Thanks to Rebecca, Kathryn and the other good people at the Google Research | Structured Data Group, a map I created to show the distribution of Americans living in urban areas for a story about the need to fund urban mass transit is now fully functional. ..
Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish serves as a guide to CNT’s H+T Index (www.htaindex.org), which includes 337 U.S. metropolitan regions. The Index demonstrates that the way in which urban regions have grown in the last half century has had negative consequences for many Americans:
The number of communities considered affordable drops dramatically in most regions when the definition of affordability shifts from a focus on housing costs alone to one that includes housing and transportation costs;
Families who pursue a “drive ‘til you qualify” approach to home ownership in an effort to reduce expenses often pay more in higher transportation costs than they save on housing thereby placing more, not less, stress on their budgets;
Residents of “drive ‘til you qualify” zones are most sensitive to jumps in gas prices because of the distances they must drive; and
The longer distances associated with sprawl also translate into more congestion on our highways, less…
From the opening of the report:
New Jobs, Better Connections
Chicago is northeastern Illinois’ historic center of commerce and employment, yet over the last half century, economic activity has continuously dispersed to outlying suburbs. Among large metropolitan areas, Chicago is among the most decentralized, with two out of three jobs in the region located more than 10 miles from downtown. Many of these outlying employment centers are inaccessible by mass transit, thereby creating strains on road infrastructure, environmental systems and personal finances due to the costliness of car ownership and its attendant expenses.
Nevertheless, with one out of three jobs located within 10 miles of downtown, Chicago continues to be an economic force in the region. Chicago’s well-established mass transit system, which includes nearly 400 fixed-rail stations and over 180 bus routes, affords workers the chance to lower the cost of commuting by minimizing or eliminating the need for a car.
TCRP Report 153: Guidelines for Providing Access to Public Transportation Stations provides a process and spreadsheet-based tool for effectively planning for access to high capacity transit stations, including commuter rail, heavy rail, light rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), and ferry. The report is accompanied by a CD that includes the station access planning spreadsheet tool that allows trade-off analyses among the various access modes (automobile, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit-oriented development) for different station types. The potential effectiveness of transit-oriented development opportunities to increase transit ridership is also assessed.
This report and accompanying materials are intended to aid the many groups involved in planning, developing, and improving access to high capacity transit stations, including public transportation and highway agencies, planners, developers, and…
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), with co-sponsors Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), today introduced the Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation Act of 2010 (FREIGHT Act), a landmark bill seeking to transform America’s transportation policy and investment by focusing on the freight network.
The FREIGHT Act provides a comprehensive, systemic approach to infrastructure investment that addresses the nation’s commerce needs while providing a solid foundation to help our nation meet its energy, environmental and safety goals. The bill also calls for the creation of a new National Freight Infrastructure Grants initiative – a competitive, merit-based program with broad eligibility for multimodal freight investment designed to focus funds where they will provide the most public benefit.
“Poor planning and underinvestment in our transportation infrastructure has led to increased congestion…