Added roadway and transit capacity, plus more toll lanes, telecommuting and flexible work hours are among the traffic congestion solutions recommended by researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) in their 26th annual Urban Mobility Report, just released. Other recommendations include getting more efficiency out of existing surface transportation systems, and influencing development patterns to make walking, bicycling and transit more convenient. TTI, founded in 1950, is an internationally-recognized transportation research center based at Texas A & M University. The 2009 report is based on newly-analyzed 2007 data for 439 U.S. urban regions. In a summary of their findings, researchers noted that although travelers on average spent one less hour stuck in traffic in 2007 versus 2006 and wasted one Read More ›
Article as published at Crosscut
Population in the four counties of Central Puget Sound will have grown from the 2008 total of 3.6 million by another 1.4 million in 2040. Jobs will increase by 1.1 million, and – based on the region’s collective proclivities to date – total vehicle miles travelled (VMT) by more than 40 percent. Barring some big paradigm shift, the percentage of daily “passenger” work trips (freight vehicles not included) which occur on transit will grow from 8 percent of the current (2006) total to only 9 percent in 2040. For far more numerous non-work passenger trips, the transit market share stays at a scant 2 percent between 2006 and 2040, according to recent modeling. The vast majority of daily passenger trips occur in cars now and then. For work it’s more than four of five, for non-work, about nine of ten. (The rest are split between transit, walking and biking.) On the upside, there’s a lot more ride-sharing for non-work trips; plus, per-capita VMT will continue to stay flat; and we can shave a bit off the expected growth in total VMT by meeting (elusive) regional growth strategy targets.
These are some of the conclusions in a March 2009 background paper that’s part of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s “Transportation 2040” planning effort. Future projections may change slightly under new computer modeling in a draft environmental impact statement due out at month’s end. But you get the idea. The PSRC’s 2040 picture begs a huge question: what to do about it all. And, as we’ll see in a moment, it turns out that, away from the big transportation headlines it made last session, the state legislature has some ideas of its own.
My own take: A comprehensive approach to managing peak-hour highway capacity in Central Puget Sound should be launched by bravely establishing – and soon – a seamless regional system of variably-priced, automated and ultimately, corridor-length tolling on highways and major state routes. This must be folded into a broader plan to develop stable long-term funding for the region’s surface transportation network.
Last week’s fast foot ferry demo and regional foot ferry discussion forum in Seattle, organized by Cascadia Center, stoked the fires again. KOMO 4 TV, The Kitsap Sun and The Peninsula Daily News all weighed in with coverage. Participants came away energized by the ride on All American Marine’s 50 mph River Gorge Explorer (right); determined to find a way to fund a regional network of state-of-the-art passenger-only ferries; and understanding that Puget Sound’s health must be maintained at the same time. The common thread is the huge population growth headed our way in coming decades. Before we delve into last week’s events, let’s set the stage. Off, Then On Again The speedy passenger-only state ferry running between Bremerton and Read More ›
The Seattle Times reports the retiring of four badly-deteriorated, 1927-vintage Steel Electric Class car ferries by Washington State Ferries has prompted not only a shifting of state ferry project funds to pay for three replacement vessels, but also temporary passenger-only ferry service between Seattle and Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. More details on the new foot ferry route <a href="from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Port Townsend, a top Northwest tourist destination known for its Victorian architecture, arts community, walkable shopping district, maritime history and Olympic Peninsula access, has been hit hard since car ferry service from Keystone on Whidbey Island was cancelled in late November. By January, the state aims to have a temporary replacement car ferry (from Pierce County) Read More ›