Cars in Singapore are expensive

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Murali

Murali did his undergraduate degree in molecular biology with a minor in biophysics from the National University of Singapore (NUS). He then changed direction and did his Masters in Philosophy also at NUS. Now, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

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54 Responses

  1. Avatar Fnord says:

    My own two cents is that we can do better by making people pay at the margins than in a lump sum in the beginning.

    Sounds like the right principle.

    Traffic is particularly heavy in the morning and evening rush hours. What we could do is double or even quadruple the ERP charge** for using a road but then auction permits that reduce or waive the toll over a selected set of hours. Different people would select a different band of hours depending on their needs.

    I suppose auctions have the advantage of being self-adjusting. But it seems like to would be simpler to have ERP charges be time-dependent, charging a higher fee in rush hour.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      That is the current practice, but I want to create multiple mini rush hours each of which is less heavy than the daily cluster fish that we actually get.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        i.e. I want it to be the case that it is cheaper for some cars to go during the 7-8 window, while it being cheaper for other cars to go during the 8-9 window and so on. If I can redirct some of the morning traffic to the early afternoon that would be great too, but I think there is a time-related stickiness to the demand for road space.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          Do you believe that employers would change their hours or allow employee flexibility if your plan was put in place? If employers didn’t modify their hours it wouldn’t likely help with congestion much.Report

          • Avatar Fnord says:

            I can see mechanisms to make it potentially work. But…

            That is the current practice, but I want to create multiple mini rush hours each of which is less heavy than the daily cluster fish that we actually get.

            If I understand this correctly, it’s already the practice to charge more during the busiest times, and it’s not sufficient to shift traffic from the 7-8 peak to the (currently) somewhat less busy 6-7 and 8-9 blocks. Is that right? Because if that’s true, then there does seem to be a mechanism that’s making it difficult to shift times, and that same mechanism would likely apply to any other congestion pricing scheme.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain says:

            Other flexibility as well. The one that comes immediately to mind is child care. At least when I was in need of that, there was little flexibility available. If I had had to work, say, a 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM shift, I would have been screwed — because I had to pick up the little people by 6:00 PM. School has the potential to create the same sort of problem.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Does building and/or subsidizing mass transit count as a solution? What kind of mass transit does Singapore have? Do people there use it or is there a stigma against it?

    On a slightly separate note i would take sequels. The more sequels the higher the tax. Put all that money into buses or trains. That would serve a positive social purpose by limiting sequels and supporting mass transit.Report

    • Avatar Murali says:

      Singapore does have an extensive public transport system And it is growing. We’re not as car crazy as AmericansReport

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Probably has more to do with density than with preferences. New Yorkers aren’t as “car-crazy” as Americans, either.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          to a degree yeah. But SoCal folks like their cars a lot and they do have significant traffic problems. NY is an old city constrained by rivers which leads to its density while LA could spread out all of the place.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          If statistics are anything to go by, Americans are getting less car crazy as well. Has anybody figured out why we became car crazy in the first place and why we decided to ditch transit for the most part?Report

          • Avatar Kimsie says:

            1) Racism
            2) it USED to be mondo cheap.
            3) Have you tried climbing 5 stories while bringing home groceries??? (not a hypothetical, there are places in Pittsburgh where this is “normal business”)Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              America was turning into a car-friendly nation a generation or two before the Civil Rights movement. As soon as the car appeared and became a viable product for the masses, we took to it. Until the recent spat of light rail construction, the cities that didn’t build a mass transit system between the 1890s and 1910 just decided to focus on cars.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

            Urban planning expert Donald Shoup blames building codes. He argues that mandatory minimum parking lot sizes created a vicious circle: When you require buildings to have a certain amount of parking, the buildings are further apart from each other. When that happens, you need more cars, and when you have more cars, you need more parking.

            His answer is in part to abolish the mandatory minimum parking requirements, which I think is a good idea.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Heh. In my job in New Orleans at Gravier and St Charles, I would routinely drive up twelve stories to find a parking spot in my building — and I had a parking pass. Trying to make a 19th Century city plan work in the 21st takes some vertical engineering.Report

            • Avatar zic says:

              Agree 100% with this.

              Also, eliminating requirements for restaurants/shops to provide parking, typically based on seats/size.

              Instead of ‘parking’ requirements, I’d prefer to see ‘green space’ requirements; and not necessarily on the building site, but within a radius of the building, accessible to the public, or in areas identified as requiring soft surface. (A for instance, someone wanting to build a sky scrapper in NYC could provide part of that greenspace via the shore front, shown to be at risk of flooding, purchasing a houselot already damaged during Sandy and turning it into soft-scape parkland.)Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I agree with this, get rid of mandatory minimum parking. Still, does anybody know when the first mandatory minimum parking lot regulations appeared? Suburbs as we know them, with their strict land use and building code requirements became widespread after WWII but proto-types appeared in the interwar period even if most people still lived in more traditional towns and cities, which really only started their steep decline after 1960.*

              *Most of the rust built cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland reached their peak population in 1960 and started a fast and furious decline afterwards. A different set of policies might have saved American urbanism. German cities updated their tram systems into light rail systems during this period rather than rip them up like American, Canadian, and British cities did. It probably would have been a lot bettr if we followed the German model.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              I agree with this, get rid of mandatory minimum parking. Still, does anybody know when the first mandatory minimum parking lot regulations appeared? Suburbs as we know them, with their strict land use and building code requirements became widespread after WWII but proto-types appeared in the interwar period even if most people still lived in more traditional towns and cities, which really only started their steep decline after 1960.*

              *Most of the rust built cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland reached their peak population in 1960 and started a fast and furious decline afterwards. A different set of policies might have saved American urbanism. German cities updated their tram systems into light rail systems during this period rather than rip them up like American, Canadian, and British cities did. It probably would have been a lot bettr if we followed the German model.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie says:

                What policies save steel, again? That was an industry where everyone, unions, bosses, employees were ALL greenbacking, letting their assets rust into oblivionReport

  3. Avatar Patrick says:

    There’s two “autostart” parameters in that embedded link, they were both set to “true”. I set them both to “false”, and it still autostarts. I blame the source of the video.Report

  4. Avatar Lyle says:

    Note that Bloomberg I believe proposed an entry charge for the south part of Manhattan and got shot down. Singapore has an electronic road pricing scheme that is the dream of all the high tech folks to charge for road usage. (However out were I live on a road that might have 1000 vehicles per day, its hard to see how you pay for it) My Idea has been a base per mile charge, and then a additional charge for certian (typically urban) roads.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Recently I shared a story about tutoring a student wherein I encouraged him to challenge some begged questions in an essay prompt.

    Just yesterday, I took that same student to another level. Despite being only 9, he’s a bit of a gear head. I know nothing about cars. Ignoring this crucial of factors when deciding what topics to try to talk to me about to avoid doing his homework, he brought up some fancy car… a Lamborghini or Ferrari or something. He explained that it was a concept car, literally one-of-a-kind, and made to commemorate a special anniversary of sorts. The result of these factors was that the car cost $50,000,000.
    “Sounds like artificial scarcity,” I said.
    “What do you mean?”
    “Well, it is easy to make something seem super valuable if you only make one of it.”
    “But it’s a really cool car. Look… racing stripes!”
    “Artificially scarce racing stripes!”
    “Can we go back to doing homework?”Report

  6. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The only fair thing to do is to have a “progressive” car tax ranging from -20% of income for the poor to 20% of income for the very wealthy.Report

  7. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    After more than a hundred years is the superiority of well-maintained and reliable subway-based transit still in doubt?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Unfortunately, yes. Lots of people love their cars even if the most sustainable communities are served by rail of some sort.Report

    • Avatar Kimsie says:

      Yes, and for multiple reasons.
      Flooding and sea level rise provide stark counterindications for Singapore, of all places.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

        What does this have to do with the subway? Most of the subway system in Boston is below sea level, and if you want to cross Boston in any fashion, you’re driving under the harbor.Report

        • Avatar Kimsie says:

          http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/11/newly-un-flooded-nyt-subway-still-looks-pretty-horrible/3875/
          Cost benefit analysis, of course.
          Also, Singapore being closer to the equator is more likely to see cyclonic activity, I think, than Boston.Report

          • Avatar Murali says:

            Actually, singapore will never or almost never face a cyclone. That’s why the british set up a port here in the first place. We are protected on all sides. Any cyclone that forms in the south china sea or the Indian ocean will dissipate quickly over indonesia or the borneo islands. Rising sea levels wise, we are just reclaiming land at a higher level. We’re on top of things so to speakReport

            • Avatar Kimsie says:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Vamei
              v.s.
              November 3, 2007 – As an extratropical hurricane, Hurricane Noel hits coastal Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine with hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 89 mph (143 km/h). with sustained winds topping out at 59 mph (95 km/h).[41] Power outages were widespread; about 80,000 customers in Massachusetts and 9,000 in Maine lost electric power, mostly on Cape Cod.[42] Heavy rainfall, high seas, and coastal flooding also occurred

              hmm… I’ma gonna eat crow now. Apparently hurricanes hitting boston-ish areas is more frequent than I thought…Report

          • Avatar Lyle says:

            Actually Singapore is to close to the equator to have much in the way of tropical cyclones. Recall that Coriolis forces are needed to spin up a tropical cyclone, and as close to the equator as Singapore is they are very small. (at 1.17 n).Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      Depends what standard you’re using, and the selection of a standard is a value, hence subjective.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

        Which standard would you prefer?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I’m with Chris on this, a lot of mass transit opponents think that everything will end up like Manhattan or San Francisco if we built decent mass transit systems for our cities. Mass transit doesn’t necessarily mean high densities. Most of the major German cities have great transit but densities in the 5000 to slightly over 10000 people per square mile range, much less than NYC, San Francisco, Boston and others. You can have mass transit, relatively low densities, and single-family homes with lawns if you design things right.

        A lot of the LA freeway system follows the Pacific Electric lines very closely. LA’s sprawl has its origins in transit not the car.Report

        • Avatar Kimsie says:

          You should see victoria.Report

          • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

            BC?Report

            • Avatar Kimsie says:

              *nods* fabulous biking there.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                I did the West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca a while back actually. I found Tsawwassen ferry, double decker bus, hitchhiking, and walking just fine for getting around Vancouver Island.Report

              • Avatar Kimsie says:

                I’m so jealous. gotta do the west coast trail one of these years. Juan de Fuca’s the one with the shipwrecks, isn’t it?Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                I found Juan de Fuca more interesting than the West Coast Trail actually. The weather is a little better I’m told, there are more camp grounds and exit points, and Sombrio Beach is a real paradise. I didn’t see any shipwrecks, but some of the beaches were covered with well-worn driftwood.

                I actually wrote something about Sombrio Beach and my adventures on Vancouver Island years ago which I’ve never published. The whole area actually has an amazing history.Report

  8. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    There was a Cato Unbound about this.

    I think Donald Shoup is basically right:

    http://www.cato-unbound.org/2011/04/04/donald-shoup/free-parking-or-free-markets

    I argue for a market-based solution to parking problems… I recommend… (1) setting the right, demand-based price for curb parking, (2) returning the parking revenue to pay for local public services, and (3) removing minimum parking requirements.

    Report