Climate change is here!

The most direct and tangible expression of global warming has been the intensification of hurricanes and typhoons. A very striking article explains why it has been so hard for forecasters to predict the big storms: warmer ocean surface temperatures and more importantly, warmer deep ocean temperatures, have changed the energetics of storms, so they don’t follow past patterns. As climatologist and hurricane expert Greg Holland explained last year, “globally, the proportion of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes has increased from ~20 percent of all hurricanes to around 40 percent due to climate change over the past 60 years.”   Bottom…

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Terrestrial carbon management, not biofuels!

Science Daily reported today on a tremendously important opinion piece that demolishes the environmental credentials of biofuels as being carbon neutral. If applied by policymakers, it would result in transferring funding for the incentives for biofuel production over to the conservation and restoration of natural landscapes. U.S. national policy has strongly incentivized ethanol production, for example, due to the political power of the Corn Belt. Authors DeCicco and Schlesinger point out that biofuels create a “carbon debt” because burning them generates CO2 in the present, which isn’t sequestered by plants for decades. To reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the…

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We don’t have much time left to fix transportation

Environmentalist Ed Mainland of Novato, CA speaks out: Controversy has swirled around Marin’s Measure AA. Many proponents of Measure AA seem oblivious to TAM’s dismal track record and substantive arguments pro and con around TAM’s funding plan. Proponents point to the plan’s funding of transit, EVs, and Safe Routes to Schools. Others call the plan conventional, status quo, wedded to car culture, and lacking in real understanding of what is at stake. Several things Marinites may wish to keep in mind: 1. A local climate activist recently compared TAM’s plan to Los Angeles’ plan and found TAM’s, by comparison, to…

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Travel expectations different in Europe

After attending Innotrans, the international rail exposition in Berlin, I’ve been visiting with a colleague in a smaller German city. The plethora of transit choices is amazing. There is an extensive subway system. The tram network runs in the subway, using the stations there and then exiting to run on surface streets, often in medians reserved for transit. The even more extensive bus system has signal preemption, giving buses priority at difficult intersections. Germany is famous in transit circles for its S-bahns. Over a hundred years ago, it was recognized that trains needed to be separated from street traffic. Far-sighted…

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SF Transit Riders Union tells SFMTA “Do your job!”

In a superb opinion piece, Rachel Hyden, Executive Director of the SF Transit Riders, documents the political cowardice of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency in implementing the City’s longstanding Transit First policy. She forcefully argues that Transit First is critical to making the City more livable, by speeding up transit and making it an attractive mode of travel for large numbers of residents. Transit professionals and transit advocates know what’s needed to improve transit. What’s missing is the political will to make policy decisions on behalf of the greater good, when objections are raised by those that insist on driving.…

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Trump Administration acknowledges climate change

In a shocking new policy position, the Trump Administration claims there’s no point in higher efficiency standards for new cars and trucks for reducing GHGs. There’s nothing new in that. They offered a completely new reason, however: because the reductions won’t make a significant difference in a world that clings to fossil fuels. Of course, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. NHTSA has put out a draft Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed CAFE standard that projects that in 2100, there will be 708 ppm CO2, 3.8 meters of sea level rise and 4 degrees C global temperature rise. It is already…

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Marin’s Measure AA

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) has placed Measure AA, a 0.5 % sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. The measure would replace the existing Measure A that voters approved in 2004. Measure AA would run for 30 years before the voters would be asked to approve a subsequent measure. Marin is facing a transportation crisis: traffic congestion keeps getting worse while greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles keep getting higher. TRANSDEF opposes Measure AA because the measure doesn’t even acknowledge there is a crisis. Instead, the measure offers a Business as Usual collection of the programs and projects of the…

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This site is under construction

TRANSDEF.org is transitioning to WordPress. While all the blog posts are here, many of the resources that had been available on the site are temporarily unavailable. The links to those resources are temporarily not working. (The links to other websites still work.) Please pardon our dust! We appreciate your patience.

Falling Transit Ridership–Why?

A significant study by SCAG suggests that falling transit ridership is the result of displacement of transit-using lower-income groups to exurbs with poor transit service. Easy credit has made it possible to own a vehicle, thereby both increasing VMT and lowering transit ridership. An excellent discussion by Ethan Elkind is here.

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Post-election counting widens RM3 margin

The votes counted after Election day have swung more in support of Regional Measure 3. Recent reports from all counties other than Sonoma (shown in yellow) have updated their election night results. The margin of victory has widened to 10 points. This margin came entirely from Santa Clara and San Franciso Counties, neither of which uses bridges much. [embeddoc url=”https://transdef.org/wp-content/uploads/Vote-Count-Update.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

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