Which Is Greener?

Which uses less energy and emits less pollution: a train, a bus, or a car? Advocates of rail transportation rely on the public’s willingness to take for granted the assumption that trains–whether light rail, subways, or high-speed intercity rail–are the most energy-efficient and cleanest forms of transportation. But there is plenty of evidence that this is far from true.

Rail advocates often reason like this: the average car has 1.1 people in it. Compare the BTUs or carbon emissions per passenger mile with those from a full train, and the train wins hands down.

The problem with such hypothetical examples is that the numbers are always wrong. As a recent study from the University of California (Davis) notes, the load factors are critical.

The average commuter car has 1.1 people, but even during rush hour most of the vehicles on the road are not transporting commuters. When counting all trips, the average is 1.6, and a little higher (1.7) for light trucks (pick ups, full-sized vans, and SUVs).

On the other hand, the trains are rarely full, yet they operate all day long (while your car runs only when it has someone in it who wants to go somewhere). According to the National Transit Database, in 2007 the average American subway car had 25 people in it (against a theoretical capacity of 150); the average light-rail car had 24 people (capacity 170); the average commuter-rail car had 37 people (capacity 165); and the average bus had 11 (capacity 64). In other words, our transit systems operate at about one-sixth of capacity. Even an SUV averaging 1.7 people does better than that.

When Amtrak compares its fuel economy with automobiles (see p. 19), it relies on Department of Energy data that presumes 1.6 people per car (see tables 2.13 for cars and 2.14 for Amtrak). But another Department of Energy report points out that cars in intercity travel tend to be more fully loaded–the average turns out to be 2.4 people.

“Intercity auto trips tend to [have] higher-than-average vehicle occupancy rates,” says the DOE. “On average, they are as energy-efficient as rail intercity trips.” Moreover, the report adds, “if passenger rail competes for modal share by moving to high speed service, its energy efficiency should be reduced somewhat–making overall energy savings even more problematic.”

Projections that high-speed rail will be energy-efficient assume high load factors (in the linked case, 70 percent). But with some of the routes in the Obama high-speed rail plan terminating in such relatively small cities as Eugene, Oregon; Mobile, Alabama; and Portland, Maine, load factors will often be much lower.

Even if a particular rail proposal did save a little energy in year-to-year operations, studies show that the energy cost of constructing rail lines dwarfs any annual savings. The environmental impact statement for a Portland, Oregon light-rail line found it would take 171 years of annual energy savings to repay the energy cost of construction (they built it anyway).

Public transit buses tend to be some the least energy-efficient vehicles around because agencies tend to buy really big buses (why not? The feds pay for them), and they run around empty much of the time. But private intercity buses are some of the most energy efficient vehicles because the private operators have an incentive to fill them up. A study commissioned by the American Bus Association found that intercity buses use little more than a third as much energy per passenger mile as Amtrak. (The source may seem self-serving, but DOE data estimate intercity buses are even more efficient than that–compare table 2.12 with intercity bus passenger miles in this table).

When it comes to energy consumption per passenger mile, the real waste is generated by public transit agencies and Amtrak. Instead of trying to fill seats, they are politically driven to provide service to all taxpayers, regardless of population density or demand. One of Amtrak’s unheralded high-speed (110-mph) rail lines is between Chicago and Detroit, but it carries so few people that Amtrak loses $84 per passenger (compared with an average of $37 for other short-distance corridors).

Meanwhile, transit agencies build light-rail lines to wealthy suburbs with three cars in every garage. With capacities of more than 170, the average light-rail car in Baltimore and Denver carries less than 15 people, while San Jose’s carries 16. For that we need to spend $40 million a mile on track and $3 million per railcar (vs. $300,000 for a bus)?

If we really wanted to save energy, we would privatize transit, privatize Amtrak, and sell highways to private entrepreneurs who would have an incentive to reduce the congestion that wastes nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel each year (p. 1). But of course, the real goal of the rail people is not to save energy but to reshape American lifestyles. They just can’t stand to see people enjoying the freedom of being able to go where they want, when they want to get there.

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37 thoughts on “Which Is Greener?

  1. Scott

    Maybe I should elaborate. Those who I’m referring to won’t get it.

    Many people believe that public transit saves a lot of energy. It does not.
    more data: http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_20.html
    The people who think about energy savings do not know the facts & just go by their faith.
    That’s also true for high density; it does not reduce VMT. It also increases congestion, more cars per same area.

    The point is, for any idea, one should gather facts & follow logical principles before having “feelings” of how things are.

  2. jwetmore

    Over on greencarcongress.com there is post today about a recent Univsersity of California Berkley study that states large aircraft may be more energy efficient than light rail trains on a life cycle basis. The study conclusion is that vehicle non-operational components often dominate total emissions.

  3. Borealis

    I don’t know enough about transportation to judge the merits of this post. But if the GHG impacts of transit vs. car is even close, if transit doesn’t have a 10-1 or 20-1 advantage, then there is great impacts on our global warming policies. Environmentalist scientists say we have to reduce our energy use by 80% or more in the next few decades. There isn’t much point in investing in a system that offers only arguably minor improvements.

  4. the highwayman

    Scott said: Normal for certain types of thinking: go by belief, rather than actuality.

    The Autoplanner: “…but to reshape American lifestyles. They just can’t stand to see people enjoying the freedom of being able to go where they want, when they want to get there.”

    THWM: You’re right Scott, this is good example of paranoid Libertarianism.

  5. bennett

    “If we really wanted to save energy, we would privatize transit, privatize Amtrak, and sell highways to private entrepreneurs who would have an incentive to reduce the congestion that wastes nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel each year.”

    Put another way, with a little libertarian magic dust everything will be rainbows and lemon drops. I’m confused. What would the incentive be? If highways were privatized the more users would mean more money thus wouldn’t congestion equal profit for the owners of the highway. Plus who has the money and interest to buy such things? Oh yeah, oil companies. They’ll surely want to curb fuel consumption and invest in other transit modes. I’m not fundamentally against the privatization of transit, but the illogical and irrational faith in the private sector round here is astonishing to me.

  6. the highwayman

    jwetmore said: Over on greencarcongress.com there is post today about a recent Univsersity of California Berkley study that states large aircraft may be more energy efficient than light rail trains on a life cycle basis. The study conclusion is that vehicle non-operational components often dominate total emissions.

    THWM: The USAF is still flying B-52′s, there’s railway equipment that’s over 50 years old that is still used on a regular basis. With autos there’s a lot of planned obsolescence. A friend of mine rebuilt the bottom of her car with stainless steel plating(she did it her self too), so now she has no rust worries, though she also walks, bikes, uses transit & that also helps extend the life of her car too.

  7. the highwayman

    The Autoplanner: If we really wanted to save energy, we would privatize transit, privatize Amtrak, and sell highways to private entrepreneurs who would have an incentive to reduce the congestion…

    THWM: Then why did the government build the interstate highway system?

    Were people not getting enough kicks on Route 66?

    Ok it’s 2009 not 1909, one thing that could be implemented is congestion charging.

    As for transit & Amtrak, operations can be subcontracted out to the private sector.

  8. ws

    ROT:“studies show that the energy cost of constructing rail lines dwarfs any annual savings”

    ws: How about studies showing that a single car takes 100 million Btus just to manufacture. That’s not including the operating Btu output or construction of the roadway infrastructure. You concentrate so much on transit you’ve clearly avoided dealing with the automobile.

    ROT:“The environmental impact statement for a Portland, Oregon light-rail line found it would take 171 years of annual energy savings to repay the energy cost of construction (they built it anyway).”

    ws:Not sure on the year total, but the construction output of the Interstate LR line emitted about 4 trillions Btus (EIS). This sounds like a lot until you realize that’s just the manufacturing of 40,000 cars to equal 4 trillion Btus.

    When a new car rolls off the lot, and assuming it averages about 30 mpg – in essence the Btu output of construction equals it going 24,000 miles (gallon of gas = 125,000 Btus, 100 million Btus to make the car @ assuming 30 MPG).

    Once again, this is not factoring the energy it takes to make the car move nor the roads they drive on.

  9. ws

    ROT:“If we really wanted to save energy, we would privatize transit, privatize Amtrak, and sell highways to private entrepreneurs who would have an incentive to reduce the congestion that wastes nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel each year”

    ws: Just curious, but what is the Btu / or gas equivalent use just to alleviate that 3 billion dollar waste? For instance, say a given road wasted 1,000 gallons (or Btu equiv) of gasoline a year due to congestion, but it took 10,000 (or Btu equiv) gallons of gasoline to widen the roads, etc. – that is a net negative transaction, at least for a few years.

    Apply this method to the entire system, getting rid of the 3 billion dollar waste is probably just going to create more waste. Then those redone road sections get filled up with more congestion and we rinse and repeat the same cycle of wastefulness.

  10. ws

    Borealis:“I don’t know enough about transportation to judge the merits of this post. But if the GHG impacts of transit vs. car is even close, if transit doesn’t have a 10-1 or 20-1 advantage, then there is great impacts on our global warming policies. Environmentalist scientists say we have to reduce our energy use by 80% or more in the next few decades. There isn’t much point in investing in a system that offers only arguably minor improvements.”

    ws:Rarely do I make arguments (for/against) regarding the built environment / transportation system, even though I do believe in AGW (it’s always a distraction). With that said, you’re really missing the point. Transportation is just one slice of the pie, it’s how the entire city works and functions. For instance, the automobile in itself is not a terrible GHG producer when viewed alone, but when you put it inside a low dense suburban model where every trip utilizes the automobile, then it is an enormous output of GHG emissions. Factor in natural “carbon sinks” of forests, prairies, wetlands, etc. that were consumed by new development, then that amplifies the emissions of that land-use.

    Light rail will not “save” anybody by itself, but in conjunction of a sensible land-use pattern (where people walk, bike, shop close by, by local goods, etc.), emission levels can be greatly reduced w/o restricting people’s mobility. You can still be mobile in many cities and communities (big and small) w/o a car for 100% of trips, but in many, the car is your only hope for mobility. I think that is a major issue, IMO.

    For instance, Wendell Cox always raves about a “carbon neutral” single family house, but is avoiding that if 2 million people only live with this and are running around in their cars (and highways), then that is probably a net-negative regarding GHG emissions.

  11. Francis King

    Antiplanner wrote:

    “Public transit buses tend to be some the least energy-efficient vehicles around because agencies tend to buy really big buses (why not? The feds pay for them), and they run around empty much of the time. But private intercity buses are some of the most energy efficient vehicles because the private operators have an incentive to fill them up.”

    Agencies buy larger buses, because then they need fewer drivers. They run around empty much of the time because you’ve got the buses, the drivers work ten hours a day, and so it makes sense to keep the buses on the road. Out of peak, there is a lot less custom.

    If you’re going to run buses efficiently, it makes more sense to share employees between the buses and the council. They drive buses during rush hour, which provides for a very frequent service. That, together with bus priority, means a system that people want to use. Off-peak, they go back to the council office and work there. You won’t get any bus driver willing to work for a few hours every day – the pay simply isn’t good enough.

    “But private intercity buses are some of the most energy efficient vehicles because the private operators have an incentive to fill them up.”

    My chalk & cheese detector is going crazy. Intercity transit (coaches, trains and planes), tend to be popular, because the cars are going nose to tail in the same direction anyway. Transit within town tends to be less popular since there are many origins and destinations possible, and it is hard to cover more than a fraction of them with no-change bus services.

    One possible solution is to set the buses to run N-S and E-W, and set them up so that all buses arrive at key stops together, meaning no waiting time. Then two buses can take anyone anywhere.

    Antiplanner wrote:

    “For that we need to spend $40 million a mile on track and $3 million per railcar (vs. $300,000 for a bus)?”

    The cost of the rail includes tracks, platforms, crossings, and the vehicles. The cost of a top notch bus is more like $1,000,000.

    Antiplanner wrote:

    “They just can’t stand to see people enjoying the freedom of being able to go where they want, when they want to get there.”

    Er, no. If there are too many cars, the result is congestion. The size of cars means that they can’t filter past each other. So people can try to go where they want, but if stuck in congestion, not when they want.

    And at the same time, what about the freedom to choose what form of transport you want to use? What if people want to walk, or cycle, or go by transit? How does this fit into this vision of freedom? The freedom to drive means, invariably, the lack of freedom to do anything else. Too bad if you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a car, but would rather spend it on something else.

    As soon as someone tries to justify something by appealing to patriotism, freedom, or prestige, I know I am being sold a pup.

  12. Scott

    highman, Re: your comment on paranoia libertarianism & what the anti-planner said about the pro-transit extremists being against cars & wanting almost everybody to take transit. What’s not true about that?

    highman, Re: 50 year old transportation equipment, except cars. Point? Actually, wearing out earlier is good, to be replace by more fuel efficient cars. That’s not counting the new manufacturing cost & the sunk cost in the old car.

    Cars offer much more freedom that transit. How do some people not realize that? People get mixed up with lack of choice & taking away freedom.
    Suppose I want dinner at 3AM. I cannot find restaurants open then. Boy, people sure are restricting my freedom. That’s ridiculous. There needs to be a sufficient amount of demand for there to be a reason for having a supply.

    If you want transit, your choices are severely limited. Even for each route, your choices are limited. Guess what? A car goes wherever you decide & steer (preferably on a road). If you want fairly widespread transit use, you need to live in a dense core city (only about 8).

    How would public transit be increased?
    Spend $100 billion more on transit & you could maybe triple service.
    Ridership might increase by 50%. Is that worth it? For one thing, the emissions per passenger-mile would be over double that of cars, because there would be so few riders per route.

  13. Scott

    Highman, Typical of you. Once I prove you wrong or show that have no meaning, you just dismiss it with immaturity. If you search your brain & concentrate, you might might find a solid idea, but until then, I suppose you are happy with pointless rambling or just fragmented sentences.

  14. the highwayman

    Scott said: Highwayman, Re: your comment on paranoia libertarianism & what the anti-planner said about the pro-transit extremists being against cars & wanting almost everybody to take transit. What’s not true about that?

    THWM: Just as there are automotive extremists against transit & wanting almost everybody to drive, what’s not true about that?

    Scott said: Highwayman, Typical of you. Once I prove you wrong or show that have no meaning, you just dismiss it with immaturity. If you search your brain & concentrate, you might might find a solid idea, but until then, I suppose you are happy with pointless rambling or just fragmented sentences.

    THWM: You haven’t proven me wrong, I have my take on things just as you have your take on things. BTW, I’m not waging a jihad against the street in front of my house.

    The difference is that I fight for inclusion, you fight for exclusion.

  15. Scott

    Who wants everybody to drive? I prefer fewer on the road.
    Many drivers want others to take transit.
    That’s the big hypocrisy. It even shows in polls.
    Many people “support” transit, but far fewer use.

    What’s a car extremist?
    Well, is it extreme to want another lane or 2 for many freeways?
    Even then, the capacity is still “fuller” than when most freeways were built. In other words, freeway-lane-miles are not keeping up with demand.

    Why would I think you are fighting against the street you live one?
    Why are you paranoid about your street being ripped up if there are not enough drivers?
    Realize: it’s already built & probably by prop taxes or a developer.
    You continually show signs of delusion.

    What are trying to include?
    What do you think I’m trying to exclude?
    You are trying to make this sound PC with your vague wording so that it can appear you have a just cause, when you don’t make sense.

    Another question on “your take.” I can hardly ever tell, but you seem to dislike highways & love transit, but your positions are unclear. It;’s usually jibber-jabber. How would you increase the nation’s transportation efficiency?

  16. JimKarlock

    ws: ws: How about studies showing that a single car takes 100 million Btus just to manufacture.
    JK: So what? That is only 800 gal of gas. You’ll save that much driving a small car compared to taking transit.

    Thanks
    JK

  17. the highwayman

    Scott said: Another question on “your take.” I can hardly ever tell, but you seem to dislike highways & love transit, but your positions are unclear.

    THWM: I don’t dislike roads.

  18. mattb02

    Highwayman, I’m sorry but Antiplanners article cites data and provides references. It appears well reasoned. It isn’t good enough to make your usual assertions and then claim its the guy with the data who is the idealogue.

    Actually, it’s you.

  19. ws

    JK:So what? That is only 800 gal of gas. You’ll save that much driving a small car compared to taking transit.

    ws:800 gallons per car is a lot of fuel, close to $2,400 in fuel expense. Most people are not going to switch to the tiny cars you’re proposing, unfortunately.

  20. the highwayman

    mattb02 said: Highwayman, I’m sorry but Antiplanners article cites data and provides references. It appears well reasoned. It isn’t good enough to make your usual assertions and then claim its the guy with the data who is the idealogue.

    Actually, it’s you.

    THWM: I’m not trying to restrict how people get from point A to point B.

    This is a war, the oligarchs that pay O’Toole, Cox etc. For some reason or an other fear/hate railroads & transit.

    Actually, it’s them.

  21. lgrattan

    Who has the most money to sell their ideas, Transit or Tax Payers? Here in San Jose, Silicon Valley Transportation Authority have had two recent elections to increase taxes for transit. In both the transit associates had $2,000,000+. and the tax payers, etc. had about $20,000.
    Transit lost the first but won the second. It takes 100 to one to sell transit but the funds are available from Engineers, Builders, Equipment Manifacturers. If they loose they will be back again next year and the following years. Transit will win!!!

  22. Scott

    Highman, There are many open questions (about 7 posts back) that I posed.

    It’s probably because you are continually proven wrong, even though you claim not. It might be because you cannot just see the facts & reasoning present to you, like people having faith without evidence.

  23. the highwayman

    Scott said: It might be because you cannot just see the facts & reasoning present to you, like people having faith without evidence.

    THWM: Then I could say the same of you, you have an agenda too.

  24. the highwayman

    Who has the most money to sell their ideas, Highways or Tax Payers? The funds are available from Engineers, Builders, Equipment Manufacturers. If they loose they will be back again next year and the following years. Highways will win!!!

  25. Scott

    Highman, Please stop with your juvenile attempts, “I know you are but what am I.” You cannot uphold any point or have any substance by just reversing.

    People don’t need marketing to want highways. Where is this building lobby pushing for more freeways? Get it, 85%+ have cars & want more lanes, because they have destinations, not because of slick campaigns. To look at companies pushing projects, you really need to look at rail & such.

    What do you think my agenda is?
    I would like no more taxes taken for transit, maybe somewhat less; it doesn’t need to be fair at zero taxes. And I would like $1/gallon more in gas tax to cover all highway expenses & provide for about $50 billion more to pay for upgrades.

    Is your agenda to create doubt & confusion by upholding nonsense?

    I suppose you don’t answer most of the questions, because you have no valid answers to uphold whatever point that you think you have. In other words, you are almost always wrong & cannot support your position. You often resort to insults, blabber, misdirections tangents, ad hominems, etc., to avoid having to admit you’re wrong. Everybody reading this knows how have no substance & no valid points. The only reason that you are not embarrassed by your lack of knowledge & reasoning is because of anonymity.

  26. rob

    Hi All. Good debate. This is not my area of expertise, and perhaps the following ideas have been covered previously, but as a physical scientist I tend to do analysis in terms of general principles and the physical implications of what is being argued here. Libertarian philosophy is predicated upon upholding the liberty and freedom of thought and action at the level of individuals. In principle, to maximize freedom, one may conclude from this value the human environment must be constructed to support the minimal case, because of the empirical fluctuations in individual capability and mobility based on age, for example, the very young and very old, and capacity, as with the blind and the handicapped. In principle, freedom must be allowed when it does not impinge on the rights of others, otherwise it may be justifiable to deny the freedom in question. Accordingly, the human environment must be designed around the capacity of the individual human being, the natural physical capacities and capabilities humans have as a constant independent of a dependence on any particular mobility technology. Any technologies designed to enhance mobility must function within, and not alter, the environment designed to support the minimal case. If a mobility technology necessarily must alter the environment designed for the minimal case, it is necessarily impinging on the freedom of mobility of those individuals with the “restrictive” conditions. In principle, those who argue their freedom to gain license to operate heavy powered machinery that requires the spatial expansion and dissection of the human environment are doing so at the expense of the freedom of mobility of those representing the minimal case and also those who do not wish to own or operate or subsidize, in any way, such machinery. The human scale environment does not necessarily restrict the mobility of any individual. An environment designed for the mobility of large machinery benefits only the owners and operators of such machinery, while subsequently impinging upon or destroying the mobility of those without the capability or desire to own or operate such machinery. Therefore the freedom to own, operate, or alter the human environment to allow the use of such machinery may be restricted.

    Secondly, the post began with a question of what is the most “green” mobility technology, especially regarding energy efficiency. The question listed a restricted number of mobility technologies, train, bus and car. The most energy efficient mobility technology for human beings is the bicycle. The most versatile in terms of energy efficiency, versatility (powered by legs or hands or electric, requires no balance and can carry large loads) and safety, is the recumbent tricycle. These technologies also have the advantage of being operable in an environment which can support mobility of the minimal case, thereby maximizing individual freedom. The infrastructural costs in terms of materials and energy for supporting such technologies are also tremendously reduced in comparison to trains, buses and cars.

    One more point in support of the necessity to restrict alteration of the human scale environment around any particular technology. If technological evolution ever does result in a capacity to take to the skies for transport, of what use will be all the existing and costly transport infrastructure? It has only increased the necessary distance travelled for any other possible mode (and as a result may be negatively impacting technological innovation).

  27. Scott

    highwayman, People don’t need to be conditioned to like roads. Get real. People have been wanting cars & roads for over a century. Do you have any knowledge of history?

    Some of the companies pushing rail are Siemens, GE, Bombadier, and whatever electric company is in the region.

    People want more lanes, where supply shortage & more people has caused congestion. People have been freely choosing to use transit less since a century ago. There was a slight increase about a year & even a slight decline in VMT. Nothing significant. Suppose transit use would double. Still there would ~81% (vs. 85% previously) of adults driving.

    The US is not alone in people liking cars & low density; those are globally desired. Many other countries are several decades behind in car use, mainly due to income. Also, the US has a big advantage in overall lower country density. Regardless of national density, most other nations have much higher urban densities. Many urban areas in other countries are above 10,000ppl/sq.mi. The closest here is the LA area at 7,000.

  28. the highwayman

    You still want to dictate life style to people, I live in a suburb, but mostly travel on foot & by transit.

    You are you & I am who I am.

    I don’t want to be you & you don’t want to be me and that’s fine.

  29. Scott

    highwayman, Why do you get the impression that classical-liberalists (those of the School of Austrian Economics) want to dictate want to dictate lifestyle? Your thinking wants to force all to pay for transit that very few use.

    There are many reasons that transit use went from about 85% in 1910 to <4% today. Nobody forced them. People like the freedom in cars to go exactly where & when. It’s just too bad that are rush hours, when the transportation network gets full, but that’s just a product of many people wanting to transport at certain times.

  30. the highwayman

    Scott said: highwayman, Why do you get the impression that classical-liberalists (those of the School of Austrian Economics) want to dictate lifestyle?

    THWM: That’s a “Catch 22″. There are people in our society that for one reason or an other can’t drive, they don’t have a car, they can’t phyically drive, they are too young, etc. Then there are people that just don’t want to drive.

    Scott: Your thinking wants to force all to pay for transit that very few use.

    Your thinking wants to make peoples lives harder with less mobility options. I still have to pay for the street in front of my house, whether I use it or not.

    Look, I’m not against the streets in my city or the storm drains or the street lights or the fire hydrants. So being against tracks, makes no sense either.

    Scott: There are many reasons that transit use went from about 85% in 1910 to <4% today. Nobody forced them. People like the freedom in cars to go exactly where & when.

    THWM: I can also go where & when I want to go by walking. Though you are writing after the fact, is there still 200 miles of tram line in Portland? You can’t use some thing if it’s been destroyed, in case it was by the government.

    Scott: It’s just too bad that are rush hours, when the transportation network gets full, but that’s just a product of many people wanting to transport at certain times.

    THWM: There isn’t a lack of road space, there a lack of proper management of it, thus I bring up such things as congestion charging.

  31. Scott

    THWM, Why do you think it’s socialism? Please study. Socialism is redistribution. Highway funding is not. Transit is redistribution, because it takes from the many & gives to the few. Don’t get mixed up w/public vs private ownership. I could elaborate on how you are wrong, but it would take so much space due to your limited knowledge of the area & misconceptions.

    You are talking nonsense about fewer mobility choices. If you want transit, live near a route.
    What do you suggest? Suppose that 20% of the population is near a transit route, while <4% use. Should transit be expanded to enable 30% of the population to be near a route? That would cost at least another $100 billion per year. That same amount of money could roughly add one lane [per direction] on each freeway, vastly increasing travel efficiency which is used by over 85% of the population.

    The street in front of your house is a terrible example. For one, it’s “community property” that is needed by many neighbors, service people (fixing stuff in homes), public services (police & fire), delivery (move-in & goods), etc. The street is paid for, probably allocated in the home purchase, yet the amount is so small, that it’s negligible. The maintenance might be paid for by property taxes. You would not like to live far from a street. You have a choice to live somewhere without a street; however, you will have a very hard time to find a place like that & would suffer greatly.

    What has the government destroyed? You are getting mixed up with privately owned rail track. And the nonuse came first. Do you mean street-cars? For example, LA used to have 1,000 miles, but gradually got rid of that because buses were more efficient & many people switched to cars.

    You made close to a complete thought on congestion pricing. The idea is somewhat good as a way of addressing supply & demand. One big problem with that is administration or the collecting of tolls. For example, London spent $300 million to setup the capital for monitoring & collecting & such; then there’s still the ongoing collection cost.

  32. Scott

    You lose any of your points, again.

    You cannot even answer some simple questions.
    Well, they are simple, but cannot be honestly answered in support of your premise.

    Your statement of “subjective-objectivism” has no meaning without elaboration.
    I know communication of complete thoughts, with substantiation, is difficult for you, but please try.
    You are just showing yourself as a fool.
    And I’m appearing as a fool too, for attempting to have intellectual discussion with you.

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