Morning Ed: Transportation {2018.07.10.Tu}

[Tr1] In a piece about supersonic air travel, I think James Pehokoukis buries the lede: Environmentalists will likely lose nearly every argument where they are up against immediate and near-term consumer benefit and economic growth… and I don’t see how they win the debate while losing those battles.

[Tr2] I’m always suspicious of arguments that involve aesthetic and value preferences actually saving money, but a guy can hope, right?

[Tr3] Caution: There’s a new danger on the roads in Saudi Arabia.

[Tr4] This is kind of weird. Most of the time when I fly they are pretty good about taking the trash pretty repeatedly.

[Tr5] Georgia passed a new hands-free law with regard to cell phones while driving. I’d thought that they were ineffective, but maybe not.

[Tr6] Pedestrians are getting killed by cars at an alarming rate, and while we initially blame texting and distracted driving the problem appears to be the proliferation of SUVs. Wisely, the article doesn’t bother to suggest we change the kinds of cars we drive, but they do propose a mixed bag of regulations that might help.

[Tr7] According to Politico, Trump is working to derail an important tunnel project.

[Tr8] Good.

[Tr9] Better watch where you’re driving or the planet may eat you up.


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Will Truman is a former para-IT professional who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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15 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Transportation {2018.07.10.Tu}

  1. Is planebae a transportation story?

    This seems like a no win story for the critiquers because they also need to rely on the content that they wish to quash or at least are doing the same thing of mining tweets for content?

    Though what I really don’t understand is how this becomes a segment for the Today show. Does the drive for content and scoop just make it impossible for people to pause for consideration and whether something is good? Or do the people who get jobs producing content for the Today shoe just not have any scruples to consideration?

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    • I was blissfully unaware of planebae until you pointed it out to me. Planebae seems like a perfect Today show story because its the sort of story that I’d imagine the typical Today Show audience would like. Feel-good romance with just the right amount of sex. Not too much, not too little, and not kinky. A romcom played out in real life, maybe.

      Your right about critics of planebae type stories being in a no-win situation. Its hard to critic a phenomenon or story without calling attention to it. Maybe the Frankfurt School has some ideas on how to do this.

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    • The main take-home message I got from it was that people are so desperate for good and happy news (especially about finding love) that they will happily believe something that looks really hinky, even something that’s invading the personal space of other people.

      I mean, I could probably give ten or fifteen horror stories about things like online dating that friends and acquaintances have had for every one that has a good outcome…but we live for happy endings.

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  2. Tr7: This isn’t the first time Republicans tried to kill this project. They have this weird fantasy that NYC and other cities are giant money pits that need to be strangled to death when its the cities and inner suburbs that subsidize rural area in reality. No amount of evidence will convince them otherwise. Its why transportation projects in NYC or other major metropolitan areas do not get their fair share of federal funds and often find themselves on the chopping block.

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  3. Tr6: I try not to spend more time than necessary in the bike lanes on busy-ish streets while I’m out riding. Impressions, though… SUV drivers are more likely to be speeding than sedan drivers. State law requires that motor vehicles give me three feet of clearance. This is harder for an SUV to do than for a sub-compact where lanes are narrow. And being honest, I can’t really blame the SUV driver who’s passing me at five over the speed limit from shying a bit to the right when an SUV in the adjacent lane going fifteen over passes them. Visibility probably has an effect — I’m higher than the folks in the sedan, lower than the folks in the SUV or giant pickup. SUV drivers are more likely to make a right turn after (rolling) stop from a low-speed road to a higher-speed road without looking to their right.

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    • The increased height was the major cited reason, both in terms of visibility and the impact of the… errr.. impact.

      As for why they were higher than the 80’s, better breaks may be responsible, lighter cars, and/or greater maneuverability.

      You’re right that correlation doesn’t equal causation, but the fact that they went into this expecting to find one cause for pedestrian accidents and came to another does get my attention.

      It is interesting that vans tend to get a pass in these discussions, even though it almost certainly applies to them as much as SUVs and pickups.

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      • Vans get a pass possibly because there are fewer of them. Maybe. Are there fewer in areas that more people are dying in? Are people being struck in certain areas (cities? downtown? suburbs?) and not others? Too many confounding factors.

        This piece struck me in many of the same ways that, in the ’80’s, Jeeps were “tippy.” Or Audis “sudden acceleration.” More media noise to traffic data signal. Could there be something there? Sure. But it is not shown in this article.

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  4. [Tr1] Oh I don’t know about that. In particular, I think environmentalists are probably going to be on strong footing when it looks like they’re fighting against high-impact conspicuous consumption by the ultra-rich.

    I was going to snark at Pethokoukis about climate change in general, but it turns out he’s a booster of a nominally GOP carbon tax plan that seems like a good compromise for a way forward.

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  5. [Tr1] As far as I’m concerned, air travel is probably one of the best and most efficient uses of carbon emission, and should probably be one of the last ones to die.

    That is to say, the carbon emission per mile travelled is probably really good for air travel already, and will probably be even better with a supersonic transport.

    Meanwhile I think we are on track to have something like 80 percent of our ground vehicles converted to electric by 2030. And there is other low-hanging fruit as well.

    Activists often think it’s their job to keep the pressure on at all times, in every direction. And that might well serve a purpose, it’s hard to say.

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