Search the Site

Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Gender and Fender Benders

We’re coming to the end of a series on whether the man or the woman is more likely to take the wheel when a couple is in the car. Eric Morris argues that whether the man or woman is more likely to drive is literally a question of life and death.

Couples and Cars

Why do men do most of the driving? Recently I’ve posted articles showing that when men and women ride together the man is much more likely to be behind the wheel (see this link and this link). What do you, the readers, think about this?

In Relationships, Are Men in the Driver's Seat?

In the past, I’ve written on matters of high import for the future of our republic, and on literal questions of life and death. But clearly, nothing excites the Freakonomics readership more than the issue of why men tend to do the driving when a couple is in the car. The Times’s server nearly melted down as more than 400 of you posted responses to my article on the subject.

Are Transportation Planners Smarter Than Mold?

Transportation planners are a noble and advanced species; all I have met have opposable thumbs, walk upright, and have a reasonable command of fire and language. But the results of a fascinating new experiment reported in the journal Science give us cause to question whether their work would be better performed by primordial slime.

The Irony of Road Fear

It’s nearly upon us: the centenary of America’s first coast-to-coast road, the Lincoln Highway, conceived by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher in 1912. That means we’re also about ready to start celebrating another major anniversary: 100 years of dreading driving on the highway.

What Bothers People About SuperFreakonomics?

In SuperFreakonomics, far and away the most common subject of emails is drunk walking vs. drunk driving. In particular, every few days someone writes us to tell us that our analysis is wrong because we are comparing the rate of death per mile driven drunk versus the rate of death per mile walked drunk. Sure, they say, drunk walkers get killed more per mile. But since cars travel much faster, per hour, it is safer to drive drunk than to walk drunk.

Cash and Carry

A couple of days ago, Dubner posted a challenge: think about activities that are legal when done for free but become illegal when they are done for money. Despite my recent post on the injustice of the taxi medallion system, not one of the 100+ responders to Dubner’s appeal mentioned that the simple act of driving passengers around is a crime – when it is done for cash.

Mothers and the Model T

Last post I started a series on the different ways men and women travel. The disparities are many, and go back a long way; after all, Eve and not Adam took the first family grocery-shopping trip, and Noah, not his anonymous wife, built and drove the first recorded vehicle.
In the days of the walking city, women (at least middle- and upper-class women) largely stayed close to home; walking long distances down filthy, chaotic, and dangerous streets was simply seen as unladylike.

Unfree Enterprise

Lately, the lot of the New York cabbie has improved a bit. But there are still some major systemic obstacles that keep drivers and their passengers from getting the conditions and service they deserve. One crucial issue is that the system for licensing cabs seems less a product of American capitalism and more like something straight out of a Soviet Five Year Plan.

Why Does Driving Bring Out the Worst in People?

How is a car like the Internet?
A reader named William Mack writes in with an interesting observation and question. It echoes a conversation I recently had with a friend who had been on the receiving end of some road rage — in a New York City parking garage, of all places. The driver behind her simply couldn’t wait for her to pull in, so he rammed her.

Cash and Cabbies

Hopefully, my last post was sadly misinformed. Was it? Allen J. Fromberg, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, was kind enough to respond to some arguments I presented about the difficult circumstances facing New York cab drivers. According to Mr. Fromberg, working conditions have improved greatly since the studies I was using were published:

Cordon Blues?

Envy the lucky travelers of London. As you may know, in 2003 the city imposed a congestion toll of £5 (later raised to £8) on all vehicles entering the central district. In 2007, Transport for London, a government agency, did a cost-benefit analysis of the impacts (find the full report here).
It found the following about costs per year to travelers in the central district:
* Individuals and business travelers pay about £236 million in tolls.
* Some trips to the area are canceled, costing would-have-been drivers the equivalent of about £31 million.
* It costs motorists and firms £19 million to comply with the system.
* Total burden on travelers: £286 million.

The Bottom Line on Top-Speed Trains

Edward Glaeser (over at the Economix blog) and I have been writing about high-speed rail (HSR) over the past couple of weeks; he just finished his cost-benefit analysis of a hypothetical Dallas-Houston line with a look at land-use impacts. His overall conclusion, even making some very generous assumptions in favor of rail, is that the line would be a net cost to society of at least $375 million per year. This includes HSR’s potential environmental benefits as well as the direct gains to riders.
A couple of caveats are in order.

Cash for the Climate

Edward Glaeser (over at the Economix blog) and I are doing a few posts on the high-speed rail (HSR) component of the economic stimulus package (find the first post here). HSR promises to reduce carbon emissions, but so does the other hot transportation policy at the moment, Cash for Clunkers (CFC). Under CFC the federal government is providing rebates to consumers who trade in their vehicles for new ones that get better gas mileage. Which program is the more effective way to cool down the ice caps while heating up the economy?

New York City Without Its Subway …

… would probably be dotted with parking lots the size of Greenwich Village in order to accommodate all the daily commuters driving into the city on the equivalent of 84 Queens Midtown Tunnels, predicts Michael Frumin at the Frumination blog.

Runaway Train?

Robert Moses, the titanic “power broker” who is responsible for much that is wrong (and some that is right) in the planning of modern New York, had an infamous dictum: once you’ve turned the first shovelful of dirt, they’ll never make you stop building.

Paved With Good Intentions Contest: The Winner

It was an extremely close race, but t paciello, come on up and thank the academy. The readers voted your ode to the horrors of the Cross Bronx Expressway as the best description of the worst in American transportation. For your victory, you will receive a piece of Freakonomics schwag.

Paved With Good Intentions: A Freakonomics Contest

Welcome to the Freakonomics “Paved With Good Intentions” contest, in which we pay loving tribute to the most abysmal roads in America.
Here’s how it works. Write a brief homage (no more than 150 words) to the worst stretch of road you know of. You have broad latitude in your definition of “worst.” It may be the most congested, the most poorly maintained, the ugliest, the most dangerous, the most confusing, the worst integrated with adjacent land uses, or any combination of the above. You may also devise a standard of your own. Tell us why your road is the best example of the worst in American transportation, toss in a bit of wit and literary flash, and post your entry in the comments section.

Formula for Transportation-Funding Success? Your Answers

Before moving on to other facets of transportation stimulus funding, here’s one more post about the formula for determining what share of those funds go to each state. (Earlier posts are here and here.) Let me pass along a few of the perceptive comments made by readers.

Want to Fix New York Air Congestion? Shut Down LaGuardia

During a recent ground delay at LaGuardia, I got to talking with an off-duty pilot for a major airline who was extraordinarily knowledgeable about every single airline question I could think to ask him. (With any luck, he’ll soon be joining us here as a guest blogger.) When I asked for his take on New York air congestion, he said the solution was easy: shut down LaGuardia.

Formula for Success: My Thoughts

In my last post, I challenged you to find at least five examples of inequity, ineffectiveness, or inefficiency in a formula that is governing the allocation of transportation stimulus funds to the states: 25 percent based on total lane miles of federal-aid highways, 40 percent based on vehicle miles traveled in lanes on federal-aid highways, and 35 percent based on . . .

Formula for Success?

Here’s an article from the Chicago Tribune in which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is quoted as saying “there is no favoritism” involved in the disbursement of the transportation stimulus funding to the states. The reason given was that the disbursements are “based on a long-standing formula for allocating highway funds to the states.” Using their system eliminates some forms of . . .

Can't We All Just Not Get Along?

No less an authority than my brother called my last post on the transportation stimulus package “spectacularly uninformative.” Fortunately (or unfortunately), this shows I got my message across; I feel pretty uninformed about the transportation program and perhaps you do too. Photo: Artem Finland One problem is that, paradoxically, a major strength of the way we make transportation policy can . . .

The Transportation Stimulus: On the Right Road?

I have to admit, the transportation portion of the stimulus package troubles me. It’s not that I have a bad opinion of it; what troubles me is that I have considerable difficulty forming an opinion at all. The process is so hasty, and involves so many different players, and will fund such a vast number of projects, and has so . . .

Are Bicyclists Free Riders?

| Do bicyclists contribute their fair share to the transportation network? An Oregon lawmaker thinks not, and has proposed a law requiring cyclists to pay a $54 registration fee every two years. A Portland bike blog interviewed the lawmaker in question, who explained the proposal this way: “[B]ikes have used the roads in this state forever and have never contributed . . .