Friday, September 21, 2007

TTI Introduction



Yep, that time of year again. The Texas Transportation Institute at TAMU he released their annual Congestion Report. You've all seen the headlines; Eleventy Gazillion Hours/Gallons/Whatever Lost to Congestion! For the last 8-9 I've been publishing my response to this dreck and in the last few years it appears to be paying back. more and more people are looking at the report with a critical eye. It takes time to "analyse." At least this year the formulas are in the document and don't have to be tracked down in a file cabinet under the collapsed stairs behind a sign that says "Beware of the Leopard."

Oh, and the second picture is measured by the TTI RCI as freeflowing uncongested travel.

26 comments:

Salt Lake Mortgage Guy said...

First?

Bilgeman said...

Hey Nigel;

If now is a great time to buy a house,(now that the government has stepped in...to "rescue"...us), can we expect a "Buy One Get One Free" sale?

If Sammy will subsidize the mortgage on my residence, then I SHOULD be free to invest my own money in some "sweet cashback fix n' flips", right?

BTW, it's always mystified me about the sub-prime mess that nobody...and I do mean NOBODY, has thought to observe that the sub-prime mess is rather conclusive evidence of the abject failure of government mortgage guarantee programs.

Private Capital gamed the Feds by gaming the Public.

Uncle gets the bill, Joe (ex)Homeowner gets a NOD,(and higher taxes), and someone in the middle makes a profit.

serinitis said...

The reason no one can sell subprime or jumbo mortgages is they are not associated with government mortgage guarantee programs.

rrkap said...

The TTI report is more than somewhat bogus. It has the following severe methodological problems:

1. When computing the Travel Time Index it uses traffic volumes vs theoretical volumes to compute travel times. Unfortunately, this formula fails to take geometric design or network management into account. This means a city with well designed roads and careful congestion management (i.e. good use of metering lights, tow-trucks on standby to clear blockages etc) will have its congestion levels overstated.

2. Transit use is considered to be delay free, so cities with high transit use will have their road congestion understated EVEN IF transit is significantly slower than driving

3. The TTI is entirely based on a road's design speed vs. its commute hour speed. By lowering your speed limits to (say) 35 MPH (The speed limit on the old Central Artery in Boston), you can reduce your travel time index.

A much more realistic depiction of commute conditions comes from the Census' Journey to Work data from the American Community Survey.

Salt Lake Mortgage Guy said...

BTW, it's always mystified me about the sub-prime mess that nobody...and I do mean NOBODY, has thought to observe that the sub-prime mess is rather conclusive evidence of the abject failure of government mortgage guarantee programs.

Ummm, subprime loans are not government guaranteed. Serinitis is right.

Uncle Sam isn't that eager to bailout homeowners. Bush doesn't want to raise the conforming limit at all, even in high cost areas where it would do the most good.

Watch this FHA reform either stall out, or produce legislation that won't really make any impact.

Tyrone said...

All I can say is, "Don't taze me, Bro!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uooMH0g_OUE

How to get tazed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE6Va7ZXW8I

Get you T-shirts here: (T for Tazed)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfJ2G_7Km2Y

aaron said...

greenie,
A day late and a dollar short!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070921/bs_nm/greenspan_bubble_dc;_ylt=AvyuLk81WgISfgSfDqvwFOkDW7oF

' Greenspan said in an interview with Austrian magazine Format that low interest rates in the past 15 years were to blame for the house price bubble, but that central banks were powerless when they tried to bring it under control.

"It's a difficult situation, there is an enormous overhang on the real estate market," Greenspan was quoted as saying. "Many buildings which just have been finished can't be sold ..."

"So far, prices have dropped only slightly. But it was enough to cause alarm around the world," he said. "Prices are going to fall much lower yet."

Rob Dawg said...

rrkap,
Good points. You beat me to them.

Add the point I make with the pictures. VMT goes down in bad weather. A 3 day snowstorm is a 1% drop in VMT. Then look at the formula and see how VMT is multiplied and you can see another problem.

Transit. Yes, you nailed that one. Not only is transit delay free travel times are zero. At least they were in 2005. I'll have to dig more to see if they finally fixed this bit.

Peripheral Visionary said...

Thanks to congestion, transit is actually as fast as driving for me, as long as you don't take into account the ten minute walk to the bus stop (seven minutes if I'm running.) But transit has its own form of congestion. They don't call the Orange Line in D.C. the "Orange Crush" for nothing . . .

w said...

So when are all of these big boxed tree companies that moved into Ventura County gonna start having problems? They blew into town at the peak and purchased 100's of acres at a time. They put in tons of money improving the ranches. They put in new wells, reservoirs, retension systems, etc. The guy out in Tierra Rejada moved that entire hill which must have cost a small fortune.

H Simpson said...

Dawg

You have to remember the big construction companies have played out the condo developments for least a decade.

So they are jumping on the bridge collapse to recommend rebuilding every road Ike put into play along with all the new once since.

They see this as their deserts as the farmers got their gasohol, the bankers got their credit card regulations, and the seniors got free viagra. But they have to act fast cause this credit bubble and the war are going suck up their piece of the pie.
Mass DOT is talking about adding another 11 cents per gallon on top of their insane fuel tax plus putty tolls on most state highways.

So the doom and gloom of terrible bridges will be stirred not shaken with the benefits of a faster commute. Like the 15 BILLON dollars Boston's big dig which has cut the commute time 25 second on average. Mostly for bankers downtown who ussually commute by train from the North or by ferry from the south.

What we really need is an investigation and then direction to allow folks to work from home. If a 19 year old airman living in Las Vega can launch hellfire missles from a Pedator drone at Osama's 2nd cousin in East Baghdad, then why cann't Suzie from accounting work on the books from home? It would also help to allievate day care concerns.

But then again, being cost effective and socially responsible would make such an idea DOA out of the box.

H.

ps the pinhead from Hawaii with the same surname who pulled the stunt at Logan is no relation.

Duhhhhhhh!

serinitis said...

The primary resistance to working from home is managers who do not want to have to measure and justify their employees productivity. As I sit here and type this I am clearly working hard so there is no need to work on the metrics measuring my productivity. On the other hand if I was at home debugging a program it would be very difficult to justify my time. Business owners would prefer to use work at home labor. Getting their managers to put the metrics in to monitor work at home employees is a culture change that they have not been successful at.

Rob Dawg said...

So when are all of these big boxed tree companies that moved into Ventura County gonna start having problems? They blew into town at the peak and purchased 100's of acres at a time. They put in tons of money improving the ranches. They put in new wells, reservoirs, retension systems, etc. The guy out in Tierra Rejada moved that entire hill which must have cost a small fortune.

I will give this major attention soon. VenCo is holding strong against the developers with several notable exceptions. The cities are brain dead and need extrenal controls. There actually weren't that many carpetbaggers. They were limited the high costs and strict zoning. Even Newhall Rape & Pillage has tabled their efforts to cross the border.

Rob Dawg said...

Mass DOT is talking about adding another 11 cents per gallon on top of their insane fuel tax plus putty tolls on most state highways.

Good luck with that in a State basically losing population. It took 40 effin' years to remove HALF the tolls on the Mass Pike but it happened. They'd lose the western half of the Commwealth if they try.

We do "need" almost 11 cents per gallon but it should be 1/3rd Fed and 2/3rds State. Massachusetts with 11 cents would be sure to spend it on the MBTA which is approaching actually overdue for some massive End-of-Life and/or replacement costs.

Lost Cause said...

I am suspicious of any travel study from Texas. Their main product is oil. They only want less congestion so that people can drive more.

Rob Dawg said...

Amazingly, when people drive "more" they use less energy. Wierd? Not at all. There's substitution, there's chaining, there's economic multipliers, there's remodelling, there's even transit.

If it were easy we'd all be riding trolleys from Queens to Manhattan.

Everyone suffers from congestion. Everyone. Congestion is a physical manifestation of inflation. Getting less and paying more. Your bicycle and snaekers cost more because of congestion. How much more clear can it be?

Akubi said...

@Dawg
Amazingly, when people drive "more" they use less energy...
Your bicycle and snaekers cost more because of congestion. How much more clear can it be?


Not clear at all. Please elaborate.

Son of Brock Landers said...

@H Simpson
I just moved from Mass. Besides the Ted Williams tunnel to Logan, what efficiencies were gained by the big dig? I know they raised the T cost to $2 (less w/monthly pass) and still the MBTA is running in the red. Mass is a greying state that will have even worse fiscal issues once boomers start to retire and move. I swear half the state is on the govt payroll. It will only get worse with Patrick as the governor.

Peripheral Visionary said...

I'll take the other side of the telecommuting issue. I realize that telecommuting has become very popular with the "new workplace" crowd, but one simple way of looking at it is this: do you really want your entire workforce living on their Blackberries?

I'll quantify my concerns with three considerations: productivity externalities, work/life intrusion, and drift from productivity. "Productivity externalities" is my way of saying that working from home may be more efficient for the telecommuters--but not for their coworkers. Telecommuting supporters claim higher productivity because of "fewer disturbances", but some of those "disturbances" turn out to be coworkers trying to get their work done. And as far as technology has come, face time is still the most effective mode of communication, especially for groups. Also, face time mandates a certain level of attention and participation, while remote participants can (and do) "tune out"--lost productivity.

Work/life intrusion is the general intrusion of work into personal time. The Blackberry has only help make this more noxious in recent years, but telecommuting provides the moral justification--after all, if someone's workplace is their home, then bothering them at home shouldn't be a problem, because they're really at work, well, sort of.

The final factor is what I call the "drift from productivity", something which I noticed at the previous company that I worked for. I observed that, while telecommuters often had great productivity in the early stages of telecommuting, the longer they were out of the office, the less work they tended to have assigned to them. Not being in as regular contact with their office-mates, they weren't there for when work got handed out, and ended up with less on their plate. The end result--which I saw MANY times--was a remote employee where you were left asking, "what do they do, anyway?" The answer to that question, after the layoffs, was, "look for another job." There's nothing magical about face time--except, perhaps, that it's the most fundamental version of the personal interactions that are the foundation of modern business. I'm not against telecommuting, but I think it's for special situations (artists, internet businesses, etc.) rather than something that can be generalized to all, or even most, businesses.

Sac RE Agent said...

PV, I've got to say I pretty much agree with your points on telecommuting. Just because the technology may be available, does not mean that it's use is the correct one.

Lou Minatti said...

So is traffic in SoCal WORSE than the TTI says it is, or better? Last time I was in LA I was horrified, and my town has some pretty shitty traffic.

Pleather Murse said...

Don't forget to add in the time spent driving around in circles looking for a freaking parking space, esp. in major Amerikwan shitties like L.A. I've spent 20 min to get from point A to point B, then another 20 min looking for a parking spot which is usually several blocks from point B, so add the time spent walking to and fro your car into that time also. Unless you're one of them rich hollywood types who can afford to have the val-ay park your Range Rover for you.

Funny Circus Bears said...

Sold 500 GS Sept. 200 calls @ $9.70 which I bought @ $6.00 yesterday.

Bought 2,000 CFC Oct. 17.50 puts @ $0.60 today.

I'm wanting to short some HB's again, just need to figure which ones.

Lost Cause said...

So sorry to hear about the passing of Nelson Mandela. What a great loss to the world. Who knew that he would die in Iraq. And Saddam did it. So sad.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

I love snow. Every time I want to see it I just turn on the Weather Channel.
FMW of Orlando, FL

Pleather Murse said...

This just in: there appears to be water falling from the sky here in L.A. at this moment. Locals are at a loss to explain this phenomenon, but I can attest that (as I look out of my window from the safety of my apartment) streets are in fact WET right now, and water has even begun to "puddle" in the sidewalks and gutters. Officials are urging people to hike up their trouser legs and obtain some sort of "wet-weather gear," whatever that may consist of. Luckily, thanks to strict CA auto safety legislation, most cars have been equipped with devices to insure that excess water can be continuously "wiped" from the windshield, thus avoiding potentially dangerous visibility limitations. We're still waiting on word from several convertible drivers, however, who may not have put up the tops on their Beemers in time to ward off the deluge. God help them.