Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some [just some] of the numbers on autosprawl subsidy - from Grist and Litman

Local roads, where you most likely do the bulk of your daily bicycling, are a different story. The cost of building, maintaining, and managing traffic on these local roads adds up to about 6 cents per mile for each motor vehicle. The cost contributed to these roads by the drivers of these motor vehicles through direct user fees? 0.7 cents per mile. The rest comes out of the general tax fund.

This means that anyone who owns a home, rents, purchases taxable goods, collects taxable income, or runs a business also pays for the roads. If you don't drive a car, even for some trips, you are subsidizing those who do -- by a lot. The best primer on this is economist Todd Litman's highly readable 2004 report "Whose Roads." (It's also the source for most of the figures in this column. Download the PDF here). A journalist recently crunched the numbers in Seattle and found the discrepancy in 2010 to be as wide as ever.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arlington Transit Blog: Try Transit Week and Go Car Free for a Day!

Arlington Transit Blog: Try Transit Week and Go Car Free for a Day!: "Get out those ART maps and schedules to figure out the best route to take to the office next week! Virginia's third annual Try Transit Week will be held September 20-24 and is the perfect opportunity to try taking the bus, train or metro to where you need to go. Those who pledge to try a form of transit during the week will be entered into a drawing for a year's free pass to the transit service of their choice and also two round trip tickets on Amtrak VA."

Friday, September 10, 2010

UNC Greensboro commuter-friendly with bike-share, car-share, and free transit

The National Center for Transit Research has named UNC-Greensboro as one of the "Best Workplaces for Commuters," according to an announcement.

UNCG is the first employer in the Triad to win the national recognition, the announcement from the school said. The National Center for Transit Research is based at the University of South Florida.

UNCG has been expanding its on-campus transportation options to reduce the need for private cars, in part due to a lack of space for individual parking. The school offers free public transit options, helps coordinate car pools, and recently added the car-sharing service Zipcar for use by students, staff and faculty. A bike-sharing program called Spartan Cycles will also launch this fall.

UNCG’s focus on alternative transportation expands the university’s sustainability efforts and allows students and employees to save more of their hard earned money, said Scott Milman, UNCG's director of auxiliary services.

“Sending a car to school adds to the cost of attendance. We want students and parents to know they can save money by coming to UNCG without a car,” Milman said.

Read more: UNCG wins commuting award - The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area

Monday, September 6, 2010

UN foresees food riots -- meanwhile thousands of cars per day added to world highways

UN calls special meeting to address food shortages amid predictions of riots | Environment | The Observer: "Last week, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) called an emergency meeting for 24 September to discuss the food crisis. In Mozambique, riots broke out following the government's decision to raise bread prices by 30%, leaving seven people dead and hundreds injured. At the same time the Russian government extended its export ban on wheat by another 12 months as it battles drought, shortages and inflation at home, which threatens to push up prices further. European wheat prices hit more than €231 (�192) a tonne last week, just below last month's two-year high of €236 but still 60% higher than a year ago in sterling terms. Corn prices are at their highest level since June 2009 while sugar has been on a rollercoaster ride after hitting a 29-year peak in February."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US race to profits and disaster not slowing down

Unless there are changes in the pattern of development that now favors low density housing, strip malls, and exurban road construction, the USFS estimates that from 2020 to 2040, suburban growth will lead to another 19 million acres of forest loss. In total, this loss is approximately 31 million acres, an area about the size of North Carolina. The USFS also recently released a report that details the impact increasing housing density is having on ecosystem services from forests across the U.S. and identifies the South as a region particularly at risk. WorldResourcesInstitute