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Transportation & Urban Policy

July 21, 2014

How 273 American Cities Have Fared - Jason Segedy, New Geography

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was th...

July 21, 2014

The Terrible Choices Detroit Confronts - Emily Badger, Wash Post

On Friday in Detroit, hundreds of local residents and activists — and, somewhat inexplicably, Mark Ruffalo — gathered to protest what has become an only-in-De...

July 19, 2014

Jobs, Crime, Housing: How Detroit Is Faring - Dante Chinni, WSJ

Friday is the one-year anniversary for Detroit’s bankruptcy, marking a good time to check in on the city’s future, its past and what the saga all means for other strugg...

July 17, 2014

Detroit's Water War - Wallace Turbeville, Demos

Once again, Detroit’s tragic circumstances provide a window on the state houses and governors that were captured by right wing ideologues in the 2010 elections and are now at...

Most Recent Articles

July 17, 2014

Public Transit's Compensation Bonanza - Charles Chieppo, Governing

Talks have broken down between the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and its workers. The leader of the commuter railroad's largest union told the New York Times that there is...

July 17, 2014

Depopulated Cities: The Nation's Murder Capitals - Kriston Capps, CityLab

The term "murder capital" deserves more than side-eye: It begs to be discarded for good. Simply chalking up the number of homicides, as the public does every fall when the FBI re...

July 17, 2014

Houston: America's Opportunity City - Kotkin & Gattis, City Journal

David Wolff and David Hightower are driving down the partially completed Grand Parkway around Houston. The vast road, when completed, will add a third freeway loop around this boom...

July 17, 2014

Houston's 'One Bin' Trash and Recycling Plan - Brentin Mock, Grist

Integration is a good thing, except when it comes to trash, says Melanie Scruggs, the Houston-based program director for Texas Campaign for the Environment. Scruggs’ organiza...

July 15, 2014

Higher Fares Would Improve Public Transit - Rohit T. Aggarwala, CityLab

Low transit fares have a long tradition in American cities. In his 1921 reelection campaign, Mayor John F. Hylan called the nickel fare a "property right" of New Yorkers, even thou...

July 15, 2014

Smart Growth: Facts vs. Ideology - Randal O'Toole, Antiplanner

Debates over smart growth -- sometimes known as new urbanism, compact cities, or sustainable urban planning, but always meaning higher urban densities and a higher share of people ...

July 14, 2014

Why Only Rich People Live in Silicon Valley - Timothy B. Lee, Vox

The Washington Post's Emily Badger has an interesting post about the changing demographics of America's cities. Rich and poor people have always lived in different neighb...

July 12, 2014

Houston Makes Hoarding Illegal - Mike Maciag, Governing

Thanks in part to reality TV shows like “Hoarders” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” the issue of hoarding -- and attendant concerns about anxiety disorder and ...

July 11, 2014

Is the Highway Trust Fund a Fiction? - Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center

Congress is in the midst of another Perils of Pauline political showdown: This time the drama is over how to finance the highway trust fund, which will be unable to pay its bills i...

July 9, 2014

Moving Beyond 'Smart Growth' - Kaid Benfield, NRDC

I have spent most of the last twenty years working on an agenda grounded in, for lack of a better phrase, “smart growth.”  That agenda basically holds that our reg...

July 7, 2014

Will the ACA Prevent Municipal Bankruptcies? - Steve Eide, Public Sector

Yes, but only if liberal judges get out of the way....

July 5, 2014

Do Cities Really Want Economic Development? - Aaron Renn, Governing

So many cities and regions continue to struggle economically. Even within nominally well-performing places there are pockets that have been left behind. Most of the have-nots in th...

June 28, 2014

San Fran: America's Largest Gated Community - Reihan Salam, Slate

California is an earthly paradise. Yet there is something badly broken about the Golden State. At its best, California is America’s America, where the young and adventurous g...

June 26, 2014

Parking Prices Should Reflect Demand - Stephen Crim, Greater Washington

When San Francisco let parking prices fluctuate with demand, drivers found it easier and faster to find parking. The city maximized its valuable curb parking spaces and modestly sp...

June 24, 2014

Where Cities Grow Faster Than Suburbs - Richard Florida, CityLab

Where is growth happening in America: cities or suburbs?  For much of the last half-century, growth was a suburban phenomenon. But over the past decade or so, many have noted ...

June 21, 2014

The Metro Areas Leading the Recovery - Gray & Scardamalia, Manhattan

In a slow, uneven economic recovery, some cities have managed not only to survive but even to thrive. Their stories, along with those of the not-so-successful, are the subject of t...

June 21, 2014

Why Commute Times Don't Change as Cities Grow - Eric Jaffe, CityLab

For as much as U.S. metros have grown over the past few decades, commute times have remained oddly stable. One-way commutes averaged 21.7 minutes in 1980 and 25.3 minutes...

June 20, 2014

The ACA and America's Cities - Matthew Buettgens & Jay Dev, Urban

This report estimated the effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on 14 large and diverse cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Columbus, Char...

June 19, 2014

Building Bigger Roads Doesn't Make Traffic Worse - Randal O'Toole, Cato

“Building bigger roads actually makes traffic worse,” asserts Wired magazine. “The reason you’re stuck in traffic isn’t all these jerks arou...

June 17, 2014

Where the Skilled and Unskilled Are Moving - Richard Florida, CityLab

The ability to attract skilled workers is a key factor, if not the key factor, in the growth of cities and metro regions. Cities themselves are understandably keen t...

June 16, 2014

Turn Detroit Into Drone Valley - Marc Andreessen, Politico Magazine

The popular recipe for creating the “next” Silicon Valley goes something like this....

June 16, 2014

Milwaukee's Segregation Problem and Scott Walker - Alec MacGillis, TNR

In early August of 2011, a few days after Congress passed a deal to end the debt-ceiling showdown that brought the nation to the brink of credit default, a conservative talk-radio ...

June 14, 2014

Liberals, Conservatives Are Segregated. So What? - J.D. Tuccille, Reason

Have you heard about the great political divide that sets red against blue—the national polarization touted by breathless news stories about an already pretty gasp-...

June 12, 2014

Why Renters Are Heading to the Suburbs - Kriston Capps, CityLab

Something doesn't quite square up between U.S. housing data and what we know about the changing demographics of U.S. metro areas. As Census Bureau data show, growth in cities ...

June 6, 2014

Light Rail: Worse Than Buses? - Cipriano & O'Toole, RealClearPolicy

"High-cost, low-capacity." That's how Randal O'Toole, a public-policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, describes the country's newest light-rail transportation systems in...

June 5, 2014

New York City's Trash Fight - Matthew Hennessey, City Journal

In January, residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side accused new mayorBill de Blasio, a Brooklynite, of ordering the city’s sanitation department to direct resourc...

June 2, 2014

Why Immigration Is Crucial to Cities - Carl Schramm, Forbes

A few years ago I stopped to have dinner in Porretta Terme, a small river town in the Romagna region of Italy. One of the restaurant’s five tables was occupied by four men ta...

May 29, 2014

The Problem With Tenant Protection Laws - Megan McArdle, Bloomberg

As I have blogged in the past, Washington has some amazingly tenant-protective rental laws. We may not be the most anti-landlord jurisdiction in the nation -- we’ve got a lot of ...

May 24, 2014

Herding the Poor - Randal O'Toole, The Antiplanner

TransForm, a smart-growth group in Oakland, has analyzed California's household travel survey data and made what it thinks is a fascinating discovery: poor people drive less than ...

May 23, 2014

The Sprawl Hits the Wall - Aaron M. Renn, Urbanophile

I’ve long argued that the real reason sprawl, or suburban development as we’ve been practicing it, is a problem isn’t because it’s ugly, environmentally dam...

May 23, 2014

No City Is Too Big to Fail - Alex J. Pollock, The American

About the bonds of Detroit, Barron’s said: “A lot of investors bought this debt because they assumed that the state of Michigan wouldn’t let its largest city...

May 22, 2014

Where Obama's Urban Mobility Plan Went Wrong - Eric Jaffe, CityLab

Distant as it may seem today, there was a time early in the Obama administration when Hope felt like more than just a pretty campaign promise. That was especially true fo...

May 22, 2014

An Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths - Smart Growth America

American communities are poised for a renaissance in walking. We’re walking more often, for fun and to get to places in our neighborhood. We turn to WalkScore when figuring o...

May 21, 2014

The Persistence of Neighborhood Poverty - Richard Florida, CityLab

Among urban policy-focused academics, few issues today are as distressing and contentious as gentrification. Much of the focus in public debate has been on the newly upscale neighb...

May 20, 2014

Cities Need Conservative Leadership - Scott Beyer, National Review Online

To those well versed in modern urban American government, the resistance of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to Success Academy must have felt familiar. Here was a char...

May 19, 2014

The Returns to Infrastructure Investment - Standard & Poor's

In the debate about infrastructure investment in the U.S., the focus is invariably on cost--which is no surprise, given that there are dollar figures in the trillions at stake....

May 19, 2014

Can Population Growth Rescue Cities? - Richey Piiparinen, New Geography

The 1957 sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man reads like a Rust Belt city script. In it, the lead actor is afflicted with the anti-natural: shrinkage in a world of growth....

May 17, 2014

Transportation Cliff: Five Key Facts - Randal O'Toole, Huffington Post

Pundits are fretting over the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which some call the "transportation cliff." The fund, which distributes federal gas taxes to the states,...

May 14, 2014

Avoiding the Transportation Cliff - Randal O'Toole, The Daily Caller

President Obama’s visit this week to the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York is intended to push Congress to approve billions of dollars in infrastructure spending increases. But t...

May 10, 2014

Where the Anti-Sustainable City Movement Is - Eric Jaffe, Atlantic Cities

By now the story of Agenda 21 and its raging opposition is familiar to most people who follow cities or Cities. In 1992, the United Nations passed a nonbinding (and ...

May 10, 2014

Detroit's Art-for-Pensions Deal Is Likely Illegal - David Skeel, Wash Post

The $816 million art-for-pensions deal that is designed to preserve the Detroit Institute of Arts collection is fascinating, imaginative and clever. But it’s almost...

May 9, 2014

Sprawl Is Good for Cities - Robert Bruegmann, Politico Magazine

In recent years, Atlanta has wrested away from Los Angeles the distinction of serving as the poster child for sprawl. According to critics of sprawl—uniformly seen in some qu...

May 9, 2014

D.C. Blew a Chance to Make Buildings Taller - Danny Vinik, New Republic

One of the pleasures of D.C., for tourists and residents alike, is its lack of suffocating skyscrapers. The Washington Monument is visible throughout nearly the entire city. But th...

May 8, 2014

Tolls Could Prevent a Transportation Crisis - Eric Jaffe, Atlantic Cities

Earlier this week, Joseph Kile of the Congressional Budget Office outlined for a Senate committee the dire situation that is the Highway Trust Fund. The fund that pays fo...

May 3, 2013

Pressured by Congress, States Picking Up Amtrak Subsidies

May 1, 2013

Obama Knocks Republicans Over Poor U.S. Airport Rankings

April 30, 2013


April 30, 2013

Obama Announces Charlotte Mayor Fox as Transportation Pick

March 1, 2013

Amtrak: Record Traffic in 2012

February 25, 2013

Virginia GOP Governor Raises Taxes for Transportation Plans

February 20, 2013

Congress Looks for Road Funds

February 13, 2013

Ray LaHood Defends Obama's Passenger Rail Plans