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Development plans, trams and autonomous mobiles

By Kim Huynh - 15 September 2016 57

Autonomous vehicles

Tom Chen and Kim Huynh revisit the best case for light rail and argue that autonomous cars are better

Last week, we wrote an article arguing that light rail is no good for Canberra. Much of the constructive criticism that we received revolved around two points: firstly, that we did not sufficiently take into account the benefits of the projected high density development relating to the tram; and secondly, that we did not provide a detailed alternative.

This article responds to both criticisms.

Light rail is not the only or necessarily best way to improve land value. Indeed, proximity to rail stations has a variable and often meagre impact on property prices. Here’s some of the related studies on the matter.

  • This 2015 article finds that an increased number of bus transit stops also correlated with higher property prices.
  • This study of Brisbane’s transport system found that proximity to both light rail and bus rapid transit had uplift benefits, but only if there were frequent services.
  • This 2007 study and this 2013 analysis of 23 research projects found that the uplift impact of additional light rail services is low if an area is already well serviced by bikes, buses or cars.
  • The most comprehensive 2016 analysis of 140 studies from 60 examples stretching across 40 years in the US concludes that proximity to rapid transit had very mixed outcomes in terms of both increases in land value and the quality of development.

That is why we should be worried that 60% of the government’s reported benefits of light rail are from wider economic and land use benefits, especially when the benefits are  marginal compared to the costs.

We should also be wary that the government is not double counting benefits when it comes to value uplift. Incorporating such benefits when assessing proposed infrastructure is widely regarded as poor analytical practice.

But let’s suppose that house prices go up because of light rail. Who would gain? Experience from other projects gives us reason to believe that the land sales, rezoning laws, and government expenditure on urban renewal associated with light rail will provide lifestyle benefits to a small minority of Canberrans along with a windfall for property developers. All of this will be largely paid for by taxpayers across Canberra.

It would be better for us to invest in driverless vehicles (see infographic below) which offer all Canberrans an effective, exciting and environmentally sound way to get from A to B. The technology is ready. And they could be operating in a similar time-frame to the tram network at a fraction of the cost because the infrastructure is largely in place.

Driverless vehicles would give Canberrans what we want now while also future-proofing us into the twenty-first century.

Figures from the ABS indicate that 88% of people in ACT used private motor vehicles for commuting in 2012. Unpacking the motivations of these people, 7.5% had no access to public transportation at all, 10.7% had to carry equipment or passengers, 19.7% needed a vehicle to before/during/after hours, 22.0% said that services were not available at the right time, 30.5% found public transport too slow and 45.9% preferred the convenience of driving.

But acknowledging that Canberrans use, need and like cars does not mean that we cannot be green or forward-looking when it comes to transportation.

We envision embracing electric driverless vehicles capable of ferrying passengers around without human input. The benefits of driverless vehicles are many: they significantly reduce vehicle accidents by removing human error; they save you from having to drive so that you can rest, read, eat or type; they reduce requirements for parking and driveways; they can transport the disabled and elderly; they improve air quality; you don’t need to pay for a driver; and they take you directly to where you want to go.

Most importantly, driverless vehicles can be networked together into a self-driving taxi fleet that provides the transportation capabilities of private cars without ever having to buy a vehicle or drive yourself.

Some readers might find the prospect of driverless vehicles frightening. But that’s what people thought about elevators and automobiles when they emerged.

This is not science fiction. By the end of 2016, Uber will have 100 self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh ferrying passengers around. nuTonomy started offering driverless taxis in Singapore as of August. Google’s fleet of self-driving cars have already clocked up 2.4 million kilometres. These are driverless cars that are engaged in real life driving through real traffic. There are 33 major companies committed to rolling out driverless vehicles, many of which have committed to being on the road by 2020.

Shane Rattenbury is thus wrong to assert that driverless cars are at least 15 years away. The “thorny issues with the technology” are being solved, it’s now up to politicians and planners to fashion the appropriate laws and regulations.

A more detailed feasibility of driverless vehicles should be conducted by the government given both its promise and the progress of other cities. We should aim to have a trial of driverless vehicles in Canberra within the next five years. If that works out, we could have a working fleet by 2025.

The value of a fleet of electric self-driving vehicles beats just about any other transport alternative. The $963 million cost of light rail could purchase a fleet of more than 19,260 driverless vehicles at $50,000 each which modelling suggests could provide Canberra with 600,000+ journeys each workday with no passenger having to wait for more than five minutes to get a ride. The cost of recharging an electric vehicle is about 70% cheaper than running a conventional car. We estimate that the electricity cost of providing the entirety of the ACTs passenger travel 2014 though electric vehicles would be less than the annual cost of running ACTION.

There are no doubt people who believe in light rail not so much because of the numbers or evidence, but because they have a vision of a more sustainable and sophisticated Canberra. Autonomous cars are a better way of achieving that vision.

What do you make of the government’s push to increase population density in Canberra generally and along the Northbourne Avenue corridor in particular? Under what if any circumstances would you ride in a driverless car?

Tom Chen works as a research officer at the Australian National University and believes that people are capable of making the right choices when presented with the right information. Kim Huynh is a RiotACT columnist and is also running as an independent for Ginninderra in the ACT election. Check out more on Facebook at gokimbo or GoKimbo.com.au

 

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Development plans, trams and autonomous mobiles
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Bonkers 12:01 am 24 Sep 16

Coconutties said :

Bonkers said :

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

You could get the same benefit by catching a taxi which would support someones job. Plus wouldn’t work cover the expenses anyway?

Why dont we put money into getting more taxis on the road because that would create more jobs…

It would appear that you don’t appreciate the cost difference between PT and a taxi. Tell you what: I’ll catch a taxi, pay the equivalent PT amount, and you pay the remainder. If you’re happy with this arrangement, please let me know (I’m sure you’ll have others taking you up on it).

Mordd / Chris Richards 7:27 pm 22 Sep 16

KentFitch said :

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

This argument holds no water: the same bus routes I used in 1974 are still in use. The bus still passes the famous old bus-stop-with-the-toilet in Ainslie, as it has done since Menzies was PM. Why would the “they” remove the bus if people still wanted to catch it?

The only bus route I’ve used that has been removed is the short-lived service to the privatised airport because the airport didnt want it. The appeal for “land capture value” sounds like something that infamous negative gearing property speculator Shane Rattenbury would raise, rather than a Greens supporter of housing equity, or is the link between “land value capture” and “more expensive housing” too subtle?

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

So, you’re asserting you understand the industry and the technology better than the CEOs of auto-makers Ford, GM, Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Volvo
[ https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-gm-ride-sharing-idUSKCN0YN5NF
http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview/
http://www.nissan.com.au/Discover/News/2013/August/29/NISSAN-ANNOUNCES-UNPRECEDENTED-AUTONOMOUS-DRIVE-BENCHMARKS
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0261586EN/bmw-group-intel-and-mobileye-team-up-to-bring-fully-autonomous-driving-to-streets-by-2021
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/business/fiat-chrysler-chief-sees-self-driving-technology-in-five-years.html?_r=0%5D
Google, Baidu, engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ], Mobileeye [ http://www.wsj.com/articles/mobileye-to-provide-car-companies-with-autonomous-systems-1463077526 ] think-tanks, industry consultants and academics [ https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/self-driving-cars-moving-industrys-drivers-seat http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-21/shifting_gears%E2%80%94preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB15SAVsinAustin.pdf http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/07/06/autonomous-taxis-would-deliver-significant-environmental-and-economic-benefits/ http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf
http://www.accenture.com/au-en/Pages/insight-realising-benefits-autonomous-vehicles-australia-overview.aspx ], Uber and Lyft [ https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-third-transportation-revolution-27860f05fa91#.yk67nijmo%5D the governments of Singapore, UK, USA [ http://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/singapores-transport-vision-analytics-new-interfaces-autonomous-vehicles-1298824564
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-lead-the-way-in-testing-driverless-cars
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027 ]

Big claims require compelling evidence, otherwise you’re just going to sound like one of those climate-change deniers. Sure, some of these parties are self-interested, but that’s the same argument climate-deniers use for criticising climate scientists and attacking those who point to their arguments as “appealing to authority”.

A mistake people with some broad knowledge of the technology often make is to assume it has to be perfect and able to cope with all driving conditions in all places, but not even most humans can do that: show me hail, and I pull over; show me a road in Jakarta and I’ll walk. I don’t know whether autonomous tech to drive anywhere under any conditions will be commercial available in 5 or even 10 years, but unless a large and diverse group of high-profile people with hitherto impressive track records across industry and academia are acting in concert to make stuff up, unless the results to date have been fabricated, unless all the well-developed roadmaps for the next 5 years are unrealistic, then shared fleets of autonomous electric vehicles offering very cheap door to door, on demand 24×7 mobility will be on our streets in 5 years. They won’t be able to take your pergola timber back from Bunnings, nor drive you to a secret picnic spot near Wee Jasper, but they will take you from one front-door to another in Canberra, and what’s more, there will be no tail-pipe emissions, they’ll do it cheaper than current public or private transport, and by sharing cars in peak periods, they’ll reduce congestion. That’s what the technical evidence and the models derived from it show [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html ].

Sorry but you are wrong, plain wrong. And quoting marketing materials from car makers is not an accurate way to look at it, try reading some of the tech articles by people without a vested interest and the development of the AI used to drive the cars at the moment. I will lay it all out in the piece I am writing, but you are simply and completely wrong.

KentFitch 12:30 pm 22 Sep 16

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

This argument holds no water: the same bus routes I used in 1974 are still in use. The bus still passes the famous old bus-stop-with-the-toilet in Ainslie, as it has done since Menzies was PM. Why would the “they” remove the bus if people still wanted to catch it? The only bus route I’ve used that has been removed is the short-lived service to the privatised airport because the airport didnt want it. The appeal for “land capture value” sounds like something that infamous negative gearing property speculator Shane Rattenbury would raise, rather than a Greens supporter of housing equity, or is the link between “land value capture” and “more expensive housing” too subtle?

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

So, you’re asserting you understand the industry and the technology better than the CEOs of auto-makers Ford, GM, Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Volvo
[ https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-gm-ride-sharing-idUSKCN0YN5NF
http://fortune.com/2015/12/21/elon-musk-interview/
http://www.nissan.com.au/Discover/News/2013/August/29/NISSAN-ANNOUNCES-UNPRECEDENTED-AUTONOMOUS-DRIVE-BENCHMARKS
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0261586EN/bmw-group-intel-and-mobileye-team-up-to-bring-fully-autonomous-driving-to-streets-by-2021
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/business/fiat-chrysler-chief-sees-self-driving-technology-in-five-years.html?_r=0%5D
Google, Baidu, engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf ], Mobileeye [ http://www.wsj.com/articles/mobileye-to-provide-car-companies-with-autonomous-systems-1463077526 ] think-tanks, industry consultants and academics [ https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf http://press.ihs.com/press-release/automotive/self-driving-cars-moving-industrys-drivers-seat http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/15-01-21/shifting_gears%E2%80%94preparing_for_automated_vehicles.aspx http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf http://www.caee.utexas.edu/prof/kockelman/public_html/TRB15SAVsinAustin.pdf http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/07/06/autonomous-taxis-would-deliver-significant-environmental-and-economic-benefits/ http://www.kpmg.com/US/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf
http://www.accenture.com/au-en/Pages/insight-realising-benefits-autonomous-vehicles-australia-overview.aspx ], Uber and Lyft [ https://medium.com/@johnzimmer/the-third-transportation-revolution-27860f05fa91#.yk67nijmo%5D the governments of Singapore, UK, USA [ http://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/singapores-transport-vision-analytics-new-interfaces-autonomous-vehicles-1298824564
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-lead-the-way-in-testing-driverless-cars
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2016/09/19/Barack-Obama-Self-driving-yes-but-also-safe/stories/201609200027 ]

Big claims require compelling evidence, otherwise you’re just going to sound like one of those climate-change deniers. Sure, some of these parties are self-interested, but that’s the same argument climate-deniers use for criticising climate scientists and attacking those who point to their arguments as “appealing to authority”.

A mistake people with some broad knowledge of the technology often make is to assume it has to be perfect and able to cope with all driving conditions in all places, but not even most humans can do that: show me hail, and I pull over; show me a road in Jakarta and I’ll walk. I don’t know whether autonomous tech to drive anywhere under any conditions will be commercial available in 5 or even 10 years, but unless a large and diverse group of high-profile people with hitherto impressive track records across industry and academia are acting in concert to make stuff up, unless the results to date have been fabricated, unless all the well-developed roadmaps for the next 5 years are unrealistic, then shared fleets of autonomous electric vehicles offering very cheap door to door, on demand 24×7 mobility will be on our streets in 5 years. They won’t be able to take your pergola timber back from Bunnings, nor drive you to a secret picnic spot near Wee Jasper, but they will take you from one front-door to another in Canberra, and what’s more, there will be no tail-pipe emissions, they’ll do it cheaper than current public or private transport, and by sharing cars in peak periods, they’ll reduce congestion. That’s what the technical evidence and the models derived from it show [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html ].

Mordd / Chris Richards 4:17 am 22 Sep 16

Oh wow, you really are stepping it up now with this 2nd piece, I am so glad I haven’t started writing my reply op-ed to your first piece, so now I can reply to both that in this in a single piece of my own.

I have not read all 4 pages of comments yet, I skimmed page 1, and I normally wouldn’t post a reply before reading all comments first, but on this occasion I wanted to quickly add a couple of things before I go to bed and then read all the comments in the morning and reply again if I need to.

1. Bus stops and bus services can easily be taken out or changed/cancelled with little cost at all to do so, light rail tracks laid as dedicated lanes though cannot be so easily re-purposed or removed without much higher expense involved. This gives land owners much greater long term confidence in the transport options when purchasing in the nearby area than any bus service ever can or will, thus resulting in much higher land capture value as a result. I will lay it out in proper detail in the piece I am going to write.

2. As a techie, I have been following autonomous car development obsessively since I was 16, that is 18 years now. I consider myself very well versed in the state of the technology and in the overall growth trajectory rate we need to get to for mass safe adoption with fully autonomous control and the overall growth trajectory rate of similar revolutionary technologies in general. On that basis, and putting aside that I am a Greens member, Shane is right and you are wrong. Simple as that. 15 years is still a “good-case” estimate (not best-case, just good). It could be more like 20-25 years in the upper end of the possibility scale if looked at objectively. Again I will lay this out in excruciating detail for this point in my op-ed, because I might no be able to convince you that LR is right for Canberra, right now, but I am much more confident that I can prove to you that you are wrong on the timeline for autonomous car use as would be required to be a realistic alternative in the near future.

Might take me a bit longer to put the piece together now, I am already thinking of dozens of individual pieces I have read I am going to have to check now for quotes and sources on the autonomous car part alone, let alone the rest of it, this has just become a much higher priority for me to write though now that you have sparked my techie passion in this, I will get on this right away!

Maya123 10:34 pm 21 Sep 16

HiddenDragon said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

Even if that neighbour is an extreme(ish) example, the anecdote helps to explain one of the reasons why many people are sceptical about trams for Canberra – it’s the thought of what measures will be pursued to “encourage” patronage, justify the capital expenditure, and cover some of the running costs.

No doubt there are many who would say bring it on – the Government should do as much “encouraging” (i.e. discouraging of private car usage) as it takes, but just as you are sceptical about the public transport usage of tram unbelievers, I am sceptical about the public transport usage of many tram supporters. Whether it’s senior officials (of the elected or unelected variety) who have a car and a parking spot as part of their remuneration package, or less senior people who nonetheless have the good fortune to live conveniently close to where they work (including those who have employer-provided facilities which make cycling an option) and shop etc., or people who are now retired or semi-retired after a working life in which a daily car commute was relatively easy and cheap, it is all to easy (and all too common in this town) to practise one thing, and preach another.

In case you included me in some of that, I am now retired, but when I worked I mostly cycled to work, sometimes drove, but even less as parking became harder and had to be paid for (years before this happened to those in the public service) and sometimes caught the bus (wet days) and then walked two kms to work.

Coconutties 6:49 pm 21 Sep 16

Bonkers said :

As a disclaimer, I havn’t read all the posts, so may be repeating items already covered. But I did live in Syndey for a time, and from a work perspective used to love the fact that once on PT, I could fire up the laptop and get stuff done during the journey.

You could get the same benefit by catching a taxi which would support someones job. Plus wouldn’t work cover the expenses anyway?

Why dont we put money into getting more taxis on the road because that would create more jobs…

Bonkers 10:03 pm 20 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Okay, so to point 1. I love nothing else than to use public transport, and do so whenever practical. But if half an hour in the car translates to 3+ hours on PT? I don’t think so. The current bus services are infrequent (unless you live on a main corridor) and the timetables don’t mesh particularly well, so you’re either sweating whether your bus will make the interchange in time for you to sprint to get the next one, or waiting around for half an hour for the next service to turn up.

While I’m certain that there are a number of people who don’t use public transport, I’d be fairly confident in saying that it’s not due to want to do so, but just that the service just doesn’t cut it. Given that the tram line is going to be covering a major traffic corridor already supported by existing bus lines, where’s the patronage going to come from?

And if they get it wrong? To change a bus route to say “instead of heading straight down Northbourne, do a quick circular loop through the northern end of Braddon”. Bus driver takes three lefts, and then is back on his/her merry way. Cost? Three parts of nothing. Revenue? Well, you’ve picked up a few more passengers, so will be getting fares to help cover the cost. Additional time? Maybe a few minutes, tops.

Good luck doing the same with the tram.

Point 2. This is probably more reflective of you than it is of me. I don’t know if you have children, but if you do I feel sorry for them as it’s clear you’re using devices as a babysitter. I enjoy spending time with my children, and interacting with them, I don’t park them in front of a device.

HiddenDragon 6:38 pm 20 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

Even if that neighbour is an extreme(ish) example, the anecdote helps to explain one of the reasons why many people are sceptical about trams for Canberra – it’s the thought of what measures will be pursued to “encourage” patronage, justify the capital expenditure, and cover some of the running costs.

No doubt there are many who would say bring it on – the Government should do as much “encouraging” (i.e. discouraging of private car usage) as it takes, but just as you are sceptical about the public transport usage of tram unbelievers, I am sceptical about the public transport usage of many tram supporters. Whether it’s senior officials (of the elected or unelected variety) who have a car and a parking spot as part of their remuneration package, or less senior people who nonetheless have the good fortune to live conveniently close to where they work (including those who have employer-provided facilities which make cycling an option) and shop etc., or people who are now retired or semi-retired after a working life in which a daily car commute was relatively easy and cheap, it is all to easy (and all too common in this town) to practise one thing, and preach another.

dungfungus 2:56 pm 20 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

devils_advocate said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

You didn’t deny what I wrote is correct. In fact from your wording, it appears you possibly agree they are mostly not users of public transport. Re you comment; as are “ALL Canberrans” (your emphasis) so are education, whether individuals have children in school or not, health, regardless of their present needs, sports grounds, regardless of their sporting needs, etc.
The tram is putting in place something for now, but particularity the future, while it is still easy to put it in. I don’t live where this stage of the tram will go, but so! It can’t be spontaneously built all over Canberra so everyone can benefit from the first stage. It has to start somewhere.

I am not spruiking busses that we do not need nor do we need a tram so “it” doesn’t have to even start let alone start somewhere.

Maya123 12:18 pm 20 Sep 16

devils_advocate said :

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

You didn’t deny what I wrote is correct. In fact from your wording, it appears you possibly agree they are mostly not users of public transport. Re you comment; as are “ALL Canberrans” (your emphasis) so are education, whether individuals have children in school or not, health, regardless of their present needs, sports grounds, regardless of their sporting needs, etc.
The tram is putting in place something for now, but particularity the future, while it is still easy to put it in. I don’t live where this stage of the tram will go, but so! It can’t be spontaneously built all over Canberra so everyone can benefit from the first stage. It has to start somewhere.

devils_advocate 11:05 am 20 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

It’s not relevant whether ‘can the tram’ supports are, or are not, current users of public transport, because ALL Canberrans will be required to pay for the tram, whether they use it or not; and many will be adversely affected by it (e.g. those who have to drive down Northbourne Ave, ever).

Maya123 10:43 am 20 Sep 16

dungfungus wrote, “The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.”
And I suspect the can the tram are mainly made up of these, and what I find ‘funny’ is that some are now spruiking buses, when most likely never catch them, and if it weren’t for the tram, would be critical of money spent on buses too.

Maya123 10:34 am 20 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Yes like an ex neighbour of mine. Finding out where she worked, I commented that must be so handy with a bus that could get her there in about fifteen minutes and a short walk to the bus either end. She looked horrified I could suggest such a thing and said in a snooty voice, “I don’t catch buses.” (An actor couldn’t have made her reply more ‘comical’.) Maybe she looked down on buses, but her comment lowered my opinion of her. She would rather have driven in peak hour traffic, searched for a parking spot and then paid parking fees.

dungfungus 7:47 am 20 Sep 16

Bonkers said :

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

The 90% demographic I was referring to is the one that doesn’t use public transport of any kind.

I am interested to know how you interact with children when they are totally absorbed with their devices.

Bonkers 1:45 am 20 Sep 16

bringontheevidence said :

This indeed is the key question…
[snip]
No-one wants higher rates and transport charges to pay for more roads, but no-one wants their freedom to do anything (legal) curtailed,
[snip]
No parking costs, rego, fuel, insurance, depreciation, fines, repairs, maintenance.
[snip]
Most people, for most trips would be tempted.
[snip]
Rationally, they would be made to pay for the negative externalities they create, in this case, occupation of scarce road space they are taking up in peak periods which causes everyone else’s journey time to be longer given a fixed road capacity. Outside of peak periods – who cares

What bote said. Covers my thoughts but in a much more eloquent and detailed manner.

Bonkers 12:50 am 20 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

How can you possibly make a conclusion that AVs are going to suit your travel needs as they are they are not available yet and no one has any idea how much they will cost.

Twelve months ago, promoters of ride sharing were saying their concept would solve all these perceived needs but little has changed.

Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.

Your own words – “Your travel needs seem to be the same of about 90% of other Canberrans who use private motor vehicles. Get used to it because it is not going to change.”

So the introduction of light rail won’t suit 90% of the Canberra population. Well said.

While AVs aren’t yet available, how can you possibly argue that they won’t suit my travel needs? It will take me from point a (my house) to point b (childcare) and even point (c) work. For the a to b leg, I can interact with my children instead of having to concentrate on the road. For the b to c leg, I can go into work mode and get things done. Ticks all the boxes. Early adopters may be facing an expensive price tag, but just like in-built GPS it will become affordable very quickly as the competing manufacturers try to one-up the others.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with the existing car. To “embrace” light rail isn’t a practical option for 90% of the community (source: you).

KentFitch 4:30 pm 19 Sep 16

bringontheevidence said :

AVs will only work without significant congestion problems if the majority of people share…

But my question is, what incentive is there for me to share a vehicle with someone else if I’ll have my own AV already in the garage? One that I can store my stuff in, play my own music, eat if I want, has baby seats for the kids?

This indeed is the key question, Mr/Ms bringontheevidence, not the technology. People use their cars as mobile lounge-rooms, dining-rooms and even bathrooms (I’m sure Im not the only person who has seen a driver simultaneously shaving and texting at traffic lights). And long may this continue, but the cost of doing so has to be recognised. No-one wants higher rates and transport charges to pay for more roads, but no-one wants their freedom to do anything (legal) curtailed, even when it affects others. But as a society, we can use incentives to use shared resources efficiently, and road space is one of those resources.

Just for the sake of this argument, imagine the modelling done for shared fleets of AVs using the best available conservative estimates is right: the government or some commercial outfits will provide you with door-to-door, 24×7 on demand (within 60 seconds) mobility between any two addresses in Canberra for 25 cents per km and 45 cent flag fall in weekday peak periods, 20 cents per km and 20 cent flag fall all other times. In peak periods, you hire a seat (1 seat per person), outside that, you hire the car (4 seats). [ http://canberraautonomouscars.info/model.html#peakFlag ] No parking costs, rego, fuel, insurance, depreciation, fines, repairs, maintenance.

Most people, for most trips would be tempted, just as most people who live in London or Singapore don’t hop into their car to go to the shops or work because it is neither as cheap (because of congestion charge) nor as fast (because of road congestion, parking hassles and good public transport services) as public transport. For some people, saving money is a marginal incentive. Their personal AV will be just as safe, just as non-polluting, and the cost of purchase and operation wont be a deterrent unless those costs are high. Rationally, they would be made to pay for the negative externalities they create, in this case, occupation of scarce road space they are taking up in peak periods which causes everyone else’s journey time to be longer given a fixed road capacity. Outside of peak periods – who cares: the roads have spare capacity (and we assume for this argument that the cars are completely safe, silent and no risk to the environment).

So, you can decide “what’s it worth to me to take my own car to work, so I can sing along to Abba on full volume without getting dirty looks from anyone I’m sharing a car with?” Maybe a congestion cost for a peak hour trip on a busy route is set at $5, and its worth it to you. Maybe you’ll travel outside peak to avoid it. If $5 was “worth it” for everyone, then some people would think the money raised should be used to build a new expressway to (temporarily) ease the resulting congestion, whilst others would think the externalities of that expressway could only be paid for if the cost was raised to $10, which would reduce the demand for one. But at least the cost could be discussed and quantified, and as a society, we could decide.

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