ACCESS 51, Spring 2017


ACCESS goes digital. After publishing paper copies since its founding in 1992, and also publishing online since 1998, ACCESS will become entirely digital starting with this issue. Changes in readership have led to this change in format. During the past year, ACCESS had 191,000 page views from 122,000 readers in 70 countries, so we are eliminating the cost of paper and following our readers to where we now find them.

Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns

Public transit receives a large share of transportation funds but accounts for only 1 percent of passenger miles traveled nationwide. Nevertheless, public transit subsidies remain popular in many areas. For example, in 2008, 67 percent of Los Angeles County voters approved a half-cent sales tax to raise $26 billion for transit over 30 years.

The Hidden Cost of Bundled Parking

Urban renters in the US face fast-rising housing prices, especially in coastal metropolitan areas. Price increases are in part due to restrictive land-use regulations. Minimum off-street parking requirements, a central component of land-use regulation in the US, warrant detailed study and policy reform. In most cities today, municipal regulation requires developers to provide on-site parking. Renters or buyers then pay for this parking as part of their monthly rent or purchase price; the price of parking is thus “bundled” with the price of the housing unit. While many households might have chosen to pay for on-site parking in a free market, this proportion is surely lower than what has been mandated. Moreover, the historical effect of minimums and bundled parking hides a transportation cost burden in housing prices, leaving households unable to choose. Minimum parking requirements force developers to build costly parking spaces that drive up the price of housing. Urban policymakers have recently taken an interest in reforming parking regulations and allowing unbundled parking based on social equity and environmental sustainability rationales.

Is Travel Really That Bad?

Okay, the title of this article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but travel does involve considerable costs. The average household spends about $8,500 per year on transportation, making it one of our biggest expenditures. Time is another cost of travel, because the roughly hour and ten minutes American adults spend traveling each day might be better spent on things like work, family, and even sleep. Travel can also be tiring, stressful, dangerous, and more.

Ridesourcing’s Impact and Role in Urban Transportation

App-based, on-demand ride services—also known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)—have grown rapidly in recent years and caused debate in the passenger transportation industry. Advances in information and communication technology have enabled these services to provide a wide variety of real-time and demand-responsive trips. Companies such as Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar (now defunct) have developed smartphone apps whereby passengers can “source” a ride from a private passenger vehicle driven by a non-commercially licensed driver (usually). These apps communicate the passenger’s location to the driver via GPS and charge a distance-based fare. The driver is paid approximately 80 percent of the fare; the company keeps the rest. Many of these apps maintain a rating system that allows drivers and passengers to rate each other after the trip is completed. A passenger’s credit card information can be saved within the system to facilitate future trips.

Parking Benefit Districts in China

Many low-income neighborhoods have two serious problems: overcrowded on-street parking and undersupplied public services. One policy can address both problems: charge for on-street parking to manage demand and use the resulting revenue to finance local public services.

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Traffic Congestion Is Counter-Intuitive, and Fixable

To live in Los Angeles is to endure chronic traffic congestion. Cities are places where people cluster together to create and enjoy the benefits of economic wealth, cultural vibrancy, intellectual exchange, and more. But with clustering comes traffic — often lots of it. While nearly everyone agrees that traffic is a problem, opinions diverge widely on what to do about it.