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Showing posts from April, 2008

"Metered Access" to Cars - could this become the norm?

Imagine a future where most of us have easy access to cars whenever we want but few people have a car of their own. Does that sound horrifying or wonderful to you? Chris Bradshaw is an imaginative thinker about urban transport. A retired planner form Ottawa in Canada, he has long been an advocate for pedestrian rights. More recently, he has made car-sharing a passion. Bradshaw's vision for the role of carsharing is ambitious and striking. He envisages a future in which having a car of your own becomes the exception. The normal way to get access to a car would be through what he calls MASC, or 'metered access to shared cars' . This would make car-sharing, taxis and car-rental much more central to urban transport policy making than they are now. [Note: Carsharing enterprises are sometimes called car-clubs or car co-ops but don't confuse carsharing with ride-sharing or car-pooling.] He explains his ideas in a paper entitled, 'How Carsharing Can Reduce the ''D

Delhi BRT Safe for Now

It has been a dramatic week. Last week I wondered if the Delhi BRT project would be given a chance. Well, the initial BRT corridor does seem safe, for now at least. Today, Delhi's Chief Minister was quoted as announcing that the initial BRT corridor project will continue but that further expansion of the BRT network is on hold until this part is made to work properly. This is according to early reports (such as this and this ) of the result of the meeting today that was called to decide the immediate fate of the project. The Times of India coverage has been especially hostile and this continued throughout the week. This included new vicious attacks on the credibility of the IIT-Delhi academics, Geetam Tiwari and Dinesh Mohan. By mid-week the project seemed to be under siege from all sides and few would have predicted a reprieve at that time. However, by Friday, enormous efforts at enforcement and to correct signal problems were reported to have eased the delays and reduced th

Will Delhi's BRT be given a chance to prove itself?

{Update 26 April: Delhi's BRT seems safe for now } Bad press and teething problems seem to be putting Delhi's ambitious BRT plans in danger. Map of BRT proposals from TRIPP, IIT-Delhi Delhi's BRT pilot phase has entered a trial period since Sunday. The first 5.6 km is due to start formally on 1 May. Unfortunately press coverage of the project continues to be extremely hostile. Reading some of the articles on this in the Indian media one could be forgiven for thinking that Delhi's entire congestion problem is caused by 5.6 km of busway. All this looks worrying for Delhi's BRT. If politicians cave in and abandon the project now it would be a huge setback for public transport in India. A hasty, low-quality start in Pune didn't help either. Ahmedabad's BRT which is under construction is aiming at a much higher standard of BRT implementation than any other Indian proposal so far. It has benefited from technical assistance from ITDP . But I fear even that project

Escaping the "all you can eat" motor insurance buffet

The Freakonomics guys have just given Pay As You Drive (or PAYD) insurance some much-needed publicity. Also called 'distance-based insurance', this turns motor insurance payments, which are usually a fixed cost, into a variable cost. This makes it possible to save money by driving less. They write in their April 20 column in the New York Times Magazine . Imagine that Arthur and Zelda live in the same city and occupy the same insurance risk pool but that Arthur drives 30,000 miles a year while Zelda drives just 3,000. Under the current system, Zelda probably pays the same amount for insurance as Arthur. While some insurance companies do offer a small discount for driving less — usually based on self-reporting, which has an obvious shortcoming — U.S. auto insurance is generally an all-you-can-eat affair. Which means that the 27,000 more miles than Zelda that Arthur drives don’t cost him a penny, even as each mile produces externalities for everyone. It also means that low-mileage

"Performance-Based Parking Pricing" - Don't Yawn! It could be the next big thing.

[Update: Looking for more parking policy information?   Try Reinventing Parking. ] If the topic of parking pricing makes you yawn then think again! This is a hot topic in urban transport policy at the moment. Lately, I have been asking students and training groups these questions about on-street parking: What is the right price of kerbside parking in a busy shopping street in a city? And how can we tell when we have the wrong price? I have tried this with three groups so far. With a little prodding they agreed that ( if pricing is to be the main mechanism to encourage turnover): The price is too low if there are no empty spots, so most motorists take a long time to find a vacant parking place. The price is just right if there are just enough vacancies so that most people can find a park very quickly (zero search time). And the price is obviously too high if a large number of vacancies can be seen. They were actually working out for themselves (with a little guidance) the