Because being there is what's most important, WPC's Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.

What's New

Bus drivers OK contract; no raise in '11, but bumps next two years

November 19, 2010 in In the News
Friday, November 19, 2010

Raising parking rates to reduce demand is social engineering

November 18, 2010 in Blog

Earlier I wrote how there is currently more demand for street parking than there is supply in downtown Seattle. This is a signal that either price or supply is too low.

Seattle officials proposed a priceside treatment. Their thought is higher prices will reduce demand. But as I point out, there are negative consequences to this approach: fewer consumers with less money to spend. Besides, people want more parking, not less. So I proposed that a supplyside treatment is a better approach.

Toll rate on 520 means traffic volumes on I-90 will increase 20 percent

November 17, 2010 in Blog

This story in the Seattle Times shows tolls on 520 could be as high as $3.50 each way during the peak times, or $7 round trip. Within 5 years, the toll could hit $8.70 for a round trip.

The story goes on to question the impact on traffic and how many people will divert to other roads or skip driving all together.

Parking is bad not because of low price, but because of diminishing supply

November 15, 2010 in Blog

I once heard a transit planner say the biggest obstacle to people using public transit is free parking. He claimed that parking should contain a price to increase the cost of driving, which would make alternative transportation modes more attractive for drivers who have higher sensitivity to costs.
While I completely disagree with this type of social engineering, his larger point I think is absolutely true. Parking polices can and do play a significant role in transportation planning.

Can WTC set toll rates and ferry fares since I-1053 passed?

November 12, 2010 in Blog

Here is a good summary by Erik Smith of Washington State Wire, on the impact of I-1053 and the authority of the Washington Transportation Commission to set ferry fares and toll rates:

I-1053 Gets its First Test Monday – Will it Block Ferry Fare Increases?

West Seattle Ferry: King County's labor costs alone are more than entire annual budget of private model

November 9, 2010 in Blog

King County is about to adopt their 2011 budget for its Ferry District. Total costs for the new year amount to $2.87 million. This is slightly less than the $3.14 million in 2010 but still way more than when Argosy operated the route in 2009. Here is a comparison of the three operating budgets (2009, 2010, 2011). Notice in 2010 and 2011 that King County's labor costs alone are higher than the entire annual operating budget under the Argosy model.

No tax increase for new federal transportation budget

November 8, 2010 in Blog

Incoming House Transportation Chair, John Mica says raising taxes is "off the table" for the new six year transportation budget.

Private vs Public Ferry: Argosy $3.66 per trip or King County $15.12 per trip

November 5, 2010 in Blog

I have been extremely critical of King County's take over of the West Seattle Ferry from Argosy Cruises, a private ferry operator in Seattle. Our original analysis concludes that Argosy was able to provide the same service for much lower costs. Now that King County has six months of operations under its belt, we can again compare the County's performance to Argosy.

Eyman claims WTC cannot raise tolls or ferry fares since I-1053 passed

November 4, 2010 in Blog

In a letter to the Washington Transportation Commission (WTC), Tim Eyman claims the recently approved  I-1053, which reaffirms the two-thirds requirement on tax increases, applies to tolls and ferry rates. He further claims the WTC no longer has the authority to increase toll rates or ferry fares, as such power now reverts to the legislature. They have asked the Attorney General for an opinion on the matter.

Election impact on federal transportation

November 3, 2010 in Blog

From Larry Ehl:

T&I Chairman Oberstar lost, as did 13 other Democratic committee members. Three, including WA's Rick Larsen, are trailing. One additional Democratic member retired, WA's own Brian Baird. One Republican committee member lost and five Republicans retired.