Archive for August, 2010

Lite Rail

I tend to emphasize that while walkable living is probably thinning, one shouldn’t underestimate the extent to which the correlation between obesity and driving is a result of self-selection of the obese into auto-oriented lifestyles. But hey, walkable living is probably thinning: Increasing the availability of public transit systems is one among a number of […]

Change is Coming

Tyler Cowen asks why there are so few cheap restaurants in Anacostia. By Anacostia, we are to assume that he means the neighborhoods east of the river. It’s annoying that he failed to make this distinction, but let’s set that aside and move on. Wards 7 and 8 are not, for now, big destination areas. […]

Deadly Commutes

It’s pretty clear that long commutes are bad for you. Accidents kill 40,000 people a year, driving is stressful, and so on. At the same time, it’s worth being a little cautious when dealing with figures like those Richard Florida presents here. He posts charts summarizing data from a Gallup-Healthways survey, tracking the incidence of […]

Free Parking

Tyler Cowen wrote a very nice column for the New York Times noting the many ways in which government policy leads to the underpricing and over-provision of parking, generating all kinds of nasty effects. One of the results of the piece was a barrage of perplexing responses from people who normally agree with Tyler (in […]

What About GM?

Commenter JRoth says (among other things) that I blew it on the issue of saving the automakers: To my non-surprise, he’s written nothing. Back in the winter of ‘08-’09, he couldn’t say enough about the need to destroy GM: they would never be profitable again, it was a waste of money to save them, and […]

Taxes and Innovation, again

Megan McArdle has weighed in on the debate over fuel taxes and innovation, in a post that I don’t find particularly persuasive. She begins by arguing that, hey, Europe is different: I am not going to extensively rehash the ways in which the US is simply different from Europe:  the number of children and the […]

Market Prices

Let’s address this comment: It’s disingenuous to keep referring to government pricing with reference to the market such as “the government wasn’t using market prices.” Requiring people to pay for road space might be a good idea but it has little or nothing to do with markets or creating a market. It’s pricing by government […]

Paper of the Day

Nothing to add to this at this time, except that it suggests pricing will be easier to adopt in places where there is already a functioning transit system (or systems). Those hoping to use congestion pricing to pay for transit improvements would be wise to build the alternatives first, then move for pricing. In this […]

Manzi Misses the Point

He says: This strikes me as, at best, a word game. I understand that innovation is not identical to invention. But this is like saying that in response to an increase in the price of peanut butter, I “innovated” by making smaller sandwiches and eating ham-and-cheese more often (while noting that I designed these new […]

Congestion is Communist

In the latest edition of the New Yorker, or at least the latest edition to arrive at my house, there is a piece by Keith Gessen on the epic congestion of Moscow. Gessen quizzes a number of urban planners, traffic engineers, and so on on the roots and meaning of traffic, and a variety of […]