Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Some transportation ironies

Here is an LA Times report on parking problems at UCLA.  This is funny (or sad) for several reasons.  First, these were the controversies many (many) years ago when I was there.  Second, same old problem because no one is ready to use market mechanisms.  Third, the report cites UCLA parking expert Prof Michael Dukakis, but the same faculty has a certain Donald Shoup on its team -- who happens to write eloquently about all of the reasons to price parking.  Pricing is not even mentioned in the article.  So nothing changes.  If you do not price ...

Market fundamentals are also valid in Europe.  A recent NY Times includes "Across Europe, Irking Drivers is Urban Policy."  At least this report mentions "hefty congestion charges" in London and Stockholm.  Absent these, there are the many ways to irk drivers.  Ban cars, narrow some roads, cap the number of parking spaces, etc.

Back home, the roads in the Los Angeles area are abysmal.  And this too is the policy.  Highway funds have been shifted to public transit for years, but there has been no shift towards greater transit use.  The only consequence is a miserable ride. 

In some very poor countries, a miserable ride is the consequence of poverty.  Closer to home, it is the consequence of carefully considered policy.