> A few months ago the book "The Elephant in the Bedroom" was
> mentioned on this list. I recommend it as an economically-
> and even mildly libertarian- (how's that for a reversal?)
> oriented book on autos and sprawl.
=v= By Stanley Hart, who's got lots of experience and expertise
in accounting for the hidden subsidies of car transportation.
He was the one who calculated the substantial parts of the
budgets of police, fire, and emergency medical teams that cars
=v= A friend of mine read this book and immediately put it to
work on the parking situation in our city, pointing out that the
market rate for parking downtown is $14/day, so all the free
and even metered street parking ought to be raised to that rate.
(Though even $14/day is subsidized because of wrong-headed tax
incentives to encourage off-street parking!)
=v= I would advise against adhering to the so-called libertarian
approach, since they have a persistent blind spot in that they
hold economic forces as laws of nature even above and beyond the
actual laws of nature. Ecological processes are ignored because
economics ignores them (as "externalities"). Even when you put
things in terms of "property rights," which is the the primary
obsession of so-called libertarians, their answer is to try to
adapt the loopier tenets of their ideology to it.
>> The standard argument is that buses can be re-routed as
>> demand changes.
> The rebuttal to this, as I understand it, is that fixed
> systems inspire long-term confidence; people move towards
> trolley stops.
=v= Underlying both of these is the question of what underlies
a change in demand. A transportation infrastructure designed to
accommodate a change works to *expedite* such change, and as far
as I can tell the primary reasons for such changes are corrupt
and do not benefit people living in cities.
=v= The transportation infrastructure that municipal buses use
are generally designed on the premise that people will use cars.
The buses are just a retrofit.
> Also, there is some (unknown, at least to me) psychological
> element: people like trains and ride them, but dislike buses
> and avoid them.
=v= Trains are generally smoother and thus more comfortable.