A new survey shows that 57 percent of Florida drivers are self-absorbed goofballs.
It was based on a highly unscientific study of hundreds of motorists and conducted by a nonreputable polling firm – namely, me.
But I swear it’s accurate, and you’ll swear something has to be done about it. In fact, if you’ve been victimized by these people you’ve probably already sworn quite a bit.
Texting while driving is (semi) illegal in Florida. Texting at red lights is not.
You could still whip out your iPhone and respond to text messages, check your email, say hello to Facebook friends, play Fortnite, order a new Cuisinart from Amazon and become totally oblivious to your surroundings.
And it would be A-OK as long as you don’t become a traffic hazard. Which anyone who’s ever been stuck behind Mr. or Ms. Red Light Texter can tell you only happens all the time.
You know the drill.
The light turns green. A car ahead of you doesn’t move.
You inch forward. The texter still doesn’t budge.
You debate whether to honk your horn. You wait a second because maybe, just maybe, the driver is having a baby or a heart attack or grand mal seizure and you don’t want to seem like a hair-triggered jerk.
An eternity of two or three seconds passes. Still no movement.
You reach for the horn, and at that split second the texter snaps out of their digital trance and hits the gas. You make it through before the light turns red, but pity the poor sucker three or four cars back.
Meanwhile, Mr. or Ms. Texter is blissfully on their way to the next red light, where there will be a fresh batch of people to infuriate.
Am I wrong, or is the preceding scenario happening more often as our ADD society becomes further addicted to social media?
I couldn’t find any real studies to confirm that, but there are tons of them verifying the danger of texting while driving.
It’s against the law in 47 states, including Florida. Though we make it a “second offense,” meaning police first must stop drivers for another offense, like speeding or running a light, in order to write a ticket for texting.
As long as nothing’s wrong with their car, drivers can zoom down the interstate texting to their heart’s content. And there’s nothing police can do about it.
Two bills have been filed in the Florida Legislature that would make texting a “primary” offense. Any sentient human should be all for that.
I endorsed the bills even before a distracted driver rear-ended my wife’s car. The humans were fine, but her car sustained $5,000 worth of damage.
“I-4 and texting are great for business,” the guy at the body shop told me.
We’re spending $2.3 billion to improve I-4. Making texting a primary offense would be a lot cheaper and save far more lives.
It would save a lot of infuriation if Florida legislators changed the definition of “vehicle operator.”
Statutes ramble on about sending and receiving character-based messages, Internet connections and other communications while operating a motor vehicle. But “a motor vehicle that stationary is not being operated and is not subject to the prohibition….”
Whoever wrote that obviously hasn’t been stuck behind Mr. or Ms. Red Light Texter.
The bills filed in the Florida Legislature need to be amended to include sitting idle under the definition of “vehicle operator.”
The state’s DUI laws do. The car doesn’t even have to running for the person behind the wheel to be arrested.
Texting at red lights isn’t nearly as lethal as drunk driving or texting while driving 70 mph. But texters start, stop, drift and increase the likelihood someone behind them will try to beat the light.
They also make other motorists want to commit homicide.
I don’t advocate mass extermination, but a crackdown is called for. Being a “vehicle operator” and “smartphone operator” do not mix, even if the car is standing still.
David Whitley is a member of our Community Conversations Team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 3:19 PM, Feb 05, 2019 Updated: 2:38 AM, Feb 06, 2019
TAMPA, Fla. — Parking in the Tampa Bay area can sometimes feel like playing bumper cars in a maze.
“If you’re not watching, God forbid,” warns Judy Gowing. “I’ve seen some pretty scary things going on in parking lots,” she says.
A driver blindsided Judy on May 7, 2018 in St. Petersburg
“The car was coming from that direction. And she hit me about right here,” Gowing said. “It left a bruise on my hip”
What happened to Judy is happening more and more in Florida every year.
From a car slamming into a bank in St. Petersburg, a car crashing into a pizza store in Lake City, a van plunging from the fourth story of a Miami parking garage, to people getting run over in parking lots in Hernando County.
Parking lot accidents are more than just fender benders in the Sunshine State. Thirty-two people died in parking lot crashes last year. Nearly 7,000 people suffered injuries.
ABC Action News pulled the numbers going back four years for Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties.
Data shows parking lot crashes are going up every year in the Tampa Bay region. There were 5,600 parking lot crashes last year. That’s up 16 percent since 2015.
In fact, there were more parking lot crashes in our area than alcohol-related, motorcycle and pedestrian crashes combined.
Guess where most of the parking lot accidents happen? International Mall in Tampa and Tampa International Airport.
“There’s a possibility that drivers think that because they are off the main thoroughfares that some of the rules don’t necessarily apply,” says Sgt. Steve Gaskins with the Florida Highway Patrol.
Sgt. Gaskins says the physics of driving a two-ton car don’t change just because you are in a parking lot.
“Even at a slow speed, this car, when it’s moving, you are looking at 5,000 pounds worth of steel and metal that if it rolls over you can cause serious injury and or death,” says Sgt. Gaskins.
So what is driving the surge in parking lot crashes? Distracted driving.
A new report from the National Safety Council found 66 percent of drivers nationwide admit they make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Fifty-six percent say they text. Half send or receive emails. And 49 percent say they take photos or watch videos while driving in parking lots.
For years, the Florida Department of Transportation was known for its distant relationship with the public. Now the agency is trying to be a better neighbor.
Marshall Hampton, left, Special Projects Administrator with FDOT, talks with Chloe Coney, Founder of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, right, during a bus tour Friday of the West River Development. The group rode a bus to Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park for a short presentation about new development in the area. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
TAMPA — The Florida Department of Transportation has an image problem, and new hires within the agency are trying to fix it.
For years, the department was known for its antagonistic relationship with the public, which peaked with the Tampa Bay Express highway expansion. That project was quashed after a public outcry, and multiple leaders were replaced. Now, the agency is trying to move forward and rebuild trust in the community.
A new district secretary who is viewed as more open helps. So do events like a listening tour the state organized in West Tampa on Friday. Department heads and engineers boarded a bus with community members in hopes of developing relationships and learning more about the neighborhood.
The tenor of the current department is a far cry from the 2015 and 2016 Tampa Bay Express days, which were marked by a “take it or leave it” attitude.
“This was an agency that came to us with a prepackaged solution and no real room for discussion,” said Rick Fernandez, president of the Tampa Heights Civic Association. “We were little more than an afterthought in a grander scheme.”
That’s changed in the past two years, Fernandez said. The state announced a “reset” of Tampa Bay Express and in 2017 rebranded its efforts in the area as “Tampa Bay Next.” The new name came with more than half-dozen staff changes, including the arrival of district secretary David Gwynn, who took over in July 2017.
“They do seem genuinely interested in trying to listen,” said Tampa Bay Express opponent Kimberly Overman, who was recently elected to the Hillsborough County Commission. “Which is light-years away from the FDOT we used to know.”
• • •
The bus on Friday was filled mostly with department employees and consultants. A handful of community members, several of whom grew up in West Tampa, sat near the front with Gwynn. They pointed out problems they’d like fixed and history they’d like preserved.
As the bus rolled down N Willow Avenue near the interstate, they spied the retention pond that often fills with trash.
“That’s our retention pond, there?” Gwynn asked. He knew the department was having an issue with its maintenance crews, and made a note to check on the status of the property.
It was one of the few sentences the secretary said in the nearly 90-minute tour. This was a listening tour, and that’s what he was going to do.
Next, the group came across one of the overpasses where the interstate cut through the neighborhood.
“We’ll show you why we need better lighting, Secretary Gwynn,” lifelong resident and engineer Joe Robinson said. “The lights are all up there on the road. There’s nothing down here in the so-called walking community.”
Many of the projects people highlighted didn’t fall under state jurisdiction, but it was still helpful to hear about them, Gwynn said. The department often partners with the city and county, and having an understanding of the community’s overall vision and desires helps the state on a macro level, he said.
Robinson and others praised the neighborhood’s history and cultural fabric. They pointed out the cigar factories and the brick roads, along with century-old buildings and some of the best Jamaican food in the area. Robinson wanted officials to see the good in the neighborhood, not just the road plans and diagrams.
“A lot of the times we’re looking at aerials, but then you get down here and see and hear the history of it,” Gwynn said. “As we get closer with some of these concepts, it might be good for us to come out again and talk a little more.”
Robinson thanked Gwynn and other staff for taking the time in the community. It was good to put faces to the names, he said.
“You know I’m one of FDOT’s biggest critics,” Robinson told the group earlier. “But I love the fact that we’re finally getting some communication and dialogue.”
• • •
State officials weren’t always so willing to engage.
The agency’s $6 billion highway expansion was met with almost instant pushback when unveiled in May 2015. People felt the project came out of nowhere, with no public input. State officials cited origins from the 1990s. Two years of contention followed.
It wasn’t uncommon during that time to attend a transportation meeting and see the seat designated for the district secretary or overseer of Tampa Bay Next empty. Calls to the office’s public information number would go straight to voicemail. At one public meeting, a staff member sat in the back and snickered at comments from crowd.
In 2016, members of the county’s transportation planning group requested the state do more to engage the public. But those meetings, too, had a tone of dismissal. When people made suggestions that didn’t fit the state’s already crafted plan, they were told those ideas would go in “the parking lot.”
“It was basically putting your idea in time-out,” Fernandez said. “It was the closet they could come to saying, ‘We won’t hear anything that doesn’t involve the plan we proposed.’ You weren’t allowed to speak about anything else.”
A forced reset from Tallahassee and new hires worked to change that mentality.
Richard Moss stepped in as director of transportation development in April, a role that directly oversees Tampa Bay Next. Moss was aware he was moving into an “antagonistic relationship between FDOT and the public” and knew work needed to be done.
That’s why the district continues to plan events like Friday’s listening tour, Moss said. The department did a similar tour in East Tampa, along with walking with community members through the neighborhoods of MacFarlane Park, Armory Gardens and West Shore Palms. Officials went door-to-door in Tampa Heights, VM Ybor and Historic Ybor seeking input.
“It’s important for us to be there with locals,” Moss said. “We need to listen as they show us what’s important to them.”
• • •
Not everyone on the bus tour was impressed.
Hillsborough County NAACP president Yvette Lewis watched as they turned through the neighborhood streets. While others on the bus praised progress and economic development, she saw a history of demolished properties and exclusion.
“Give something back of what you keep taking around us,” Lewis said. “You’re constantly taking, taking, taking.”
Her comments extend to everybody — the state, the city, the wealthy homeowners who move in and outprice others who can no longer afford the rising rent.
Elaine Illes, a historic preservation consultant, shared a seat with Lewis and listened to her concerns. Illes noted some of them were at odds with what Robinson and others on the bus called for. She encouraged Lewis to continue to speak up, saying every new administration change is an opportunity to start fresh.
“Hopefully they listen to you, then, because they’re not listening to us,” Lewis said.
The state agency has made strides since the Tampa Bay Express backlash, but some are worried it could turn at any point.
Fernandez said each morning he wakes up, he’s still afraid a Google Alert will notify him of some change in the department that hurts the community.
“As of late, it seems as though we’ve kind of gone back to, ‘Here are the white boards of what we’re going to do. Take your choice,'” Overman said. “It’s not as much of a conversation.”
Some in the community will always be skeptical of the state’s intentions and willingness to work with the public, Overman said. Still, she believes officials have made a greater effort at transparency. She said she sees less aggression in how the state interacts with the public.”There was a level of arrogance in the past that I think has either gone away or at least subsided,” she said. “There’s now at least a desire for greater collaboration with the communities. …
“Let’s hope that lasts.”
Contact Caitlin Johnston at email@example.com or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.
There’s a lot to unpack from the midterms.
Will the recounts change the outcome of any of the statewide races?
Can polling find a better model, one that predicts the actual winners?
Will felons who have served their sentences really get their voting rights back?
I’ll leave those to the political experts. Instead, I’m getting my head around what the results tell us about our economic priorities and how we want to pay for them.
Here are three takeaways:
1. For now, we’re okay with taxing ourselves.
Pasco County residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of three separate property taxes increases to improve parks, libraries and fire rescue stations. They also narrowly passed a fourth increase to pay for a jail expansion. Total cost: $241 million.
In Hillsborough, voters passed two additions to the sales tax — an extra half cent for schools and a full cent for transportation. That raises the sales tax to 8.5 percent, the highest of any county in the state.
The transportation victory comes after several failed attempts to raise funds for rail and transit in the Tampa Bay area, including a similar effort in 2010 soundly rejected by Hillsborough voters and the disastrous Greenlight Pinellas campaign in 2014.
It’s a good time to vote on a tax increase. The economy is chugging along. Unemployment is low. Consumers remain fairly confident about the future.
Kyle Simon, 34, who lives in Palma Ceia, said he would have voted in favor of the tax increase anyway, but it certainly helps that people have more money in their pockets.
“It takes the sting out of voting for it,” he said.
The sales tax passed, in part, because residents experience the transportation problems for themselves, not as some far off problem, said Tampa Heights resident Rick Fernandez, who voted for the increase. They get snarled in traffic or can’t walk safely to where they want to go.
“We need it and we weren’t getting it done,” said Fernandez, 63, who was a registered Republican until 2016, when he switched to be a Democrat. “So eventually people power takes over where the elected officials are failing you.”
2. But we aren’t so fond of Tallahassee politicians taxing us.
Voters easily passed Amendment 5, which will require the Legislature to muster a two-thirds super-majority if it wants to impose, approve or raise state taxes or fees. Blocking proposed tax hikes will be much easier now. The amendment does not apply to local fees or taxes, such as funding for schools.
Voting for local tax increases, and at the same time making it harder for the state to levy taxes, makes sense. Traditionally, voters have been more likely to support tax increases if they have a clear grasp of what the money will pay for and that it stays close to home. We don’t like far-away politicians spending our taxes on things we never see or don’t understand.
3. Enough of us were feeling bullish to forgo a tax break.
Amendment 1 would have increased the homestead exemption by an additional $25,000, saving many homeowners about $200 to $350 a year depending on the value of their home and where they live. Of the 12 proposed constitutional amendments, it is the only one that failed.
Now, most voters — 58 percent — favored the amendment. It was popular, just not popular enough to get over the required 60 percent threshold.
The amendment language was a bit confusing, which likely didn’t help. Many voters, however, appeared to heed the cries of local officials, who said they might have to cut services or raise rates to make up for lost revenue.
Fernandez said he wasn’t tempted by the tax break.
“It felt like we would be starving local governments, and I didn’t want to be a part of that,” he said. “… I love Tampa and I am willing to pay the little extra that is being asked of me to allow the area to thrive and grow.”
The results show he isn’t alone.
Contact Graham Brink at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GrahamBrink.
Since the end of the Great Recession, the Tampa Bay area has been among the leaders in Florida when it comes to job growth and the economy. But the region still suffers when it comes to adequately addressing its growing transportation needs.
In Hillsborough County, voters rejected a one-cent sales tax on transportation back in 2010, and it hasn’t been on the ballot again for years — until now.
“All for Transportation,” a group of citizens frustrated by the county government’s reluctance to spend more on transportation projects, generated the more than 77,000 signatures needed this summer to get a new one-cent transportation tax on the ballot in Hillsborough County on Nov. 6.
The group received generous funding from Tampa Bay Lightning owner and real-estate developer Jeff Vinik.
While much attention is garnered by statewide political races, such as who will become Florida’s next governor, regional issues are often compelling enough to grab voters’ attention.
“We have 700,000 people moving into Hillsborough County over the next 30 years,” All for Transportation member Christina Barker said on Friday while addressing a community gathering at Tampa’s Oxford Exchange.
“If we do not do something, this is the best it’s ever going to get,” she said, referring to the area’s increasing traffic congestion.
The one-cent cent tax over 30 years would raise $276 million annually, and would be used for everything from improving roads and bridges to expanding public transit options, fixing potholes, enhancing bus services, and making walking and biking safer.
Brian Willis, another member of All for Transportation, says that Hillsborough County has had plans for transportation that go back 30 years, but a lack of funding to pay for the projects.
“What we’re doing is providing a solution that funds the plans that are on the books and it fully funds them,” he said. A quarter or half-cent tax proposal would not suffice, he added.
There’s no question that the county has underfunded its transportation needs. Hillsborough County is the fourth largest state in Florida, yet ranks 62nd out of the 67 counties in terms of transportation funding, according to FloridaTaxWatch.
The measure, if approved Nov. 6, would distribute 55 percent of the funds to Hillsborough County and its three cities (including Tampa); another 44 percent to HART, the region’s transit agency, and other mass transit projects, and 1 percent for planning and development.
The measure also calls for a citizen-led independent oversight committee that would produce annual audits to make sure that the money is spent as advertised.
The big question politically is whether residents outside of Tampa will back the measure – or at least not strongly oppose it.
Though the 2010 Hillsborough sales tax measure lost by a wide margin (58%-42%) it was actually successful in Tampa, the most urban part of the vast county.
But there are critics.
Sharon Calvert is with No Tax for Tracks, a political action committee created to oppose the measure. She says one of the problems with the measure is that too much of the funding would go directly to the city of Tampa “but it will be the unincorporated (part of Hillsborough County) that will be paying for it.”
Americans for Prosperity Florida, the Koch Brothers-funded group, is also actively campaigning against the measure. The group has run radio and television ads touting their opposition.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a strong supporter of the plan, as are several other elected Democrats in the county.
All for Transportation officials say that while they have heard plenty of registered Republicans express their support, no elected Republicans in the county have come forward with an endorsement of the plan.
With less than a month remaining before the Nov. 6 election, the All For Transportationcampaign is trying to combat what it says is misinformation about the 1 percent sales tax referendum on the Hillsborough County ballot.
“With an existing backlog of $9 billion in transportation projects and an estimated 700,000 more people expected to move into Hillsborough County within the next 30 years, we can’t continue to ignore our transportation and transit problems,” said Tyler Hudson, All For Transportation chair.
“But a ‘Yes’ vote in November will be a decisive step toward reducing congestion, making our roads safer, and improving our overall quality of life.”
The group documented several misconceptions it has heard from voters.
Some think the All For Transportation plan is the same plan that was rejected in 2010. That referendum was similar in that it would have raised sales tax 1 percent, but its provisions were vastly different.
Moving Hillsborough Forward, the 2010 transit initiative, was mostly focused on transit enhancements. Of the money raised, 75 percent would have gone toward those projects and the plan lacked restrictions on how the money was spent.
This year’s transportation plan allocated 45 percent to the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority with most of the rest going to cities and Hillsborough County to pay for roads and safety projects, among other non-transit needs.
That’s another misconception campaigners are hearing from residents worried the tax won’t ease congestion or pay for new lanes or roads.
The referendum would use about 20 percent of the $280 million raised each year to pay for all of the road widening and new road projects in the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s long-range plan that are currently backlogged and un-funded.
All For Transportation campaigners are also reminding voters that the county does not spend enough on transportation. There’s a $9 billion backlog in transportation projects and that number gets bigger every year as the county continues to fall short on keeping up with transportation needs.
The campaign is also pointing to a provision in the referendum that provides specific oversight responsibilities on how revenue is spent. The referendum — No. 2 on the Hillsborough ballot — requires an independent oversight committee with 13 members who ensure money is spent in accordance with the referendum by conducting annual audits.
The members cannot be elected officials or earn or otherwise receive direct or indirect compensation from any of the agencies allocating resources. That includes the three cities in Hillsborough County and the county as well as HART.
But opposition is out there. The Florida chapter of Americans For Prosperity launched an ad last week that blasts the referendum as an unnecessary tax hike.
However, other than AFP, there is no local organized opposition to the transportation initiative.
No Tax For Tracks, the committee registered with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections that fought the 2010 referendum, has not raised funds. Meanwhile, All For Transportation has raised more than $2 million.
The future is urban—but it does not lie exclusively in mega-cities.
About a decade ago, for the first time in history, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed that of those living in rural ones. But “urban” does not mean New York or Beijing or Rome. About half the urban population still lives in fairly small cities of fewer than 500,000 people (at least in developing countries) that may resemble rural areas more than mega-cities. Europe, for instance, has just two mega-cities and many smaller cities.
There are already 29 mega-cities with populations of 10 million or more—including Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Lagos and Kinshasa—but they make up just 12% of the global urban population. By 2035, we’re expected to have 50 mega-cities, but they would only account for 16% of all urban dwellers.
What’s more, urbanization has not advanced at the same pace in all regions. Europe and Northern America urbanized early, and their populations are already mostly urban (74.5% and 82% respectively). So are those of Latin America and the Caribbean, 81% of whose inhabitants live in urban areas. In sharp contrast, Africa’s population is still mostly rural (57%) and Asia’s has just become 50% urban.
Asia’s urbanization levels are largely determined by those of the two population giants, China and India. Until 1990, they were among the least urbanized countries in the world, with only 25% of their respective populations living in cities. Since then, China’s economic transformation has been accompanied by very rapid urbanization: China is expected to be three-quarters urban by 2038, up from 60% today. India, by contrast, still lags far behind with just about a third of its population living in cities, a proportion expected to rise to 45% by 2038.
High urbanization levels are associated with higher GDP. As the experience of China shows, rapid economic growth tends to accelerate urbanization. When high shares of the population make their living from agriculture, the productivity of that sector tends to be low. By contrast, during economic development, the most dynamic sectors of the economy tend to cluster in urban centers—or even give rise to them.
In China, for instance, the economic liberalization that began in 1978 promoted the development of enterprises in rural villages, which led to an economic boom in rural areas. The growth of rural enterprises spurred the development of new towns and cities by making villages become increasingly urban. As a consequence, the number of cities in China grew from 193 in 1978 to 655 in 2008, with the majority of new cities being small or medium-sized. The emergence of so many new cities—many located near the rural areas from which they derived their dynamism—helped reduce the impact of rural-to-urban migration on the large cities of China.
The movement of people from rural to urban areas is only one of the ways in which urban populations grow. Additions to the urban population also happen because births exceed deaths in urban areas, or because new cities emerge or existing cities expand, often encompassing former rural settlements. In some of the least developed countries, urban populations increase mainly because urban couples have many children who survive to be adults.
Rural-to-urban migration has not in general been the major contributor to urban population growth in developing countries.
For instance, in Niger, where the population is mostly rural (84%), the number of urban dwellers is doubling every 17 years because fertility is still a high seven children per women. Similarly, in much of Africa, high fertility is fueling rapid urban population growth, implying that increasing urbanization in the region is often not indicative of economic dynamism.
Demographers estimate that in most developing countries since the 1960s, the excess of births over deaths has accounted for well over half of the population increase in urban areas. Therefore, rural-to-urban migration, though significant over certain periods, has not in general been the major contributor to urban population growth in developing countries. Furthermore, in highly urbanized countries the majority of internal migrants already originate in cities and simply move to other cities, therefore having no impact on the overall size of the urban population. That is the case in the United States, in most European countries, and in highly urbanized developing countries, such as Brazil.
Urbanization is mostly positive. Evidence from developing countries shows that, on average, people living in urban areas are better off than rural dwellers. Because urbanites have better access to health care, they have better health and live longer than rural dwellers; their educational attainment is higher because educational institutions are better and more easily accessible in urban than in rural areas; and they benefit from a more diversified labor market than that typical of rural areas. Nevertheless, cities in developing countries are not free from stresses: high levels of underemployment, the growth of slums, lack of adequate infrastructure, and costly services are problems that remain on the agenda of countless cities.
The expected expansion of cities in the developing world poses a number of challenges, including the necessity of generating decent jobs for their growing populations and providing them with adequate urban services in terms of housing, water and sanitation, transportation, electrification, nutrition, education, and health care. Furthermore, over the next few decades, cities will have to increase their resilience to the consequences of climate change, especially considering that many populous cities—such as Shanghai, Osaka, Mumbai, New York, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Alexandria, and Durban—are located in coastal areas that are very likely to be affected by rising sea levels. Though a few of the coastal cities are beginning to take measures to increase their resilience to floods and storm surges, if the average global temperature increases beyond 2° celsius, large tracts of urban land will be submerged and people will have to move elsewhere.
Technology and economies of scale may facilitate addressing some of these challenges. But in most countries, proactive planning for ensuring the resilience of urban centers is still the exception rather than the rule. Innovative approaches will be necessary to ensure that urban centers may continue to offer the best chances of enjoying long and productive lives. These approaches will require educating and nudging people to practice resource conservation, especially with regard to energy and water use. Technology may provide some solutions but it is ultimately the adoption and consistent use of appropriate technologies by each of us that will make a difference.
(Note: All statistics cited in this piece are derived from World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, produced by the Population Division of the United Nations.)
Sunday, Aug 19, 2018
Partnerships between traditional public transportation agencies and Uber and Lyft have boomed since 2016. Where are they going?
In many ways, the same factors that pushed Pinellas County to the world of ride-hailing have pushed the rest of these cities: a desire to provide higher-quality mobility in areas where transit options fall short or where there’s not enough parking. There’s also a degree of brand-consciousness at play, said Joseph Schwieterman, the director of DePaul’s Chaddick Institute, who co-authored the report with Mallory Livingston, a DePaul graduate researcher. “Transit agencies can’t afford to become like the taxi industry and let the world pass them by,” Schwieterman said.
There are other risks tied to partnering with TNCs. These companies are notoriously protective of ridership data, which is a limitation for transit agencies trying to judge the success of these subsidy and tie-in programs. When PSTA signed its original contract with Uber, for example, “there was nothing in it about data,” said Bonnie Epstein, a senior planner at PSTA. The agency did eventually get some ridership totals from Uber (as noted), but nothing about the origin or destination of the trips, for example.