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Old 01-01-2015, 09:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Because the costs of congestion -- specifically the delays caused by congestion -- are borne by the same people who cause it.
Not necessarily, because maybe I don't need to be where I am going by a certain time. So stop-and-go traffic doesn't really hurt me. But other people who need to be on time for work or whatever experience a cost that I don't, but by putting one extra car on the road I am making congestion worse for them.

This isn't just me talking. It's well-established in the economic literature that traffic congestion is considered an externality: http://www.udel.edu/johnmack/frec343/congestion.html

But even if you disagree with the terminology, congestion is still a cost that needs to be dealt with.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
My breathing air doesn't take away air from anybody else.
Well the same air can't be in your lungs and someone else's lungs at the same time. Moreover you don't yield the same air (qualitatively) back after you breathed it in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
My driving on a freeway does take away space on that freeway from somebody else.
Yeah and that space is available an instant later to someone else - unlike the air case above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
The marginal cost of my driving is more congestion and more air pollution. We should price those externalities with tolls so people use freeways more efficiently.
The marginal cost of your existence is more congestion, air pollution, and a host of other negative external costs. How much should you be tolled to be permitted to continue to exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
If you can point to negative externalities that come from sidewalks, I'd be happy to consider charging people for the use of sidewalks. But in general, aside from Times Square on New Year's Eve, there aren't problems with sidewalk congestion massively slowing people down.
Per your analogy/analysis, a person walking on the sidewalk takes space away from someone else - so how much should they pay and who should get the money and why? Seems like a really illogical excuse for a tax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
It seems like some people think driving is some God-given right that should always be free. I don't get what makes driving so special.
Driving isn't free and car owners/drivers pay all sorts of fees.
Why do anti-car zealots think those driving cars should pay even more?

Over 90% of US households have at least one car. Those households pay a lot of taxes and there's nothing wrong with a chunk of their tax money being spent on roads for their benefit. There's also a lot of commerce unrelated to "household" use carried on. Truckers, common carriers, mail, service providers, businesses in general, etc. utilize roads every day too. Not sure why those tax dollars from everyone else should be diverted to things that offer little or no benefit to the people from whom you want to take the money. If you want to impose an "access" tax higher than the one already paid then maintain intellectual honesty and require an "access" fee for transit that is closer to the cost of transit.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Well the same air can't be in your lungs and someone else's lungs at the same time. Moreover you don't yield the same air (qualitatively) back after you breathed it in.


Yeah and that space is available an instant later to someone else - unlike the air case above.


The marginal cost of your existence is more congestion, air pollution, and a host of other negative external costs. How much should you be tolled to be permitted to continue to exist?


Per your analogy/analysis, a person walking on the sidewalk takes space away from someone else - so how much should they pay and who should get the money and why? Seems like a really illogical excuse for a tax.


Driving isn't free and car owners/drivers pay all sorts of fees.
Why do anti-car zealots think those driving cars should pay even more?

Over 90% of US households have at least one car. Those households pay a lot of taxes and there's nothing wrong with a chunk of their tax money being spent on roads for their benefit. There's also a lot of commerce unrelated to "household" use carried on. Truckers, common carriers, mail, service providers, businesses in general, etc. utilize roads every day too. Not sure why those tax dollars from everyone else should be diverted to things that offer little or no benefit to the people from whom you want to take the money. If you want to impose an "access" tax higher than the one already paid then maintain intellectual honesty and require an "access" fee for transit that is closer to the cost of transit.
Me taking up air has no negative effect on anybody else because they can still breathe. Me taking up room on a highway does have a negative effect, as anyone who has sat in stop-and-go traffic and had their commute take twice as long knows.

As I already stated, sidewalk congestion isn't a problem. There is no congestion problem that needs pricing. And if you could show that there is a problem, I'd be happy to discuss what pricing mechanism should address it. I walk to work every day in one of the most pedestrian-heavy cities in the country and I have never been delayed more than a few seconds by other pedestrians. There's no problem here. Meanwhile people on the highways in my area see their commutes take twice as long (or more) during rush hour due to congestion. That actually is a problem that imposes real costs on society in terms of people having less time to spend with their families, deliveries taking longer, etc.

Tolls or not, more costs will be pushed on drivers. It's inevitable, so your complaining about "anti-car zealots" pushing costs onto drivers is irrelevant. The costs come from time lost sitting in traffic or more tax dollars spent widening roads. You can keep widening and widening and widening roads and have more and more land taken up and more and more tax dollars spent. I think putting in place tolls and making the use of roads more efficient is the more appealing option. I'm not saying roads should never be expanded, but I think we can make it so much so we don't need to expand as much.
Either way (tolls or just widening) it will cost money, so you're just wasting your breath by complaining about the cost of driving.

And in terms of me being intellectually honest... I am absolutely in favor of transit costs being increased to reflect the real costs of transit. I've never said anything to the contrary.

Last edited by stateofnature; 01-01-2015 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
Me taking up air has no negative effect on anybody else because they can still breathe. Me taking up room on a highway does have a negative effect, as anyone who has sat in stop-and-go traffic and had their commute take twice as long knows.
They can still breathe but not the same air.
So your solution should be to have highways as analogously plentiful as air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
As I already stated, sidewalk congestion isn't a problem. There is no congestion problem that needs pricing. And if you could show that there is a problem, I'd be happy to discuss what pricing mechanism should address it. I walk to work every day in one of the most pedestrian-heavy cities in the country and I have never been delayed more than a few seconds by other pedestrians. There's no problem here. Meanwhile people on the highways in my area see their commutes take twice as long (or more) during rush hour due to congestion. That actually is a problem that imposes real costs on society in terms of people having less time to spend with their families, deliveries taking longer, etc.
That's really not a valid rationale or alternatively the same rationale should be applied to your work example. You would undoubtedly have to pay more to live there. That imposes a real cost on society in terms of people having less money to spend on their families, etc. So who are you going to demand money from to discourage charging you more to live there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
Tolls or not, more costs will be pushed on drivers. It's inevitable, so your complaining about "anti-car zealots" pushing costs onto drivers is irrelevant. The costs come from time lost sitting in traffic or more tax dollars spent widening roads. You can keep widening and widening and widening roads and have more and more land taken up and more and more tax dollars spent. I think putting in place tolls and making the use of roads more efficient is the more appealing option. I'm not saying roads should never be expanded, but I think we can make it so much so we don't need to expand as much.
Either way (tolls or just widening) it will cost money, so you're just wasting your breath by complaining about the cost of driving.
Except that the drivers are already paying plenty of taxes so they don't need to be paying tolls too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
And in terms of me being intellectually honest... I am absolutely in favor of transit costs being increased to reflect the real costs of transit. I've never said anything to the contrary.
Well when it happens you might see even more people switch over to cars and demanding their tax dollars be spent on more freeways and widening roads.
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
They can still breathe but not the same air.
So your solution should be to have highways as analogously plentiful as air.



That's really not a valid rationale or alternatively the same rationale should be applied to your work example. You would undoubtedly have to pay more to live there. That imposes a real cost on society in terms of people having less money to spend on their families, etc. So who are you going to demand money from to discourage charging you more to live there?



Except that the drivers are already paying plenty of taxes so they don't need to be paying tolls too.


Well when it happens you might see even more people switch over to cars and demanding their tax dollars be spent on more freeways and widening roads.
I don't see the point in just repeating over and over again the same argument that you still haven't answered. Somebody else not having access to the air in my lungs is irrelevant to them or me. There is still plenty of other air for them to breathe. I have not made them any worse off. Contributing to congestion however does make others worse off. Space on highways and space to build highways is limited, unlike air. You can't just make more highways appear out of thin air. You can either attach a price to the use of that resource (ie a toll) to make people conserve it, or you can just keep expanding and expanding freeways, but then you run into the problem that you are depleting a truly finite resource, land.

"So who are you going to demand money from to discourage charging you more to live there?" Not sure what you are arguing here. Yes, I probably do pay more in rent to live in a walkable place compared to if I lived in a less walkable place. That's my choice and it's a cost I bear alone. I don't demand others help pay my rent.

"Except that the drivers are already paying plenty of taxes so they don't need to be paying tolls too." The second part doesn't follow from the first. In fact, I would like to see roads paid for more than they already are from user fees like gas taxes and tolls and less from public coffers because I think it would lead to roads being used more efficiently. So the toll does not necessarily have to be an add-on to what drivers already pay in taxes. And even if it was, I don't see why that's unacceptable.
If for some reason you think tolls should be off the table, then what is your solution to paying for more roads? You seem to think that drivers are maxed out and shouldn't have to pay any more, at least that's what it sounds like when you say they shouldn't have to pay tolls because they already pay taxes, so where is the money for expanding roads going to come from? The only solution I see without tolls is more taxes and I don't see why that should be preferred to tolls.

And you're right, higher costs for transit could lead to people driving more. I don't see that as an intrinsically bad thing.

Last edited by stateofnature; 01-02-2015 at 09:42 AM..
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
I don't see the point in just repeating over and over again the same argument that you still haven't answered. Somebody else not having access to the air in my lungs is irrelevant to them or me. There is still plenty of other air for them to breathe. I have not made them any worse off. Contributing to congestion however does make others worse off. Space on highways and space to build highways is limited, unlike air. You can't just make more highways appear out of thin air. You can either attach a price to the use of that resource (ie a toll) to make people conserve it, or you can just keep expanding and expanding freeways, but then you run into the problem that you are depleting a truly finite resource, land.
Urbanists never had a problem seizing land for "urban renewal". If you have "run out" of land as alleged then you can re-utilize some of the land that was previously utilized for other purposes for freeways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
"So who are you going to demand money from to discourage charging you more to live there?" Not sure what you are arguing here. Yes, I probably do pay more in rent to live in a walkable place compared to if I lived in a less walkable place. That's my choice and it's a cost I bear alone. I don't demand others help pay my rent.
You are being intellectually dishonest.
Having to deal with congestion is one of the prices people pay to deal with inadequate roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
"Except that the drivers are already paying plenty of taxes so they don't need to be paying tolls too." The second part doesn't follow from the first. In fact, I would like to see roads paid for more than they already are from user fees like gas taxes and tolls and less from public coffers because I think it would lead to roads being used more efficiently. So the toll does not necessarily have to be an add-on to what drivers already pay in taxes. And even if it was, I don't see why that's unacceptable.
If it's about making users pay then charge a user fee for sidewalks and a true fee for transit.
As silly as charging for sidewalk use may sound to you - it's the way I view your demand to charge drivers more for road use. At some point you have to agree that the cost should be borne in a manner other than directly charging users.

Road users already pay property taxes, property taxes on their vehicles, registration fees, fuel taxes, and a litany of other fees. Commuters are not the only persons utilizing the roads and commercial users pay even more in taxes. I don't think you'll find support from the vast majority of households to impose higher taxes on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
If for some reason you think tolls should be off the table, then what is your solution to paying for more roads? You seem to think that drivers are maxed out and shouldn't have to pay any more, at least that's what it sounds like when you say they shouldn't have to pay tolls because they already pay taxes, so where is the money for expanding roads going to come from? The only solution I see without tolls is more taxes and I don't see why that should be preferred to tolls.
Some of the problems are self resolving over time. When "planners" try making life miserable for people by limiting access, then to the extent they can people and companies move and make other plans - like locating elsewhere. Then the planners can't figure out why "their" vision resulted in a change in demographics and a place to avoid rather than a place to live or visit. Every situation has its own factual circumstances. Maybe there are already enough roads where you are. Maybe there aren't. However, there seems to be an obsession by a few (as evidenced by 3-5 threads initiated over a few days) on ripping out existing freeways. In some places the problem is the result of inadequate planning, inadequate rate of construction, and opposition by "urbanists" on touchy feely grounds (aesthetics, "community", etc.). As a general proposition I don't support tollroads particularly if they are the exclusive route from one location to another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
And you're right, higher costs for transit could lead to people driving more. I don't see that as an intrinsically bad thing.
Except that it would cause more congestion under your views and you want to tax people to ameliorate congestion.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Urbanists never had a problem seizing land for "urban renewal". If you have "run out" of land as alleged then you can re-utilize some of the land that was previously utilized for other purposes for freeways.



You are being intellectually dishonest.
Having to deal with congestion is one of the prices people pay to deal with inadequate roads.


If it's about making users pay then charge a user fee for sidewalks and a true fee for transit.
As silly as charging for sidewalk use may sound to you - it's the way I view your demand to charge drivers more for road use. At some point you have to agree that the cost should be borne in a manner other than directly charging users.

Road users already pay property taxes, property taxes on their vehicles, registration fees, fuel taxes, and a litany of other fees. Commuters are not the only persons utilizing the roads and commercial users pay even more in taxes. I don't think you'll find support from the vast majority of households to impose higher taxes on them.


Some of the problems are self resolving over time. When "planners" try making life miserable for people by limiting access, then to the extent they can people and companies move and make other plans - like locating elsewhere. Then the planners can't figure out why "their" vision resulted in a change in demographics and a place to avoid rather than a place to live or visit. Every situation has its own factual circumstances. Maybe there are already enough roads where you are. Maybe there aren't. However, there seems to be an obsession by a few (as evidenced by 3-5 threads initiated over a few days) on ripping out existing freeways. In some places the problem is the result of inadequate planning, inadequate rate of construction, and opposition by "urbanists" on touchy feely grounds (aesthetics, "community", etc.). As a general proposition I don't support tollroads particularly if they are the exclusive route from one location to another.


Except that it would cause more congestion under your views and you want to tax people to ameliorate congestion.
I think seizing land for "urban renewal" was a terrible idea. That's one of the reasons why I think we need more tolls. I think making use of our existing infrastructure more efficiently so we don't need to build as much and thus seize even more land makes a lot more sense than just building to infinity. I don't know where all this land is that we can just "repurpose" for more roads, but what happens when we run out of that?

I don't see how I'm being intellectually dishonest. I am willing to pay higher rent to live in a walkable area. That in no way conflicts with supporting congestion pricing. Please focus on substantive arguments rather than name-calling.

I also don't know why you keep bringing up this sidewalk argument when I've already said I would support a sidewalk congestion tax if sidewalk congestion was an actual problem leading to real costs in the real world. But it's not. If it was, it would be a different story and a congestion tax should absolutely be in discussion. So again, no contradiction or intellectual dishonesty here.

You keep acting like if we don't have tolls, that there won't be higher taxes on drivers. That's just wrong. Without tolls, either more tax dollars will be spent to build and expand roads to relieve congestion, or we will just deal with the status quo, which is congestion taxing people's time through traffic delays, and time is money. So the higher costs are inevitable. Are you ok with higher taxes to pay for roads? If so, what's wrong with higher tolls to make it so we don't need to build as many roads?

And if you're not ok with either, more taxes or more tolls, then what is your solution to pay for more roads?

Last edited by stateofnature; 01-02-2015 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Just to ditto what someone else said, freeways are not "consumable" in the way that gas is, or the Ogallala Aquifer water, e.g. once you use it up it's gone. The economic model you're using does not fit the situation.
It is a consumable because we are talking about the supply of a good in any given moment or period. If I have to get to work in the morning, I don't care, in that moment, about availability of this good at midnight; roadway space several hours later has no relevance for me at 7 or 8 am because it is, for all intents and purposes, a separate good.

In any given moment, only so much space exists on those roadways. And, during peak hours, instantaneous demand is higher than available supply. This is largely because inherent demand for roadway space is high during that period, regardless of price, AND we set the access price at $0, meaning anyone with the ability and reason to use roadways at that time has no financial price incentive not to do so; as a result, we use alternative pricing metrics--travel time, travel time uncertainty/variability, and frustration--to price roadway space.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Except that the drivers are already paying plenty of taxes so they don't need to be paying tolls too.
In terms of budgets, this may or may not be true. That's its own thread.

But in terms of pricing space on roadways, this fails completely. It's like a buffet, where once you're in, you're allowed to consume as much as you are willing and able. People simply do not use gas taxes or monies taken out of the general fund for roadways as metrics for valuing their access to those roadways.

Instead of using general funds or gas taxes, it makes much more sense to use tolls because tolls with demand pricing do two things:

1) allow people to put a value on using that roadway at that time, and thus say something like "Maybe I don't need to do that extra trip right now, and maybe it can wait until later, because it really wasn't immediately important to me and I can do it at another time without any loss."

2) internalize a variety of costs--roadway construction and maintenance, as well as, perhaps, other costs associated with driving--and package all those costs together, linked to actual road use.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I think this might explain it better than induced demand. I'm going to use a simple analogy.

Say you have a network of water pipes connected to each other in a grid pattern.
You want to make water flow faster so you replace one section of pipe with
a larger diameter pipe. Will the water flow faster? No. Because only one section of
the pipe has been widened. The pipes in the network that have not been widened create a bottleneck.
What about adding more pipes? Well if you take a drinking straw and made it longer does it
make the liquid flow any faster? No of course not.

Same idea with roads. Widening a major road does little or nothing to reduce traffic congestion because
of the bottleneck created by the grid network of roads connected to it. Traffic basically flows as fast as the
slowest road in the network. To really make traffic flow faster you'd have to widen or add more lanes to
every major road in the entire city, but of course that is cost prohibitive. And even if you did that it wouldn't
improve the flow because of induced demand.
Actually, in your "water grid" example, the most effective way of increasing water flow would be by increasing the maximum water pressure.

This is where your analogy falls apart. If a road network was in any way similar to a water pipe system, the most effective way to increase traffic flow would be to add more cars. As such, it would seem you are comparing apples to flying saucers.

A better analogy is to compare a road network to a data network. Data links have a maximum throughput rate for the data to travel through, much like roads have a maximum carrying capacity before gridlock occurs. If you have a congested data network, the most effective ways to fix this is to control data flow using routers and switches, and to add a faster network backbone with much higher throughput rates. In other words, you widen the road.
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