Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not promising

California's roads are in worse shape than ever. I have blogged about this before and called attention to Jon Sonstelie's analysis which shows that the policy decision to divert highway money to transit (social engineering) is the problem.

Transit use is still low and planners are still excited by the idea that Level of Service (LOS, standard grades used by highway engineers) can be made awful enough so that competing modes can succeed. Unfortunately, as long as this crackpot idea is taken seriously, we will have worsening road congestion along with low levels of transit use. The learning curve on this issue has been flat for many years.

Ed Stevens calls my attention to this conference where participants were invited to think motre broadly about LOS - and the trade-offs that are missed when a simple service measure is used.

Proper pricing would make the consideration of relevant trade-offs routine and automatic. But that is off the table in California at the moment. So trade-off analysis (according to the presentations at the cited conference) is to be top-down. That is not promising. And that is how we got into the mess we are in.