Category: Transportation

Transit relic won’t help transportation

This op-ed appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 28, 2014. By Benita Dodd Watching the evolving justification for the Atlanta Streetcar project’s benefits is like watching a shell game. It’s anybody’s guess what reason will turn up next: mobility, congestion relief, economic development, environmental benefits or tourism. Only the naïve would place a bet. Back when it applied for a $47 million federal grant for the streetcar, the city predicted that “automobile trips will be diverted to the safer streetcar mode, which will thereby reduce accidents and increase pedestrian safety because more travelers will be using the streetcar instead of traveling by automobile.” (The application also admitted that more than 57 percent of the people within a quarter-mile of… View Article
Interesting conclusions from a recent Reason Foundation study: Statistical analysis of the 74 largest urbanized areas in the U.S. over a 26-year period suggests that increasing transit utilization does not lead to a reduction in traffic congestion; nor does decreasing transit utilization lead to an increase in traffic congestion. Policies designed to promote transit utilization can in certain instances increase traffic congestion—as appears to have been the case in Portland, Oregon. Vehicle-miles traveled per freeway lane-mile is strongly correlated with traffic congestion: the more people drive relative to available freeway capacity, the worse congestion gets. Data from New York and Los Angeles indicate that the most effective way to increase transit utilization is by reducing fares, as well as… View Article

Making a Brave Move on the Transportation Front

By Baruch Feigenbaum  BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation The announcement that the Atlanta Braves are abandoning Turner Field in downtown Atlanta for a location in the suburbs was a shock to almost everybody. There are many questions that must be answered, most important among them being how much of the $302 million in “public” funding will come from Cobb County taxpayers.   Assuming the Braves do move to Cobb, the county and the Braves will have to tackle the traffic nightmare that is I-285 and I-75. The Braves were unhappy with Turner Field, in part, because of insufficient nearby parking and poor freeway access. Congested traffic was the No. 1 reason fans did not attend games. And while leaving the heart of… View Article
By Benita Dodd Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation That congestion and transportation challenges in Georgia have taken a back seat for a while can be attributed to the region’s economic woes: Unemployment keeps commuters off the road. As the economy improves, however, Georgia’s logjams and bottlenecks will return. The bottlenecks in transportation policy are not just in roads, transit or funding. It’s also in the image of the state Department of Transportation (DOT).  The upheaval in the DOT over the past several years is over, but the perception of inefficiencies and mismanagement linger. Transparency is key to overcoming public mistrust.  An easy start is to stream video of DOT meetings online so that citizens across the state can… View Article

New Network of Metro Atlanta Streets Could Connect Us

Reprinted from the September 17 Atlanta Journal-Constitution By Baruch Feigenbaum BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation Atlanta’s mobility and congestion problems are well known.  It has the seventh-worth congestion in the country.  The area’s residents waste 51 hours a year sitting in traffic, and those delays cost the region $3.1 billion a year. Metro Atlanta agencies plan to spend $84 billion over the next 30 years on transportation.  Unfortunately, the transportation plans treat far too many prospects as stand-alone ventures intended to address single-problem spots. Atlanta needs a connected transportation network to fix today’s congestion and handle the demands of looming population growth.  Right now, Atlanta, with 7,500 lane miles, has one of the most underdeveloped surface street networks of any major… View Article

Practical Strategies Can Increase Mobility in Georgia

By Baruch Feigenbaum  BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation Even the through travelers know it: Georgia’s transportation system is inadequate. Metro Atlanta has the seventh-worst congestion in the country, the freeway network lacks capacity for expected growth from the Port of Savannah deepening, and rural areas lack transportation options.    There is an opportunity to develop a quality transportation network – without raising taxes – if policy-makers embrace a new proposal by the Reason Foundation. Unlike existing plans, which make spot improvements, The Reason plan, unveiled in August at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon, is a $35 billion proposal that develops a freeway network, arterial network, and transit network across the entire state.   For metro Atlanta freeways, the plan modifies… View Article
At today’s Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon in Atlanta, Reason Foundation Transportation Policy Analyst and Foundation Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum unveiled his new study, “Practical Strategies for Increasing Mobility in Georgia.” The PowerPoint presentation used at the event can be downloaded here: http://www.georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/Increasing%20Mobility%20in%20Atlanta.pdf The full Reason Foundation study is available here: http://reason.org/files/atlanta_transportation_plan.pdf YouTube Video from the Foundation leadership luncheon:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFDjWf3SW3o&feature=c4-verview&list=UU4uOlfbFbDHf2h6wCgOEDxQ YouTube Video: Feigenbaum discusses bus rapid transit:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhzGbcEhfJI&feature=c4-overview&list=UU4uOlfbFbDHf2h6wCgOEDxQ View Article
By Mike Klein MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation It is somewhat understandable that the Atlanta highway system was built like a wheel with the city at the center and interstates fanning out from the core.  Think about our regional rail lines as they existed before and after the Civil War:  a few rail lines primarily destined for Terminus as it was known before the city’s name became Atlanta.  The folly was to design 20th Century highways on a 19th Century rail model.  Flush everything and everyone directly into the core and you get gridlock.  Know it, feel it, own it. Well-meaning politicians and planners have spent decades chasing whatever the current view was of the best balance between interstates,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Money talks, especially at the Georgia General Assembly, where the state’s ongoing funding challenges and growing needs inspired separate Senate committee hearings this week, one investigating public-private partnerships (PPPs) for Georgia infrastructure and the other working on integrating metro Atlanta’s public transportation services. Several challenges are encouraging governments to think outside the box. There continues to be talk about “federal” funds – otherwise referred to as taxpayer dollars – coming to the states, but the partisan divide in federal budget negotiations has left states pessimistic. In addition, it’s increasingly evident that states’ needs outstrip federal largesse, that federal largesse is shrinking and that local governments have to do more… View Article
By Alex Roman Alternative project delivery, including public-private partnerships (PPPs); design-build; and design-build-operate-maintain, are viewed as attractive options for transit agencies, as they transfer risk and accelerate the project process.  However, while these forms of project delivery continue to take hold in Europe, Asia and Africa, there have been a limited amount of projects in the U.S. that have utilized these innovative solutions. METRO Magazine spoke to representatives from several companies to discuss why forms of alternative project delivery have been slow to take off in the U.S., as well as the possible benefits and what transit agencies should look for before selecting a partner.      How does alternative project delivery benefit a public transportation agency? Mel Placilla (Director, professional services, View Article

The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.

Senator Herman E. Talmadge more quotes