4 Reasons to Remove Traffic Lights in the Era of Peak Driving – CityLab.
All surely valid data … but it’s Detroit. The one in Michigan. The one that has lost 60-ish percent of its population in the last 60-ish years. Removing signals there is a great idea. Selling the recovered equipment will surely more than pay for the new stop signs they’ll need. At some point they’ll need to consider closing and depaving streets – they just aren’t needed.
But did I mention this is Detroit? I’m not sure what relevance this study has to any other city. At least cities not named Cleveland, Buffalo, or Youngstown. The authors make the point that vehicle-miles traveled have leveled off nationwide after growing every single year since the end of the Second World War and that this may be a guide. Yes, it may be but in the developed part of the country (i.e. not Detroit) VMT has leveled but it’s not dropping.
Finding a Better Word for ‘Autonomous Car’.
This article assumes that driverless cars will be here pretty soon, maybe a few years from now and is concerned with what to call them.
Hidden Obstacles for Google’s Self-Driving Cars
This one is much more realistic. Google has made impressive progress, but apparently their cars can’t even handle rain. The media hypes this as the solution to all transportation problems … and by media, I mean wide-eyed transportation bloggers.
Let’s assume that these things drove themselves as well as the average, barely trained US driver. What then? What problem do they solve? Not GHG emissions since once they drop you off at your destination, they’ll drive around until they find a place to park, racking up vehicle-miles (but not passenger-miles!). If they don’t reduce VMT then they don’t reduce congestion. So what’s the upside?
Oh, and then there’s liability. I don’t see the public being OK with not holding the vehicle owner responsible when their driverless car mows down a Brownie troop at a cross walk. I’m also pretty sure the manufacturers won’t accept liability either so who is responsible? Will states just exempt owners and manufacturers from any liability? Yeah, I don’t see that.
First, I am a Jarrett Walker fanboy. Just no way around that. I think his doctorate in literature lets him think in a particular way about how planners think and talk. That’s what this whole article is about.
Interestingly, his aircraft analogy applies to other fields, too, when there are discussions of what is to be done; I see it in IT, for example. What I really like, though, how he fleshes out the analogy. I’ve been in many discussions where plane-crashers have derailed a high-altitude discussion (sorry for the mixed metaphors!).
Last, he’s obviously been to Norman! See the quote.
For example, if land use planning is nothing but development approval, then stuff will get built, project by project, without any attention to the aggregate consequences of that development — on traffic, on livability, on natural resources, etc.
via Human Transit: basics: controlling altitude in planning.