Annals of Motordom – 71: Tolling the Present … Predicting the Future … Measuring the Moment
An occasional update on items from Motordom – the world of auto dominance
TAKING A TALLY OF TOLLING
It turns out that actual development trends along newer toll roads in the United States are decidedly mixed. In metropolitan areas where toll roads have been built in high-growth corridors—and where they constitute the only highways built recently—the tollways have been a magnet for real estate investment. But in metropolitan areas where toll roads have been built in low-growth corridors and in competition with free highways, the tollways have usually struggled to attract interest from developers.
Related: ULI: When the Road Price Is Right
FIFTY YEARS BEFORE: ISAAC ASIMOV ON TRANSPORTATION IN 2014
At the 1964 fair, the G.M. exhibit depicts, among other things, “road-building factories” in the tropics and, closer to home, crowded highways along which long buses move on special central lanes. There is every likelihood that highways at least in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. …
Jets of compressed air will also lift land vehicles off the highways, which, among other things, will minimize paving problems. Smooth earth or level lawns will do as well as pavements. Bridges will also be of less importance, since cars will be capable of crossing water on their jets, though local ordinances will discourage the practice. …
For short-range travel, moving sidewalks (with benches on either side, standing room in the center) will be making their appearance in downtown sections. They will be raised above the traffic.
Traffic will continue (on several levels in some places) only because all parking will be off-street and because at least 80 per cent of truck deliveries will be to certain fixed centers at the city’s rim. Compressed air tubes will carry goods and materials over local stretches, and the switching devices that will place specific shipments in specific destinations will be one of the city’s marvels.
Australian researcher Jeff Kenworthy has come up with more valuable research on a global scale:
Decoupling Urban Car Use and Metropolitan GDP Growth
Data for 1995 and 2005 on forty-two cities in the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia suggest that car use as well as total motorised mobility have decoupled from real growth in metropolitan GDPs. The car vehicle kilometres travelled per unit of GDP in thirty-nine out of the forty-two cities studied has reduced by an average of 24%. In thirty-five or 83% of the cities, total motorised passenger kilometres travelled per unit of GDP was lower in 2005 than it was in 1995, by an average of 26%.
Decoupling of urban mobility from GDP can occur in the context of still rising car use or total mobility. However, in twelve out of the forty-two cities the actual car use per capita also declined by an average of over 6%. Overall, it is found that the average increase in car use in these forty-two cities from 1995 to 2005 was 7% or less than one-third of the level in the 1980s.
This decoupling of car use from GDP growth is thus part of the ‘peak car use’ phenomenon.