Southern Californian drivers are getting a painful reminder of the unpredictability of the price of fossil fuels. The state experienced its largest weekly gas price spike on record, and KPCC explains some of the factors behind it. The cause appears to be simply a case of less supply than demand. Excerpt:
California is considered a distinct market from the rest of the U.S. because of state requirements to produce a less-polluting blend of gas known as CAROB. The state’s supply has been further constricted this year because an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, which normally supplies 15 to 20 percent of the region’s gas, has been partially shutdown since an explosion in February.
Because this is a public transportation agency blog, it’s my solemn duty to remind you that the cost of taking public transit does not suddenly and without warning change overnight and will save you cash money!
Here’s how mass transit made a comeback in the land of the car (Business Insider)
Some brief coverage for the rest of the world on Metro Rail’s 25th Anniversary celebrated on Monday, including a few photos both modern and historic.
Let’s put those tired, anti-bike arguments to rest (streets.mn)
Blogger Lindsey Wallace is fed up with the angry commentators that inundate the comments sections in most online stories involving bicycling, and wants them to get their facts straight.
Wallace takes on six frequently made arguments made by the anti-bicycle crowd and disproves them. My favorite response in the article is to the oft-repeated argument that bicyclists are a bunch of scofflaws and are therefore undeserving of their place on the road. To this, Wallace says:
One group breaking laws doesn’t make it okay for any other group, but no one says that motorists don’t deserve to be on the road because they break laws. Just because you notice bikes breaking laws, doesn’t mean they are doing it any more than other modes. Rule-breaking is a human trait, not reserved for cyclists alone.
What could be the explanation this time? Technology? Laziness? In the latest attempt to understand some members of my generation’s behavior it turns out it could be a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Excerpt:
The truth might be a little of this, a little of that, and even some of the other. That’s the takeaway from a new analysis of Millennial driving habits from transport scholar Noreen McDonald of the University of North Carolina. Writing in the Journal of the American Planning Association, McDonald attributes 10 to 25 percent of the driving decline to changing demographics, 35 to 50 percent to attitudes, and another 40 percent to the general downward shift in U.S. driving habits.
The two reigning theories in the discussion of why millennials are driving less than previous generations are lifestyle changes like delaying marriage, postponing having children and an attitude change toward vehicles (I’d make the case this could fall under the “lifestyle changes” umbrella as well). The University of North Carolina researchers cited in this article, while leaving open debate about the cause, conclude that millennials are simply making less trips or “going nowhere.”
A disclaimer: I’m skeptical of the broad generalizations about millennials, especially some of these demographics shifts are put in perspective, as this recent Urban Land Institute blog post debunking ten “myths” about millennials did. Number four is especially relevant for this article.
As it becomes more apparent that self-driving cars will likely become a reality in the not too distant future, Wired looks at one possible repercussion of the new technology: the loss of revenue from vehicle and driving-related fines and registrations. Excerpt:
There are no national numbers indicating how much American drivers shell out in traffic violation fines, but the report puts the total in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Los Angeles, for example, collected $161 million from parking tickets in 2014. Twenty cities in California take in $40 million every year from towing cars, splitting that money with the tow companies. On top of that, if the theory that self-driving cars will lead people to own fewer cars holds up, revenue from registration fees will drop as well.
The upside for governments is presumably less traffic collisions, which also cost taxpayers money. This minor setback to government revenue is of course countered by the other benefits from a efficient self-driving vehicle system including reduced congestion, better air quality, etc., potentially saving the nation billions in productivity and efficiency.
The article concludes by saying a future with self-driving will require governments to be smarter. One proposed solution: a per-mile driving charge. Hm, sounds familiar.
To be a nurse, you really have to be passionate (Zocalo Public Square)
The latest in Zocalo’s Metro rider series.
You can find Joe on Twitter @joseph_lem.
Categories: Transportation Headlines