMR for reasons I don’t understand. As I see it, it is one required half of having the balanced development patterns he calls for.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is not scattered development that is grossly subsidised, it is poor locational choices on the part of employers that is subsidised. At least if Metro goes to Tysons and the Airport it will tie three major employment centers together, and offer some likeliehood of bidirectional travel.

    However, I don’t see much likliehood that people will choose to live close to the airport, or in Tyson’s, anymore than they choose to live downtown. Nor do I see them living in apartments on a platform suspended over the intervening stations, just so they can share a ride in standing room only conditions.

    We can already see that Metro has done nothing to reduce congestion, and it is admitted that the Metro extension will do nothing to relieve congestion. The reason is that people choose to use cars.

    Even those that use Metro, still use cars for 80%+ of their travel needs. If 15% of people use Metro for 15% of travel, who is subsidising whom? If Metro is carrying 2% of our travel (not including freight) the obvious implication is that we need to expand Metro not by 25% at a cost of $4 billion but by 5000% at a cost of $80,000 billion. And even if we did that, we would still have to uprrot and move 70% of the population to get them close to a station. Now that is delusional.

    Then we would still need roads to carry freight, ambulances and fire equipment and everything else that won’t fit or is prohibited on Metro.

    Metro doesn’t solve congestion. But, it gets credit for development whaic is counted against road construction.

    Maybe. In Charlotte they planned to “capture” capture 53% of all new office growth in Mecklenburg County; and 54% of all new multifamily growth in Mecklenburg County in areas adjacent to the transit stations. We can only guess who that capture faovors.

    Here is what the Robert Charles Lesser & Co said t the Charlotte planning commission about development and the Charlotte light rail system. [In] other metropolitan areas transit has had a relatively limited impact on attracting significant commercial development, all other factors being equal, that presumably otherwise would not have chose that location.. Thus, transit will be viewed as a strong amenity for commercial, but will not supercede the importance of other locational factors, in particular auto-transit accessibility…..higher-intensity commercial and residential growth in these corridors, specifically around LRT and BRT stations areas. This will be accomplished via more flexible zoning and approval policies in station areas…… Yet, for larger-scale development to be attracted to the transit station areas, the City and/or County will need to work with the development community and take a proactive stance on development beyond the zoning and infrastructure investments planned in the area. Policies that should be considered by the City/County include parcel asemblage, site preparation, brownfield investigations, provision of municipally-owned parking structures, provision of gap financing, joint development opportunities (with the City/County contributing land) and other proactive steps to attract development and limit development and financing hurdles.

    Now, what was that you said about subsidies?

    How does this boil down? We are going to subsidize development in favored areas in order to make the transit system come somewhat closer to not being a total failure, and we are going to do this even though we know it won’t help congestion.

    The real purpose for this is to achieve compactness for its own sake, Or as Andy Clarkson put it

    Your political leaders have decided that empty, pristine, untouched fields of green are a greater value than your freedoms and your wealth and your property. And they have decided that they have the right to enforce that value judgement by stealing land through eminent domain, looting your wallet through taxes and bonds, and zoning you into compactness so that you will ride their transportation system.

    I don’t see the point of inventing things that appear not to be true, just to make a point that is so obviously false. Assuming that everyone is geographically illiterate does not mean they are not smart enough to see through the smokescreen. EMR makes a show of being free market and having each pay their way, but only according to his plan. Most citizens live outside of town in order to avoid high home prices and they recognize the trades they make. Some pay a huge square foot premium, and put up with all the cities other dis-amenities, but that is a long way from saying that “the market” likes to pay high prices and dislikes driving, or even that most people come anywhere near agreeing with EMR.

    So, I’m all in favor of eliminating subsidies, but not just to change them for some other subsidies.

    Hallucination is seeing something that isn’t there, delusion is believing that it is real, and fraud is selling it to someone else as if it was real.

  4. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Chris:

    I note several clarifications that needed to be made in the original post I added a sentence on the prospect of driving a cars as energy prices rise.

    In fact I like to drive too. Over the years I had an Austin Healy, an MG and a Proche. By 1990 I could never find a road that looked like the ones in the car ads within 200 miles of where I wanted to live so I sold my Porche.

    By the way I think there is merit in your comment on the Pod People post re “unplanned growth as passive resistance to eminent domain.” We will address that in a future column.

    EMR

  5. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Well, the car ads are unrealistic, too.

    For myself, I drove a honda 90 for 5 years, a beatle for 20 years (rebuilt several times), then a rabbit diesel for 12, then a miniature pickup, which I still use. The only car I ever owned that had over a hundred horsepower was one I inherited. If we used cars for transportation instead of fantasy, we would have fewer problems.

  6. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    EMR: I don’t understand at least half the jargon you use instead of English. My problem. I know you’ve really looked at the problems and focus on dysfunctional living patterns. I think that means we live and work and play in the wrong places.

    Okay. I don’t understand your practical solutions – like what zoning should change.

    I’d just like to look at the analysis of where the problems are and then work on how to increase supply or decrease demand.

  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    The allure of the car will not go away. CB clearly articulated the reasons that really boil down to “freedom” of the individual to decide when, where, how, they go about their life.

    But I believe that EMR is right also. People are free to make choices but there are consequences for their choices.

    And choices that benefit the individual don’t necessarily benefit society – and sometimes they are polar opposites.

    What car drivers expect for roads is similar to an expectation to walk into a Walmart at the height of Saturday shopping, walk the aisles alone and go directly to an unoccupied check-out reserved just for them.

    This would be the Walmart equivalent of the car AD showing your and your car in an empty valley surrounded by mountains.

    But if Walmart attempted to operate their business that way to satisfy their customers – really bad stuff would happen. The store would have to be much bigger with huge aisles and instead of 20 check-outs, they’d have to have 100 or more.

    The financial cost of building this peak-hr infrastructure would require that they charge much higher prices that would render them incapable of being competitive.

    That’s essentially the pro-road response to congestion.

    Build more roads no matter what the cost both in terms of the financial cost of the road but also destruction of existing built environment – both residential and commercial in urban and urbanizing areas such as NoVa or Tidewater, et al.

    People love to draw lines on a map that depict where a new road can be built but when the cost estimate is determined – what happens?

    Well, it goes on a “wish” list that is already 100 Billion deep.

    This is not sustainable and more importantly, dogged adherence to this philosophy is NOT responsive to the realities – no matter how folks feel about Transit.

    And I wonder if a key value of transit is not acknowledged and that is to move people at Peak Hour -precisely when the roads are near gridlock.

    If you looked at the peak hour ridership and just pretend transit goes away. What would you do with these people on the roads at Peak Hour?

    Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind what would happen if transit went away in NYC or Chicago or Boston?

    You do have a major clue – it’s called “Transit Strike”.

    And a concluding thought.

    “Disfunctional Settlement” patterns – that phrase – uttered with respect to NYC and transit.

    My point is that NYC settlement patterns are past history – and presumedly done a long time before the planning community became “enlightened” with respect to the dysfunctional nature of settlement patterns.

    An excellent book to read to get some insight to this issue is the “Limitless City” which addresses the early settlement patterns of NYC and how roads and transit cam to be in NYC.

    I also find the phrase “shared ride” interesting as mode option. Aren’t highways “shared” also in a similiar sense? The only part of the highway that you really “own” is the footprint of your car. Everything else is shared and the reality of that is no more apparent than when you’re sitting still with a gazillion cars around you.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: MetroWest

    An interesting POLL in the Washington Business Journal:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/poll/index.html?poll_id=771

    Was Fairfax County right to approve the MetroWest project in Vienna?

    You bet it was. Vienna needs the pedestrian-fueled vibrancy a less car-centric development can provide.
    38%

    Fairfax County is on the right track, but it has to keep the developer true to its promise to encourage Metro use or it will lose all credibility the next time it pushes for smart growth.
    36%

    Who cares? Development will happen one way or another.
    5%

    No way. There’s no way 6,000 people squished into 56 acres will not turn Vienna into a parking lot.
    19%

  9. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “And I wonder if a key value of transit is not acknowledged and that is to move people at Peak Hour -precisely when the roads are near gridlock.”

    The roads are only near gridlock in relatively few places, and Metro has not resolved that. But peak hour capacity for transit is far more expensive than peak hour capacity for roads. Metro cannot manage it, and so the result will be more standing room only. That can’t be a workable solution either. We are going to have congestion whether on roads or metro or both if we all insist on going to the same place at the same time.

    So we need to ask if the cost of building Metro is worth the value that it provides, exactly as you say. What is the marginal value of the people moved by Metro, over and above the capacity of the roads that we have and could have had with an equivalent amount of money, operating losses included?

    I’ll agree we could not carry as many people during peak hours all going to one central place. But considering what the real additional number is, what exactly is the value of having them all there anyway, and who does it accrue to? How much is really the loss and the cost if we put a few of them someplace else, or does it really work out to a net gain? Some analysts have calculated that the net economic benefit of a number of smaller and co-located cities is actually higher: Research Triangle comes to mind.

    Isn’t one of the reason that centrally located jobs pay more is that employers have to pay in order to get employees to put up with the grief?

    To the extent that Metro does produce real marginal value, how is that value distributed among those who use Metro, those who pay for Metro and those businesses that benefit by having Metro deliver the workers? How is that value affected if it means that Metro requires special assistance in the form of development benefits to adjacent landowners? I don’t think we have any idea.

    Put me in the 36% bracket. If this doesn’t work TOD will lose all credibility. However, I don’t see how you can hold the developers feet in the fire on this: the plain fact is that nobody knows how it will work out, or what the eventual result of tens of thousands of individual decisions will be.

    Finally, Metro is always going to be in addition to the cost of roads. No one calls the police or firedepartment or the trash hauler and expects them to arrive by Metro. The wish list for roads is a hundred billion deep, but how deep is the wish list for Metro? the current expansion is only 25% of Metro, which serves less than 2% of transit and it is $4billion, so far.

  10. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    There are a number of thoughtful insights in this string.

    JAB:

    It is not your “problem” that we use a vocabulary with which you are not familiar – it is, however, intentional.

    Nearly 40 years ago I began teaching architects as well as graduate engineers and planners the very topics we explore here. It was not long before I realized that the vocabulary and the conceptual framework that was in common use (and still is) was not up to the task of effective communication about human settlement patterns.

    After a decade of working as a planner, designer and teacher I spend two decades planning, supervising the construction of and managing Alpha Neighborhood-scale, Alpha Village-scale and Alpha Community-scale places for citizens to live, work and play.

    It took me another decade to articulate a vocabulary and conceptual framework based on field experience and the natural sciences necessary to discuss issues critical to understanding the evolution of human settlement patterns.

    As soon as I get my part done, Bacon’s Rebellion will have a Glossary to use in better understanding what we are trying to communicate.

    In the meantime. I think a Bull Islander’s PROPERTY DYNAMICS program would be a hit with your fellow islanders.

    It may also lead to better solutions for the City of Poquoson. In my experience if that many people are that upset, the process has not worked and the result will be dysfunction of one kind or another.

    Larry G:

    A lot of good observations. You have given constructive thought to these issues.

    There are misunderstood and unintended consequences of the collective impact of actions that individuals take which they believe are in their own best interest.

    You are “right on” concerning shared-vehicle systems removing peak hour demand. Back in the mid-90s we calculated that if all the workers then applying telework would drive to and from work in the peak hour it would require 37 miles of 10 lane road to accommodate them. The numbers are far higher now and much higher for HOV lanes and shared-vehicle systems.

    We have most of the roadway capacity we would need for the 2031 population if we evolved Balanced Communities.

    On “shared-ride” … we deal with “shared-vehicles” not “shared-ride”. You are right, the public roadways are shared, albeit with a lot of inequity in impact and danger due to the differences of size, weight and speed of the vehicles.

    Chris:

    Your comments had a familiar ring that I will explore in a future post.

    In the meantime, your “I can go where I want, when I want,…” is a good approximation of the Private-Vehicle Mobility Myth.

    If you really could do this and most of the other citizens of the Commonwealth could too, there would be traffic congestion problem.

    All:

    Keep up the constructive thinking.

    EMR

  11. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Sorry All the last post is missing a word the sentence should read:

    If you really could do this and most of the other citizens of the Commonwealth could too, there would be NO traffic congestion problem.

    EMR

  12. Chris Brancato Avatar
    Chris Brancato

    EMR,

    While agree that some point of focus is created by some group of people in terms of they not agreeing with my point of view but I’ve thought a lot about it and thanks for giving me the respect of being honest.

    I’ve tried the Amtrack route and for the most part, it wasn’t bad because at least I was somewhat productive on the commute. The only thing that was missing was a peristent Internet connection and I would have been satisfied with the experience.

    What I should have included in my orginial comments was this thought: At some level I believe that a number of people (pick the number) knowingly or unknowingly agree with what I first wrote. If we were to advance the idea of mass commuting and creating the “inscentives” to use it -carrot and stick- the measure of carrot has to be significantly larger than the stick. In my opinion – as demonstrated by the 70% increase in fuel costs – we citizens have to see a larger upside than down as we essentially lose our freedom to move around at will and time.

    I believe at some point, we all measure things such as this in terms of risk-reward. If we ever hope to see this come to fruition, I believe the emphasis HAS to be on creating a mass commuting experience that is so compelling that people will embrace it. Clearly, expecting them to take the bullet for a perception of common good will not get us there.

    Cheers,
    Chris

  13. Chris Brancato Avatar
    Chris Brancato

    One last thought…

    The problem with any mass commuting strategy is one that industries such as telecom and healthcare have problems addressing. It’s access. No more.

    The telcoms can’t execute a combined telecom strategy (voice/data/video) to the home largely because of the cost and complexity of delivering broad band to the “last mile”, the point between high speed backbone and the entry point of the house. Healthcare similarly has the same problem. The people who would most benefit from constant / preventative care often end up in the emergency department because they can’t access the care available to them either because of physical access (they have to work, don’t have a car,etc…) or by finiancial access (they are indigent, don’t have insurance, choose not to have insurance.)

    It’s that last mile of infrastructure that will make wide-spread adoption diffucult as others have written. What good is it if I still have to use my car 80% of the time to access mass transit?

    This is very enlightening all. Thanks for the discussion!

    CB

  14. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Thank you Chris.

    You have said in a few words, what I have spent months trying to get across.

  15. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Chris:

    Thank you for your posts of 12:58 and 1:15. I am working on a further exploration of your original comments but, given my schedule that may take weeks to finish. In the meantime your latest thoughts will help flesh out our response.

    It is important to be honest about feelings and not to try to play games by painting an intellectual gloss on comments that are posted only to support a profit short-term profit motive or the poster or their client.

    I agree that a number of citizens believe just what you state.

    It is also true that it is silly to expect more than a handful to “take a bullet for a perception of common good.”

    You are also right about the “last mile” problem with telework and the need for most services, not just healthcare, to be delivered in person. (“Wake me when they can deliver pizza on a wire.”)

    This reality is critical to understand in the context of a larger issue: There is no solution for “mass commuting.”

    The fact that there are settlement patterns that require, foster or depend on “mass commuting” is a core cause of mobility and access dysfunction.

    The only “help” government should be providing “commuters” is to help them become part of Balanced Communities where there are few, if any commuters. We can always support some who work in one Alpha Community and live in a second Alpha Community but not places where that is the mode of work / home relationships. (Even our friends miss this point from time to time, see Jim Bacons post “Two Weeks Later, Some…” above. He suggests a goal of operating the Dulles Toll Road is to minimize tolls for commuters:>)

    Again thank you for your input it will assist us in the PROPERTY DYNAMICS education efforts and in framing a further response to your original post.

    EMR

  16. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    People live all over the place. As I see it the biggest source of imbalance and the biggest cause of our massive investment in commuting is bad choices on the part of employers, or the failure to recognize that old choices no longer hold.

    The employment market has recognized that and is rapidly moving jobs out of the core area. We should assist that process.

    Instead, by creating vast new transit oriented developments and vast new transit, to be followed by still more transit oriented development, we assist those who benefit most by our current dysfunctioanal system – employers.

    The easiest and most cost efficient way to achieve balance will be to spread the jobs around more, a tact proposed by Jim Bacon through telecommuting. Yet, other than Jim’s idea, the idea of spreading jobs around gets almost no play.

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