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Showing posts from August, 2010

New parking policy blog: Reinventing Parking

"Parking" is currently the most common tag on this site and much of my research now focuses on parking. So it seemed time to consider starting a blog to focus specifically on parking policy.

So that is exactly what I have now done. It is called Reinventing Parking. Among other things, I want to try to help communities understand the parking choices they face and to help them to improve their policies.

If you agree with me that parking policy is important please visit Reinventing Parking and consider subscribing to its feed or via email.  Please spread the word to people who care about improving parking policy anywhere in the world.

Persuasive video on Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) car insurance

Here is an entertaining video explanation and exhortation on Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) insurance. Does your country, state or province have PAYD insurance yet?



It was made by Cliff Caprani of British Columbia, Canada. See more context at the original site where there is a link to a petition for residents of BC.

Hat tip: VTPI Newsletter, Summer 2010, by Todd Litman, one of the key experts on PAYD Insurance.

In urban transport be careful what you wish for

Freely flowing traffic is a good thing, right? And affordable motoring is good too, isn't it? Most motorists in most cities would surely agree. Maybe you would too?

But as citizens and voters I think we need to be careful what we wish for. When political leaders decide that the central goals of urban transport policy are 1) solving traffic congestion and 2) keeping driving affordable, they may make themselves popular with motorists, but they also risk gradually turning their city into a monster. 

I argued along these lines in a talk I gave on Wednesday to a couple of hundred junior college (high school) students (the presentation is at the end of this post). It was a non-technical talk on basic priorities in urban transport planning.

Below is part of my reasoning.


When faced with traffic problems it is tempting to just expand roads in the hope of increasing traffic speeds. This can actually work, given enough investment in high-capacity roads (a huge amount in fact). It is …

Useful analogy? Your car as a jack-of-all-trades and the alternatives as contractors

Can you help me make this analogy more useful?


A household owning a car is like a tiny business hiring a jack-of-all-trades (but master of none ...). Your mobility needs during the course of a whole year can be likened to the skills and labour needs of a new business contemplating its first employee.

Having a car gives you a tool that handles most of your mobility needs. It is like hiring a full-time staffer who is a 'jack-of-all trades'. He or she is versatile but not especially skilled or quick at any particular task. There are significant fixed costs too. You have to pay him or her about the same in both busy times and slow periods.

In both cases there is an alternative. 

A family can refrain from getting a car and rely instead on the various alternatives. That's like the small business putting off that first full-time employee and deciding instead to engage a series of contractors to do tasks that the owner-founder can no longer handle, as and when they are neede…