Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 21

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Mayor/Metro Boss Villaraigosa on Carmaheaven, Expo, 405 Subway (Curbed LA)

Curbed L.A. catches up with L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa and interviews him on the latest transportation issues. Villaraigosa’s main goal remains accelerating Measure R projects with federal funding via the America Fast Forward initiative and hints at progress being made towards achieving that goal. Other topics discussed: the possibility of a subway underneath the 405 and L.A.’s bike sharing plan.

What Carmageddon taught us about behavioral economics (Mother Nature Network)

Why was everyone so freaked out about the 405 closure? According to the Mother Nature Network, modern car (and technology in general) dependent folk suffer from what behavioral economists call the “endowment effect.” What that means is most people overvalue the things they have (in this case access to cars and the freeways and streets that make them so useful) and the threat of losing those things scares the heck out of us. The fact that Carmageddon actually turned out to be a great weekend shows that maybe, just maybe, access to cars and freeways aren’t quite as essential to our lives as we may think.

Who will ride an alternative to ‘Market-Driven Sprawl’? (New York Times)

The New York Times reveals that in California it’s a tale of two futures. In one future, cars and highways remain the transportation choices and California’s growing population continues to sprawl along with carbon emissions. In the alternative future, the population keeps growing but instead of sprawling, residents congregate in dense city centers connected by a green high speed rail network. Of course, that future is still being decided, and critics of the later scenario wonder if it isn’t a bit idealistic – if Californians decide not to ride high speed rail in large numbers then the sprawl reducing and energy saving outcomes will be negligible or nonexistent. But high speed rail advocates believe Californians will ride, in record numbers, and the state will be cleaner and greener because of it.