Author Archive | Chris Smith

Transportation Summit to Focus on Safety

The 6th Annual Oregon Transportation Summit (September 15th) will focus on safety as the key topic.

My sometimes debating opponent (stop spacing, value of streetcars) Jarrett Walker of Human Transit fame will be the keynote speaker.

From the descriptive materials:

The 2014 Summit will have a considerable focus on safety and its relevance to creating livable communities. In the plenary session, Minnesota DOT’s Sue Groth will describe her state’s implementation of programs as part of its Toward Zero Deaths philosophy. In a two-part response, Oregon DOT’s Troy Costales will describe efforts across the state regarding TZD and Leah Treat, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, will describe what TZD means to the city. There will also be a workshop in the morning on system-level safety (“Safety Is More than a Buzzword”) featuring Utah DOT’s Robert Hull. In the afternoon, a workshop on project-level safety will pay particular attention to the safety of bicycles and pedestrians.

Register here.

 

Validation?

My Twitter feed has been abuzz again this weekend. This time with news of a study that shows a reduction in auto traffic (and emissions) following startup of a light rail line (in Salt Lake City).

This is apparently a first. Not having a demonstrated result like this has always been an arrow in the quiver of rail skeptics. I’m sure they’ll find ways to dispute this study… or just call it an outlier.

While I’m happy to see this, I’ve always thought this was an elusive thing to show, primarily because any passengers diverted from their cars were likely to be replaced from a pool of latent demand (I strongly suspect that Highway 26 in the Portland region works this way). So High Capacity Transit’s big benefit was in absorbing new demand in a corridor, not in diverting existing demand.

But maybe, and I’m just guessing here, in the light of declines in driving nationally, the pool of latent demand is diminished and we can actually show HCT taking demand away from SOVs. Wouldn’t that be nice!