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RE: [sustran] Re: "So much for green transport."

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  • P. Christopher Zegras
    The broader questions about allocation of scarce public resources to improving social welfare are important - practically, few if any societies I know of make
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2012
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      The broader questions about allocation of scarce public resources to improving social welfare are important - practically, few if any societies I know of make well-assessed, cross-sectoral decisions (better toilets or more BRT lanes....?).

      With respect to the travel time question, it is important to clarify the difference between individual VOT (which we actually do need to know to begin to attempt to make some reasonable estimate of demand by different user groups) and the societal VOT which should be used for project appraisal (and, in theory, allow one to determine - better toilets, more BRT lanes....). "Social" values of time (not individual) have long been recommended for project appraisal; transparency in the approach is CRUCIAL - as pointed out in this thread: whose time is being weighted and by what weight? Given the large number of public transport users and a very strong equity argument which could be made for the importance of their time, I find it impossible to believe that any TRANSPARENT, reasonably well-done evaluation of BRT in Delhi would not strongly support that option relative to other transportation projects (although, again, perhaps the public monies would be better spent on sanitation infrastructure for all I know).

      For a thorough, modestly technical, publicly available overview, with good recommendations (somewhat easily generalizable, in theory...):

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/52889305/The-Value-of-Travel-Time-Savings-in-Evaluation


      As to what the users do with their saved time and costs (move to the suburbs, make more trips, buy more tea, ...) - I believe the negative consequences should be accounted for and dealt with in the respective markets. In practice, I know that is a real can of worms; but, whether times savings will be re-invested in longer distances ("sprawl") or whether the congestion will accelerate sprawl is an open question. Undoubtedly both forces are at work, but not improving transportation conditions for the poor at the risk of inducing sprawl seems a bit misguided to me.



      Chris Zegras, MIT-DUSP
      http://czegras.scripts.mit.edu/web/
      one step
      Tel: 617 452 2433


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Visweswar [mailto:vissu.indian@...]
      Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 11:42 AM
      To: Anjali Mahendra
      Cc: worldtransport@yahoogroups.com; Sustainable Transport in the south; NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [sustran] Re: "So much for green transport."

      Anjali,

      I think you really made a valid statement " our methods of analysis need serious revisiting " . It is extremely pitiful to see that discrimination exists in every aspect of life, discriminating poor is not new in India. We "rehabilitate" slums and build malls and develop IT parks, we are in the process of renovating several airports in India and already have invested hundreds of Crores of rupees building fancy airports in all Indian metro.
      But do we ever care of providing cleaner toilets in our railway stations as a minimum? Seriously we don't need experts nor their expertise to do analysis and justify airports, we need good human beings and fellow citizens who value and understand needs of everyone and not only the rich.
      It is so stupid to see that we value the hunger of a rich car owner more than the hunger of a poor bus commuter. VOT needs to be put in
      trash.....1000 rupees of a rich person might buy him a days fuel for his car but the same 1000 rupees of a poor bus commuter would meet months of his commuting needs, so whose 1000 rupees is more valuable??

      Visweswara Rao Gantasala.
      Transportation Planner, IBI Group.

      On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 8:40 PM, Anjali Mahendra
      <anjali.mahendra@...>wrote:

      > I agree, and your ideas are good. The problem is pervasive in every
      > area of transport policy. Thinking about toll roads and congestion
      > pricing, an area I work on quite a bit -- toll rates are set based on
      > average incomes in a corridor and on average values of time, deepening
      > the equity impact on poor drivers. While strategies exist to mitigate
      > this impact, I do think our methods of analysis need serious
      > revisiting. I'm glad you deal with this in your book.
      >
      > -Anjali
      >
      > On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM, <bruun@...> wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > Anjali
      > >
      > > Yes, what the US Dot suggests is certainly better than assigning
      > > each individual commuter their own value of time based on their
      > > income, as the theorists would
      > like
      > > to do.
      > >
      > > But there is still a large bias between corridors based on average
      > income.
      > > There is no escaping the fact that a corridor with a higher average
      > income
      > > along it will still have higher total monetized time savings
      > > benefits
      > than
      > > a corridor with poorer people, given the same actual travel time
      > reduction
      > > on both corridors. Thus, it is still easier to justify building both
      > > highways and transit for the wealthy than the poor.
      > >
      > > In my book I argued against monetizing the time savings and instead
      > > break it down into actual time by demographic group to see what the
      > distribution
      > > of time savings is (and perhaps even increases in time for some
      > > people as our professor from Mc Gill pointed out.)
      > >
      > > Eric Bruun
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Quoting Anjali Mahendra <anjali.mahendra@...>:
      > >
      > > I agree with Eric that it is standard practice, which is why
      > neoclassical
      > >> economics is never the right approach to analyze such
      > >> transportation policy issues. However, interestingly, here's a
      > >> guidance document from the
      > U.S.
      > >> DOT that recommends using the same hourly values of time for
      > >> auto/car drivers and transit passengers:
      > >> http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/**policy/Data/VOTrevision1_2-11-**03.pdf<
      > http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/policy/Data/VOTrevision1_2-11-03.pdf>
      > >>
      > >> Values of time also vary by trip purpose. Values of time for a
      > >> poor person commuting to work and a rich person going shopping may
      > >> well be similar.
      > I
      > >> wonder if CRRI accounts for that.
      > >>
      > >> Has there been any work/research on values of time in large cities
      > >> of
      > the
      > >> developing world that anyone could direct me to?
      > >> A couple of years ago, I prepared a guidance document on conducting
      > >> exactly such an analysis in the U.S. context, of converting an
      > >> existing lane on
      > an
      > >> arterial for BRT. I would appreciate any feedback:
      > >> http://onlinepubs.trb.org/**onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rrd_**352.pdf<
      > http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rrd_352.pdf>
      > >>
      > >> The Delhi BRT is what it is and has its issues: poor execution,
      > >> it's
      > not a
      > >> BRT but simply dedicated bus lanes, poor selection of pilot
      > >> corridor,
      > and
      > >> interesting issues Alok raised earlier like problems with driver
      > training.
      > >> But, it certainly deserves a rigorous analysis to identify the
      > >> issues that must be tackled as more corridors are considered.
      > >>
      > >> -Anjali
      > >>
      > >> On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 10:27 AM, <bruun@...> wrote:
      > >>
      > >> Alok
      > >>>
      > >>> No, it isn't heresy. It is standard practice for neoclassical
      > >>> cost-benefit analysis. We may think it is a bad idea, but it is
      > >>> quite common.
      > >>>
      > >>> The way to criticize it so that the public understands what an
      > >>> outrage it can be is to compare saving 5 minutes for a wealthy
      > >>> business person's commute with saving a full hour for a poor
      > >>> person. If the rich person earns 12 times as much, then according
      > >>> to this technique saving the rich person 5 minutes is just as
      > >>> valuable as saving the poor person a full hour.
      > >>>
      > >>> Even worse, using this kind of justification for time savings
      > >>> promotes sprawl. All evidence shows that eventually time saved
      > >>> turns into longer commuting distance
      > instead.
      > >>>
      > >>> Eric Bruun
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>> Quoting Alok Jain <alok.priyanka@...>:
      > >>>
      > >>> > Initial feedback that I received was that this report was based
      > >>> > on value of time judgements and assigns a much higher VOT for
      > >>> > car users thereby swaying the results in their favour. This is
      > >>> > obviously heresy. I will only know it once I have a sight of the full report.
      > >>> >
      > >>> >
      > >>> > On 25-Jul-2012, at 8:24 AM, Karthik Rao-Cavale wrote:
      > >>> >
      > >>> >> So essentially the argument is that since Delhi has more car
      > >>> >> traffic, the city cannot have dedicated bus lanes (no point
      > >>> >> going into the argument of whether they constitutes BRT or
      > >>> >> not. That debate is futile and meaningless.)
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> But I would like to see the weighting of bus and car trips in
      > >>> >> CRRI's study. Their claims to expertise have no relevance to
      > >>> >> the value judgments they made regarding the assignment of these weights.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 9:51 PM, Alok Jain
      > >>> >> <alok.priyanka@...
      > >
      > >>> wrote:
      > >>> >> The Delhi BRT Saga continues. Instead of fixing problems with
      > >>> >> BRT, everybody busy pointing fingers.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> http://timesofindia.**indiatimes.com/city/delhi/**
      > >>> CRRI-explained-why-Ahmedabad-**BRT-works/articleshow/**
      > >>> 15133172.cms?intenttarget=no<
      > http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/CRRI-explained-why-Ahmed
      > abad-BRT-works/articleshow/15133172.cms?intenttarget=no
      > >
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> CRRI explained why Ahmedabad BRT works Rumu Banerjee, TNN | Jul
      > >>> >> 25, 2012, 03.46AM IST Article Comments
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> inShare
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> Read More:CRRI|Central Road Research Institute|BRTS|Ahmedabad
      > >>> >> BRT
      > >>> >> Works|Ahmedabad BRT
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> NEW DELHI: In its desperation to save its ill-conceived and
      > >>> >> poorly executed BRT project, Delhi government is now shooting
      > >>> >> the messenger. It has not only questioned the study conducted
      > >>> >> by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) but also launched
      > >>> >> a scathing attack on the institute itself.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> Falling back on its worn-out argument of a rich-poor divide, it
      > >>> >> called car owners "arrogant" and accused those who conducted
      > >>> >> the study of ignoring bus commuters.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> But berating car owners will in no way make the public
      > >>> >> transport system any better - for that governance has to
      > >>> >> improve ? just as launching a tirade against CRRI will not make
      > >>> >> a dent in the organisation's reputation. CRRI director, Dr S
      > >>> >> Gangopadhyay, told
      > >>> >> TOI: "CRRI has been researching on road and transport solutions
      > >>> >> for decades. If anyone has questions about the methodology used
      > >>> >> for the study, we will be happy to answer. Our report has used
      > >>> >> international norms employed in such studies."
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> Gangopadhyay's reaction comes in the wake of the government
      > >>> >> getting stung by CRRI's finding that "no BRT" was the best
      > >>> >> option. It has been promptly dubbed "anti-poor" by the
      > >>> >> government. It may help to recall that the agency had been
      > >>> >> hired by Delhi government on the suggestion of the court, which
      > >>> >> had rejected the transport department's plan to hire RITES for
      > >>> >> the study. Incidentally, RITES in a 2004 study of transport
      > >>> >> solutions for Delhi had recommended 34 BRT corridors.
      > >>> >> Preparation of the CRRI report, which is based not only on a
      > >>> >> week-long experimental trial run but also on a series of field
      > >>> >> surveys, culminated with a simulation exercise. The simulation
      > >>> >> was of the traffic scenario on the 5.8km stretch in 2015 with
      > >>> >> and without BRT, keeping the existing traffic volume as the base, factoring in an annual increase in traffic of 5-7%.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> The study found that doing away with BRT would result in a
      > >>> >> decrease of 48% in travel time, and a substantial 61% decrease
      > >>> >> in delay on the stretch. Compare this to the option of
      > >>> >> continuing with BRT, which would result in a further increase
      > >>> >> in travel time of 13% in
      > >>> >> 2015 as well as an increase of 15% in delays on the corridor.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> Sources said the surveys undertaken ? including user
      > >>> >> perception, occupancy studies, pedestrian studies, passenger
      > >>> >> flows and saturation flow studies ? show that BRT is not
      > >>> >> working at its optimum at present. Said a transport department
      > >>> >> official, "There is no denying that there are traffic issues on
      > >>> >> the stretch. Unlike the Ahmedabad BRT, the Delhi BRT is after all an open corridor."
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> It's a point that the CRRI report has also underlined. It
      > >>> >> observes that the proportion of cars is almost 1.5 times that
      > >>> >> of Ahmedabad on the motor vehicle lane of Delhi BRT, which
      > >>> >> contributes to the lower journey speeds. This, says the report,
      > >>> >> is because the "width of the available MV lane is only 7-8m in
      > >>> >> either direction of travel". This width is less than the 10m
      > >>> >> width available for each direction of travel before BRT was conceived.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> The report adds: "Since the Ahmedabad BRTS is a closed system,
      > >>> >> the commercial travel speeds are much higher. The bus
      > >>> >> composition is about 3% of total traffic in both cases. The
      > >>> >> observed average speed of buses on Ahmedabad BRT section varies
      > >>> >> between 22-25kmph (CEPT
      > >>> >> Ahmedabad) which is much higher than that of Delhi BRTS -
      > >>> >> 13-15kmph)."
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> The last fact seems to have been completely overlooked by Delhi
      > >>> >> government, which has been citing the success of the Ahmedabad
      > >>> >> BRT to continue with its floundering experiment.
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> ------------------------------**--------------------------
      > >>> >> To search the archives of sustran-discuss visit
      > >>> >> http://www.google.com/coop/**cse?cx=014715651517519735401:**
      > >>> ijjtzwbu_ss<
      > http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014715651517519735401:ijjtzwbu_ss>
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >> ==============================**==============================*
      > >>> >> *==== SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of
      > >>> >> people-centred, equitable and sustainable transport with a
      > >>> >> focus on developing countries (the 'Global South').
      > >>> >>
      > >>> >
      > >>> >
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>> ------------------------------**--------------------------
      > >>> To search the archives of sustran-discuss visit
      > >>>
      > http://www.google.com/coop/**cse?cx=014715651517519735401:**ijjtzwbu_s
      > s<
      > http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014715651517519735401:ijjtzwbu_ss>
      > >>>
      > >>> ==============================**==============================**==
      > >>> == SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of
      > >>> people-centred, equitable and sustainable transport with a focus
      > >>> on developing
      > countries
      > >>> (the 'Global South').
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > --------------------------------------------------------
      > To search the archives of sustran-discuss visit
      > http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014715651517519735401:ijjtzwbu_ss
      >
      > ================================================================
      > SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of people-centred,
      > equitable and sustainable transport with a focus on developing
      > countries (the 'Global South').
      >



      --
      Vissu

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