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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for June 25th, 2007

The Economist Tories Loved, Then Silenced

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The Tyee June 25, 2007

Marc Jaccard has been studying what to do about greenhouse gas emissions for some time. His studies conclude that Canadian governments’ attempts to tackle them have been half hearted and ineffective. Not only is it now too late to meet our Kyoto commitments (which were probably too small to have any real effect on global warming anyway) but the Conservatives’ current plans will not even meet their own , more modest targets.

But the Conservatives do not want any news that looks like it is critical of Stephen Harper, so the parliamentary committee that Jaccard was going to address has been put into limbo.

Jaccard is a good economist and not partisan on this issue. Both Liberals and Conservatives are not doing enough, and do not seem likely to.

“The only effective policies are also the most difficult for finding political acceptance,” they write. “This explains why politicians have been reluctant to implement them, and it explains the policy failures of the last decade and a half.”

The only things that would work would be a carbon tax or a cap and trade system. Both are explained in the article – and they would not wreck the economy.

The Vancouver Sun picked up on this with an opinion piece by Dan Gardner in Thursday’s paper.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 25, 2007 at 6:56 pm

One-fare transit test launched

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Toronto Star June 25, 2007

Transportation officials are promising that the new green Presto fare smart card being rolled out in a test next month will revolutionize public transit in the Toronto region. Presto will be launched on Mississauga Transit, GO and the TTC, starting in mid-July, allowing riders to move across the three systems with only one fare card.

It is a stored value smart card, which deducts each trip from the card’s chip as the journeys are made. Cards like this have been around for a while and have been very successful in cities like Hong Kong (octopus) and London (oyster card) which have multiple operators.

Mississauga Transit will begin tomorrow recruiting about 500 regular riders on the Cooksville and Meadowvale shuttle buses, who transfer to GO and the TTC, to test the card and help work out any bugs.

By 2010 the card should be available from Hamilton to Durham Region. The TTC is the only area transit authority that still hasn’t officially signed on to the project.

Yeah, that sounds familiar. I once worked for two years to get Twin Pass going: the TTC people thought that their contribution should only be to bang the table and yell “A dollar ride for a dollar fare” (as though that meant anything) whenever it looked like things weren’t going their way.

UPDATE June 29

A few more details in the Hamilton Mountain News 

Written by Stephen Rees

June 25, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

Bogota’s urban happiness movement

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“designing a city can be a very powerful means to generate happiness.”

This article starts with Car Free Day and then goes on from there. Inspiring stuff.

There is also this observation, which economists must take note of:

Proponents of hedonics, or happiness economics, have been gaining influence. London School of Economics professor Richard Layard, who wrote the seminal Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, was an adviser to Tony Blair’s first Labour government. Prof. Layard asserts that, contrary to the guiding principle of a century of economists, income is a poor measure of happiness. Economic growth in England and the U.S. in the past half-century hasn’t measurably increased life satisfaction.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 25, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Posted in Economics

Bike Share experiment

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Written by Stephen Rees

June 25, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Transportation