Notes from Orlando

PowerPoint shows from the 2010 Preserving the American Dream conference are posted on the American Dream Coalition web site. Here are a few interesting comments made at the conference.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation was created on April Fools Day, 1967. Today, it produces a product (mobility) that it doesn’t understand and doesn’t care much about it.” — Alan Pisarski

“Why don’t people live closer to work? Less than 20 percent of travel is work-related, and 30 percent of households do not have any commuters. So people don’t base where they live on where they work.” — Steve Polzin

“The real issue [during reauthorization] is whether we are going to fund the cities directly or through the states. It really is about big-city mayors and their access to funding in Washington.” — Alan Pisarski

“The air coming out of a 2009 or 2010 motorcoach engine is cleaner than the air that is going in.” — Clyde Hart, American Motorcoach Association.

“Historically, higher-density housing housed lower income families. Now we are building high-density housing for high-income households. But we can’t assume that the travel habits of of people who lived in historic higher densities will apply to new higher densities.” — Steve Polzin

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13 thoughts on “Notes from Orlando

  1. Frank

    “Why don’t people live closer to work? Less than 20 percent of travel is work-related, and 30 percent of households do not have any commuters. So people don’t base where they live on where they work.” — Steve Polzin

    I saw a statistic on the local news, taken from the Department of Transportation, that 50% of Americans live five or fewer miles from work. Seems fairly close to me. Also, I’d like the source for the statistic that less than 20% of travel is work-related. How is that measured? 20% of miles driven? 20% of trips taken? 20% of time in the car?

  2. BLHackman

    Randal,
    I’m having trouble clicking on some of these links. Most of these links do not have the PP presentation attached to them. They just say that the page cannot be displayed.

  3. FrancisKing

    Tom Rubin’s presentation is flawed (although apparently done by an accountant).

    His list of costs do not include parking and congestion.

    He does not add parking to the list (slide 25). He argues that the costs should not be included, since there is a nebulous benefit – but he dismisses nebulous costs produced by the Sierra Club. A topic for another day!

    He doesn’t attempt to cost congestion, but argues that buses are worse – that’s a non sequitur.

    So I don’t think he answered his own question.

  4. Frank

    I don’t ask for much often on this site, but I would really like a reply to the 20% of travel being work related. I would really like to know how this is measured and where this statistic came from. Thank you in advance.

  5. Dan

    Its based on ITE TPD. The ITE uses 9.1 TPD for the average agent (or consumer if you prefer). Only 2 of those trips are for work, so 2/9 of trips are work-related.

    Nonetheless, I like this poor reasoning being passed along:

    “Historically, higher-density housing housed lower income families. Now we are building high-density housing for high-income households. But we can’t assume that the travel habits of of people who lived in historic higher densities will apply to new higher densities.” —

    Sheer genius.

    DS

  6. Frank

    Wow. I find it hard to believe that after people get home from work, they get in the car an additional seven. (Not saying I don’t believe the stat, just that it seems like a very unpleasant reality.) Additionally, this rubric for measuring travel seems to distort reality. If one commutes 30 miles per day to/from work and then gets in the car for a couple of one or two mile drives to the store or to take the kids to soccer practice, clearly, the bulk of driving is work related. Is there any information about the total miles driven that are work related versus the total miles driven for other purposes?

    Thank you.

  7. Dan

    The issue that folks focus on wrt total trip numbers is about the cold starts and wear/tear on local access roads (in addition to public health and the localized pollutions). I’m not the biggest fan of the ITE Blue Book, as it results in a ton of overparking, and therefore asphalt/impervious and UHI/stormwater problems. IME TPD is highly dependent upon life-stage: Soccer Families more, Savvy Seniors/singles less. I suspect either TTI or Census has such mileage ratios, but I’m not aware of them off the top of my head.

    DS

  8. Borealis

    I wondered about that too, Frank. I wonder what percentage of adults have a long commute. Outside of large cities, the commutes are usually not very long. Throw in trips to take kids to school and events, retired people, young people in college, etc. and maybe that number makes some sense. But I would like to see a breakdown of that number by lifestyle characteristics for it to make sense.

  9. MJ

    I don’t ask for much often on this site, but I would really like a reply to the 20% of travel being work related. I would really like to know how this is measured and where this statistic came from.

    The number comes from a summary of National Household Transportation Survey (NHTS) data. I think the last survey was conducted in 2009. Mr. Polzin, who has helped oversee past versions of this survey, is probably privy to some of the data that hasn’t been publicly released yet. I think you can find data from previous surveys online.

    But the finding that less than 20% of trips are work trips (as measured by number of trips) is not new. These findings are at least 20 years old. The measurement using # of trips overstates the growth of non-work travel a bit, though. Many trips are completed in “chains” of trips — that is, activities may be scheduled so that trips can be completed on the way to or from work. This was an important strategy for many households during the gas price spike in 2008.

  10. the highwayman

    I still find it funny that some one with a history of DUI(Ed Braddy) has made a career of attacking public transit.

    Then again this whole ADC thing was pretty much a teabagger Kool-Aid drinking fest.

  11. Dan

    ITE trips count as a departure and arrival from/to the origin. So a chained trip counts as one departure from the origin, not multiple departures along the chain, as the TPD in the topic is measured from the dwelling unit.

    The good poing about trip chaining makes the ITE TPD problematic – trip chaining is widely recommended to reduce cold starts which results in better mileage and lower tailpipe emissions (but higher resting VOC emissions in parking lots in summer).

    Nonetheless, IIRC MJ’s NHTS should contain trip distance, and his link to an older paper is to Peter Gordon’s work on trips and the findings on peak trips (& recommends peak pricing/tolling), which we were studying in the early naughts & drove a fair amount of policy in NorCal (as one of my profs at the time was recommending that policy).

    DS

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