Saturday, December 28, 2013

Portland's 'transit vision' is not achieving the desired results

At the other end of the spectrum, Portland, Ore., has pursued road-skeptical policies similar to many major Canadian cities. The result is markedly worsened commuting times. According to the TTI, over the past 30 years Portland has gone from having the 47th worst congestion in the U.S. to the sixth worst.Sick of congestion? Build roads, not transit - The Globe and Mail


Anonymous said...

Let's see here. We have a study from Tex-ass, oil (aka Texas tea) country, saying that urban sprawl and more and more roads are good, and public transit is bad. What goes on those roads? Cars. What goes into those cars? Oil (gas)! On top of that, public transit also goes against the libertarian/tea party p.o.v. because unions are involved and some billionaire doesn't own it. Finally, congestion isn't a problem in cities like Detroit because nobody lives there anymore, is that good too? And what about climate change that has turned much of Texas and the West into drought ravaged wastelands? Any connection to all those cars? Nah, couldn't be...

Max said...

The Texas Transportation Institute is hardly a shill for the oil industry, but that doesn't mean that this particular study isn't suspect.

"A key conceptual issue is whether the TTI measures the right thing. For example, an arterial that is dense with destinations may flow slowly, but with short travel distances, provide excellent access. Still, the TTI would indicate a problem. The same issue applies at the system level. An area that has “bad” TTI ratings may be better for travel than one with good ratings, depending on local road connectivity, availability of modal choices, convenience of land uses, and other factors."

In short: the article points out that congestion does not correlate to actual commute time. If you measured actual commute time, Portland is more like #20.

Jason McHuff said...

The TTI metrics infer that an area of fairly congested roads where people drive much farther is worse than an area where congestion might technically be worse per mile but people drive less.

Do you want 5 miles of congestion or 1 mile of heavier congestion?

Jason McHuff said...

Also, someone mentioned it somewhere that Windell Cox isn't the respected "urban geographer" the article calls him.

Remember “urban sprawl” is not a problem to be solved, but part of the answer to how vast numbers of people can live together in big cities without life grinding to a halt in traffic.

Maybe they won't "grind to a halt" if roads are built, but they sure will drive a lot.