Can We Drop the Fantasy That Transit Is Green?

Atlantic blogger Eric Jaffe asks, “Can we stop pretending cars are greener than transit?” It’s a pointless question because no one really says that cars are greener than transit. On the other hand, claims that transit is greener than cars are vastly overblown.

Jeffe makes a few duffer mistakes that show he hasn’t thought this through. For example, he admits that it is a mistake (which many transit advocates make) to compare full buses with cars of average occupancy. He then proceeds to compare buses of average occupancy with cars with single occupants. But cars don’t average one occupant; the urban average is about 1.6 and the intercity average is about 2.4. While it is true, as many transit advocates point out, that putting one more person on a bus doesn’t significantly increase energy consumption, it is also true (and perhaps even more doable) that putting one more person in a car doesn’t significantly increase energy consumption.

Jaffe suggests that the reason why transit vehicle occupancy rates are low is because transit agencies “choose to design systems that favor coverage over capacity, knowing full well that will mean running some empty buses, because suburban or low-income residents need them.” In fact, “coverage over capacity” is a revenue strategy: agencies want to justify taxing wealthy suburbs, so they send buses and build trains to those suburbs even though most houses have three or more cars in their driveways. If we want to help low-income residents, it would be cheaper, greener, and greater help to them to simply give them used, but energy-efficient, cars.

Jaffe also admits that studies based on New York City are not representative of transit in the rest of the country. But he then accuses others of “cherry picking” data when they point to energy-inefficient transit in other cities. In fact, as page 14 of my paper on rail transit shows, there are only about six urban areas–New York, Atlanta, San Francisco-Oakland, Portland, Boston, and Chicago–where transit uses less energy and emits less greenhouse gases per passenger mile than a typical car.

Jaffe cites a Federal Transit Administration report claiming that the full life-cycle costs of transit are lower than driving. If he had gone to a more unbiased source, he would have learned just the opposite: the life-cycle costs of rail transit are more than twice the operating costs, while that of driving is only about 1.6 times the operating costs (whether costs are measured in energy or greenhouse gas emissions). If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it won’t be by getting people out of their cars and onto trains.

Ironically, it was an article in the Atlantic more than thirty years ago that blew up the fantasy that transit is some kind of solution to energy or pollution problems. University of California (Irvine) economist Charles Lave pointed out what he called the “law of large proportions”: “the biggest components matter most.” This means that, since 98 percent of urban motorized travel is by automobile, focusing on the other 2 percent is a complete waste.

Transit agencies that buy hybrid-electric buses, build rail lines, or do other things to be “green” are wasting taxpayers’ money. If we really want to be green, we need to focus on making the 98 percent greener, which we are already doing. Cars may not be greener than transit today, but they aren’t browner either. However, by 2025 or so, cars will be far more energy efficient, which transit is not likely to improve as much–indeed, transit uses far more energy per passenger mile today than it did 40 years ago. In all probability, in a little more than a decade, we won’t have to stop pretending that cars are greener because it will be true.

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35 thoughts on “Can We Drop the Fantasy That Transit Is Green?

  1. C. P. Zilliacus

    The Antiplanner wrote:

    On the other hand, claims that transit is greener than cars are vastly overblown.

    Especially electric transit that gets its traction power from generating stations powered by fossil fuels like coal.

    Jaffe suggests that the reason why transit vehicle occupancy rates are low is because transit agencies “choose to design systems that favor coverage over capacity, knowing full well that will mean running some empty buses, because suburban or low-income residents need them.” In fact, “coverage over capacity” is a revenue strategy: agencies want to justify taxing wealthy suburbs, so they send buses and build trains to those suburbs even though most houses have three or more cars in their driveways.

    I have no problem with government providing some sort of service in the suburbs and urban areas that have suburban-type population density (it might be bus, it might be minibus, call-a-bus, or some other service). And remember that regardless of a transit agency’s service area, the subsidies to run it are often diverted from taxes or tolls collected very far from the area served by transit.

    There are people that cannot drive a private motor vehicle, or don’t have the means to own, operate and insure a vehicle, even in suburbia. I will not object to providing service to them, even if government has to subsidize it to some extent.

    The modes above can all use highway, road and street infrastructure, which is good. What is almost always bad is transit agencies building and owning their own (rail) infrastructure, for it tends to be very expensive and badly underutilized much of the time.

  2. bennett

    ” …transit agencies ‘choose to design systems that favor coverage over capacity, knowing full well that will mean running some empty buses, because suburban or low-income residents need them.’”

    Not exactly. Here’s how it works. A Transit agency has a budget. With that money you can provide a low level of service across a large geographic area or you can provide a high level of service in a concentrated area (or anything in between). Context dictates a lot, but so does politics. It’s a balance.

    “In fact, “coverage over capacity” is a revenue strategy: agencies want to justify taxing wealthy suburbs, so they send buses and build trains to those suburbs even though most houses have three or more cars in their driveways.”

    Your right, the evil transit agencies just want to do things to piss off old curmudgeons in the suburbs. Their only intention is to infuriate Antiplanners. Sheesh.

    redline Reply:

    Here’s how it works. A Transit agency has a budget. With that money you can provide a low level of service across a large geographic area or you can provide a high level of service in a concentrated area (or anything in between). Context dictates a lot, but so does politics. It’s a balance.

    Not in a lot of places, such as Portland, where the development agency (formerly a transit agency) routinely cannibalizes bus services to fund rail operations.

    We used to have a fairly serviceable bus system. Not now.

    msetty Reply:

    Or, alternatively, they’ve cannibalized the “frequent service network” to continue operations where ridership is too low to justify service except on a “lifeline” basis.

    Two points:

    (1) there should be no obstacle to contracting out lower ridership routes, stretching taxpayer dollars (I agree TriMet benefits in particular are out of hand, a political issues not with transit “per se”);

    (2) Since there is already a huge sunk cost in the rail network, it makes no sense to cut midday, evening or weekend service to less than 15 minutes (at least prior to 10 pm) because the marginal cost of additional car miles is relatively small, e.g., most rail costs are fixed and overall small cuts in car mileage just doesn’t save that much compared to the overall costs of running a rail network.

    Plus, if you cut out midday services, say to every 30 minutes, you just increased overall unit costs since train operators still are paid for 8 hour days.

    msetty Reply:

    I also note this is the case with electric trains, but most certainly not with locomotive-hauled diesel suburban trains. With such systems, direct operating costs tend to dominate the overall budget, averaging $20-$30 per train mile, mainly fuel and maintenance.

    Systems like TriMet’s WES is somewhere in between with the funky, odd-ball only a handful-of-a-kind DMUs that they operate, e.g. low fuel costs but high maintenance costs due to such a small scale operation; with only 3 trains, WES has dis-economies of scale.

    MJ Reply:

    Plus, if you cut out midday services, say to every 30 minutes, you just increased overall unit costs since train operators still are paid for 8 hour days.

    You seem to be assuming that labor costs are fixed. In anything but the very short run, they are not. This is especially true if the transit operator can use part-time labor.

    Also, your definition of “unit cost” takes produced, as opposed to consumed, output as the basis for measuring unit cost. Taking that logic to its absurd extreme, you could literally reduce “unit” costs by running more and more empty train cars.

    Of course, if a transit operator is considering running below 15-minute service on part or all of a rail route, one or more of the cars in service must be substantially empty.

    msetty Reply:

    MJ, I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make, unless you’re just trying to be argumentative.

    For the most part, labor costs are fixed in the respect that in most cases you have to pay 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week. When you’re talking transit operations, it is often more expensive to pay for split shifts than just two 8-hour shifts back to back 16-18 hours per day.

    The most cost-effective systems with “frequent service” have relatively low costs per passenger because they don’t have big “peak to base” ratios that at least in larger cities also require paying for split shifts, or heavy use of part-timers. The problem with part-timers is that is difficult to keep reliable employees, mainly because the work is part-time and usually has odd hours.

    The other thing is that a reasonable level of midday service–every 15 minutes minimum on frequent service networks where there is enough potential ridership to justify such service anyway–is relatively cheap to provide compared to peak only services, for the reasons I cite above.

    Running additional bus miles–or LRV mileage, or DMU mileage–is also relatively cheap compared to commuter rail where locomotive-hauled trains typically cost $20+/mile to operate just for fuel and maintenance, plus on-board labor (this is also why I think the typical U.S. approach to “commuter rail” is so demented–both overuse of diesel loco-hauled trains in most places when really only justified in the largest cities, like Chicago, and the provision of peak-hour only service in most cases).

  3. MJ

    We’ve known this for quite some time. The fundamental problem is that transit agencies are trying to serve too many objectives with a single service. A service that is designed to reduce energy consumption (or congestion) requires provision of a high quality service in relatively few markets (and probably limited hours of the day) where there may be sufficient demand. This is the antithesis of a service that is designed to provide extensive coverage and serve low-income or physically disabled passengers across a large service area. Both objectives cannot be simultaneously pursued in an effective manner, but they are nonetheless. Transit operations being less than “green” is the predictable result.

    Your right, the evil transit agencies just want to do things to piss off old curmudgeons in the suburbs. Their only intention is to infuriate Antiplanners. Sheesh.

    Transit agencies want to capture the tax base that most suburban jurisdictions provide. They have the people and the money, if not the demand for transit service. It’s basically a pay-to-play scheme. That’s not an opinion — it’s reality. And it only further weakens transit’s energy efficiency.

    bennett Reply:

    “Transit agencies want to capture the tax base that most suburban jurisdictions provide.”

    That’s a pretty big generalization and not always the “reality”. Here in Austin, as in many other cities, jurisdictions have to vote in the (sales) tax in order to get transit service. As a result many suburban areas get no transit service as they either do not want it or do not want to pay for it.

    MJ Reply:

    But take a look at the places who do “opt in” to the service. How much service is extended to them? How much revenue do they provide?

    It is the same type of logic that leads many cities to court commercial development, rather than residential, out of the belief that such development will be “revenue positive”.

    In the case of rail system expansion, this can be an expensive proposition, as the tradeoff required to capture the desired tax base can be costly.

    bennett Reply:

    You make good points. I’m mostly referring to bus transit, as rail projects often seem to overstep the boundaries of reasonableness.

    RE; the “opt in” places. (for bus transit) The tax increase is usually marginal enough so that the area get’s the service, routes and stops that it wants. Sure, it’s not completely equitable, but the more dense areas with more intense commercial uses generally get the higher level of service and generate the most revenue (for the most part). But aside from all of that, a (let’s say $0.01) sales tax across the board is just easier to implement and levy. To create a completely equitable revenue system would create unneeded bureaucracy and require significant administrative hours. For the most part it works out. The burbs contribute less revenue and get less service, and the subsidy levying system is easy and efficient. To make it more complex in the name a fairness would end up costing more money in the long run.

  4. msetty

    Here is a link to uber transit blogger Jarrett Walker’s latest post on the issue of “coverage” vs. “frequency”: http://www.humantransit.org/2012/11/eric-morris-on-the-freakonomics-blog-has-fallen-into-the-familiar-trap-to-put-my-remarks-in-context-ive-been-a-trans.html.

    Walker also has extensive postings about “frequent service networks” e.g., where you’ll most likely find transit services that actually have the potential to save a lot of energy compared to autos, particularly when heavy duty hybrid transit buses getting 5.0-6.0 mpg become widely available: http://www.humantransit.org/frequent-networks/.

    Those of us who want a useful conversation about the utility of transit as an energy-saving/GHG reduction strategy would appreciate it if the transit skeptics on this blog would thoroughly review Mr. Walker’s extensive musings on transit, particularly transit planning–or perhaps better yet, read his recent book (http://islandpress.org/ip/books/book/islandpress/H/bo8076012.html–so we could have an informed discussion rather than the tiresome, tedious trading of irrelevant rhetorical points.

    MJ Reply:

    Those of us who consider ourselves “skeptics” would prefer actual evidence, rather than reasoning by anecdote and blustery dismissals of legitimate criticisms as being ideologically or monetarily motivated.

    msetty Reply:

    I’ve supplied a mountain of evidence in the links. There is also a ton of empirical evidence in various reports on my website.

    It is unfortunate that many transit critics here still cling to rhetorical arguments, such as Randal’s insistence that we don’t need to improve transit since we can wait for the robocars. Or CPZ’s insistence that essentially all rail is bad. Or blanket statements like this:
    “Transit agencies want to capture the tax base that most suburban jurisdictions provide.”

    And there are still some here that oppose transit improvements on ideological grounds, rather than empirical arguments.

    Those of us who consider ourselves “skeptics” would prefer actual evidence…

    Such as?

    I think part of the problem here is something Todd Litman recently pointed out in one of his papers:

    Transportation policy and planning decisions can have diverse impacts (benefits and costs), including many that are indirect and external (imposed on non-users). Conventional transport evaluation tends to overlook and undervalue many impacts. Many of these omissions and biases are subtle, based on how problems are defined, and the technical methods used to measure impacts and evaluate solution. More comprehensive and multi-modal evaluation can help determine truly optimal solutions, considering all impacts.

    This is a timely issue. A paradigm shift (a fundamental change in the way problems are defined and solutions evaluated) is occurring in the transport planning field (ADB 2009; Litman and Burwell 2006). The old paradigm assumed that transportation refers simply to mobility (physical travel), the new paradigm recognizes that the ultimate goal of most transport is accessibility (people’s ability to reach desired services and activities), and that many factors can affect accessibility including the quality of mobility options, transport network connectivity, the geographic distribution of activities, and mobility substitutes such as telecommunications and delivery services. The new paradigm recognizes that planning decisions often involves tradeoffs between different types of access, for example, if roadway expansion improves motor vehicle access but reduces non-motorized access, or when choosing between an urban fringe location that is convenient to access by car, or a city center location convenient for access by other modes.

    http://www.vtpi.org/comp_evaluation.pdf.

    In a nutshell, Litman points out in this paper that the various tools and techniques for measuring and evaluating the impacts and costs/benefits, direct and indirect, of “alternative” (sic) modes such as walking, bicycling and transit are still in their infancy. Perhaps this state of affairs is one reason you think transit advocates “lack facts.”

    C. P. Zilliacus Reply:

    Or CPZ’s insistence that essentially all rail is bad.

    I have no dislike of rail per se. In fact, on my time, I am a railfan (including all sorts of vehicles that run on rails), and I love to look at “train pornography” online.

    However, in spite of my personal preferences, most rail systems, even those which are touted as a “success story” are very underutilized most of the 24-hour clock (exception made for most of the NYC Subway system).

    If it is “modern” rail (in other words, rail that is purpose-built by taxpayers to carry passengers only), it is nearly always very expensive infrastructure to have standing idle for many hours of the day and most weekends and holidays.

    Compare and contrast to bus, and especially buses that run on non-congested managed lanes (including toll, HOV/toll and HOV). The cost of building and maintaining such highway infrastructure is spread among many users, not just transit patrons (and the taxpayers and toll road customers that usually subsidize transit). Added bonus – such bus service tends to be fast, with running speeds significantly higher than conventional bus service and most rail transit.

    msetty Reply:

    CPZ, if you’re talking about too typical U.S. commuter rail systems that run peak hour only services, I agree with you.

    If you’re also talking about gold-plated, overbuilt heavy rail and light rail lines, e.g., a lot of things are added that really aren’t needed due to politicians wanting things, excessive “engineering” by outfits such as Parsons-Brinkerhoff more interested in maximizing billings than effective projects, I also agree.

    However, I must also point out that in Western Europe outside Britain (which suffers from some of the same cultural problems as the U.S.), new LRT lines are usually built for very reasonable costs of $20-$40 million per mile, about half that of the U.S.–though labor costs aren’t any less overall.

    I attribute this to the fact that in general, the Europeans still have respect for real expertise in the field. In the U.S. whatever expertise that used to exist in transit–rail and otherwise–is little and far between in this country, trumped by gold-plating and other forms of pork-barreling. Off hand, I’m not sure how this ingrained culture in the transportation field can be changed–highways suffer from this problem, too, though it is greatly tempered compared to rail/transit by decades of experience, a much wider variety of potential designers and contractors, as well as very well-established design standards.

    “Privatization,” at least as practiced so far in the U.S., is also NOT reassuring, given fiascoes like the Vegas Monorail, and any number of toll roads with actual revenues that have come well below projections.

    The bottom line is the level of political and corporate corruption is higher here than either Western Europe or Japan, the general lack of expertise in rail/transit is rampant, and there is a real lack of respect for people who actually know how to provide rail and transit service in an effective, efficient manner due to our politicians and their sponsors’ culture of corruption giving priority to pork-barreling and lining the pockets of their corporate buddies. California HSR is potentially the most expensive example yet, given the totally misguided and corrupt manner in which it is being developed–and I hope the start of the “train to nowhere” can be delayed long enough to kill the thing, forcing California to put it out for private sector consortium proposals from SNCF, the Germans and Japanese like it should have been in the first place.

    msetty Reply:

    I also add that the “culture of corruption” seems acute in English-speaking cultures, with the possible exception of Hong Kong. The British and Aussies have their share of absurdly overpriced projects, such as much of the proposed HSR lines in England, as well as unneeded multi-billion tunnels and other projects in Melbourne and Sydney, for example (in Western Europe, I’m excluding Southern Europe such as Italy and Greece, of course!)

  5. Scott

    It’s kinda surprising that the 6 UAs in the OP, included Portland & Atlanta, which have low densities, rather than Philadelphia & DC.

    Although, a different metric (energy/passenger) was used than typical, with the overall commonality being the core city density of 9,500+ & the concentration of jobs in the CBD, which many pro-transit people usually seem to ignore or be unaware of. And many commuters to CBDs, have high incomes & own a car too.

    Census daytime population levels show some indication of that. Trivia on that [from 2000 figures; haven’t analyzed 2010, yet]: w/one exception, all major cities have more jobs than workers. San Jose [w/a small CBD] had about 4% fewer jobs than workers — w/about 1/2 of workers’ jobs in another city & 1/2 of the jobs held by residents not living in San Jose.

    That partially explains the low effectiveness & low ridership on the VTA, especially its blight rail. If planners were more in touch w/reality, the fruitless attempts at behavior modification might be reduced.

    How is the energy use for the most widespread transit systems, having high % of workers, in the Tokyo, HK & Singapore? It’s pretty delusional for those & NYC to be emulated in the US.

  6. Craigh

    Here is a link to uber transit blogger Jarrett Walker’s latest post on the issue of “coverage” vs. “frequency”

    Yes. And it tells us absolutely nothing that hasn’t already been discussed here (and that’s after following three links deep.)

    You must find something compelling in his writing, but the cited posts are thin gruel, indeed.

    The fact remains that many transit advocates continue to cite energy-efficiency as a feature when, even as Walker admits, the politics of public transport render those claims moot. I can’t imagine what you imagined your point to be.

    msetty Reply:

    The fact remains that you don’t get it. If you don’t understand his point, I can’t help you. NO, the claims aren’t “rendered moot”

    Unlike most transit agencies, most transit advocates (particularly those coming out of the “social service” ilk) and the politicians who run them, Walker actually has a transit planning philosophy.

    His key points are very simple:

    (1) he wants transit agencies to make explicit determinations about the allocation of resources between “coverage” (e.g., lifeline) transit services and “frequency” or “productivity” or “ridership” services that have the potential to attract sufficient patronage to actually produce energy-savings, land use and other benefits often purported to be supported by transit.

    Point (2) is that “frequent transit networks” e.g., whether rail AND/OR bus is the key to obtaining those benefits (your point is partially correct in that too many transit advocates don’t yet know the difference). As a general rule, frequencies are as least as important as travel times, particularly for travel over short distances. The 30- and 60-minute frequencies of most U.S. transit systems are just too long to be really competitive with driving.

    In most places including some rather large cities in this country, suitable frequencies of every 15 minutes or less are NOT applied in any systematic way–a bunch of overlapping, infrequent routes on major arterials is NOT the same thing. Social service types, many “senior advocates” and disreputable organizations like the L.A. Bus Riders Union likes these kinds of services, but I doubt most transit users will if they fully understood the difference between an uncoordinated collection of wandering, long headway routes vs. a developed network of frequent services in the busiest transportation corridors in any given metro area, rail OR bus.

    If you are a transit skeptic and want to be taken seriously by your opponents, I still strongly suggest you read Walker’s book, if nothing else. It is an excellent read, stays away from technical jargon, and the math is limited to simple arithmetic. Very accessible, particularly for those who AREN’T transit planners (though I also recommend it to such folks, too).

    As for the argument that “density” and centrality of employment drive virtually everything doing with transit, WRONG! Sure, density and employment locations are important parts of the equation, but things like transit network design and level of service are also very important.

    I could provide a pile of links on this topic, but I’ll just give one: a comparison of transit service in Fort Worth/Tarrant County vs. Fort Lauderdale/Broward County. Though populations and densities are similar, Broward County annual per capita ridership is considerably higher than in Tarrant County, so Broward ALSO can afford a much higher level of service overall compared to Tarrant. Link: http://www.nctr.usf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/JPT15.1Brown.pdf, a link cited at http://reason.org/news/show/surface-transportation-news-104 (of all places!)

    SO! Bob Poole essentially “gets it,” e.g., Jarrett Walker’s central point that I cited, ” but many posters on this blog don’t! Tell me it isn’t so, Antiplanner! (well, perhaps corrected after some READING by transit skeptics here).

  7. bennett

    It seems like there are some dubious things going on with Portland transit. I’m basing this entirely on what I read here. I also think there are some misguided projections of what happens in Portland to every other transit agency in the world. Rest assured my Antiplanner brethren, it works differently outside of the Peoples Republic.

    msetty Reply:

    It seems like there are some dubious things going on with Portland transit.

    Agreed, to some extent. On the one hand, TriMet has done a lot of good things, mainly along the lines of good service and rail lines in a lot of the right places, at least until they got to the Milwaukie line.

    A few things I think they’ve gone “off the rails.”

    (1) Diluting their frequent service bus network by reverting to 17-minute headways rather than every 15 minutes minimum.

    (2) Dubious rolling stock decisions on the WES line, which really should be converted to DMUs similar to those operated by the Denton and Austin folks, now that they’ve been accepted by FRA (of course, “Buy America” could be a problem; on the other hand, it appears such vehicles could operate over existing MAX lines if (a) dual electric/diesel versions (the modular design allows for this), (b) a foot narrower and trains no longer than a downtown Portland block; turnin radius seems possible, given earlier versions of the Denton/Austin vehicle operates on the street in Camden, NJ), same as an LRV; and (c) scrap the WES high platforms in favor of same height at MAX platforms. This approach makes regional rail expansion far cheaper than a full MAX LRT line.

    (3) How did they get the Milwaukie MAX line to $200 million per mile, when the Interstate Avenue line was $75 million/mile? How much is design issues like grade separations or gold plated pork?

    (4) How did the cost of a potential 2-mile Vancouver LRT line get to $1 billion, when this video claims a high level road/rail bridge parallel to the existing BN/UP Columbia River Bridge could be built for about $1 billion, and a parallel 4-lane road/LRT bridge to the existing I-5 crossings would cost around $400 million?

    (5) Finally, how did Portland’s political establishment get suckered into the absurd level of exceeding wages paid? This problem makes notoriously pro-public sector union towns like San Francisco, Chicago and New York City look almost like “right to work” (sic) outposts, e.g., like they were Alabama or somewhere similar!

    To reiterate, I do not have a problem with outsourcing transit operations, like many transit operators have. I’m not even sure that wage levels for operating and maintenance personnel are is the problem.

    And I don’t think any of these problems are due to “rail” per se; corruption and pork-barrelling in the highway sector is a problem an order of magnitude bigger, if only because the amounts spent are an order of magnitude or more larger than transit.

    msetty Reply:

    that is, benefits exceeding wages paid…

    Long day!

    msetty Reply:

    Randal, is there any way to get an edit function back, e.g., to eradicate obvious typos? It would be nice if you could figure out how.

    Thanks.

  8. Sandy Teal

    I think planners are getting lost in the details. CPZ posted some noble goals of a transportation system.

    If carbon emissions of public transit and personal cars are anywhere close to each other, then they are trivial in the global calculation and not worthy of any consideration.

    bennett Reply:

    Sandy,

    As a planner that primarily works on transit, and as a person that is an advocate for transit, there are two arguments I avoid. 1. Transit reduces congestion. 2. Transit reduces carbon emissions. In theory both have the potential to accomplish these objectives, but I try not to get caught up in the theoretical vacuum.

    I do believe that transit can offer an alternative to driving in congestion. I do believe that the more efficient transit services and vehicles are the lesser the impact on carbon emissions will be (much like cars).

    Mostly I believe that transit is a public good that is there to primarily serve individuals without cars, with disabilities, with low incomes, that are too young to drive but old enough to ride transit, or the elderly that choose to not drive or cannot drive anymore. If transit can capture lots of choice riders too, great. But I prefer transit services that are designed to serve the cohorts I mention. I also like commuter services but feel that these services need to have better fare box recovery.

    bennett Reply:

    lesser the impact “of”…

    Dan Reply:

    …there are two arguments I avoid. 1. Transit reduces congestion. 2. Transit reduces carbon emissions. In theory both have the potential to accomplish these objectives, but I try not to get caught up in the theoretical vacuum.

    As the mode split ratio is so wide, it is hard to justify these two, if only because people’s anecdotal experience (and faulty perception faculties) tell them otherwise. But pile these on at the end with the other reasons and it’s a good set of points. One can’t lead with these two at this time, except in places like NYC.

    There is also a new finding that asserts there is an association between autism and vehicle emissions during gestation. Not sure what % is emissions when you pile on our society’s chemical burden from sources other than cars, but it bears watching.

    DS

  9. jdgalt

    While a good case can be made that cars as they are actually used do consume less fuel per passenger mile than buses or commuter trains as they are actually used, the whole argument is silly because it presupposes a *need* to “be green” that doesn’t exist. There simply is no environmental crisis, and hasn’t been any in the last century.

    The real crisis is of environmentalism and theftism. As most of them admit on green-agenda.com, green leaders are really barbarians who want to so destroy the rich world’s economy that no one can be non-poor. The rest of the green movement are dupes, and the “science” they believe in is all fake.

    The time to treat the feelings of those dangerous barbarians tenderly is long past. They must be stopped before they stop us.

    bennett Reply:

    Baring some sort of armed revolution and the use of violence there is no way anybody with your perspective will be successful. When the starting point of the conversation is that your opponents are thieves and barbarians there is no way for any conversation to continue, only physical violence.

    Of course you may just have a terrible case of internet cajones and your hyperbolic rant is probably limited to the bloggosphere. You probably don’t have the “real” cajones to say these sort of things to anybodies face. Just a hunch.

    Dan Reply:

    There simply is no environmental crisis, and hasn’t been any in the last century.

    That’s good comedy! Thanx fer teh LOLz!

    DS

    msetty Reply:

    Looks like “greenagenda.com” is simply a front for a toner cartridge recycling business. And “green-agenda.com” is currently off the air due to a “bandwidth exceeded” problem.

    So, jdgalt, do you (1) have any FACTS to back up your blanket statements about the environmental movement; and (2) facts that are accessible online?

    Or are you just out trolling today? That’s a habit that can be fun a few times, but gets boring after a while.

    msetty Reply:

    Turns out green-agenda.com is a side project of the crackpot religious site it links to: http://www.watchmanspost.com/.

    Money quote at the top of this link:
    “WELCOME to this Christian/ Messianic End Time Messenger!”

    At least as demented in its own way as the religious fanatics who profess “Deep Ecology.”

    Sheesh!

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