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Research Resources:
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0500/et0500s14.html
Solving the transportation problem in San Diego
It you think these ideas seem extreme think them over again the next time you're stuck in stop-and-go traffic. You'll have plenty of time.
by David Bainbridge
One of the greatest challenges the new mayor and council will face is the Gordian knot of transportation in San Diego. To solve this problem, they will need to address the cause, not the symptoms. If they do, our quality of life can be preserved. If they don't, we will continue the slide to conditions that are worse than Los Angeles.
What is the underlying cause of the problem? As with most environmental problems, the fundamental cause is extremely heavy subsidies, in this case for automobiles and freeways. A detailed study in the Bulletin of the International Society for Ecological Economics presented a detailed accounting of subsidies for automobiles in the United States. The net subsidy was calculated as 90 percent. That is, for every mile driven, the driver is paying only one-tenth the real cost. While other studies have come up with lesser amounts, most still agree that the "hidden subsidy" is higher than suspected. Until subsidies are changed, there will be no reform of transportation and no solution to the problems of traffic.
When aren't "more roads" better?
Even with massive subsidies, we can't build new freeways fast enough to escape gridlock. We just make the problem worse by encouraging more long commutes in the short term. As Jay Forrester, the brilliant MIT engineer who invented the modern computer, notes in his analysis of transportation woes: the solution to traffic congestion is to stop building highways. This is not a popular idea, but it is true. Portland, Oregon revived its downtown by tearing out the riverside freeway. Vancouver, British Columbia has prospered ever since its proposed ocean-side freeway was stopped by a citizen uprising.
How do we stop building freeways? Remove the subsidies. To do this, we need to better determine the local costs. For example, the pollution caused by stormwater runoff from streets and parking lots shouldn't be corrected with hotel taxes, it should be paid for by gasoline charges.
When in Rome
The European charges are far more reflective of the real costs, and may possibly even understate them. European countries make up some of the difference with auto registration costs tied to horsepower. These can be quite stiff. One of my students calculated that owning his massive 1963 Cadillac in Austria would cost about $500 a month for registration and insurance. It is much easier and more equitable to simply charge for gasoline. To prevent chaos, these charges would have to be phased in over 5-10 years. There may also have to be assistance for the poor, until the transit system is up and running adequately.
Increasing the cost of gasoline provides an immediate curb on trips, as the current run-up in gas prices has shown. While still far below the highest historic cost (the high was in 1980 at $2.60 gallon in today's dollars), it is enough to make people think twice about long commutes in vehicles that get under 20 miles-per-gallon.
Changing development patterns
As the cost of driving becomes a concern, redevelopment can be channeled closer to work. The cities in San Diego county will also have to be ready with mixed-use zoning, allowing residential occupation in commercial and industrial areas, and developing viable transit systems. They should also rewrite the planning codes and street requirements to favor walkers and bicyclists. The developer of Village Homes in Davis was able to cut street width from 43 feet to as low as 23 feet by improving bicycle and pedestrian paths. This saved money, improved safety and quality of life, and protected environmental quality.
The money raised from these gasoline fees (more than a billion gallons of gas are sold in San Diego every year) would support redevelopment initiatives and improvements in more efficient, comfortable, and healthful transportation. The heart of this system for the foreseeable future will be buses: lowly, unloved, and clean only if converted to compressed natural gas (CNG) or new low-emission diesel, especially if used as part of a diesel/electric hybrid system. Buses are flexible, inexpensive and very effective if used wisely.
Curitiba: a working model
Curitiba, Brazil provides the perfect example of a bus system that works. This includes: improved bus routing and lanes; loading pods, so the fare is paid before boarding the bus; extra-large buses for major routes; an effective route network; and private ownership and operation of the buses. The city assigns the routes, sets the fares, and pays the contractor per revenue mile, not per passenger-mile. They do this to make even lower-performing routes equally attractive to operators.
This system turns a profit at a charge of only 50¢ per passenger, even with transfers anywhere within the city. This bus system moves more than 1.9 million trips a day, more than the buses of New York City. The population of metro Curitiba (Curitiba and surrounding municipalities) is now given at 2.4 million people. The development cost of bus routes is about one-third of a percent one eightieth of the cost of subways and much, much less than trolleys or light rail.
Making human-power practical
 The supporting element in San Diego should be bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The best weather in the United States would enable more people to ride and walk more easily than any other city in the country. Previous support for these healthful and environmentally-friendly transit options has been minimal. All new developments should be planned to favor walking and biking. Bike route and pedestrian links and connections and support systems (e.g., lockers, showers) should be established throughout the region. All traffic lights should be retrofitted so that a bicycle will trigger the light cycle.
The City of Davis has shown what can be done. For part of the year, at least a third of the commutes are by bicycle. Germany has also begun to support bicycle commuting and is seeing the dividends. Frieburg has seen the bicycle commute rise from 12% in the 1970s to 19% today, and Muenster has increased bicycle commuting to 32%. The Netherlands now offers tax credits to people who commute by bicycle, acknowledging the savings to society and offsetting subsidies for cars.
Walking is even more seriously discouraged in most developments and by most engineering design today. Pedestrians in San Diego are reviled. Only the poor and criminals walk; the chosen drive large SUVs.
The creation of walking links paths cutting through developments and buildings should be an essential part of every new proposal, and a major effort should be made to repair past mistakes. Pedestrian bridges and tunnels are needed in many areas. Walking and bicycling (if made reasonably safe) will add a health bonus worth millions of dollars a year. The 30% of us that are clinically obese can work off some of our fat while improving the environment and better enjoying our lovely city.
Solutions to our transportation problems are available. Will our planners and politicians accept the challenge? 
David Bainbridge helped develop the innovative planning policies for the City of Davis. He has worked on bikeway and pedestrian planning, traffic analyses for developments, developed a plan for a bikeway from Merced to Yosemite, and was coauthor of the first coastal bike route map for California. He currently teaches environmental studies courses at United States International University and rides his bicycle when he can.


Research Resources:
http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=41017
Published On: 2008-06-14
To solve the transportation problem of Dhaka metropolitan area
A S M Mahbubun Nabi

In order to solve the transportation problem of Dhaka City, the Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for Dhaka City was initiated in March, 2004 by GOB with the assistance of World Bank, and with Louis Berger Inc. as Principal Consultants and Bangladesh Consultant Ltd. as local partner. In August, 2004 an Advisory Committee comprising of some 32 members from different categories of professionals, engineers, planners, architects, academics and civil servants was appointed to guide and oversee the work of the consultants. The plan (STP) was completed in December, 2005.
The Strategic Transport Plan (STP) has made some strategic recommendations to solve the transportation problems of Dhaka City. The major components of the Strategic Transport Plan are the following:
(A) Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which include the following components :
a) Three Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Routes of total length of about 200km. at a total cost of U. S. $ 1.0 billion
b) Three Metro Lines with an estimated cost of about U. S. $ 2.1 billion, or Taka 14,500 crore
(B) 50 Roadway Projects including the following components
a) Three elevated expressways: Gulistan-Jatrabari Flyover; Gulistan - Mohakhali Elevated Expressway; and Moghbazar Flyover; and
b) Two Bypass Roads: the Eastern Bypass and the Western Bypass.
The STP recommendations are highly capital-intensive option that will require a total investment of US$ 5.52 billion or Taka 38,000 crores for its implementation, but the benefits which will be achieved out of this investment will not be very significant. Some of the capital-intensive projects as recommended in the STP are discussed below :
Metro System: The STP team has recommended a Metro System comprised of three Metro Lines at a total cost of U.S. $ 2.1 billion or Taka 14,500 crores. The total length of the Metro Lines is not known, but I guess it will be about 70 km. in length. If we consider that people will walk down to Metro Stations from a distance of 1 km. to avail the Metro service, then the area-coverage of Metro service will only be about 140 sq. km. But, the total area of Dhaka Metropolitan City (RAJUK area) is about 1530 sq. km. Hence, the area-coverage of Metro Service will be less than 10 percent of total area of Dhaka Metropolitan City.
The STP team has failed to recognize some major disadvantages of Metro system, such as, they are technically difficult and potentially unfeasible in a city prone to flooding. If the Metro system has to be safe for implementation and operation, then Dhaka City will have to be made completely flood-free for all time, which will be extremely difficult.
Metro construction requires costly excavation. Typical costs of Metro is about $ 50.0 million to 240.0 million per km. Additional costs are involved with other infrastructures, such as underground Metro stations. A Metro station costs about $ 150.0 million.
Operating costs of Metros are extremely high requiring very expensive electric rail cars. Metro systems require constant and huge supply of electricity which will be very difficult to be ensured in Dhaka City. Most Metro systems of the world have operating deficits which can often severe the budget of the country.
Worldwide experience is that, except in a few cases the fare of the Metro ride is subsidized, and in some cases very heavily subsidized. The experience shows that the various Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects from the late 1990's are all in financial trouble and are nowhere achieving profitability.
In Sao Paulo Metro, the City Govt. pays a subsidy of $ 0.20 (25%) for each trip (total trips are 2.1 million per day). One of the more spectacular recent failures of a Metro and LRT was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the system there was substantial subsidy in the fare. The result was a financial failure and the system was nationalized in late 2001. After only 3 years of operation the system accumulated debts of more than US$ 1.4 billion leading to the biggest bankruptcy in Malaysian corporate history. The 20km Metro in Singapore, built at a total cost of US$ 2.9 billion, have an operational loss of US$ 1.1 million per month in 2004.
The STP recommended Metro for Dhaka city, if it is built and operated, will have a minimum economic fare of Tk. 10.0 for the ride of 1 km. distance, which will be affordable only for a very small percentage of passengers. In order to make it affordable for middle-income group of people, at least 50 percent subsidy in the fare will be required. The STP has estimated that about 57,42,000 passenger trips will be carried daily by the Metro, and the average trip-lengths will be about 5 km. Hence, a subsidy of Tk. 143.55 million will have to be paid daily and the yearly subsidy will be about Tk. 5240 crores.
The construction of Metros is often agonizingly slow. The 20km Metro in Singapore was under construction for nearly 8 years. The Blue Line Subway (21km.) in Bangkok was under construction for about 7 years.
Flexibility to expand and adaptability to a changing situation is also a key requirement for any mass transit system. Dhaka is rapidly growing and the situation in the city is rapidly changing. But the expansion of the Metro system is very complex.
Per kilometer construction cost of Metro is about hundred times more than that of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, and thus the Metro system is likely to cover only a very small portion of the city and would be of far less use if the private auto users are not diverted to the Metro service.
According to the STP estimate, the Dhaka Metropolitan Study Area will generate daily seven crore travel-trips of which only 8% of the trips will be served by Metro service. With an investment of Tk. 14,500 crores, the Metro system will not be able to solve more than 10 percent of the transportation problems of Dhaka City.
Elevated Expressways and Flyovers: The STP team has recommended a system of Elevated Expressways and Flyovers of about 29 km. length. The construction cost of this system will be about U.S. $ 0.9 billion or Taka 6200 crores.
Elevated expressways generate their own traffic diverted from other roads. They favour only a very small minority of people driving cars and autos, often simply shift congestion from one point to another in the network, increases in noise, pollution, congestion and fuel consumption. As the former Mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Penalosa once remarked, “There are two ways to destroy a city. One is through nuclear bombing, and the other is with elevated roads”. The STP study itself exposed the potential disastrous consequences of elevated expressways. Government subsidies provided to the use of elevated expressways only favour the richest segment of the population which is contrary to equity goals. Evidence suggests that existing flyovers have actually caused an increase in traffic congestion on the roads below the flyovers.
In Dhaka city (in 2004) only one percent of the population was owners of autos and individualized transport (private car, jeep, micro, station wagon and pick-up). Flyovers and elevated expressways constructed at a great public expense, will only serve the needs of less than one percent people who own an individualized transport. For the remaining 99 percent of the people, these projects offer little benefit beyond increased difficulties and congestion, because the road capacities below the flyovers are reduced by at least 20 percent of the original capacity. Such facilities are of little benefit to buses, since buses generally move at ground level given the need for passenger to board and alight. These are inaccessible to pedestrians and cannot be used by rickshaws. They do not benefit the very large majority of people in the city and portrays a policy which cannot be sustainable.
Elevated expressways can only be justified in the cities where almost all families own a car. But in case of Dhaka, where auto-ownership is only one percent, it will be a great blunder to build elevated expressways. The capital once invested on such projects becomes fixed with the land and become unable to be withdrawn any significant part of the investment through failure to command a fair return from it.
The construction of elevated expressways through densely populated urban areas is likely to have serious detrimental impacts on environment and door-to-door accessibility. In Seoul, South Korea, government recently tore down an elevated expressway when they realized that it worsened the situation without solving any problem.
The STP recommendations are biased and is detrimental to the economy of the country.
Though the STP recommendations have been claimed to be a multimodal solution, but the study refers to only fuel-dependent transports ignoring the contributions of fuel-free non-motorized transports and pedestrians. Fuel-free non-motorized transport and pedestrian movements represent more than 50 percent of the total trips, and short trips constitute 76 percent of total trips in Dhaka City. How can the STP transport model be regarded as valid when it ignores the majority of the trips?
The STP study has other weaknesses as well. In order to assess mobility of passengers in a mixed mode urban area, it is imperative to evaluate transport alternatives with respect to door-to-door trips. The trip time or trip distance represents only a portion of the travel. The total travel constitutes link travel time, walking time, waiting time and penalties of modal transfer, which have not been considered in the STP model. Hence, the recommendations of the STP model do not ensure that this will increase the convenience of mobility and access for the majority of the people.
The Strategic Transport Plan (STP) for Dhaka city has opted for a transportation strategy which is highly capital intensive and which will require about US. $ 5.52 billion or Taka 38,000 crore for its implementation, but the strategy will not be successful in solving the transportation problem of Dhaka City. The reason is explained below:
When the population of a city increases, the volume of traffic on the roads also increases, and as the volum