Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This smelled like garbage from the beginning.

A robot's Passover.

If you read this chart, and conclude "the problem with the world is that there are too many cyclists", you are dumb.

Is immigration bad for the environment? An old argument, one I tend to come down on the "no" side.

Lawrence Solomon writes something non-crazy.


Gar said...

>If you read this chart, and conclude "the problem with the world is that there are too many cyclists", you are dumb.

True enough. But if you read this chart, and conclude what we need are more buses, that also seems unsupported by the data.

Anonymous said...

It also seems that flying everywhere is the same as driving a Dodge RAM or Ford F-150 everywhere. I choose flying! :-p

Adam W said...

Note the estimated load usage of 8.7 people per bus. The problem with buses is apparently that no one is riding them. I know the off-peak hours and off-core routes take the average riders on a bus down, but all the way to 8.7? That's terrible. Obviously, if the buses were running with 20 people on average, they suddenly look a lot better. I'd be curious as to where the 8.7 number came from. One city, several cities, comprehensive survey of transit organizations, Canada, US, Europe?

Gar Lipow said...

>I'd be curious as to where the 8.7 number came from.

I've had occasions to look at both U.S.and UK figures and that is about right. The thing is not only do buses need to run offpeak, but you need lower usage routes to feed into higher usage.

Are there ways around this? Well in some really poor countries average use is kept by unbelievable crowding during peak hours - not only people standing, but hanging out windows to make room. Alternatvely there are long distance buses that work on the airline model - book far in advance and fill every seat. But neither useful for commuter or cross town usage.

Are there solutions? There are, but not sticking to the standard models. One is adding overhead wires to buses - turning them into bus trolleys that can run on electricity. That does not fill up more seats, but even taking the fuel to generate electricity into consideration, lowers emissions per passenger mile. (Even better if the electricity is generated by sun, wind, geothermal or falling water.)

Another solution, van pools, where an employer or group of employers own a van, and set up a route that a fixed group of employees agree to take every day with one employee agreeing to be the driver for use of the van on weekends. This gets very good passenger miles per gallon cause every seat is filled. In suburbs and medium density cities much more practical than real buses cause you only have to fill six or eight seats on a single route instead of 20.

Charter commuter buses sometimes can work in really high density cities or major employers that employ thousands at a single site. But it really is the exception.

In the long run the solution higher density evelopment, more bike paths, more walking paths more electric light rail. But van pools and other forms of ride sharing are probably a good way to get immediate drops in fuel consumption. 4 passengers in a 50 mpg prius gets you lower emssions per mile than 20 passengers on a 5 mpg bus. That would be true even if diesel had he same emissions per gallon as gasoline, but since it has much higher emissions per mile this is even more true than simple arithmetic would suggest.