I'm still at a loss as to how local roads being locally funded by non gas tax sources is a wash. Gas taxes go to the federal class system which includes some state roads. Most states have their own gas tax to cover state and county roads and bridges. NJ has a transportation trust fund that gets revenue from different sources including the gas tax. PA has a ban on using gas tax money for transit.
Local roads have always been locally funded and will exist with or without a federal or state gas tax.
What reliable data? Where? hyperlink.Here's what I'm saying: the vast majority of reliable data say that buyers *are* made to pay the full cost of cars (or at least close to it)--not necessarily in the purchase price, but in the various costs of driving. These "government bailouts" you allude to are, for the most part, imaginary.
Streets do predate automobiles. The money used for the construction and maintenance is paid through property taxes that have nothing to do with owning or using a car. Where streetcar tracks still exist on city streets here the transit company is still responsible for the maintenance of the tracks and the roadway around them. Where buses use city streets i suppose it would be fair for the transit company to pay "rent" for use of that ROW but then, city residents are subsidizing transit operations and maintenance through a local sales tax so what would be the point?I'm not saying that streets predate automobiles. What I'm saying is that the money you call an "automobile subsidy" is just as much a pedestrian and mass transit subsidy. You seem to be claiming that cities "subsidize" autos by building streets, but don't count this as part of the transit capital costs. It's a double standard of sorts.
That source has no context and even if it did it's measuring BTUs, in other words, heat, and doesn't support your argument at all. You have it backwards. The more BTUs created per passenger mile the more energy is being consumed. Not that it's a fair comparison between electric, diesel, and gasoline engines anyway since they both consume energy and give off heat in different ways.I agree that mass transit, when it reaches the right "economy of scale," can be more environmentally sound. The Pittsburgh light rail system uses almost twice as much energy PER PASSENGER MILE than autos. The national rail average uses about as much energy per passenger mile as a car. Buses use significantly more energy, again on a per passenger mile basis, than autos. (U.S. D.O.E.)
And again the entire crux of your argument rests on "per passenger mile" which is not just apples and oranges - it's a house of cards. An express bus from the suburbs, probably the least efficient (in terms of energy consumption) routes we have is going to get about 5mpg. The route is 10 miles long. If the bus only carries 5 passengers for the entire route it surpasses the average SOV in terms of energy consumption. But the bus doesn't carry 5 passengers for the entire route. It carries about 60 passengers for most of the route and another 20 or so get on and off at intermediate stops. Even late-night these buses never have fewer than 5 passengers and it's normally more like 10-15.
Who is confusing the two? As you say, it's a symiotic relationship and as i say you can't have an effective transit system without dense, ped-oriented development. I'm all about it.It doesn't make sense to confuse mass transit and dense, pedestrian-oriented development. Obviously, transit and dense, pedestrian-oriented development often work together in a symbiotic relationship. But you can't just put rail lines in the Orlando suburbs, ban cars, and think the world will be a better place. We need a fundamental change in development before transit can really become affordable or feasible.
People don't trip or get hit by cars in parking lots? They don't get their fingers caught in car doors? I'm trying to figure out how people tripping or slipping has anything to do with the mode? We're talking about fatalities due to crashes.Simply not true. Trips and falls are the leading cause of injuries here in NYC. Whether your foot is caught on a gap in the train, you slip on a puddle left by another customer, or you trip walking up the steps of the bus--injuries can and do happen quite frequently with transit.
Which economist? What study? How did he come to 5 cents per mile for externalities?I've heard pie-in-the-sky figures for the true cost of automobiles. Most of them are thinly veiled attempts at inflating the figure as much as possible. They create ethereal or non-existent externalities and make up a figure. Seriously, have you read the studies in detail? Anyway, a UC economist analyzed the most popular studies, found that they systematically overstated the true cost of driving, and arrived at less than 5 cents per passenger mile as an accurate measure of external costs. If gas prices were jacked up, people would walk more and buy more efficient cars... .but there would still be plenty of people to drive.
Sure it's a fallacy, it's often called the "bandwagon fallacy". You're confusing one choice with another. You're assuming that people choose to live in auto-dependent places. You're neglecting the fact that most people don't have a choice or don't even think in terms of it being a choice because there is no alternative. You either buy a house with a garage in a subdivision or you live in a trailer.There is no logical fallacy. I don't base my opinion on the fact that everyone is doing it. Although I do consider the fact that most people who have a choice between automobiles and efficient mass transit still choose automobiles. Of course, there's also the fact that people will tell you they prefer cars to trains and buses (in polls, only 10% of people who say transit is a "reasonable alternative" use it often). Sure, just about everyone would give up private automobiles for a "reasonable alternative." Unfortunately, most people define reasonable alternatives as cheap, fast, private, door-to-door service available at any time and without any waiting. Unless PRT becomes a reality, people will continue prefer cars.
10% of people in this region use transit to get to work (SEPTA, DVRPC, et. al.). That would would fit in well with your uncited statistic. For the other 85% of people in the region who drive to work transit is not a reasonable alternative and in most cases i would agree that commuting from one suburb to another to get to work is arduous at best and in many cases, impossible.
Our transit system was built to handle almost as twice as many people as it currently does. A good portion of the system already runs 22-24 hours and nearly all of the rest of it runs 20 hours a day. We don't need to add many new routes, we just need better headways. That involves buying new buses, rail cars, and paying more drivers, conductors, and cleaning staff but if new buses and trains are full when they hit the streets and rails and people were only paying 2x what they are now the system would not be at a loss for money. Each train, even with 24 hour service, would be averaging $1000 an hour. They cost 1/4 of that to run. http://www.septa.org/inside/reports/ASP2007.pdfIf you had a dramatic increase in ridership, the system's costs would rapidly increased. Historically, transit costs have increased much faster than the rate of inflation. More traffic contributes to more wear and tear. If you want people to really give up cars, you have to extend service 24-hours. To create a transit system that completely compete with cars, you'd need to massively expand it. Considering that, your fare would have to do a lot more than quadruple. Of course, without the mobility afforded by a car, one incurs further expenses. If you shop near your home, you're severely limited to select retailers. Having a relatively captive audience, the prices are higher.
Your erroneously assuming that, things are going to be exaclty as they are today, that people are still going to be able to live in auto-oriented suburbs except they'll just start taking the bus. And, as i pointed out above, even at 5mpg even buses with paltry ridership are still more efficient than cars. As ridership increases the efficiencies also increase.You erroneously assume that riding the bus saves gas. Across the country, buses use more energy per passenger mile than cars. It's funny--by riding a typical bus, people actually contributing more to air pollution and carbon emissions.
You're also assuming, that, as the price of petroleum outpaces the price of energy in general that hybrid and electric-traction buses (off-the-shelf, proven technology) won't become more popular.
I can't believe no one else has taken you to task on this. The paragraph of fallacies. I can walk to three different supermarkets. If i wanted to go to BJs i can take the bus or a taxi or i can use carshare and drive myself.You also ignore the benefits of automobiles. While autos DO have a cost, they enable people to save money at supermarkets and discount warehouses.
Because if people owned cars less they wouldn't still rent them from Avis or Hertz? Tour buses and other charters don't take people to tourist detsinations? Including national parks?They enable the masses to travel to diverse recreational sites.
The UK and Spain have similar (or higher) rates of home ownership but not nearly the level of car ownership.Since the mass-production of the automobile, American home ownership rates have increased by half.
I lived in Charelston in '99 when hundreds of thousands of people weathered hurricane Floyd in their cars on I-95 and I-26 because so many people tried to evacuate at once that it caused total gridlock.Of course, transit-dependency killed over a thousand people in New Orleans, while those with cars drove to safety in air-conditioned comfort. And while many will knock sprawl, parks and green spaces are accessible today because of the densities automobiles allow.
You live in NYC but you don't know that you can take Metro-North to the Appalachian Trail? You've never heard of Central Park or Prospect Park? Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is 7,000+ acres. I could ride my bike there in 5 minutes. I'd also posit that, if not for sprawl, we'd have a heck of a lot more open space easily accessible to the majority of people.
I never said that transit is the be all and end all. I'm the one who said that free transit is not only not necessary but likely to cause more problems than it solves.Just because we like transit and see problems with autos doesn't mean we should be blind to the facts or fall victim to kneejerk reactions. On the contrary, we won't convince people away from cars with made-up and easily debunked statistics about the true cost of automobiles, exaggerated claims of the environmental benefits of transit, or hallucinations about how cheap transit is.
I've also been saying that we don't need to convince car owners of anything. Rich people will keep on driving and everyone else has 5-10 years before they have to move and/or start taking the bus a lot more and/or buy a plug-in hybrid that gets 100mpg. As we've already dug up most of the easily accessible sequestered carbon and put back into the atmosphere it only makes sense that it's going to get more expensive.
And as with all transportation arguments i'm going to ask why, as planners, people are more fixated with the "how" of moving people around rather than the "why." If you build a city around transportation of course it will be necessary.