Tag: Transportation

Rail’s No Way In or To San Jose

By Benita M. Dodd For those who love to watch the passing parade – and have the time and inclination – few places are better than the sardine can that is a train. That’s why, once one neglects to make a timely reservation on any of the popular 30-minute, $40 road shuttle services between San Francisco and San Jose, the $7.50 Caltrain ticket becomes an enticing option. Once. For 90 minutes in a nearly empty doubledecker car, you have the unique opportunity to eavesdrop on loud cell phone conversations; watch the Webcam conversation on the laptop beneath you; follow in fascination as a wannabe chef creates and devours a strawberry shortcake before your very eyes, or gaze out a grimy… View Article

Transportation Solutions For a Transit-Challenged Region

By Stephen Fleming  (Part II of a two-part commentary. Read Part I, “In Transportation, as in Technology, Packets Beat Circuits,” at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=5482.)  Atlanta grew up around cars. It’s fundamentally a packet-switched infrastructure. Ask any telecom engineer. You cannot replace a packet-switched infrastructure with circuit switching for any reasonable amount of money. Can’t be done.  “But they do it in New York City,” I hear you cry. Yes, and that’s because New York City grew up around mass transit. It’s physically different from Atlanta (or pretty much any other town in America outside the Northeast, except maybe Chicago). The circuits are dense enough to have connection points within walking distance.  Look at the cities with successful public transit… View Article
By Stephen Fleming  (Part 1 of a two-part commentary) Why are so many mass transit policies doomed to failure?  Because packets beat circuits. Let’s explore an analogy.  In the telecommunications world, the big story of the last 20 years has been the total and complete triumph of various packet-switching architectures over circuit-switching.  Put simply, circuit switching started with Alexander Graham Bell. Your voice was converted to electrical signals in your telephone, then a pair of copper wires ran out to the street, where they were bundled with more pairs of copper wires, then finally to a telephone central office. At first manually, then automatically, and finally digitally, a connection was established between your pair of wires and the pair of… View Article

Bumps in Study on Speed Humps

By Randal O’Toole and Kathleen Calongne A recent paper purporting to show that speed humps make residential streets safer for children actually shows nothing of the kind. In fact, the study’s data can even be interpreted to mean that humps make streets more dangerous. Speed humps are annoying and potentially dangerous to drivers and can cause deadly delays to emergency service vehicles. But an Oakland, Calif., study (seehttp://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/94/4/646) claims to show that speed humps make streets 50 to 60 percent safer for children. The study used a database showing when and where 1,600 speed humps were installed on Oakland streets between 1995 and 2000. Ideally, the researchers would have compared accident rates on those streets before the speed… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The bus stop in Durban, South Africa, where Benita Dodd waited every day. My trip downtown never was the mythical five miles barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. It did, however, once use up a good part of the day. That B.C. (before cars) memory came flooding back recently as I read a couple of reports trumpeting the benefits of public transportation. An Oakland (Calif.) Tribune story headlined, “Trains, boats beat cars in transit race to airport,” reported that a team of transit riders beat a team of drivers in a morning commute competition. And in a Sierra Club report, “Missing the Train: How the Bush Administration’s Transportation Proposal Threatens Jobs, Commutes, and Public Transit… View Article

State Needs to Come Around to Roundabouts

By Dan Winn Even a transportation novice observing the graceful traffic flow around Ellijay’s bustling town square in Northeast Georgia would come away mystified that there are so few circular intersections, or “roundabouts,” in the state and the nation. Like Ellijay’s 2-year-old roundabout surrounding a memorial to slain warriors, these traffic devices have a whole lot more than grace going for them. As a more efficient method of moving traffic through most intersections, they have the potential to save this nation millions of gallons of gasoline and millions of hours in commute time, all while reducing traffic deaths and injuries. A roundabout, in its simplest form, is a circle of road that surrounds a raised island in the middle of… View Article

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