Monday, June 18, 2012

public finance and health costs

Residential location decisions are generally long-term and depend on a number of factors - access, quality of life, etc. To some degree these are reflected in the original purchase price, but conditions can change over time, especially in urban areas. Recent proposals and completed projects around port facilities are a case in point: port expansions, railyard constructions, and development of on-dock rail can dramatically change the urban experience for near-port residents.

What does the cost-benefit analysis of relocation of folks within close proximity to massively expanding urban ports look like once health effects are considered? The ports of LA/Long Beach are cancer hotspots that are expanding. What if expansion were able to continue unhindered by nearby residences. How much would it cost to buy up property near the ports and relocate the individuals? These people would ultimately be healthier (in terms of exposure to noise and air pollution), reducing public costs due to health care, and the port would be substantially unencumbered because they would no longer have nearby residents to worry about.

Friday, February 3, 2012

irrational planning considerations

Transportation planning and finance are generally based upon what are thought to be rational performance metrics: congestion, volumes, delay, etc. Engineers in the 30s pioneered OD surveys that formed the basis of planning at the time.

Contemporary transportation planning has illustrated vividly the failures associated with relying solely on the rational to guide planning. Our challenge as planners and engineers today is to bring the irrational into planning (histories of racism and transportation injustice, the disenfranchisement of entire populations from the planning process - the same populations we now expect to enthusiastically 'participate' in decision making).

Thursday, January 5, 2012


  1. barriers to transportation sustainability posed by existing systems of governance 
  2. the importance of public participation and citizen/expert interactions during policy formulation and implementation  
  3. the contemporary landscape of race, class, environmental justice, and litigation in the policy arena