Alameda Point: Spring Break Reading

Whenever concern is raised about the traffic generated by a future Alameda Point development. Those screaming “stop” rely on the false premise that not building at Alameda Point will remove all traffic impacts to Alamedans.

Though this article by Economist Joe Cortright at Infrastructurist.com is on road-pricing, it also highlights the tremendous effect of traffic on congested corridors (think the tubes or I880) and also shows the dramatic effect of small reductions in overall driving.

Last year, the US made more progress in reducing traffic congestion than any other time in memory. New data show that in the nation’s cities congestion declined by 30 percent overall and was improved at every hour of the day.

How did we make these big gains? Not by adding more highway lanes or transit. Our physical infrastructure barely changed. Rather, we did it with a very modest decline in car travel. On urban interstate highways, total vehicle miles traveled in the US declined by about 3 percent compared with 2007.

Their key conclusions: “peak hour congestion on the major roads in urban America decreased nearly 30% in 2008 versus 2007*,”…

A 3% decrease in Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) reduced congestion by nearly 30%. SunCal’s proposal proposes transportation strategies that if memory holds, would reduce island-wide commute trips by 2%. Concerns have been raised about the “academic” approach to planning and the “theoretical” nature of the proposal. However real-world data like this that can add a measure of comfort to the proposals strategies for minimizing the effect on island access.