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Old January 23rd, 2016, 11:19 AM   #11201
ChrisZwolle
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$ 16 cash. That's rather expensive, but collected one-way.

Still better than the $ 53 toll for the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, which is collected both ways! Though frequent users pay much lower tolls.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 09:22 PM   #11202
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^The Confederation bridge to PEI is something $46 too, though only one way. No discounts for frequent users either, I believe.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 09:26 PM   #11203
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I think the Confederation Bridge is the most expensive toll bridge/tunnel in North America. Other toll bridges rarely charge over $ 15.

The I-70 toll lane west of Denver probably has the highest license plate tolls of any toll road. The highest toll possible is $ 40 for 13 miles.
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 10:39 PM   #11204
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The most expensive bridge I've driven on in the US lol.
I have relatives on Staten Island. It (the cost for them of getting to the rest of New York City) is a major political issue there and has been as long as I can remember. But I think Staten Island residents get a significant break.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 01:44 PM   #11205
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The report about waisting money on the motorway widening:

Highway Boondoggles 2

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Old January 24th, 2016, 01:52 PM   #11206
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That's just some poorly researched anti-road propaganda.

In fact, if advocacies like those call it a 'boondoggle', it often means it is very urgently needed.

Many of those projects are in fact tolled, which means that the proposed funding is not freely available for other purposes such as transit or bike paths.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 06:54 PM   #11207
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That's just some poorly researched anti-road propaganda.

In fact, if advocacies like those call it a 'boondoggle', it often means it is very urgently needed.

Many of those projects are in fact tolled, which means that the proposed funding is not freely available for other purposes such as transit or bike paths.
Take it from someone who is intimately familiar with at least one of those projects (I-95 in Connecticut). That project IS highly questionable. Is there traffic? Yes. But much of the traffic is commuter-oriented that could be better accommodated by improving the neighboring rail line. I would say that it is a border-line boondoggle. That highway runs through HIGHLY developed land in the west, and relatively undeveloped land in the east in Connecticut. Having traveled that road under very stressful conditions (Thanksgiving, Xmas/Hanukkah/rush hour), I can tell you that aside from construction matters and occasional car accidents, there are only a few stretches that might need improving. Most of the delays I've experienced over the last quarter century have been due to replacing overhead bridges and some mysterious construction in Norwalk that never seems to be done.

So, yes. This IS a well-researched report and I WOULD argue that at least some of these projects need to be looked at twice.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 07:42 PM   #11208
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Nah, I don't want to go through it point by point, but the study is highly biased against any investment in roads, with cherry picking in data, representing incomplete data and not controlling the 'induced demand' claims for other factors such as economic and population growth (especially the Katy Freeway example).

They cite that America's travel needs are changing, for example that transit ridership hits its highest point since 1956. But it isn't that impressive, considering the U.S. had 160 million people less back then (half the current population). The per-capita transit trips are half of what it was back then. In addition, there's a lot of buzz about the changed preferences of millennials, assuming their preferences will never change in the future. Also, the fact that there was a temporary drop in vehicle miles and driving amoung younger Americans is not yet proven as a long-term trend, but the result of a severe recession.

The 'per capita' changes are also not leading factors in determining the need of highway and transit capacity. Even if the per-capita driving may be reaching levels of saturation, population growth will continue to result in more traffic, which means a greater need for highway expansion, especially in the south and west. Places like Houston, Dallas or Austin are growing near or even over 100,000 people per year.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 08:53 PM   #11209
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I'm mixed. I've never been truly "anti-road" but I understand where those people are coming from and sympathize with their concerns. I think debates against freeway capacity and induced demand came from observations of cities where the urban center was declining in population and vibrancy. Sprawl in those cases did seem like a zero sum game. And sprawl does suck. It ruins the environment, it incurs transportation costs on the lowest income bracket, it creates neighborhoods that turn stale/undesirable after 30 years and struggle to adapt to economic and demographic change, etc.

BUT

As someone from Texas, its a definite "if you don't build it, they will come anyways" situation. It's not freeways causing induced demand leading to sprawl, its economic growth and the demand for places to live and work. Drag our feet and we'll be choked with traffic. With mass gentrification in urban centers and high housing costs in certain areas, its not like urbanism is panning out as the ultimate perfect solution to our challenges either.

I guess the deeper cause of sprawl is more prosaic. Maybe greenfield development is just easier, and the form it takes is a product of inertia in business, in regulations, in our culture. To change those things is gonna take a lot more than cancelling a freeway.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 10:36 PM   #11210
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I'm mixed. I've never been truly "anti-road" but I understand where those people are coming from and sympathize with their concerns. I think debates against freeway capacity and induced demand came from observations of cities where the urban center was declining in population and vibrancy.
The whole, "induced demand" argument seems so silly to me. It's not like the people driving are just going around joyriding, they are all doing something that improves their quality of life. A sort of silly example is that right now there aren't many people on the road because we've just had a blizzard, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who I am sure would like to be on the road going out who can't due to the snow. That is pent up demand and the same thing exists in places without adequate transportation options. People are staying home instead of going out to eat or seeing a friend. That hampers economic growth and quality of life. We do need a way to reign in excessive driving, but the solution is simple; raise the gas tax. Roads are currently highly subsidized and by increasing the gas tax 2-3 fold we will remove that subsidy. This will allow people to make intelligent decisions about what trips are necessary and where they want to live without forcing them to endure pointless driving bottlenecks.

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Sprawl in those cases did seem like a zero sum game. And sprawl does suck. It ruins the environment, it incurs transportation costs on the lowest income bracket, it creates neighborhoods that turn stale/undesirable after 30 years and struggle to adapt to economic and demographic change, etc.
It doesn't HAVE to be that way. I continue to be amazed that we still stick to the "downtown and suburbs" concept of a city. It seems like it would be far more efficient to have jobs spread out over the entire suburban landscape instead of forcing everyone to drive into the very center. With technological advancements there is no reason why all the workers need to be physically close to each other.

Also, one problem I see a lot is that we just widen existing freeways instead of building new ones. Some cities only have a single main freeway and it doesn't do anyone any good to push EVERY car onto that freeway. This is often the result of the "freeway revolts" from many years ago which canceled desperately needed roads. I know it's a political non-starter these days, but sometimes we need to knock down some old houses to make room for growth (that is for both freeways and mass transit).
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Old January 24th, 2016, 11:43 PM   #11211
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Thoughtful post.

I disagree on the gas tax. (It's an idea, but until people have realistic alternatives to driving, the burden of it would fall disproportionately on those who are most strapped. Might even damage the economy by reducing their ability to buy other things.)

And not all canceled freeways were good ideas. (I realize you're not saying they were; but some would.) I'm sensitive to this point, living two blocks from where the South Street Freeway in Philadelphia would have run. It was unnecessary, would be unnecessary even today (the Vine flows freely most of the time) and would have destroyed a neighborhood that's now thriving.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 01:20 AM   #11212
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dispersed employment models are common in American cities and create very car reliant commuting modal shares as everyone is coming from everywhere and going everywhere, making it difficult to create public transit corridors with high demand.

Downtown based employment models, or at least nodal employment models, allows for destinations to crowd in a single location, driving public transit modal shares.

I agree that induced demand is a bit of a fallacy. Sure, a newly widened highway, especially in an urban area, will often fill right up again. Traffic won't get any better, travel times might not improve, but something has still changed. More people are using the road now than before, increasing capacity. The time to travel the road may be the same, but an economic boost has still been received as there are a certain percentage more people capable of taking that trip.

Too often the problems in commuting are looked at as a transport infrastructure issue, not a land use issue. Land use plays a massive role in it. Most American cities have seen their employment areas decentralize so greatly that public transit is nearly impossible to successfully implement in a meaningful way. Grabbing commuter modal shares comparable to most European cities is arguably nearly impossible in the modern American context outside of a select few cities. Its a reason I've always been a fan of how Europe operates its urban planning, there is little car vs. public transit rhetoric, and planning effectively considers both. New development areas are designed to accommodate public transit, but cars are not ignored either. Too often the US sees an "us vs them" attitude for infrastructure projects, you either take public transit or drive, while Europe sees most people taking a combination of driving and public transit, and doesn't have the vitriol surrounding the issue as it is in the US.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 01:22 AM   #11213
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Originally Posted by Luki_SL View Post
The report about waisting money on the motorway widening:

Highway Boondoggles 2

This was discussed on the roadgeek forum, most think the report itself is a boondoggle.

Yet, I can see how there are some projects there that simply aren't worth the money at this time.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 06:32 AM   #11214
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I agree that induced demand is a bit of a fallacy. Sure, a newly widened highway, especially in an urban area, will often fill right up again. Traffic won't get any better, travel times might not improve, but something has still changed. More people are using the road now than before, increasing capacity. The time to travel the road may be the same, but an economic boost has still been received as there are a certain percentage more people capable of taking that trip.
I actually think most transit advocates would agree with you on the point that it's still economic growth. I think their response has less to do with economic growth and more to do with the political messaging around traffic in America. It's still an effective tactic to argue that costly road projects will provide "traffic relief," when they usually don't in the long run.

Traffic of any kind is ultimately a state of economic equilibrium: if there's free capacity, people will adopt life patterns that take advantage of that capacity. When infrastructure is overburdened, people will begin seeking alternatives (different travel time, different/no trips, different mode, etc.). Induced demand is just a different way of explaining what's really a question of supply and demand.

There are lots of costs and benefits to consider when it comes to public infrastructure investment--fiscal, environmental, social, you name it. Transit advocates would argue that sprawl's very real economic boost, however, doesn't even begin to cover its related fiscal, environmental, and social costs.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 07:24 AM   #11215
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I think the Confederation Bridge is the most expensive toll bridge/tunnel in North America. Other toll bridges rarely charge over $ 15.

The I-70 toll lane west of Denver probably has the highest license plate tolls of any toll road. The highest toll possible is $ 40 for 13 miles.
I've never heard about that..wow that's expensive, $40 bucks for a 15min drive?
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Old January 25th, 2016, 09:19 AM   #11216
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It seems like it would be far more efficient to have jobs spread out over the entire suburban landscape instead of forcing everyone to drive into the very center. With technological advancements there is no reason why all the workers need to be physically close to each other.
Except that results in very long suburb to suburb commutes for some people. It's only efficient if you ignore how people change jobs, how households can have two working members with jobs in different locations, and how someone might not like the living options in a certain part of the metro. The good thing about a centralized metro is how you can live in any part of it and always have the same proximity to the entirety of the opportunities the region has to offer.
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Last edited by zaphod; January 25th, 2016 at 09:24 AM.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 10:00 AM   #11217
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The I-70 toll lane west of Denver probably has the highest license plate tolls of any toll road. The highest toll possible is $ 40 for 13 miles.
Ouch! In comparison, when tolls on the I-405 HOT lanes here hit $10, it was a giant controversy. Put things in perspective.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 10:36 AM   #11218
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Originally Posted by zaphod View Post
I'm mixed. I've never been truly "anti-road" but I understand where those people are coming from and sympathize with their concerns. I think debates against freeway capacity and induced demand came from observations of cities where the urban center was declining in population and vibrancy. Sprawl in those cases did seem like a zero sum game. And sprawl does suck. It ruins the environment, it incurs transportation costs on the lowest income bracket, it creates neighborhoods that turn stale/undesirable after 30 years and struggle to adapt to economic and demographic change, etc.

BUT

As someone from Texas, its a definite "if you don't build it, they will come anyways" situation. It's not freeways causing induced demand leading to sprawl, its economic growth and the demand for places to live and work. Drag our feet and we'll be choked with traffic. With mass gentrification in urban centers and high housing costs in certain areas, its not like urbanism is panning out as the ultimate perfect solution to our challenges either.

I guess the deeper cause of sprawl is more prosaic. Maybe greenfield development is just easier, and the form it takes is a product of inertia in business, in regulations, in our culture. To change those things is gonna take a lot more than cancelling a freeway.

I disagree with the if you don't built it quote. These developers know exactly where the freeways/tollways are going in. That's where they build. They aren't just building randomly. Same people with the influence on these DOTs and tollway authorities are the same people building homes and business campuses and buying up these large parcells of land. Many of the same family legacies that did the same in the 40s and 50s.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 11:33 AM   #11219
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I disagree with the if you don't built it quote.
Ask Atlanta how not building highways is preventing it from sprawling out.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 04:28 PM   #11220
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I've never heard about that..wow that's expensive, $40 bucks for a 15min drive?
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Ouch! In comparison, when tolls on the I-405 HOT lanes here hit $10, it was a giant controversy. Put things in perspective.
This is the tolling schedule. The $ 40 rate is the most extreme example, most motorists will pay far less than that.



What they did is build a 13 mile left shoulder that becomes a tolled lane during peak hours (especially Sundays when skiers return from the Rocky Mountains).

Long-term plans call for a reversible tolled facility next to I-70, but it would be really expensive to extend it through the Eisenhower Tunnel.


I've read some complaints about the high fines and fees toll agencies apply when you drive through a toll road without a transponder, especially in the Houston area. Between 2000-2015 there was $ 358 million in unpaid tolls + fees, but the actual unpaid tolls were only $ 22 million, the rest were fees, fines and processing costs.
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