bicycle mass transit walkable congestion tax

Which cities are the safest for pedestrians? Which are dangerous?
gps dutch

Can We Build Our Way to Reduced Carbon Emissions?

Want car-free cities? Then don't tax buildings, instead recover land rents. Owners won't speculate but in-fill. This property tax shift is part of geonomics. We trim, blend, and append five 2009 articles from: (1) The Christian Science Monitor, Nov 9, on safety by Ron Scherer; (2) CEOs for Cities, August, on walkability by Joe Cortright; (3) a New Republic blog, Oct 22, on bailing out sprawl by Christopher Leinberger; (4) the same New Republic blog, Nov 12, on emissions by Christopher Leinberger; and (5) Associated Press, Nov 14, on a Dutch tax by Arthur Max.

by R. Scherer, by J. Cortright, by Ch. Leinberger, and by A. Max

Some of the most dangerous places to walk or ride a bicycle in America are in the South -- in fast-growing metropolitan areas that have built their streets mainly for automobiles.

Four of the five worst metro areas for walking or biking are in Florida: Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando-Kissimmee, and Jacksonville. The other metro area in this group of five is Memphis, Tenn.

The metro areas that are the most hazardous were designed after World War II and are mostly automobile-oriented.

The report cites a California case in which an 82-year-old woman was given a $114 ticket for crossing the street too slowly.

The safest cities for walking and biking have many miles of bike lanes or sidewalks. The top five safest metro areas are Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle.

Some cities that ranked low in past reports show improvement. St. Petersburg FL, since embarking on a "Vision 2000" plan, has installed 83 miles of infrastructure for bicycles, added 13 miles of sidewalks, and improved crosswalk safety. St. Pete has reduced pedestrian crashes by more than 50% since 2000, and serious injuries are down even more.

Pedestrian deaths represent 11.8% of all traffic fatalities, but only 2% of highway funds are spent for pedestrian safety. Several bills before Congress would fund "complete-streets" (with sidewalks and bike lanes).

If cities promote walking and bicycling, it might also help them cope with health issues such as obesity and heart disease.

In neighborhoods with greater accessibility -- shopping, services, schools, and parks within a short distance -- houses command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses where walkability is average. The premium is the product of consumer demand for convenience.

The property value premium for walkability seems to be higher in more populous urban areas and those with extensive transit, suggesting that the value gains associated with walkability are greatest when people have real alternatives to the automobile.

We found a positive correlation between walkability and housing prices in 13 of the 15 housing markets. One market (Las Vegas) had a negative correlation and another, Bakersfield, had no statistically significant correlation.

When the financial history of this era is told, it is possible that it will be seen as the bailout of not just the banks but also to some extent of sprawl.

The low density, single family houses on the fringe of American metropolitan areas have experienced high rates of foreclosures and substantial price declines. Local analyses and some news reports indicate most mortgage defaults are on the fringe. Thus, some of the biggest beneficiaries of federal efforts to stem foreclosures are located in exurbia.

My estimates show that if a metropolitan area’s housing price decline has gone down by a certain percentage between 2006 and 2009, prices at the at the area’s fringe have gone down twice as much while close-in housing, particularly in walkable urban neighborhoods, has been flat. Walkable housing gets a dramatic price premium, between 40 to 200 percent per square foot. A generation ago, this price premium did not exist.

America has overbuilt auto-oriented fringe housing well beyond what the market wants. Not that there is not a market for this kind of housing, but we have just structurally overbuilt for that market segment.

Our buildings account for over 40% of energy usage (and emissions). The transportation system, largely fossil fueled cars and trucks, is responsible for about 30%.

Walkable urban development -- where most daily trips from home can be made by walking, bike, or transit and where houses unintentionally share their heat with the next door neighbor -- uses and emits one- to two-thirds of the energy and exhaust of a car-dependent suburban household.

We need policy that promotes demand-mitigation measures.

Rather than an annual road tax for their cars, drivers will soon pay a few cents for every kilometer (mile) on the road, in a plan aimed at breaking chronic traffic jams and cutting carbon emissions, the Cabinet decided Friday.

The Netherlands has traffic jams likely at dozens of places virtually throughout the day.

Some cities like London have created congestion charges to control traffic in downtown areas. Singapore charges according to the amount of travel.

When the plan takes effect in 2012, new car prices will drop as much as 25% with the abolition of a purchase tax and the road tax, which now totals more than euro600 ($900) per year for a mid-sized car.

Instead, an average passenger car will pay euro0.03 per 1 kilometer ($0.07 per mile), with higher charges levied during rush hour and for traveling on congested roads. Trucks, commercial vehicles and bigger cars emitting more carbon dioxide will be assessed at a higher rate.

The GPS devices installed in cars will track the time, hour and place each car moves and send the data to a billing agency.

The information collected by GPS would be "legally and technically protected," and the data would not be accessible to the government for other purposes.

Also see:

What if property taxes are the best way to tax?

10 Pricey Cities That Pay Off

Smog dims the sky, its very tiny particles lethal

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