Friday, March 14, 2008
If transportation is contributing to social inequalities anywhere, it is most likely happening in Detroit, where racial segregation and job sprawl combine to put the greatest distance between African Americans and jobs of any metropolitan region in the country. The field of transportation has not yet put into practice sound methods for measuring and evaluating social equity, but the concept of accessibility provides the needed measurement tool as the critical link between social equity and the built environment.
This presentation reports on the use of accessibility measures to inform community activists, transportation professionals, and scholars about whether racial minorities and low-income households in the Detroit metropolitan region are experiencing disadvantage in meeting their travel needs.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The cost of highway and street construction materials was up 11.8 percent in November 2007 compared to the same month last year. During the same time period inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, was 4.3 percent. Between 2003 and 2006, the cost of highway and street construction materials grew 35 percent.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The feds say the study account is broke, which makes it a lot like the local transit system, which is broken.
Ald. Robert Bauman is planning for a discussion of the matter Wednesday during the Common Council's Public Works Committee. Let's have a discussion more about how to get the money back than who is to blame for losing it in the first place. Getting it back is, at this point, a lot more urgent.
Unfortunately, getting it back may also be nigh impossible. The Bush Administration, after all, has discovered fiscal conservatism and finding a way to withhold $91.5 million from a community that can't find a way to spend it would make a dandy example for fiscal conservatism show-and-tell.
There is another reason it may be impossible to restore the funds. The feds vastly underfund transit already, and President Bush is proposing to move $3 billion from transit spending next year to support highway spending instead.
And now our reps are going to go to Washington and say, "We couldn't decide how to spend more than $90 million for 17 years, but can we have money to study how to spend it so we can fight over it some more?"
The feds may be laughing too hard to sign the check.
Monday, March 3, 2008
More on the asthma findings from Boston.com:
Children who live close to traffic-clogged roads are more likely to have asthma than children who live farther from heavily traveled streets, according to a new state report that focuses on six Merrimack Valley communities.
Local officials said the study results could spur the Merrimack Valley communities and the state to do more to curtail asthma - a scourge affecting about 17.3 million Americans, including 5 million children nationwide, the report states. "I'll be more cognizant as we consider new development," Thomas Schiavone, Lawrence's economic development director, said last week. "We really need to do anything we can to alleviate childhood asthma."
The research, conducted from 1998 to 2001, had two parts. One compared the number of asthma cases among 34,000 children ages 5 to 14 against the distance of their homes from a road, at five intervals from 25 meters to 200 meters away, and the road's traffic volume, or average number of automobiles, trucks, and buses traveling on it daily.
At each distance, children with asthma were consistently found to live nearer to a greater volume of traffic than those without the disease. The study also found that the risk for asthma decreased the farther away a child lived from the road. Dracut did not figure in this part of the research.
"This finding stresses the importance of programs to reduce gaseous pollutants and particulates from vehicles," the report by the state Bureau of Environmental Health says.