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View Poll Results: What is the greatest transportation need in the US
Replacing outdated bridges 8 7.14%
Public transit/ high speed rail 102 91.07%
Widening existing roads 2 1.79%
Voters: 112. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-08-2008, 07:34 AM
 
1,817 posts, read 2,759,393 times
Reputation: 3527

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If you have spent any time on this forum it is clear that efficient public transportation is a high priority for a huge amount of people looking to relocate. It isn't only about easing traffic congestion and providing a more environmentally friendly alternative to driving. A comprehensive public transportation system makes it possible for those who cannot drive for health reasons or age, or those who cannot afford to own and maintain a car, to be independent and have access to an entire city, particularly social, educational and job opportunities.

I let my driver's license expire when I moved to Germany and I never miss having a car--to me driving was always an ordeal and gas, insurance, etc. felt like money down the drain. However, when I go back to the States to visit family, I am totally at their mercy because I have no way of going anywhere interesting without a chauffeur.

To have a nationwide high speed rail network would be fantastic, but I think the first priority ought to be stepping up transit at the local level. I also notice that the U.S. cities which currently have really good public transportation tend to be some of the most crowded and expensive places to live. Would people be less attracted to living in those "usual suspects" if other cities stepped up to the plate?
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,289,371 times
Reputation: 3827
Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
I think the most realistic option at the moment would be for more people to transition to hybrid-powered cars. They really aren't all that expensive anymore.

Public transportation takes years to build sucessfully, so cities without adequate PT still need cars for now.
To a certain extent this is true. However, the capacity to ramp up hybrid production is still several years awal, so its not like its an overnight fix. Additionally, since the typical American buys a new car every 5-7 years, it will take at least a decade to make the full transition to hybrid. Obviously, escalating gas prices will accelerate the shift to more fuel efficient cars.

In the long run, we need to reevaluate how we design our built environment. This means more transit-oriented development and more transit. One without the other doesn't really make any sense. There are small, incremental changes in this direction already, but obviously these kinds of changes will take more than a decade to have real significant effects.

Regarding alternative fuels (solar, bio-diesel, etc), these may be promising but will probably take over a decade to have any meaningful impact. This is also true with drilling offshore for more oil, oil-sands in Alberta, etc. We Americans use so much oil every day that ramping up new sources of energy will take a long, long time to have a meaningful impact.

In short, the easiest (simplest) way to decrease our dependency on fuel relies on the low-tech strategy of conservation. This can be done immediately. Everything other strategy is probably a decade away from maturity.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,972 posts, read 12,490,008 times
Reputation: 8719
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkagy View Post
WE NEED BETTER PUBLIC TRANSIT! I'm sick of driving!
Yes, The state you live in has a serious problem with not wanting it, or so it seems. Im glad to see that someone wants it though.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:06 AM
 
909 posts, read 2,705,287 times
Reputation: 246
Thumbs down snoozer

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
Amtrak is far from all electric.


i hope you know what your talking about because amtracks/ high speed rails can be electric.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:08 AM
 
909 posts, read 2,705,287 times
Reputation: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukwoo View Post
To a certain extent this is true. However, the capacity to ramp up hybrid production is still several years awal, so its not like its an overnight fix.

sukwoo, there is not going to be one overnight fix solution, all of these ideas need years to develop, not just the hybrid cars
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,972 posts, read 12,490,008 times
Reputation: 8719
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitlassie View Post
If you have spent any time on this forum it is clear that efficient public transportation is a high priority for a huge amount of people looking to relocate. It isn't only about easing traffic congestion and providing a more environmentally friendly alternative to driving. A comprehensive public transportation system makes it possible for those who cannot drive for health reasons or age, or those who cannot afford to own and maintain a car, to be independent and have access to an entire city, particularly social, educational and job opportunities.

I let my driver's license expire when I moved to Germany and I never miss having a car--to me driving was always an ordeal and gas, insurance, etc. felt like money down the drain. However, when I go back to the States to visit family, I am totally at their mercy because I have no way of going anywhere interesting without a chauffeur.

To have a nationwide high speed rail network would be fantastic, but I think the first priority ought to be stepping up transit at the local level. I also notice that the U.S. cities which currently have really good public transportation tend to be some of the most crowded and expensive places to live. Would people be less attracted to living in those "usual suspects" if other cities stepped up to the plate?
Yes efficient public transit is a huge priority for me when I relocate for my retirement. However the limitiations on ones choices are huge in the USA due to the lack of transit. Florida was huge on my list for retirement. I find now I become more and more annoyed with both the state and its population over its lack of interest in Transit.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,289,371 times
Reputation: 3827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision-Quest View Post
sukwoo, there is not going to be one overnight fix solution, all of these ideas need years to develop, not just the hybrid cars
Exactly. There is no overnight fix so in the short term if you rely extensively on the auto to maintain your lifestyle you are screwed.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:06 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 19,351,483 times
Reputation: 9919
DISCLAIMER: I'm a truck driver.

While I'd like to see massive improvements in ALL three areas, I believe that our highway infastructure (including bridges) needs the most urgent work. Crumbling bridges, highway interchanges that were designed for far fewer, (and slower moving) and lighter weight vehicles. Two lane highways that carry major truck and car traffic from East to West. SO many problem areas. I'd love to see the transportation infrastructure that Europe has (intermodal, passenger rail, bus and subway public transport as well as well-built and wide enough highways. But that won't be easy OR cheap. And, despite those that say they would use mass transit, if we build it, will they come??? I know plenty of people that are hoping for mass transit because they want fewer people sharing the road with them...

I could go on and on; this is the "condensed" version...
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,289,371 times
Reputation: 3827
Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

The Onion November 29, 2000
Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others

WASHINGTON, DC–A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Midessa, Texas Home Yangzhou, Jiangsu temporarily
1,505 posts, read 3,845,829 times
Reputation: 931
I agree that public transportation is going to be needed soon as oil prices continue to rise. I am not a liberal democrat either, I am generally conservative, so I think we should let the market sort this out. As the price of gasoline increases and airlines find it more and more difficult to be profitable then there will be real demand for more passenger trains. Once there is enough demand then cities and states can develop them on a profitable basis instead of just being the white elephants that so many public transportations systems have been in the past. Once passenger lines become profitable enough they will be able to afford priority over freight.

At $4 a gallon, much of this paradigm shift is already occurring. I have seen recent news articles about how real estate prices are dropping in the outer suburbs faster than prices closer to the city with shorter commutes and access to public transit.

In my personal experience, I like to travel to a lake town about 100 miles away to relax on weekends, but I am starting to feel the bite of gasoline prices. If I could buy a train ticket to take me there I would, even if the trip took a little longer.

Overall I think we will need to transition to a more European style of transportation. Europeans have dealt with high petrol prices for decades but have managed to maintain a high quality of life. Looking at their system would be a good way for us to start planning for the future.
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