WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHY DO THEY WANT WHAT THEY WANT? WHY CAN’T THEY WANT WHAT WE WANT THEM TO WANT? IF THIS KEEPS UP THE GOV’T WILL JUST HAVE TO ELECT NEW PEOPLE?
THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER HORN OF THE DILEMMA First law of public policy
Congress believes:There Is No Problem So Big It Can’t Be Run Away From!
On Stimulus • Building roads and subways creates jobs don’t you know – so does building pyramids. • No one builds schools because of their job creation effects – its what happens after you build it that matters!
On making people live more “efficient” lives The American people have no obligation to live in ways that make it convenient for government to serve them
On making policy I HAVE TO STOP MAKING JOKES -- THEY HAVE A WAY OF TURNING INTO POLICY!
A little modesty in public policy In this environment public policy must be catalytic, helping things to happen rather than making them happen. Modesty is appropriate.
It seems to often be a kind of nostalgia by some for a life they have never experienced
Smart Growth; or as I prefer to call it the Nicolae Ceausescu school of urban planning • Remember what happened to him?
A softening of the rhetoric and a little more humility in terms of what is accomplishable by public means in a pluralistic society is in order. The tools we have are rather blunt ones, our resources are limited and that is perhaps all for the best because our wisdom and understanding are equally limited. The central question is: “If we had the power to engender the land use arrangements that we think the public ought to have should we do it?” The answer seems clear to me – we are just not smart enough!
It is clear that the future will not require density to generate propinquity and propinquity will not be needed as a surrogate for access or community. What do we make of cities in that new environment? They can be centers of recreation, culture and entertainment -and voluntary propinquity because people want to be there not because they have to be.
The Starting Point what is the goal? TODAY IN TRANSPORTATION WE ARE BLESSED WITH LOFTY GOALS TO STIR OUR SOULS! MAKING THINGS GET WORSE ---- SLOWER!
Or maybe our goal is: Presiding over a graceful decline
A WORD ABOUT GOALS Suppressing travel is not an answer; if your transportation goals can be met by everyone staying home you have the wrong goals.
BEWARE!“Efficiency” in transportation is a very dangerous word • One colossal pizza delivery per night per neighborhood is “efficient”! • ASK: THE EFFICIENCY OF WHOM OR WHAT? • The key to all transportation is the efficiency of the users –– not the vehicles • That’s why trucks not trains – cars not buses • School bus efficiency vs students !
The Starting Point :what is my goal? My goal for transportation is to reduce the effects of distance as an inhibiting force in our society’s ability to realize its economic and social aspirations
Transportation is • The collision of Demography with Geography • With the interaction of technology and economics added in.
On the role of transportation • While my career has been spent convincing people of the value of transportation, I am often shocked at the magical powers many ascribe to it. It seems that transportation has become the universal lever for effecting whatever change advocates want.
My favorite saying for big projects! Another milestone around our necks!
Closing sentence of Commuting in America II It would be attractive to think that commuting will eventually become an activity of no particular personal or public policy interest. It would be quick and effortless with no detrimental public side-effects. That day will not be arriving soon.
From Commuting in America III The ways in which human needs and preferences play out in a spatial context, given changes in technological possibilities, in the demography of the population, and in the larger society, generates an almost endless array of patterns to investigate and stories to tell.
Demography is DestinyON 2010 In the coming decade the nation will be facing perhaps the most dramatic changes in demography since the great immigration waves of the last century.
WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO CARE GREATLY ABOUT TRANSPORTATION Transportation is all about reducing the time and cost penalties of distance on our economic and social interactions. To the extent that nations succeed in that function they enable tremendous forces of economic opportunity, social cohesion and national unity.
Few nations have been challenged as greatly as we have been by “The Tyranny of Distance.” No other nation has succeeded as we have in reducing the influence of distance on its economic future
It is no longer acceptable that things are bad and our plans accept they willget worse
Transportation planning and policy is rich in unintended consequences. A P.S. The Economist magazine says: Unintended consequences, if left a few years, fosselize into special interest.
THERE IS NO NEED TO ASSUME VENALITY ON THE PART OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHEN INCOMPETENCE IS A PERFECTLY ADEQUATE EXPLANATION.
On planning – A TEST Ask about a proposed project: What share of my resources am I going to commit to solve what share of my problem?
“WHAT % OF TRAVEL IS FRIVOLOUS?”A congressional question to me; 1979People travel for rational reasons All trips have an economic or social transaction at their end of value to the traveler
WHAT IS CONGESTION ? Congestion is: People with the economic means to act on their social and economic interests - getting in the way of other people with the means to act on theirs!
ON AFFLUENCEHELP STAMP OUT AFFLUENCE We can do it if we work together!
Data illuminates the past by telling us what happened; provides insight on the present by telling us what’s going on; and provides guidance for the future by telling us something about trends and provides some answers to what-if kinds of questions. Peter Koltnow
If you torture them long enough eventually statistics will confess to anything!
On my work Because we expect more of transportation today than ever; we need more from our data sources and presumably from planning and policy – probably more than they are capable of giving – and that has been the story of my 35 years.
THE REAL VALUE OF BETTER DATA At Least The Right Answer Stands a Chance of being Among The Options Available !
To a difficult audience I can play the role of the sentimental Doctor, where if you are unhappy with your disease I would be happy to touch up your x-rays.
My Performance Measures There is no Transportation Secretary or Dot Administrator at any level who, when leaving office, can state: 1. Have things gotten better or worse? 2. What do I mean by better or worse? 3. Did I have anything to do with their getting better or worse?
In transportation revenue policy we have the “Tabula Rosa school of public policy” with the view “isn’t it great that we can start all over,” alternatively you have the “creeping incrementalists” who think “What was good enough for my father---”
On road pricing When supply is indifferent to demand it ain’t a marketplace
On road pricing The post-gas tax era is not yet!