Transportation and Suburbanization

By Lois Austin,2014-08-29 01:43
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Transportation and Suburbanization

Transportation and Suburbanization

Horse and buggy, walking (before 1850’s)

    ; people worked where they lived (clear

    distinction between city and country)

Introduction of Railroads (1850’s)

    ; Provided a fast, cost effective link that enabled a

    few people to live outside the city

    ; Llewellyn Park, NJ: first railroad elite suburb in

    the U.S.; 2-8 acre lots

Streetcar Era: 1870’s – 1920

    ; First mode of mass transit; more extensive

    ; Streetcar suburbs = middle class (not elite);

    smaller lots; located around station on radial

    streetcar line

    ; Introduced first real distinction in terms of where

    people lived vs. worked

Automobile and Highways: 1920’s - present

    ; Cars first mass produced in 1920’s

    ; Federal Road Act of 1916: first federal dollars

    that subsidized local road construction

    ; Post World War II: cars and road building

    increased rapidly

    ; The “golden age” of suburbanization

Is current transportation system “efficient”?

Is the full cost of driving a car reflected in

current prices?

    Externalities associated with cars

; Congestion externalities

; Air and noise pollution

; Low density, sprawl development

    o If car travel causes low density or

    sprawl patterns, then cars are indirectly

    linked to any inefficiencies associated

    with these development patterns (e.g.,

    too much land development)

    Congestion externality

    ; Each driver is both a generator and victim of


    ; Congestion depends on volume of traffic on

    road (measured as cars per lane per hour) ; Congestion causes divergence between

    private and social costs ; drivers do not

    pay the full cost of their marginal

    contribution to congestion ; cost of driving

    is underpriced

Policy responses to congestion

1. Congestion tax to internalize externality

(shift marginal private costs so that MPC = MSC)

2. Apply alternative taxes that would affect

driving, e.g. car tax, gas tax, parking tax

    3. Expand capacity of highways by adding more lanes, building more roads

    Does this narrow gap between marginal private and social costs?

Issue of “induced demand” ; if added capacity

is given, congestion will eventually return due to

latent demand for travel route

4. Subsidize alternative forms of


    ; Success of this strategy will depend on how

    substitutable cars and alternative forms of

    transport are

    Gap between MPC and MSC may be reduced due to decreased Demand for car travel

    Class discussion about Guiliano and Cervero and Landis readings on the land use-transportation connection

Basic question: Given current transportation

    networks (which provide lots of access to most urban places) and current land use patterns, to what extent will future changes in the

    transportation network induce further changes in land use patterns?

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