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Re: [carfree_cities] Another train of thought

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  • Andrew Dawson
    ... Coast to coast would be expensive, but funny enough during the energy crisis of the 1970 s there were some big electrification proposals. The Santa Fe from
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 3, 2003
      Mike Harrington wrote:
      >Reply-To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      >To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      >Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Another train of thought
      >Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 07:41:39 -0600
      >
      >Aircraft really only make money when they are flying in the stratosphere at
      >subsonic speeds. No one who advocates high-speed rail is proposing
      >traveling coast to coast with high speed rail. As long as oil is still
      >cheap, those markets are better left to airlines. When energy prices
      >increase, transcontinental and intercontinental travel will be the hardest
      >hit in the long run.

      Coast to coast would be expensive, but funny enough during the energy crisis
      of the 1970's there were some big electrification proposals. The Santa Fe
      from Los Angeles to Chicago, Illinois Central from Chicago to New Orleans
      and Southern Pacific from L.A. to El Paso.

      For Southern Pacific this would have been like reviving Pacific Electric and
      extending it to Texas.

      Also I've heard that, even GM in the 70's did studies and found 25kv
      electrification to be 30 - 60% cheaper to run than diesel operation.

      >But Houston-Austin or Milwaukee-St.Louis are not intercontinental markets,
      >and the Interstate Highways in major corridors get slower every year due to
      >increased traffic. The only reason airlines can serve corridors, as
      >opposed
      >to transcontinental markets, is that they are heavily subsidized by
      >government in Canada and the US, and government also ensures that airlines
      >like Southwest have no serious competition in those corridors. Ninety
      >percent of the fuel used by a jet between Houston and Dallas is used in
      >takeoff. It doesn't take much of an increase in the price of oil to make
      >that cost per mile prohibitive, so the first thing to disappear will be
      >short-haul flights, followed by, not some, but all airline flights.
      >
      >These are corridors, like Paris to Lyon and Paris to Brussels, where over
      >90% of the tickets are sold by high-speed train. Or the more recent
      >Marseille-Paris train, which was 60% last year and 75% this year.
      >
      >Which service do you think will be running in 2020, TGV Paris-Marseille or
      >Southwest Air from Houston to Dallas? The book Limits to Growth was
      >essentially correct, it's just that now we know that it will happen sooner
      >than thought.
      >
      >The one good piece of news in all this is that we'll only have to listen to
      >late-20th century economics for a few more years.

      Great, now we just need the re$ource$ allocated for infrastructure and
      rolling stock.
      Till later, Andrew Dawson

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    • Chris Loyd
      ... at ... What happened in the 1970s, to airline travel? ... to ... opposed ... Rural Interstate congestion is becoming more noticable, year by year. Traffic
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 5, 2003
        > Aircraft really only make money when they are flying in the stratosphere
        at
        > subsonic speeds. No one who advocates high-speed rail is proposing
        > traveling coast to coast with high speed rail. As long as oil is still
        > cheap, those markets are better left to airlines. When energy prices
        > increase, transcontinental and intercontinental travel will be the hardest
        > hit in the long run.

        What happened in the 1970s, to airline travel?

        > But Houston-Austin or Milwaukee-St.Louis are not intercontinental markets,
        > and the Interstate Highways in major corridors get slower every year due
        to
        > increased traffic. The only reason airlines can serve corridors, as
        opposed
        > to transcontinental markets, is that they are heavily subsidized by
        > government in Canada and the US, and government also ensures that airlines
        > like Southwest have no serious competition in those corridors. Ninety
        > percent of the fuel used by a jet between Houston and Dallas is used in
        > takeoff. It doesn't take much of an increase in the price of oil to make
        > that cost per mile prohibitive, so the first thing to disappear will be
        > short-haul flights, followed by, not some, but all airline flights.

        Rural Interstate congestion is becoming more noticable, year by year.
        Traffic between San Antonio and Houston has inched down the speeds since I
        started going to school in Houston. It used to flow in the upper 80s,
        around 90 or so. Now, it just hangs around 85, with occasional drops to 10
        during accidents. Traffic at night has gotten especially worse, with speeds
        dropping from the mid-70s down to the mid-60s. Driving from Houston to
        Austin is even worse, thanks to a stoplight or two on TX-71.

        I used to fly back-n-forth between Houston and San Antonio on Southwest. It
        would take about 25 minutes by bus to get from UH to Hobby Airport, arrive
        two hours early to get on boarding group A, then a forty minute flight, and
        a twenty minute drive home. About three-and-a-half hours. If you get train
        speeds to average over 100 mph along I-10, and not need to arrive hours
        earlier to be screened and herded, and sell the tickets for less than $50
        per person, you got yourself a deal.

        > Which service do you think will be running in 2020, TGV Paris-Marseille or
        > Southwest Air from Houston to Dallas? The book Limits to Growth was
        > essentially correct, it's just that now we know that it will happen sooner
        > than thought.

        In 2020? Neither. More like an interurban-style train, because the market
        won't that big for intersate travel, especially between Houston and Dallas.
        Southwest will probably be either bankrupt or nationalized. The freeway
        pavement will still exist, though its condition will be a mystery.

        > The one good piece of news in all this is that we'll only have to listen
        to
        > late-20th century economics for a few more years.

        You don't need to listen to them now, or ever.
      • dubluth
        ... But won t it be nice when the 19th century economists come back to life?.
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 5, 2003
          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@p...>
          wrote:

          > > The one good piece of news in all this is that we'll only have to
          > > listen
          > > to late-20th century economics for a few more years.
          >
          > You don't need to listen to them now, or ever.


          But won't it be nice when the 19th century economists come back to
          life?.
        • Chris Loyd
          Message 4 of 11 , Dec 6, 2003
            <<You don't need to listen to [20th century economics] now, or ever.

            > But won't it be nice when the 19th century economists come back to
            > life?.>>

            As zombies? Euww.

            Seriously, what are you talking about, and how does it bare on
            carfreedom/resource-depletion/etc?
          • dubluth
            There seems to be some advocacy for more primitive thinking. I don t know if it would be in line with any 19th century economists -- I suspect that most of
            Message 5 of 11 , Dec 6, 2003
              There seems to be some advocacy for more primitive thinking. I don't
              know if it would be in line with any 19th century economists -- I
              suspect that most of them would want to use their critical faculties.
              At least they wouldn't know about the tools, techniques and
              conclusions that were to develop in the 20th century.

              I was indulging in a bit of gently mockery those on the list I regard
              as taking an anti-science stance. I apologize for being too vague.

              I should have sympathy for those who say that economics is not science
              -- that was the position I maintained through an early period in my
              studies. After learning more about foundations and techniques, I
              couldn't begrudge the status of scientist to economists, even though
              their conclusions seemed to have been reached without taking my
              personal interests or biases into consideration.

              Much of what I post on this list are hunches, impressions, and
              conclusions based on private reasoning. They aren't the results of my
              empirical research. One way to address something I post is to find
              flaws in the material.

              I know some people have a special fascination with an end to cheap
              energy. I don't share that fear. I've indicated before why I think
              it is a misdirection of concern. It is archived.

              Others have pointed out that the motivation for car-free cities isn't
              energy. I seriously doubt that it _could_ be a motivation. Car-fee
              cities are a positive thing -- preferable to the status-quo. They
              aren't something that we had better learn to like because steel wheels
              on steel rail have a low rolling resistance.

              Bill Carr

              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@p...>
              wrote:
              > <<You don't need to listen to [20th century economics] now, or ever.
              >
              > > But won't it be nice when the 19th century economists come back to
              > > life?.>>
              >
              > As zombies? Euww.
              >
              > Seriously, what are you talking about, and how does it bare on
              > carfreedom/resource-depletion/etc?
            • Chris Loyd
              ... Oh! No worries! ... Nothing wrong with posting based on intuition. Especially regarding carfree cities -- they are so few in number, so small in scale
              Message 6 of 11 , Dec 7, 2003
                > I was indulging in a bit of gently mockery those on the list I regard
                > as taking an anti-science stance. I apologize for being too vague.

                Oh! No worries!

                > Much of what I post on this list are hunches, impressions, and
                > conclusions based on private reasoning. They aren't the results of my
                > empirical research. One way to address something I post is to find
                > flaws in the material.

                Nothing wrong with posting based on intuition. Especially regarding carfree
                cities -- they are so few in number, so small in scale (meaning: impact), so
                unlived-in by most of the posters here -- that there is little empiricism to
                go by. Even the numbers presented differ a lot, because it is sometimes
                impossible to know such things as number of years left until oil is
                "impractical". Whatever that means.

                > I know some people have a special fascination with an end to cheap
                > energy. I don't share that fear. I've indicated before why I think
                > it is a misdirection of concern. It is archived.

                'Nuff said there.

                > Others have pointed out that the motivation for car-free cities isn't
                > energy. I seriously doubt that it _could_ be a motivation. Car-fee
                > cities are a positive thing -- preferable to the status-quo. They
                > aren't something that we had better learn to like because steel wheels
                > on steel rail have a low rolling resistance.

                Agreed. Carfree cities are desirable, even if oil supplies are effectively
                infinite. The problem with cars remains largely one of geometry and
                velocity.
              • Mike Harrington
                Oil supplies effectively infinite? You think that, if it gives you comfort. ... From: Chris Loyd Carfree cities are desirable, even if
                Message 7 of 11 , Dec 7, 2003
                  Oil supplies effectively infinite? You think that, if it gives you comfort.

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Chris Loyd" <tybalt@...>
                  Carfree cities are desirable, even if oil supplies are effectively
                  > infinite.
                • Bijan Soleymani
                  ... The idea is that even *if* oil reserves were infinite carfree cities would still be a better solution for human life. Bijan -- Bijan Soleymani
                  Message 8 of 11 , Dec 7, 2003
                    "Mike Harrington" <mike@...> writes:

                    > Oil supplies effectively infinite? You think that, if it gives you comfort.

                    The idea is that even *if* oil reserves were infinite carfree cities
                    would still be a better solution for human life.

                    Bijan
                    --
                    Bijan Soleymani <bijan@...>
                    http://www.crasseux.com
                  • Mike Harrington
                    Preachin to the choir with me. ... From: Bijan Soleymani
                    Message 9 of 11 , Dec 7, 2003
                      Preachin' to the choir with me.

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Bijan Soleymani" <bijan@...>


                      > The idea is that even *if* oil reserves were infinite carfree cities
                      > would still be a better solution for human life.
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