Category: Transportation

Better Busways Don’t Require Exclusive Lanes

By Robert Poole The idea of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gradually been catching on with U.S. transportation planners.  As counter-intuitive as it sounds, in most cases it’s a mistake to develop BRT systems based on exclusive rights of way. First, what some have called BRT-Lite can be a highly cost-effective improvement over regular city bus service. The best-known example of this is the highly successful Metro Rapid program in Los Angeles. Specially marked buses operate on regular lanes of major arterials in Los Angeles, with stops between one-half and one mile apart, and often getting through signalized intersections thanks to traffic signal priority. Those may sound like trivial improvements, but Metro Rapid routes offer longer-distance commuters considerable time savings… View Article

State must Ensure Georgians Warm Up to HOT Lanes

By Benita M. Dodd When a 16-mile High-Occupancy toll (HOT) lane demonstration project opened October 1 on Interstate 85 in metro Atlanta, it was no surprise that motorists crawling alongside in crowded general-purpose lanes got hot under the collar when they saw the nearly empty HOT lanes. What is surprising, however, is that state officials aren’t giving the Express Lanes time to succeed as a congestion relief measure. In the first week, the governor ordered a reduction in the tolls. That’s a reasonable response to market forces: Commuters will choose to ride in the Express Lanes if the toll is worth the value in their time savings. If they aren’t riding, the price is too high. Atlanta’s traffic problem is… View Article

The Wrong Road to Transportation Solutions

By Benita M. Dodd An annual survey of the nation’s roads by the Reason Foundation reveals a lot about congestion in Georgia. The state is ranked 10th in the nation for spending on maintenance but 39th for capital spending. It was No. 1 for the condition of its interstates, but at 31 in the nation for the percent of urban congestion. Put simply, Georgia’s roads are in great condition because they’re well maintained. But they’re congested because the state lags in adding capacity. And the state’s most congested urban region seems set to miss the best opportunity yet. A committee is finalizing a list of transportation projects for the 10-county metro Atlanta region based on an anticipated $6.14 billion pot… View Article
By Samuel StaleyShirley YbarraErich W. Zimmerman and Nick Donohue In the 20th century, the United States built some of the world’s pre-eminent transportation systems, including an interstate highway network that’s second to none. The challenge for the 21st century is to maintain this infrastructure while expanding our ability to efficiently move people and goods. We face multiple challenges. Money is tight, as the gasoline tax we rely on to build and maintain our transportation network loses its earning power due to improved fuel efficiency and rising costs. Meanwhile, transportation needs are increasing, as many of our roads, bridges and railways fall deeper into a state of disrepair. All of this is occurring in the context of… View Article

Turning up and transportation policy

The Civic League held “Get a Move On,” a 10-county regional round table on transportation, growth and metro Atlanta region’s future on a recent Saturday morning in downtown Atlanta. Transportation was the major focus, of course, given next year’s penny transportation sales tax referendum and the selection of projects currently under way. It was a clear warning that when it comes to how to divvy up the projected $7 billion in sales tax revenue, the squeaky wheel could get the grease. First order of business: If you ask people to press button No. 10, be sure you have a N0. 10 button on your poll clicker. There WAS someone in the room from Rockdale County, the 10th county on the… View Article

AFVs, HOVs and HOTs

When the new High-Occupancy Toll lanes open on I-85 this summer, buses, motorcycles and Alternate Fuel Vehicles may travel at no charge, as can vehicles with three or more occupants. Single- and double-occupant vehicles may choose to use the lane for a variably priced toll. Georgia’s current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes allow free passage to vehicles with two or more occupants (even if the second occupant is an infant), transit buses, motorcycles and as well as AFVs. It’s high time they were put to better use — and a network of HOT lanes is a great use. Still, it’s a mystery to me why a lane aimed at reducing congestion would offer free access to AFVs, no matter how many… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Georgia is moving forward on transportation innovation with a 16-mile High-Occupancy toll (HOT) lane project set to open this summer along Interstate 85 in metro Atlanta. Whether HOT lanes succeed as a mobility measure, however, depends on how far the state is willing to go beyond this federally funded demonstration project. Georgia’s current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes allow free passage to vehicles with two or more occupants, transit buses, motorcycles and alternative fueled vehicles (AFVs). Access for AFVs, of course, is highly questionable as a congestion relief measure, both for HOV and HOT lanes. Nevertheless, the HOT lanes opening this summer will allow buses, motorcycles and AFVs, as well as vehicles with three or more passengers… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Transportation policy may not have been the priority during the legislative session, but in the long shadow of the Gold Dome, proposals, plans, ideas and reports were moving right along. And now that the regular legislative session is over, expect greater focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of future transportation decisions for Georgia. There’s no denying Georgia needs to spend more on transportation infrastructure. Congestion that is currently mitigated by economic woes will worsen as more people go back to work and companies grow again. The devil, however, is in the details. Taking transportation policy down the wrong road – a prime example is metro Atlanta’s spending wish list of $13.5 billion for… View Article

Transportation Solutions that Fit to a ‘T’

By Benita M. Dodd Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O’Toole’s recent visit to Atlanta was to talk about getting Georgians out of gridlock, and he proposed solutions. He talked a lot about “big-box” transit, about trains, about transit-oriented development and tax increment financing. None of those were O’Toole’s proposed congestion solutions, but he named several that fit to a “T” and are worth expanding upon. Timing traffic lights: Poorly timed traffic light signals cause congestion and needless delays. Synchronizing signals not only improves the flow and speed of traffic, it improves fuel efficiency and air quality. The Federal Highway Administration cites several examples of enormous benefit. The Texas Traffic Light Synchronization program reduced delays by 24.6 percent, fuel consumption by… View Article
Atlanta – Two events hosted this month by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation will bring national and international perspectives and expertise on transportation policy to Georgia, where the General Assembly recently approved transportation funding legislation. Register now to attend and discuss Georgia’s road to successful congestion relief and mobility.   ►A PPP Conversion: An Australian Leader’s Road from Foe to Friend of Tolls Who: Bob Carr, 10-year Premier of New South Wales, Australia What: A Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon When: Noon, Friday, May 14, 2010 Where: The Commerce Club, 34 Broad Street, Atlanta, GA 30303 Bob Carr spent 10 years as Premier of New South Wales after seven years leading the… View Article

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