Skip to main content

A second BART transbay tube? Discuss.

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | March 10, 2016

BART under the San Francisco Bay is crowded and a major choke point for regional transportation. Monday night I guest hosted a discussion on City Visions on KALW radio on the prospects of building a second rail tube. The audio is now available here. Some big picture points that emerged: The exact route is undefined and … Continue reading »

High-speed rail likely to abandon SoCal connection

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | February 10, 2016

It looks like the financial walls are starting to close in on California’s high-speed rail plan. Facing the reality that there’s not enough money to get the system over the Tehachapis to a gerrymandered, ill-advised stop in Palmdale, the California High Speed Rail Authority is now openly considering trying to connect to Silicon Valley instead, per the Fresno … Continue reading »

Gas is too cheap

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | February 4, 2016

Readers of this blog are likely aware that oil is really cheap right now. While in July 2008, the U.S. benchmark price peaked at just above $140 a barrel, its price dipped to below $27 in mid-January. The Internet is on fire telling us that a barrel of oil is now cheaper than the equivalent … Continue reading »

Accessibility and the sharing economy: Leap, Uber, Lyft and ADA requirements

Kendra Levine, librarian, Institute of Transportation Studies Library | April 22, 2015

The disruption of traditional transportation by startups like Uber and Lyft has created waves and caused many cities and agencies to re-examine how they regulate taxis and the livery system. Now it looks like upstarts like Leap and Chariot, aiming to disrupt public transit, may be on the same course. It was reported that last month a complaint was … Continue reading »

‘Moving Dollars’ puts California’s transportation spending in focus

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | February 19, 2015

California spends approximately $28 billion on transportation infrastructure each year.  But are we spending that money as cost-effectively as possible?  And given the major impact that transportation investments have on our land use patterns and the amount of driving we need to do, are we spending this money in ways that align with California’s environmental … Continue reading »

California breaks ground on high-speed rail, at last

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | January 7, 2015

It’s been over six years since California voters approved a bond measure to fund a two-hour-and-forty-minute Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail system. Today [Jan. 6], groundbreaking finally takes place in Fresno. In the intervening six years, lawsuits and political compromises have delayed the system and likely made the timetables promised to voters impossible to achieve. … Continue reading »

How metropolitan public transit can benefit wages and employment

Daniel Chatman, associate professor, city and regional planning | June 6, 2014

By Daniel G. Chatman and Robert B. Noland — Cities may become more productive when they expand their public transportation networks, if public transport investments lead to larger employment clusters and encourage metropolitan population growth. The benefits of such changes to physical agglomeration (or clustering) caused by transit improvements may consist of several different aspects, such … Continue reading »

Old days, fast times

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 9, 2014

There’s a lot of discussion about speed these days – from the possible advantage of seconds that some users on the internet would get were broadband “net neutrality” to go away to the market-disrupting micro-mini-milli-second competition among “flash mob” stock traders to debates over the speed-up “bullet trains” might provide. It seems as if we … Continue reading »

The perils of rail transit and democracy

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | March 24, 2014

Americans seem to love democracy but hate many of the results. We want governmental power to be decentralized, whether it’s across three federal branches or with local control over sometimes regionally oriented land use decisions. But when the inevitable compromise that is required to get majority approval means a less-than-perfect result, from Obamacare to budget … Continue reading »

CEQA reform 2013 holds promise for improving the environment

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | October 16, 2013

Governor Brown recently signed into law this year’s version of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, which as my colleague Eric Biber noted was decidedly stripped down from what it could have been. SB 743 (Sen. Darrell Steinberg) got a lot of negative attention for giving the Sacramento Kings basketball arena proponents accelerated environmental review … Continue reading »

Transportation policy is housing policy

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | September 6, 2013

Many years ago Haas Institute Executive Director john powell warned education advocates that “housing is education policy” — a refrain now regarded as common wisdom. The insight behind this assertion is a recognition that patterns of racial and economic isolation that manifest in schools and other educational environments are chiefly a function of residential housing … Continue reading »