Connect with us

Transportation

West Hollywood Pushes to Accelerate Crenshaw Line Extension

Published

on

West Hollywood Pushes to Accelerate Crenshaw Line Extension

by Steven Sharp

WEST HOLLYWOOD (Urbanize LA) — The City of West Hollywood could contribute more than $1 billion to finance a northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line according to materials to be considered at the October 7 meeting of the West Hollywood City Council.

Five alignments are being studied for the project, all of which proceed north from Expo/Crenshaw Station before veering west at Venice Boulevard and transitioning onto San Vicente Boulevard. From there, trains would travel north on either La Brea Avenue, Fairfax Avenue or La Cienega Boulevard toward West Hollywood.

Following a series of community outreach meetings, Metro has dropped consideration of another potential alignment which called for the Crenshaw/LAX line to veer east toward Koreatown via Olympic Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.

Those same meetings have also resulted in the […]

Continue reading at urbanize.la

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Transportation

How to Go Metro to the Women’s March This Saturday

Published

on

How to Go Metro to the Women’s March this Saturday

LOS ANGELES (Metro) — This year’s Women’s March will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a large turnout is expected. To help you get to and from the event, Metro will run enhanced service on all rail lines from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with longer trains on all lines except C Line (Green).

Service on Saturday will be as follows: A Line (Blue) – Trains every 6 minutes between 7th Street/Metro and Willow Station and 12 minutes between Willow and Downtown Long Beach St.

B Line (Red) – Trains every 6 minutes.

C Line (Green) – Trains every 12 minutes. D Line (Purple) – Trains every 12 minutes. E Line (Expo) – Trains every 6 minutes. L Line (Gold) – Trains every 8 minutes between APU/Citrus […]

Continue reading at thesource.metro.net

Continue Reading

Environment

Ways to Reduce Traffic Congestion and Greenhouse Emissions

Published

on

Remove car lanes, restrict vehicles and improve transit to reduce traffic congestion

by Fanny Tremblay-Racicot for The Conversation

During a trip to the United States, I was surprised to hear a transportation planner from a major American metropolis say that traffic congestion was not a problem because it was a sign of economic vitality.

Some even say that aspiring to less congestion is not desirable, as the road network is designed to absorb peak traffic during the morning rush hour. Not having congestion means there is more capacity within the network than demand.

Yet the environmental, social and economic costs associated with traffic congestion are real and affect the health, quality of life and wallet of all taxpayers and citizens on a daily basis.

The consequences of road congestion are generally measured in terms of additional travel time, and with the associated costs of additional vehicle use, such as fuel, depreciation and maintenance.

Costs of $4.2 billion in Montréal

Some studies also include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and additional accidents caused by more time spent in traffic. Congestion also leads to other direct and indirect costs such as premature wear and tear on roads and impact on the health of people.

Montréal is the second most congested city in Canada, with a total of 145 hours lost per capita in peak rush hour traffic in 2018. It comes after Toronto, which ranks first among Canadian cities (167 hours lost). Québec City ranks ninth (85 hours lost).

Increase in greenhouse gas emissions

Road congestion also increases the air pollution produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, leading to an increase in respiratory problems, premature deaths and several types of cancer, especially for neighboring populations, which are often disadvantaged.

Gasoline and diesel vehicles also emit carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. In Canada, the entire transportation sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gases emissions, accounting for 28 per cent of total emissions.

In Québec, transportation accounted for 43 per cent of total greenhouse gases emissions in 2016, of which 80 per cent came from road transportation. These emissions increased by 52 per cent between 1990 and 2016.

Although greenhouse gas emissions from road congestion are not systematically inventoried, they are often used to justify new road projects. But why does congestion persist, despite government interventions to reduce it?

“Build it and they will come!”

The government response to congestion problems has generally been to build new roads or widen existing ones. However, this measure is ineffective because increasing capacity only increases vehicle use.

New routes generate additional demand equivalent to the new capacity. This natural near balance between supply and demand explains why roads reach pre-expansion congestion levels between five and 10 years after the construction of new routes.

What American economist Anthony Downs called “the fundamental law of highway congestion” in 1962 has since been confirmed by a large number of scientific studies.

The new traffic caused by the increase in road capacity, commonly referred to as “induced demand,” comes from four sources: increased commercial traffic, changing travel patterns, population migration and, to a lesser extent, diversion of traffic from other routes.

An increase in travel time

In the short term, new road segments reduce travel time and therefore costs, which encourages individuals and businesses to travel more, change departure times or itineraries, choose cars over public transit or move further away from where they work.

This increase in demand therefore compensates proportionally for the new road supply in the medium term, and at the same time for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could have been associated with a reduction in congestion.

In addition, the road network may not be used to its optimal capacity because users make an individual decision about the fastest route for their travel, regardless of the choices of others. These decisions may not correspond to the social optimal. Thus, the addition of a road can increase the total travel time over the entire network (and vice versa), making it necessary to coordinate individual trips.

Adding roads does not improve the economy

Another argument often used to justify increasing road capacity is that of job creation and economic development. Although road infrastructure creates employment during its construction, most studies have not found a link between increased road capacity and economic activity. Indeed, it is rather a displacement of economic activity across the same metropolitan region that is observed.

For example, exporting companies will be located along the new road infrastructure, but this will not have a significant effect on the total value of their production.

Increasing public transit is not enough

Increasing public transit is often promoted as the main alternative to building additional lanes or new roads. However, in accordance with the fundamental law of congestion, the space freed up by the use of public transport is ultimately compensated for by the additional demand it creates. Thus, public transport is not enough to reduce congestion.

In fact, if the objective is to reduce car traffic, the only effective method on the supply management side is reduction in road capacity, because the law of road congestion also works in the opposite direction: what we refer to as “reduced demand.” In addition to reducing travel demand, lane removal and traffic restriction also have measurable and documented social, environmental and economic benefits.

Adding new modes of public transit will not solve congestion problems. (Shutterstock)

Ecofiscal measures

Other measures are used to manage transport demand. First, the imposition of eco-tax measures, such as the gas tax and the parking tax, can help reduce vehicle use.

A Québec study reveals that increasing the gas tax to $0.46/L in Québec and introducing a road use tax of $0.15/km in greater Montréal area would make it possible to reach a quarter of Québec’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, in addition to increasing the use of public transit by almost 40 per cent.

Eco-taxation also encourages motorists to use public and active modes of transport, provided that these choices are available to them.

Teleworking, flexible working hours, parking management and so-called smart growth policies also reduce travel distances and the need or willingness to travel by car. These measures have positive consequences on public health, urban quality of life, land values, local consumption, etc.

The most effective planning choices are not always the most popular. To get them accepted, decision-makers must act at the right time, use technical expertise, conduct pilot projects, find allies, compensate for inconveniences and work with the various levels of government.

This text is an abridged version of a text originally published in the journal Le Climatoscope.

Fanny Tremblay-Racicot is Professeure adjointe, administration municipale et régionale, École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP)

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

Continue Reading

Tech

Self-driving Cars Will Not Fix Our Current Transportation Woes

Published

on

by Cameron Roberts for The Conversation

It’s 2035, and you’re going to a movie. As you walk out the door, you reach for your phone instead of the car keys because you don’t have a car. Instead, you’ve ordered your ride to come to you.

The car that arrives has no driver or steering wheel. As you climb in, the electric motor silently comes to life, and the car whisks you into an aerodynamic Peloton of vehicles, slipping through cross-traffic at intersections without stopping.

This utopian vision is a common prediction for the disruption of today’s road transportation . This future of autonomous, on-demand electric vehicles is tantalizing. It promises a hands-free solution to various transportation woes.

The prevailing belief is that a system of self-driving cars will solve several environmental and social problems without us needing to worry about messy stuff like politics, activism or changing our travel habits.

Unfortunately, this future will almost certainly never come to pass. Self-driving cars, left to their own devices, will likely do more harm than good. To avoid that outcome, we’ll have to turn off autopilot and shape the system of autonomous mobility so that it best serves both our needs and the needs of the planet.

More roads, more cars

Futurama, a General Motors-sponsored diorama at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, made a similar promise: fast and efficient highways would make traffic congestion and accidents a thing of the past.

Once these highways were actually built, however, induced demand quickly clogged them up, as people took advantage of the new roads to make new trips that they didn’t make before.

The 1939 Futurama exhibit, like today’s predictions about autonomous vehicles, promised an easy technical solution to transportation problems. (Richard Garrison/Wikimedia)

Autonomous vehicles risk a more dangerous version of the same phenomenon. Not only will efficient autonomous highways tempt people to drive further, but the ability to work — or even sleep — while travelling will make people think much less of a two-hour commute.

Cars might also become less energy-efficient as they’re modified to meet the demands of users. Passengers may run them at higher speeds because they’re safer, which consumes more energy due to aerodynamic resistance. Car manufacturers may also begin to design larger vehicles to accommodate mobile offices and bedrooms.

This might be mitigated somewhat by electric vehicles, but that electricity may still come from fossil fuels. Plus, bigger vehicles with bigger batteries will produce more carbon emissions as a byproduct of their construction.

These processes could, theoretically, be carbon-neutral, but that may not occur quickly enough. The safe bet is to reduce the number of kilometres travelled, rather than increasing them.

There’s also the threat of an empty vehicle traveling many kilometers. Why search for a parking spot when you could send your car home?

Scholars who have used computer models and other techniques to predict the environmental impact of autonomous vehicles have found the mass use of private self-driving cars could lead to increases in carbon emissions of up to 200 per cent.

Robo-taxi rejection

Most of the utopian visions of self-driving cars assume that they will be shared, rather than owned privately. This would be a more sustainable option.

Unfortunately, people are attached to their cars. They like having a vehicle that is instantly dispatchable, that they can use as a mobile storage locker, and that signals their social status.

Shared vehicles might also be uncomfortable. Because of the risk of vandalism and mess caused by unsupervised passengers, robo-taxis might be equipped with hard plastic, bus-style seats, rather than the plush upholstered interiors that motorists are accustomed to.

A Lyft self-driving car drives on the streets in Palo Alto, Calif., in December 2019. (Shutterstock)

Surveys show that if autonomous taxis cost US$1 per mile, only 10 per cent of respondents would give up their car to use them. Even if they were completely free, a quarter of motorists would still keep their cars.

Autonomous taxis are far more likely to win over cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders. But this would likely make those people’s trips less sustainable.

None of this will be helped by the fact that autonomous vehicle enthusiasts envision a future of road systems free of traffic lights, which will rarely provide space for cyclists or pedestrians.

Best-case scenario

But what if your autonomous trip to the theatre looked a bit different?

In a model being explored by many scholars and experiments in Europe, the autonomous vehicle that picks you up on your way to the movie theater would be more like a last-mile shuttle for public transit.

It would move slowly but comfortably, picking up multiple passengers on its way to the local transit hub, where you would board a fast and efficient light rail line. You would still arrive at the movie with time to spare.

An autonomous shuttle service in Vincennes Woods, in Paris, fills the gaps in commuter transportation. (Shutterstock)

This model could supplement existing forms of sustainable mobility rather than competing with them, making car ownership less mandatory. And because owning a car predisposes people towards using a car, this could be a powerful way to support sustainable transportation.

Shared, slow, autonomous shuttles integrated with public transit and other forms of sustainable mobility would get around a lot of the technology’s current hurdles. They could, for example, drive slowly enough that there would very little risk of them hurting or killing anyone.

If paired with other forms of sustainable urban transportation policy, such as committed support for bike lanes, as well as fast, efficient, and cheap public transit networks, they could play a key role in helping to realize a transportation scenario with vastly reduced car use, which could be our best shot at averting the worst consequences of climate change.

This outcome, however, will not emerge autonomously. It will require us to actively shape the mobility system through regulation, activism and planning.

It will require pushing back against vested interests that support dependence on private cars. And it will require us to reconsider our travel habits.

In short: Autonomous vehicles will not automatically drive us to a better transportation future. We’ll have to take the wheel ourselves.

Cameron Roberts is a Researcher in Sustainable Transportation at Carleton University.

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

This Just In…

Trending