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Old September 13th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #1061
Svartmetall
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Not necessarily. I believe that a proper road network is vital for a country (especially when considering freight and logistics), however, I don't believe that we should be totally reliant upon private vehicles and that spending should be spread more in favour of rail and inner city PT alternatives. Therefore I would oppose a pointless 24 lane highway across the centre of Germany, but I would say that a proper 3x3 road with occasional 2x2 sections in low traffic areas with full grade separation would be useful. But this is a discussion for another thread.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #1062
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Originally Posted by PLH View Post
You've chosen the wrong forum then
haha no I'm a car enthusiast. I love cars and I love driving. But I'd rather see a three-lane highway in combination with rail transit than a congested 12-lane superhighway. It provides more alternatives. Those who don't really like driving can take the train. Those who do love driving will then be blessed with less cars on the road. :]
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #1063
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haha no I'm a car enthusiast. I love cars and I love driving. But I'd rather see a three-lane highway in combination with rail transit than a congested 12-lane superhighway. It provides more alternatives. Those who don't really like driving can take the train. Those who do love driving will then be blessed with less cars on the road. :]
You can't just limit a freeway to 2x3 lanes no matter what. For instance, in your area, nearly all north-south traffic centers around Seattle, because there are extensive suburban areas both north and south of Seattle. All traffic comes together around downtown. I'd rather have one major freeway of 12 lanes, than say 2 or 3 2x3 freeways 1 or 2 miles apart. However, on the larger perspective (metro area) it's better to have several freeways to make the network more robust in case of incidents. The I-405 is an example of that.

On freeways with volumes up to 250,000 or even more, you can't really take enough of that traffic into a railway line to have low enough volumes that a 2x3 freeway is enough.

Traffic wise, it's best to spread out the number of worklocations, so you have less massive commuter flows on freeways, and preferrably both ways. I know that's not the best idea for most skyline enthousiasts (including me), but traffic wise it's better to have more work locations in the suburbs. Some US metro area's are doing a good job that way, for instance Atlanta.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:33 AM   #1064
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I'd not hold Atlanta up to be a good urban design model in any reasonable planning circle. Atlanta is a disaster. As for your assertation about the rail line and capacity, it has been shown time and time again that rail lines have 10 times the capacity of a highway per track added (depending upon the signalling, rolling stock and schedules of course).

I would suggest that you look at Japan as an example of urban planning and for countrywide transport. A country less dense than your own with a long tradition of managing to shift millions of people daily by rail despite having a (comparitively) small highway network. It's efficient, requires less money and is the only way that Japan could function as a country.

Sometimes, Chris, you are so anti-PT it's almost funny and though I appreciate the work you do in the highways section, you really need to make sure your facts are straight before you post some of this stuff.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:41 AM   #1065
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
I'd not hold Atlanta up to be a good urban design model in any reasonable planning circle. Atlanta is a disaster. As for your assertation about the rail line and capacity, it has been shown time and time again that rail lines have 10 times the capacity of a highway per track added (depending upon the signalling, rolling stock and schedules of course).
The problem is that you might have that capacity, it's only used during rushhours. Besides that, in nearly all countries the train or any sort of Public transit is not as much an option as in Japan. The theoretical daily capacity of a railway line is not that interesting. I can also say if all cars are stuffed with 5 people, and it runs to full capacity 24 hours, a 2x3 freeway can handle 1.584.000 million people per day. Of course, that's not realistic.

About Atlanta; imagine how the situation would be if there was only one business / job center in the city. I totally agree with you Atlanta metro is a mess and way too low density (the Atlanta MSA has a lower population density than the whole Netherlands), but they did a good job trying to divert some of the traffic to downtown to more suburban areas.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #1066
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I don't know how you can say that public transport is not an option in other countries! There are plenty of examples, even in Europe of enormous demand on PT infrastructure during peak, and off-peak. Why do metros still run at 5 minute frequencies throughout the day if they are not going to be used? The answer is that they are. If you look at travel patterns in Europe compared to, say, the USA, then you'll find that transit systems on the whole are utilised far more off-peak in Europe than the US where transit is purely catering for the commuter.

I don't know whether or not you've ever lived in a car-centric city with poor PT provision, but I am currently right now, and I can tell you it is not much fun at all. Roads are far more needlessly crowded because PT provision isn't there. Of course, we'll always need good roads, but you disregard PT far too much as a viable method of transit, a mistake that certain countries have done already and now they suffer economically from lost productivity due to traffic jams.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #1067
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But did public transit solve any congestion problems in traffic jam-ridden cities? Look at New York for instance. It has a massive PT usage, yet the traffic jams are one of the worst in the country. Ofcourse, it would be far worse without public transit, so I believe it's a reciprocity of both modalities. Coincidentally, they just released new figures of commutertraffic patterns in the Netherlands. We are known for extensive PT, yet only 1 out of 10 commuters uses public transport. source in dutch
There's a reason why people chose their cars over public transit, and that reason is not only the stereotypically "lazyness" or "old habits".
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Old September 15th, 2008, 12:12 PM   #1068
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2 x 3 should be standard in germany - I can't believe some stretches of the A3, A5 or many other important routes are still 2 x 2 - being on the crossroads between east and west, north and south it is vital to have a working network. where else in europe can you be stuck in traffic at 3am in the middle of nowhere?

it takes ages to upgrade europe's largest highway network
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Old September 15th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #1069
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Yes, it does solve problems in traffic jam ridden cities. How many highways would be required in New York to cope with the new cars on the road from a lack of PT? Also, you're using an example which doesn't stack up compared to the rest of the country too. New York is by far the most dense city in the USA - more cars condensed into a small area, ergo more traffic problems.

Overall modality is a bad measure of the impact of PT though. It's in urban areas which PT thrives most of all. The inefficient intercity travel that many people do for work is something that has to be addressed for the future, but that's another argument.

Anyway, lets talk about economics when it comes to PT - I'll use Stuttgart as an example as that is a city that is spread across a valley with lots of settlements outside of the main city area making it very polycentric (plus it's in Germany and this is the autobahn thread). 320 million trips are taken on PT in the VVS region every year generating 327 million euros of revenue which covers 57% of all operations (including maintenance). This is a gain from the year 2000 where only 51% of operations were covered (and patronage was lower). Do roads generate such an income to assist in their maintenance? Can you imagine how many billions would need to be spent on road construction and how awful it would be for the city if massive highways needed to be constructed to accomodate 320 million extra vehicle trips?

As for the reason that people choose cars over PT - it's the perception of freedom and convenience, something which I have found not to be true in my travels in cities with decent PT. I find the upkeep of a car expensive, the taxes, the fuel, the vehicle maintenance, the stress of sitting in traffic jams. In most cities PT is cheaper and yes, it might take very slightly longer (though it can be quicker on a number of occasions), it still provides a similar level of flexibility. Once you factor in things like parking, and the walk from where you park, it tends to be just about equal (unless of course you have ugly parking structures all over the city).

I honestly don't understand why people choose cars over PT and it is something I struggle to understand, but there we go. It doesn't mean that PT is worth deriding and not being offered as an alternative - something which you seem, in some of your posting not to address properly.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #1070
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Do roads generate such an income to assist in their maintenance?
mamma mia, st. joseph....

No, roads do not generate even a penny a hole in the middle...

(have you ever heard of FUEL TAX? or VEHICLE TAX? or ROAD TAX?)
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #1071
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Course I have, and have you seen how much these amount for a national budget compared to how much is spent on roads.

(Yes, my response is just as sarcastic as your post to me).

The only reason I've even entered into this discussion is because of Chris and his attitude towards PT. In every post about road capacity he feels the need to twist the knife. A little balance is obviously needed.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #1072
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Course I have, and have you seen how much these amount for a national budget compared to how much is spent on roads.
yeah, only fractions...
(only fractions of the road income is given back to the roads...
the big portion goes to the PT (crossfinancing) and other social expenditure...)


Quote:
A little balance is obviously needed.
do you want to balance out Chris' objectivity with your prejudice?
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #1073
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Course I have, and have you seen how much these amount for a national budget compared to how much is spent on roads.
In the Netherlands:

Income from road-related taxes: 14,5 billion (excluding VAT/sales tax)
National budget: 179 billion
roads: 2,8 billion
railways: 2,7 billion

travel prestation:

Roads: 142 billion km
Rail: 15,5 billion km

You do the math...
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #1074
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yeah, only fractions...
(only fractions of the road income is given back to the roads...
the big portion goes to the PT (crossfinancing) and other social expenditure...)

do you want to balance out Chris' objectivity with your prejudice?
Chris is hardly objective in his presentation of "facts" either, mate. How many peer reviewed journal articles have you read on transport and societal benefits of a properly integrated approach to infrastructure?

I would ask you to read these for starters:

Mark Vugt. 1995. Car Versus Public Transportation? The Role of Social Value Orientations in a Real-Life Social Dilemma. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 25:258-78

Sallis JF, Frank LD, Saelens BE, Kraft MK. 2004. Active transportation and physical activity: opportunities for collaboration on transportation and public health research. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 38:249-68

Ian S. 1998. Ecological effects of roads and traffic: a literature review. Global Ecology & Biogeography 7:317-33

Hesse M. 1995. Urban space and logistics: on the road to sustainability? World Transport Policy and Practice 1:39-45

J. S D. 1986. Benefits of Changes in Urban Public Transport Subsidies in the Major Australian Cities*. The Economic Record 62:224-35

These articles all have helped to shape my views on public transport vs road transport. Not only this, but the essays that I have written on sustainability and the implementation of road-user charging for a paper which I took at Uni (yes, extramurally from my normal studies) have led me to the conclusion that a more balanced and pragmatic approach than simply "cars = desirable therefore greater capacity = good" needs to be taken. But hey, continue to debate with me if you wish. Post highly scientific newspaper stories with more media bias than I can shake a stick at if you wish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
In the Netherlands:

Income from road-related taxes: 14,5 billion (excluding VAT/sales tax)
National budget: 179 billion
roads: 2,8 billion
railways: 2,7 billion

travel prestation:

Roads: 142 billion km
Rail: 15,5 billion km

You do the math...
Good for the Netherlands then I guess! The same can't be said for other countries, like New Zealand for one. Out of our council rates which we pay based upon our house value, 20% goes towards roading improvements, whereas 4% goes towards health! The ephemeral term "Democracy" in our rates breakdown manages to get more funding than health at 5%!

Public transport on the other hand gets a very small percentage of our council rates at 4% going towards PT! Something tells me that this is overwhelmingly shifted towards subsidising the road user.

Also, have you factored in all of the other things associated with road and PT? The health implications of all the crashes, the policing, the societal impact? Of course not! You've just posted a figure for road maintenance rather than taking into account any hidden costs associated with each mode.

In 2003, 1.2 million people died worldwide on the roads (Suri et al 2004). The economic implication of this is $512 billion directly. Ouch.

Last edited by Svartmetall; September 15th, 2008 at 01:52 PM.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #1075
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Also, have you factored in all of the other things associated with road and PT? The health implications of all the crashes, the policing, the societal impact? Of course not! You've just posted a figure for road maintenance rather than taking into account any hidden costs associated with each mode.
So? I didn't incorporate healt insurance and car insurance either. It's extremely difficult to calculate those costs exactly. The hidden costs can be anything, up to extra absence on work because people sleep bad because of freeway or railway noise.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #1076
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In 2003, 1.2 million people died worldwide on the roads (Suri et al 2004). The economic implication of this is $512 billion directly. Ouch.
That's barely an argument, people die of anything, smoking, eating big macs, work accidents, flooding, hurricane etc.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #1077
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Of course it's an argument. Certain things have a greater burden on a society, and road transport is one of those that can have a direct figure attached to it based upon instant fatalities. It's far harder to attribute numbers and cash values to chronic incidents (smoking or eating a big mac to use your examples), but for an acute event (being hit by a car), it's easy to tally up the economics. Plus, unlike a hurricane, modulating our use of private vehicles is something that society can control.

Anyway, I'm really taking this thread off on a tangent. It's obvious that no matter what is said by academics it won't matter a jot, so I'll just let you say what you like.

EDIT: One thing you might find interesting though, since you cited Atlanta as an example... Go to Google Scholar and search for "The Planned City: Coping with Decentralization: an American Perspective" - it's an interesting read.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 02:52 PM   #1078
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The same can't be said for other countries, like New Zealand for one. Out of our council rates which we pay based upon our house value, 20% goes towards roading improvements, whereas 4% goes towards health! The ephemeral term "Democracy" in our rates breakdown manages to get more funding than health at 5%!

Public transport on the other hand gets a very small percentage of our council rates at 4% going towards PT! Something tells me that this is overwhelmingly shifted towards subsidising the road user.
well, I dont know your tax system, but I presume there are not only "house tax" but there are fuel tax, vehicle tax, salary tax, sales tax, etc...

so this tax is only one of the taxes...

in case of "house tax" (which is a local income for the local government) the 20% for roads, and 4% for PT seems OK for me.

think about it:
the PT BUSES, the police, the firefighters, the ambulance, the trash-lorries... ALL of them use the roads of the city...

or do you want to build tracks on every street?

Last edited by H123Laci; September 15th, 2008 at 02:59 PM.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 03:12 PM   #1079
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The council tax is indeed our "house tax" so to speak. We also have a "registration" to pay on our vehicles every year, though this amount really is nominal, and yes we have a "sales tax" - the GST (Goods and services tax). Our fuel tax is too low to fund road improvements, hence why we need to contribute so much with our council rates (which are quite high). The fuel tax also only goes to fund "Transit" - the government portion of roading, meaning only our state highways are maintained by our fuel tax, not our local roads.

20% for roads, 4% for health - this is more my complaint than the amount spent on PT compared to roads. Our health system is collapsing in this part of the city (everyone is in corridors all the time and our maternity wards are dangerously overcrowded), but our roads are resurfaced, expanded and money is pumped into them all the time. Just recently $1.2 billion worth of road will be constructed as a flyover, demolishing 150 houses. Sounds like value for money to me!

We spend a lot on roads because we sprawl - something that Chris was advocating with his use of Atlanta as an example.

Anyway, like I said in my post to Chris above, I'm sorry for taking this off on a tangent. I've offered for him to debate with me many times via PM so we don't clog threads, but he never takes me up on that . But I'll throw the offer out to you if you want to continue this discussion.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 04:01 PM   #1080
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hmmm... I think I see your problem...

here in europe the situation is totally different:
here are extremely huge taxes on fuel and vehicles, it creates an enormous income which significantly surpasses (many times) the expenditures on the roads...

and despite this we have overcrowded, bad conditioned roads...
(there are some exceptions, eg: spain, portugal, but they are using EU money for they big road projects)

(health care is a different story....
eg. in hungary there is a separate "health care tax" on the salary, so if we would like more money to the health care, we should have to pay more "health care tax"...)
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