Transportation headlines, Thursday, Feb. 25

Here’s a tale of two stories about Americans getting around these days. On one hand, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign reports that new data from the National Household Travel Survey shows that walking, bicycling, and transit trips are up by over 20% and driving is down by at least 4% since 2001. However, The City Fix Blog tells us that the driving decline has ended. According to data from the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, people are incrementally returning to their cars and as the economy continues to recover, expect the trend to continue. I think these stories show us that Americans love their cars as long as they feel they can afford them but they’re open to transit as an alternative. It seems as if a transit agency’s best bet would to be capitalize on those times when the economy is tough and people are riding transit – provide great service and value and maybe people will stick around.

South Africa’s experiment in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been both positive and negative, the New York Times reports. It has greatly improved mobility options for workers in distant townships while at the same time reopening old racial wounds that have plagued the region for so long. Before the BRT system, workers commuting from township to jobs in wealthy white suburbs would have to ride the privately owned minibus taxi industry, which although fiercely competitive, is dirty, crowded, and expensive. The new BRT is clean and cheap – and the minibus taxi industry does not like that. The wealthier suburbanites oppose the system for classic NIMBY reasons including fear of noise, pollution, crime and decreased property values.

Is it possible for there to be fun facts about parking policy? According to Streetsblog DC it’s possible, and the fun facts are actually quite sad. Here’s a few tidbits that stood out: the average automobile is parked 95% of the time; parking usually represents 10% of development costs; curbside parking requires 200 square feet per vehicle, garage parking requires 300 to 350 square feet per vehicle. Imaging what we could do with all that space if it weren’t occupied by empty cars?

The rest of today’s headlines, compiled by the Metro Library, after the jump.

Americans Moving Greener, New Federal Data Shows
Mobilizing The Region

A Bus System Reopens Rifts In South Africa
New York Times

BRU: No Fare Hikes Without Public Process
LA StreetsBlog

Building Law Seen As Threat To California History (preservationists say new law requiring new construction to meet stringent green building standards could encourage demolition of historically significant buildings)
National Public Radio

Computers Turn Flat Photos Into 3-D Buildings (Researchers are working on technology to help create 3-D models of buildings and places by using large collections of digital photos)
New York Times

Encouraging Signs In Long Beach (improved sign visibility, junction markings, and network awareness for Long Beach’s ambitious campaign to become the most bicycle friendly city in America)
LA StreetsBlog

Fun Facts About The Sad State Of American Parking Policy
DC StreetsBlog

Getting To Yes On Open Data
Next American City

Gold Line Extension Wins Distinct Honor: Light Rail Development Named Project Of The Year
Los Angeles Downtown News

How Slums Can Save The Planet (1 billion people live in slums, with 60 million people in the developing world leaving the countryside every year. The squatter cities that have emerged can teach us much about future urban living, including transportation and sustainability)

In A First, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Vows To Better Protect Cyclists, Train Officers On Bikers Rights
Los Angeles Times

On The Road Again: Driving Decline Ends
The City Fix

Opinion: Want Better Transit? Say So
Daily Breeze

Public Space = Public Health
(“There are so many good civic ideas in this town and some of them even make it past the cutting room floor. CicLAvia is one that deserves to see itself projected onto even more of LA’s endless pavement. Now if Metro would only finish building the train lines to get us there”)
Huffington Post

Steps Toward A Car Free Sunday” Study Tour Of Guadalajara (first annual international Ciclovia study tour)
The City Fix

Traffic, Parking Experts Offer Residents, Business Owners Possible Solutions For Culver Boulevard

U.S. High-Speed Rail Thankfully Trails China
LA Curbed

Vancouver: The Almost Perfect Grid
Human Transit

Who Needs High Speed Rail? Scrambling For Reasons To Feel Proud About American Backwardness – While China Roars Ahead

Categories: Transportation News