Archive | February, 2012

Great Discussion of LOS and Congestion

A very well-written article at the Project for Public Spaces makes the compelling case for why LOS (level of service) is the wrong tool for sizing streets and roads. LOS is a way of measuring congestion.

As the article makes clear, some congestion is not a bad thing:

Asking the simple question, “Do you want congestion reduced at a particular location?” is a question out of context. It’s like asking you whether you want to never be stung by a bee again. Of course, the answer will be yes. But what if I told you that to in order to never suffer a sting again, every plant within a several mile radius would have to be destroyed — and that you could never leave the area of destruction?

You would have a completely different answer, I’m sure.

Plus, it has cartoons!

But seriously, here in this region we’ve been actively looking for better performance metrics than LOS (particularly metrics that account for how many people we can move through a corridor, rather than vehicles).

Your Questions for Neil — The Trilogy

It’s that time of the year again–time for Portland Transport’s annual sit-down with TriMet general manager Neil McFarlane, We hosted previous interviews with Neil last spring, as well as in July 2010, right after he took office. (The results of those interviews can be seen here and here).

And now, it is time for Round 3. At this time, I would like to open the floor for proposed questions for Neil McFarlane–simply post a comment to pose a question. Anything which is relevant to transportation, mobility, and land-use is fair game, including controversial topics such as the recent fare hikes and service reductions, the ongoing labor dispute with ATU 757, or capital projects past, present, and future. Questions should be brief and to the point, and civil. Due to time constraints, not all questions may be asked; we may condense or compile the questions as necessary, but intend to ask a representative samle. The interviewer may elect to go off on tangents or pose follow-up questions as necessary.

The interview will be conducted in mid-March; Chris Smith will be conducting the interviews this time around. Bob Richardson, as always, will be behind the camera and will handle the post-production of the videos. After the interviews are conducted and edited, they will be uploaded to Youtube (broken up into manageable-sized chunks, in large part due to Youtube’s limitations on clip length), and articles linking to them will be posted here. Time permitting, we may transcribe some of the articles, for those who prefer to read or watch; we may also solicit volunteers for this as well.

The floor is now open!

The Economics and Public Health Impacts of Diesel

Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Winter 2012 Transportation Seminar Series

Speaker: Kevin Downing (Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality)
Topic: Driving to the Tragedy of the Commons Using a Diesel Engine

When: Friday, February 24, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Where: PSU Urban Center Building, SW 6th and Mill, Room 204

PSU’s Students in Transportation Engineering and Planning (STEP) will be holding a TRB debrief reception at Lucky Lab NW (1945 NW Quimby, Portland) on Tuesday, February 21 from 6-8pm. Read more…