david pritchard. bibliography.

Notes on Robert Cervero, The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry [20]

This was a fantastic book, and very optimistic. It really opened my eyes up to the full gamut of possibilities for transit service provision.

Transit and the Metropolis: Finding Harmony

[T]he transit metropolis represents a built form and a mobility environment where transit is a far more respectable alternative to traveling than currently is the case in much of the industrialized world. [...] [W]hile automobile travel might still predominate, a transit metropolis is one where enough travelers opt for transit riding, by virtue of the workable transit-land use nexus, to place a region on a sustainable course.

[p. 4]

Transit and the Changing World

Many motorcycles in Asia are powered by two-stroke engines (largely phased out in other parts of the world), which emit as much as ten times more hydrocarbons and smoke per kilometer as four-stroke motorcycles and even cars. According to one estimate, the South (i.e., the Southern Hemisphere, including the poor countries of Africa Southeast Asia, and Latin America) is responsible for 45 percent of the annual increase in fuel emissions that are causing global warming, and much of this is attributed to rapid increases in motorization, including two-wheelers.

[p. 32]

As a result of both factors—declining real prices and improved fuel economy—the real price of gasoline paid by America's motoring public for each kilometer traveled fell by almost 50 percent [between 1980 and 1993]. Yet over the same period, inflation-adjusted transit fares rose by nearly the same magnitude, 47 percent.

[p. 34]

A study of hundreds of parking facilities across ten U.S. cities found that peak parking demand absorbed, on average, only 56 percent of capacity [111].

[p. 35]

America's direct motoring subsidies contrast sharply with European experiences, where the ratio of roadway taxes to expenditures range from 1.3 in Switzerland to 5.1 in the Netherlands [compared to 0.6 for the U.S.]. [90].

[p. 35]

Studies of hidden subsidies to motorists in Europe similarly place the monetary figure at about 5 percent of the continent's total GDP [68,76,50]. While (as discussed later in this chapter) subsidies for transit riding in the United States are probably comparable to those for motoring on a per passenger kilometer basis, motoring subsidies are so huge in the aggregate (again, as much as $2,400 billion annually [in the U.S.]) that they probably swamp the impacts of some $15 billion in annual subsidies to U.S. transit riders.

[p. 36]

Studies show that a large share of government subsidies to transit get consumed by higher labor costs and fewer kilometers of service per worker [97,11,83].

[p. 37]

Even fiscal conservatives have chimed in about favoritism [of road over transit projects] in government programs. Paul Weyrich and William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C., remark: "The current division of market share between the automobile and mass transit is in no way the product of a free market. On the contrary, it reflects massive and sustained government intervention on behalf of automobiles... Massive government intervention has so skewed the market toward the automobile that many consumers do not have the option of a high-quality transit system ."

[p. 38]

Efforts to expand the role of the private sector in delivering transit services has probably, on balance, been a positive institutional trend. With the onset of federal subsidy cuts under the Reagan administration, many U.S. transit properties began competitively contracting out services in the 1980s to the lowest bidder that could meet minimal service standards. Studies show private operators of fixed-route bus services brought cost savings of between 22 and 54 percent (mainly from hiring nonunionized, lower-waged employees), along with higher labor productivity (more vehicle kilometers per driver) [104,81].

[p. 39]

A recent panel study of California metropolitan areas found new road capacity induced travel: between 1973 and 1990, every 10 percent increase in highway lane-kilometers led to a 9 percent increase in vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) within a four-year period, controlling for the influences of other factors [47].

[p. 41]

One study of bus-only cities in the United States and Europe estimated that it is generally twice as fast to travel by car as by bus [61]. Even in larger rail-based cities in Japan and Europe, the study found point-to-point travel times by car to be 3 to 23 percent shorter than by transit. The central premise of this book is that transit will only become time-competitive with the car by improving the match between how services are configured and cities are designed.

[p. 43]

A study of Bangkok police officers regularly exposed to road traffic found they had blood lead levels significantly above World Health Organization (WHO) standards [71].

[p. 44]

The United States, with just 4.6 percent of the world's population, produces nearly one-quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. However, it is the rapidly developing and motorizing countries of the Southern Hemisphere that pose the greatest threat to global climate change. Walter Hook and Michael Replogle estimate that the South is responsible for 45 percent of the annual increases in greenhouse gas emissions [53].

[p. 45]

In 1995, the average commute by private automobiles in the United States consumed 6,500 BTUs per passenger kilometer, compared to 5,940 BTUs per passenger kilometer if the trip was by bus transit and 5,440 per passenger kilometer if the trip was by rail transit [2,40]. Transit's energy advantages are even higher elsewhere. In German cities, bus transit is estimated to be four times more energy-efficient than the car, and tram and metro services 2.5 times more efficient [110]. Some critics charge, however, that when the energy expenditures for constructing rail systems are counted, rail investments can be net energy losers. One study estimated that, because of the high energy outlays in building the transbay tube, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system uses 3.6 percent more energy annually than would an exclusive busway along the Bay Bridge [65]. Clearly, unless trains attract large numbers of former motorists, the energy conservation benefits of new metros will remain questionable.

[pp. 46-47]

Of course, those are per-kilometer stats. If rail can successfully encourage shorter trips than bus rapid transit, then a real energy benefit can be seen.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three-quarters of all traffic accidents occur in the Southern Hemisphere, even though there are many more motorized vehicles north of the equator [113]. In 1990, traffic accidents ranked ninth among causes of death and disability worldwide. By 2020, WHO expects the road-traffic toll to jump to third place worldwide (second place in developing countries). Part of the problem is the poor enforcement of traffic laws in developing countries, but the more serious problem is pedestrians, cyclists, carts, and scooters competing against cars, trucks, and buses for limited road space. In New Delhi, three-quarters of people killed on the road are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists [99]. Shanghai averages ten times as many traffic fatalities per capita as Tokyo, partly because of the high exposure of pedestrians and cyclists to fast-moving traffic, but also because of delays, caused by traffic congestion, in providing first aid to accident victims [71].

[...] In wealthy countries, most citizens indemnify themselves against the risk of traffic accidents through insurance payments, thus absorbing costs and, should they require it, receiving compensation. Of course, in the developing world, where insurance is often a luxury, the losses, pain, and suffering experienced by victims and their families, who often are among society's poorest, can be catastrophic.

[pp. 48-49]

A study of commuting in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles found that unequal accessibility to jobs explained nearly half of the difference in employment rates between black and white teenagers [56,59].

[p. 49]

In contrast to the Western world, many poor households in developing countries have been displaced to the periphery of metropolitan areas. Living on the outskirts away from central city jobs, often imposes significant financial hardships. In large cities with poor public transit connections, low-income households spend as much as a quarter of their earnings on transportation, and those living on the fringe can spend more than three to four hours a day getting to and from work [112].

[p. 50]

In what is perhaps the most complete and rigorous evaluation conducted to date, Mark DeLucchi of the University of California at Davis placed the hidden subsidies to U.S. motorists as high as slightly more than $1,000 billion each year [28,75,66].

[p. 51]

There is simply no credible way to get at the full social benefits of automobility. Many analysis maintain that unborne costs are more than offset by the benefits conferred by private motor vehicles, including higher economic productivity and freedom to live and travel as one chooses. Even Mark DeLucchi, who has assigned higher social costs to automobile travel than anyone, writes: "motor-vehicle use provides enormous social benefits and, in our view, probably greatly exceeds the social cost." While for some this is no doubt true, for many who are too poor to own a car, the social costs of an auto-oriented world could very well exceed the purported benefits. This is an area where disparities abound.

[p. 52]

Other refs: [9,23,85,42,43,29,64,94,89,39,34,100,86,62,58,77,69]

Public Policies and the Sustainable Transit Metropolis

Any public policy whose compliance is gauged in terms of inputs (i.e., effort) instead of outcomes (i.e., performance) is wrongheaded and destined to please few. The programs that most effectively modify travel behavior pass on clear and unmistakable price signals, such as by underwriting carpools and vanpools, charging for parking, and providing free or heavily subsidized transit passes (thus partly offsetting the parking subsidies).

[p. 64]

Berlin's area-wide traffic-calming measures have been credited with removing traffic out of residential neighborhoods and onto commercial streets and reducing citywide accidents involving pedestrians by 43 percent [77].

[p. 65]

It is widely agreed that higher urban densities will do more than any single change to our cityscapes in attracting people to trains and buses. A cumulative body of empirical studies over the past half-century convincingly show this to be the case. Statistical comparisons between cities and across corridors within cities suggest that every 10 percent increase in population and employment densities yields anywhere between a 5 and 8 percent increase in transit ridership, controlling for other factors (such as the lower incomes, restricted parking, and better transit services generally associated with more compact settings) [72,67,91,80]. Studies also consistently show that transit demand rises most sharply when going from very low to modest densities—say, from 4 dwelling units per net residential acre to 10 to 15 units per acre—that is, from settings with quarter-acre spacious home sites to ones with mixes of small-lot detached units and duplexes/triplexes [52,36,15].

[pp. 72-73]

Australian cities are less dense than their American counterparts and have more road capacity per capita, yet still average 44 percent more transit trips per capita, mainly due to substantially higher quality transit services (see the Melbourne and Adelaide cases in this book).

[p. 74]

A recent analysis of work trips across eleven large U.S. metropolitan areas showed that having stores between a transit stop and one's residence increased the share of work trips via transit by several percentage points. [18]. Conveniently sited retail outlets meant transit riders could do their shopping en route home in the evening, thus linking work and shop trips in a single tour.

[p. 77]

One can find many examples of compact, mixed-use cities with active street life—Bangkok, Jakarta, and São Paulo come to mind—that are hardly paragons of sustainable development. What is often missing is good-quality urban design.

[p. 78]

Research in New South Wales concluded that TDM policies coupled with jobs-housing balance and mixed-use development will have a greater effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions than urban consolidation policies that might have to wait a half-century or so for significant payoff [49].

[p. 80]

[In Bremen, Germany] a new complex of 200 apartments and homes, Bremen-Hollerland, accepts only tenants and homeowners who renounce car ownership. [...] The program has been legally challenged by land developers who fear that forbidding car possession through restrictive covenants could significantly affect the market value of affected housing. [106, p. 131].

[pp. 80, 103]

Several dozen studies have investigated the land-use and urban-form impacts of new-generation rail systems built since the early 1950s in Toronto, Montreal, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and other cities, generally reaching similar conclusions: rail investments can induce meaningful changes in urban landscapes, though only when the public sector is committed to closely working with the private sector to bring this about [6,25,31,27,30,32,37,46,95,109].

[p. 83]

One study claimed that the [Toronto Yonge St.] subway brought about a US$12 billion appreciation in citywide land values during its first decade of service [48].

[p. 83]

Canadian cities are granted considerable latitude in exercising their police powers to seize private properties, with due compensation, when doing so is in the broader public interest. During the mid-1950s, the city of Toronto obtained twenty-two city blocks over and beyond what was necessary to build the Yonge Street subway line. Some parcels were sold to selected developers for large-scale commercial projects (which attracted high-quality development since land had already been assembled). Most publicly acquired properties, however, were leased according to terms that were at least as favorable to public interests as private ones. By controlling much of the land around stations, the city could target activities with the highest potential to generate ridership to station areas, while also recapturing much of the value added by the subway investment.

[pp. 88-89]

Noted urban sociologist Homer Hoyt observed more than a half century ago that urban form is largely a product of the dominant transportation technology during a city's prevailing period of growth [54]. This tenet is certainly borne out by the experiences of metropolitan Toronto and San Francisco. As illustrated in Figure 3.2, the growth of cities usually follows an attenuated S-shaped curve. Toronto timed its opening of the TTC subway perfectly. In the case of BART, new rail services were generally "too little, too late" to exert a big influence on urban form. With most of the region's freeway system and settlement pattern already in place, BART's incremental additions to regional accessibility were too small to substantially sway development decisions. The lesson: the biggest potential payoffs from pro-active planning around transit stations in coming years will be in the fastest growing areas—in general, the Jakartas, Bangkoks, and Shanghais of the world, cities that are now implementing or seriously contemplating major new regional transit investments.

[p. 96]

Other refs: [102,14,108,105,35,98,70,84,107,78,87,61,41,38,7,8,44,96,93,57,73,1,82,92,3,4,19,16,26,51,33,12,13,79,17,21]

Orbiting the City with Rail-Served Satellites: Stockholm, Sweden

[B]eginning in 1904, the Stockholm city council began purchasing land for future expansion decades in advance of need. By 1980, it owned 70 percent of the 188 square kilometers of land within its boundaries and 600 square kilometers of land beyond the city limits.

[p. 112]

Despite surveys that showed Swedes preferred low- to mid-rise suburban homes, Markelius set about building fairly dense satellite centers so that most residents could be within walking distance of a rail stop. He hoped that by doing so, many households would feel it unnecessary to own or use a car to reach downtown Stockholm.

[p. 112]

Markelius devised the rule of halves: half the working inhabitants would commute out of new towns and half of the work force were to be drawn in from elsewhere. [...] Stockholm's satellites were not intended to be fully self-contained—more like "half contained"—even though they were planned for a balance of jobs and housing units.

[p. 113]

Under the regoinal plan, satellite subcenters would function as countermagnets to central Stockholm, inducing efficient, bidirectional traffic flows. This meant building Tunnelbana in advance of demand and incurring huge operating deficits at the outset, but with the expectation that the investment would begin to pay off as the new settlement pattern took form.

[p. 113]

Stockholm's first generation of new towns, called ABC towns (A=housing, B=jobs, and C=services), were designed using a common formula: [...] Separation of pedestrian and bicycle paths from automobile traffic, including grade separation at intersections.

[p. 116]

Rather than stressing the internalization of trips within satellite communities, the new focus was on encouraging balanced flows of travel among communities via electric trains. In a way, a jobs-housing balance was supplanted by a transit-flow balance as a normative planning doctrine.

[...] All of Stockholm's new towns, regardless of generation, have very low indices of independence—below 0.15. That is, more than six times as many work trips are external as internal.

[pp. 122, 124]

One of Stockholm's most noteworthy transit achievements is its incredibly balanced two-way traffic flows. During peak hours, directional splits of 45:55 percent are not uncommon on some rail lines. Workers reverse-commuting to jobs in rail-served suburbs have produced this remarkable balance.

[p. 126]

Greater Stockholm's transit achievements are impressive given that it is a prosperous region where most households own cars. Stockholmers enjoy high levels of automobility. Many simply choose to leave their cars at home for the daily routine of traveling to and from work, preferring transit instead. Cars have a more specialized role. They are used for hauling groceries, going out in the evening, or taking weekend excursions to the countryside, where many Swedes own second homes.

[p. 127]

The region continues to add major roads, however. Plans for an underground expressway that will enable motorists to bypass the central city are moving forward. The only way backers could win approval for the project was to support the introduction of road pricing in the city center [...] with revenues going to finance both road and transit improvements. Planners hope that higher motoring fees will reduce the number of cars entering the city center by 25 percent.

[p. 128]

The typical Bay Area resident was found to log 2.4 times more vehicle kilometers per weekday as his or her counterpart from greater Stockholm—44.3 versus 18.4. [...] On average, Bay Area residents travel 60 percent farther, in terms of distance, for convenience shopping and 40 percent farther to eat, yet the amount of time devoted to both trip purposes is about the same in the two regions. The average Bay Area resident ends up traveling considerably farther, consuming more finite resources, but without reaping any time-savings benefit [45].

[p. 129]

Tunnelbana's radial orientation was partly dictated by the region's fragmented landscape of rivers and inlets, which have created wedge-shaped land masses.

[p. 130]

The Hand-Shaped Metropolis: Copenhagen, Denmark


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David Pritchard 2007-12-10