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Adding up US subsidies for auto travel with and without the costs of war

In the U.S., motorists do not pay their way. The US government spends more on highways and other auto-related expenses than it receives from auto-related taxes, unlike almost every country in Europe. In a recent report [pdf], Mark Delucchi calculates automobile-related costs and revenues in three different ways and concludes the subsidy is around 20-70 cents per gallon or $24-105 billion in 2002. But what are automobile-related costs, you ask? [more inside]
posted by salvia on Oct 2, 2007 - 99 comments

TRANSIT - an art deco murder mystery

T.R.A.N.S.I.T. is, by a wide margin, my favorite animated short ever produced. Set in the art deco Europe of the 1920's and (and released in 1997) it tells the story of a journey throughout several major vacation destinations of a wealthy tycoon, his young wife with wandering eyes, and a murderous turn of events. The story is told in reverse, from the final stage of the "vacation" back through each prior stop, and the artwork for each segment is painted in the style of the luggage travel sticker for that stop.
posted by jonson on Sep 2, 2007 - 14 comments

Infrastructure Report Card

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 3, 2007 - 49 comments

The labyrinth made simple

Getting around underground in NYC is no longer only for people who already know how to get around underground in NYC. Graphic Designer Eric Jabbour has been spending his free time obsessively redesigning MTA transit maps. And the results are striking. Non-New Yorkers will undoubtedly be able to figure out what's what. Cleaner lines and neighborhood boundaries are just a few features. Also, one can clearly see and understand transfer points and more street names.
posted by sneakin on Apr 26, 2007 - 91 comments

When is a conspiracy theory not a theory?

Hitler's Carmaker:
While GM was mobilizing the Third Reich, the company was also leading a criminal conspiracy to monopolistically undermine mass transit in dozens of American cities that would help addict the United States to oil.
--Edwin Black, author of IBM and the Holocaust explains why the U.S. dependency on oil is no accident. Not everyone agrees, of course.
posted by craniac on Dec 27, 2006 - 38 comments

Exploring the City

The Conflux Festival brings together mapmakers, urban adventurers, and performers to "investigate the physical and psychological landscapes of cities," NYC in this case. Tunnels and shortcuts, turning city sound samples into music, guerilla radio on unused FM frequencies, and a nighttime game of pursuit. My personal favorite is tide-propelled commuting on the Tide and Current Taxi. Via Flavorpill.
posted by salvia on Sep 14, 2006 - 7 comments

Pictures of subway riders in Moscow

Riding the rails in Russia And I thought my guitar took up some space on the bus...
posted by persona non grata on Aug 30, 2006 - 17 comments

subway(station)spotting

Beautiful Subways --worldwide--from palatial to postmodern, folksy to brutalist (pee smells not included--and don't miss Tehran's)
posted by amberglow on Aug 25, 2006 - 48 comments

What if transit were free?

What if transit were free? For six days last month in San Francisco, it was. At a cost of about $14 million (USD) for all six Spare the Air days, about 1.3 million (15%) more people took transit. Festivity ensued. Now LA's mayor is proposing a Free Transit Week. More opinions.
posted by salvia on Jul 27, 2006 - 85 comments

New York Transit History: Slides and Commentary

New York transit history, slides and commentary Audio-visual presentations on various aspects of New York's transit history. I particularly liked the third one, 'Subway style - Design & Architecture in the New York City Subway.'
posted by carter on Jan 9, 2006 - 7 comments

History repeats itself. (NYC transit strike)

Almost exactly 40 years ago, on New Year's Day 1966, 35,000 transit workers walked off the job in New York City, defying the 1947 Condon-Wadlin Act which forbade strikes by government employees. Mike Quill, the TWU's militant founder and president, 'Called an "irresponsible demagogue" and "lawless hooligan" by the press,' 'would not be daunted by politicians' pronouncements and editorial page attacks.' When served with a court order, "Mike Quill tore up the injunction in front of the television cameras." The strike led to the creation of the Taylor Law, which is now being used in attempt to crush the TWU Local 100 strike of today.
posted by Edible Energy on Dec 20, 2005 - 20 comments

Transit in Detroit

Transit in Detroit details an urban planner's initiative to cut the costs of the city's traffic congestion-relieving highway expansion by proposing a transit system combining light rail and bus-rapid-transit. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 on Nov 25, 2005 - 15 comments

We're Going Where You're Going

Alternative Rapid Transit Looking for a funky way to get around town? Try Detroit's People Mover (warning, embedded earworm). For 50 cents you can travel 2.9 miles through 13 stops in 15 minutes, and see some fantastic art along the way. People movers and modified Personal Rapid Transit systems were built in various cities in the 1970s, such as Miami, Jacksonville, and at West Virginia University. The dream of true Personal Rapid Transit has not yet been achieved, and its viability and economic benefits are still up for debate, but the People Mover, at least, is still hanging on.
posted by livii on Apr 2, 2005 - 32 comments

A Bad Decade to Be a Railfan

It's a bad decade to be a railfan. The latest overreaction to terrorism comes at the expense of train enthusiasts. As of this week, New York is now off-limits to traingeeks. In honor of this misunderstood hobby, here's some links to some railfan photo sites I enjoy.
posted by PrinceValium on May 20, 2004 - 18 comments

All we need at hand, already. Go!

Creative, cheap, participatory, the most innovative city in the world......Curitiba !! There may be no single, organic and living font of solutions to many of the world's most pressing problems than Curitiba (previous link from Wikipedia, and a bit more of a wonkish summary here), a Brazilian city of 1.5 million that urban planners from around the globe make pilgrimages to, to learn.

On a budget a tiny fraction of those which American cities have at their disposal, how did Curitiba become the world's leading model for urban sustainability and quality of life ? - with possibly the world's most efficient and effective public transit system, a network of parks and greenery far beyond Olmsted's visionary parks, 70% trash recycling, innovative social welfare systems, trees everywhere, and "Lighthouses of Knowledge" with small libraries and free internet access as well, a low cost open university system.....and flowers! Curitiba's pedestrian-only (no cars) city center is filled with gardens.
posted by troutfishing on Apr 13, 2004 - 34 comments

A new idea for public transportation

Intelligent Grouping Design is... a new idea in public transportation. With many vans out and about town, a passenger can be quickly picked up wherever he happens to be and just as quickly conveyed to his desired destination. Via the cell-phone, people call into the central computer with their current location as well as their destination. The computer finds the nearest van whose route is also the most closest to the passenger's destination. The computer then modifies the route slightly to accommodate the new passenger's pickup and dropoff locations. The drivers don't have to exert themselves mentally on figuring out each route change as the vans equipped with satellite guidance technology.
posted by gregb1007 on Dec 11, 2003 - 28 comments

Whither useful information for an overdesigned site?

R.I.P. Bay Area Transit Information Page, 1994-2003. The site, started by two Berkeley students, provided quick access to transit information in the San Francisco Bay Area, who later received funding for their efforts in 1996. Instead, it gets replaced by this abomination of web design. On the other hand, it is very unusual for a web site to keep the same user interface over the span of almost a decade. Already, there have been user interface rants, complaints about not finding information, sarcastic commentary, and a brief eulogy delivered from one of the original creators, and it hasn't even been the first day. Is content over style dead or are information sites like this (flash) the wave of the future?
posted by calwatch on Nov 4, 2003 - 12 comments

Strikes

Labor Unions in a free market. Southern California is being gripped by crippling strikes by transit workers and grocery clerks -- both over health care -- that has stranded thousands of mostly poor commuters across Los Angeles and is expected to sap millions from the local economy.

As a person who can't drive due to a visual disability, I am personally effected by the MTA transit strike (that is rumored may last several months). State employees are not allowed to strike. Shouldn't that also be the case for essential services, such as public transit?
posted by lola on Oct 14, 2003 - 80 comments

Merge, dumbass!

Microsimulation of road traffic with a time-continuous model [via MagentBox]
posted by riffola on Jul 4, 2003 - 14 comments

The Day Britain Stopped

The Day Britain Stopped tells the story of what might happen if the 'integrated' transport system in the UK fails. On BBC Two last night, it made for shocking viewing and would doubtless have caused some people to question the idea of leaving the house, let alone getting on a plane to go anywhere. You can watch the full ninety minute programme online by following the link above if you've got the time and the Real One player.
posted by feelinglistless on May 14, 2003 - 15 comments

Token Sucking

A Disgusting Practice Vanishes With the Token "Officially, the crime is classified as theft of Transit Authority property. But among transit police officers it is more accurately and less delicately known as token sucking. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it is exactly what it sounds like." (Originally from NYT. More here.)
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Apr 28, 2003 - 18 comments

Arson in South Korean subway

More senseless killing, boys and girls: an Arson in a South Korean subway. "With 135 people injured, many seriously, and at least 90 people listed as missing, officials say they expect the death toll to rise much higher." This will, no doubt, help in stabilizing the region.
posted by antimarx on Feb 18, 2003 - 10 comments

Art and science collide

Art meets science - a fascinating site linking art, maths, physics, astronomy and.... the London Underground!
posted by edh on Feb 11, 2003 - 6 comments

slugs invade new york

Prepare for the worst... says Mayor Mike, as NYC faces down a crippling transit strike. For starters, cars carrying fewer than four people could not enter or leave Manhattan over any bridge or through any tunnel on weekdays, 24 hours a day. Commuters wishing to get into the city by car would need to pick up strangers -- and the city will facilitate this with staging areas. Unflappable New Yorkers are at least a little flapped. But the practice of strangers hitching rides with lone drivers isn't new to NoVa: There, they are called slugs and body snatchers. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on Dec 10, 2002 - 32 comments

NYC Subways and then some.

NYC Subways and then some. This has been one of my favorite sites for a long time. It's amazingly comprehensive, and not just being content with New York, it covers nearly every other subway in the world as well. If you're not into the technical details, just enjoy the thousands of pretty pictures.
posted by The Michael The on Sep 26, 2002 - 20 comments

Davis signs $9.95 billion bond bill to boost high-speed rail

Davis signs $9.95 billion bond bill to boost high-speed rail
"Gov. Gray Davis signed a $9.95 billion bond measure Thursday that would clear the way for a high-speed rail system linking California's major cities."
this may be the first step in getting a decent rail-system going in the states. what do folks think about high-speed rail in general, do you think acela's recent problems are indicative of what we have to look forward to?
do those of you who have direct experience with existing high-speed rail systems have insights about the kind of obstacles this project might run into? will it revolutionize travel in the united states, or turn into a massive boondoggle?
posted by dolface on Sep 19, 2002 - 34 comments

Pigeons Ride the Subway!(NYT Link)

Pigeons Ride the Subway!(NYT Link) This reporter found truth behind a New York urban legend, train riding pigeons. Any weird stories of urbanized animals in your area?
posted by wsfinkel on Mar 5, 2002 - 28 comments

California Governor Announced

California Governor Announced that there is a credible threat against the bridges of the state of California. Including the Golden Gate Bridge. The attacks are likely to take place between the second and ninth of November, during rush hour.
posted by yevge on Nov 1, 2001 - 57 comments

Transitinfo.org

Transitinfo.org has been around for years, but doesn't seem to have been posted here yet. It lists schedule and fare information for several dozen public transportation agencies in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. It's not too flashy, but it's one of the most quietly useful websites I've found. For those of you who don't live in and around San Francisco: are there websites like this for other regions?
posted by moss on Sep 9, 2001 - 19 comments

How do they do it?

How do they do it? The Guardian sent their reporters to the four corners of the world to review...underground railways. The findings prove predictably that anything is better than The London Underground. In Prague for example: "Not long ago, a man paid for adverts to be put up in all 940 trains, pleading with his girlfriend to take him back. Czechs understand the romantic potential of the metro and it has found its way into a fair amount of the nation's modern literature. "
posted by feelinglistless on Aug 22, 2001 - 22 comments

I guess we'll walk.

I guess we'll walk. Much of eastern Canada is currently in the grip of one of the worst summers for smog on record, and a recent poll showed that 58 per cent of Canadians support the idea of limiting car use on smoggy days. However, just 37 per cent said they were willing to pay more taxes in order to improve public transportation.
posted by tranquileye on Jul 30, 2001 - 14 comments

AMTRAK still off-track

AMTRAK still off-track (NY Times link) Even before living in France I loved trains. So it pains to read that AMTRAK is stillheading towards its last run. Do you progressive, SUV-hating Mefi people have any thoughts on how AMTRAK might get its act together (or whether it's all SUV-futile)?
posted by ParisParamus on Jul 25, 2001 - 32 comments

Eating food on the D.C. metro, revisited.

Eating food on the D.C. metro, revisited. I think it's funny that the girl is being represented by the Rutherford Institute.
posted by rorschach on Dec 15, 2000 - 12 comments

In the late 1940s, a builder named William Levitt started a revolution in a Long Island potato field. Levitt built 2,000 simple, identical houses for returning GIs in the midst of a nationwide housing crisis. Levittown, as the development became known, was the first emblem of a new American lifestyle -- suburbanism. "I think the reality of the situation is that the suburbs are going to become the slums of tomorrow ... Some of them will be the ruins of tomorrow." link via thewebtoday.
posted by lagado on Dec 7, 2000 - 8 comments

Car-free Cities

Car-free Cities
Would you like to live in a city where everything you need is within a five-minute walk? Where you can get from one side of a city of a million people to the other in less than thirty minutes? Where the air is clean, people are healthy, children and the elderly aren't dependent on others to get where they want to go, and life is beautiful? You can have it all--just ban cars.
posted by daveadams on May 29, 2000 - 50 comments

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