Saturday, August 10, 2019

The McPherson Paradox: growth = heat; collapse = heat

As a fan of life, I would prefer humans and other life forms avoid extinction in the near term. As a rational conservation biologist, I know better than to rely on my beliefs rather than evidence regarding the Sixth Mass Extinction and abrupt, irreversible climate change. In contrast to my evidentiary approach, most humans prefer fantasy over evidence. As one consequence, it is small wonder we have arrived at the edge of extinction. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Traffic congestion has reached a ‘tipping point’ in Massachusetts, state officials say

The Baker administration on Thursday acknowledged the state’s epic traffic has reached a “tipping point” and signaled support for major new tools to combat congestion, including allowing commuters to pay to bypass gridlock and reserving bus lanes on highways. 
At a news conference, Governor Charlie Baker released a long-awaited report that concluded what Boston-area commuters already know: Traffic in and around the city is bad, and getting worse.

“No one likes traffic and congestion, period, and it’s a frustrating and inconvenient reality for too many people,” he said. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Capitalism the driver to near-term human extinction #nthe

According to thermodynamics, we will grow until our inputs end, or, until we choke on our outputs.

Between the two world wars, we understood thermodynamics, and, we discovered communism.

This was probably our last chance to consciously direct ourselves as a species.

Instead, millions were slaughtered, and their leaders were turned back to capitalism.

Now we are reduced to spectators, watching as banking elites turn up the furnace and pile up and the waste.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Can Worcester, MA, go fare-free?

Fare hikes are sometimes presented as a way to raise revenue, despite evidence that charging more to ride the bus does not necessarily improve cash flow. Instead, the 2017 fare hike preceded two straight fiscal years of declining farebox revenue. Total fixed-route fare revenue in 2018 was around $3 million, the lowest since 2010 (see Chart 1). 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

What if car subsidy had the tight budget restrictions that buses have?

When the Worcester Regional Research Bureau dropped a report last week advocating for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority to move to a fare-free system, the idea seemed to take hold in the community.

How do you replace the revenue. Who will pay for fare-free buses? These questions are asked because the frame is wrong. We should be asking who is paying for all the car subsidies? Well, one of the hidden costs is the loss of the biosphere.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Boston would benefit from fare-free #publictransit

“People are increasingly realizing that the incentives that government provides people are really important in the outcomes that we get in transportation, and we need to be giving people better choices,” said Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation for Massachusetts. “In a world where we are raising MBTA fares and gas prices are near historical lows on an inflation-adjusted basis, it’s no wonder we have the worst congestion in the history of Massachusetts when those two things are happening at the same time.”
One option is to lower or even eliminate T fares rather than keep raising them. Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu has advocated this approach, saying that eliminating T fares would ease the burden for those least able to pay, reward those doing their part to ease congestion, and help lower harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Forget fare hikes — make the T free

Running a public transit system is not free, but relieving riders of the cost burden would benefit everyone who uses the roads and breathes air. Nearly a hundred cities around the world have abandoned user fees in favor of alternative funding streams that remove financial barriers for residents to access public transit.

In Massachusetts, fares from bus and subway riders contributed just over 20 percent in revenues for the MBTA budget in 2018. The agency and elected leaders should be proposing big ideas to reduce and eliminate that burden.