An occasional update on items from Motordom – the world of auto dominance

__________________________________

 

EVIDENCE OF THE SELF-EVIDENT

Jason Vanderhill picked this up from boingoing: “You can reduce highway lanes without making traffic worse.”

You cannot reduce traffic jams by building more lanes — in fact, more lanes often create more traffic. But new studies show that reducing roads doesn’t make traffic worse.  … At Wired, Adam Mann goes on to explain that there are limits and caveats to this trick, but that, despite this, it does remain a great example of how what actually happens in the real world does not necessarily conform to our “common sense” expectations of what should happen in the real world.

 

__________________________________
 
.
PEAK CAR?

Eric Britton of World Streets posts this summary surrounding ‘peak car’ – “a hypothesis that per capita car use is close to its maximum level, and may stabilise or turn down.”  A roundtable discussion on the topic took place in London on 20 May 2014, available here.

.

• There have been strongly divergent trends in different locations  ….

.

• At the aggregate level, evidence of shifts in demand predates recent economic difficulties, including decoupling of traffic growth and economic growth, reductions in propensity to learn to drive, changing land use and migration trends (which had previously been dominated by movements to areas encouraging higher car use, and in the 2000s reversed), growth of internet use, and decline in traffic levels in London and some other urban areas. These shifts have mostly been observed in the 1990s and early 2000s, including periods of strong economic growth.

.

• Over the same period, there have been changes in transport policy and travel conditions favouring public transport, walking and cycling in some places, changes in tax effects on prices (especially company car use), parking control, congestion levels, and fuel prices. ..

.

Taken together, these features would imply that per capita car use is influenced by both economic and other structural factors, cannot be converted to total traffic levels simply by multiplying by population, and demands serious re-examination. …

 

[Also: Going down? Newman and Kenworthy on Peak Car Use – one of the most widely read pieces ever to appear in World Streets.]

______________________________________________________________

 .

THIS VIDEO IS EARNEST AND INFORMATIVE.

You should watch it.

So not the most enticing come-on.  But it’s true: this video has a good storyline about parking – the shaper of our cities – and good graphics too –  “A new production from Streetfilms and transportation nonprofit ITDP breaks it down Schoolhouse Rock-style:”

 

 

__________________________________

Comments

  1. “Peak Car” is such a Western-centric term. What is really happening is that as the West’s economy fades, the love affair with the car moves on to China and the other growing areas of economic power. So in essence, celebrating peak car is celebrating our economic decline.

  2. More cars than ever before will be built this year. Both Toyota and VW are reporting 5 million units in the first half of 2014. The US economy is improving, Chrysler just reported its 32nd consecutive month of increased sales. Auto production is now the top industry in Mexico. BMW and VW are also building huge new plants in the US and even China has a car factory in Brazil.

    There may be some slowdowns in some European countries but certainly not in Latin or North America or in Asia.

  3. Wow! In the report mentioned above, usage in London was down 1.2%.

    In a separate report, Deutsche Bank estimates global automobile sales will rise 4% in 2014, to 87.4 million light vehicles. That would be slightly ahead of the 3.5% growth the industry is on track to hit for this year, when global auto sales are expected to total 84 million vehicles. Total auto sales estimates can vary because of inconsistencies in reporting by different countries and whether heavier duty vehicles are included in the total.

    The key drivers will be a return to growth in Europe and continued strong demand in the U.S. and China.

    By 2018 sales are forecast to break 100 million, according to the unit of business-information provider IHS Inc.

    This global growth is driven by rising wealth in emerging markets as well as relatively moderate gasoline prices.

    “In every major economy in the world we are expecting economic growth,” said Charles Chesbrough, an economist with IHS.

  4. Reducing traffic by reducing the road – closing down a link, removing a freeway, narrowing a highway, road diets – none of this is new or surprising. Phil Goodwin (then at UCL) produced a metastudy of road reduction benefits back in the early 1990s. Why does it take ‘murica so long to catch up to these ideas?

  5. Taken together, these features [increasing public transport, walking, bicycling; decoupling of traffic growth and economic growth, reductions in propensity to learn to drive, changing land use and migration trends (which had previously been dominated by movements to areas encouraging higher car use, and in the 2000s reversed], would imply that per capita car use is influenced by both economic and other structural factors, cannot be converted to total traffic levels simply by multiplying by population, and demands serious re-examination. …

    Don’t forget status. I was laughing with a Texas friend about the popularity of trucks owned by people who almost never need that hauling utility, when the conversation shifted to the number of vehicles. He said, “Oh, yeah. If you don’t have two or three cars, you’re nobody.”

    Now, Texas is for sure an outlier. But as new car sales in the U.S. hit record levels, it’s something not to be forgotten. Or dismissed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *