Archive | Automobiles

The Future of Car Ownership

Via Planetizen:

Accounting/consulting firm KPMG predicts that the share of multi-car households will drop from today’s 57% to 43% by 2040. That will be driven by a combination of demographics and ridesharing (e.g., Uber) and carsharing (e.g. Zipcar) services.

Others suggest that autonomous vehicles could be an additional disrupter.


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!

Oregonian Looks at the Small Picture

An editorial in today’s O the editorial board calls Earl Blumenauer’s proposed gax tax increase ‘too steep’ and quotes the “non-partisan Tax Foundation” citing Oregon’s gas tax as among the nation’s 20 highest.

Looking at the big picture, it’s worth remembering that Oregon’s motor vehicle fees and taxes when added together are among the nation’s lowest.

You can’t make good policy by looking at one fact in isolation.

Meet the “P Design Vehicle”

It is often said of traffic engineers that we’re an auto-centric bunch. I’m sure you’re aware of the list of sins—designing everything to minimize auto delay during the busiest 15 minutes and all that jazz. But what specific auto, pray tell, is at the centre of our auto-centrism?

That would be what we in the biz call the “P Design Vehicle.” The “P” is a creation of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Though it doesn’t actually exist, it’s more important than most cars that do, as it is intended to be the standard passenger vehicle that roads and facilities are designed around. Want to build a drive-through access to your business? It has to accommodate the “P.” Want to include some on-site parking with your 40-unit apartment building (and if not, you’re out of luck!)? You’ve got to design it so the “P” can park. Building an adorable little Shared Court [pdf] to enhance the sense of community in your residential development? The “P” has to be able to comfortably navigate it.

Let’s go below the jump for a closer look.

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