Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Census data on Racial composition

As promised in class, here is the link to the U.S. Census Bureau website that contains the data on Population by sex, race and hispanic origin. You will have to click on the drop down list on the right hand side of the screen and select the datatable you want. 

As for updated information on segregation at the Metropolitan level, this website from Brown University contains a rich assortment of data. You can find Boise city in there as well. The population estimates by race corroborate why Western cities have lower segregation indices. 

Transit gains while peak-hour congestion drops: National news

Although high gas prices until late last year and the increasingly painful economic crisis curtailed the nation's vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and boosted transit ridership, neither the steep gas-price plunge since the fall nor disastrous job losses have stopped transit gains or diminished the urgent need for investment in transit upgrades and expansion, a long-overlooked policy requisite once more documented by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in its newest report, which shows that Americans "took 1.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008" -- 4 percent more than in 2007 and the most in the 52 years.
Read full article here

Last year, peak hour congestion on major urban roads in 99 of the 100 largest metro areas, except Baton Rouge, Louisiana, decreased 30 percent -- being 15 to 60 percent lower each hour of every day depending on day and time -- not because of road expansion, but because of some 3 percent fewer vehicle miles traveled (VMT), an unprecedented decline forced by higher gas prices and economic hardships, and a kind of incidental "transportation demand management," writes CEOs for Cities chief economic analyst Joe Cortright in an Infrastructurist guest commentary on Kirkland, Washington-based INRIX' second annual National Traffic Scorecard, built on many billions of real-time travel data sent from nearly a million GPS-equipped cars and trucks.
 Read full article here

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Federal Stimulus for Boise

Mayor Beiter sends out an email newsletter every week. This week's newsletter included a link to the City of Boise website where Boise citizens can find out how the stimulus dollars are being spent in their city. The site is called Accountable Boise. You will also find a funded projects list here

Idaho History: Manufacturing in Boise area in the days before the car

Here's a link to today's ID Statesman article titled: "Necessity was the mother of invention in early Idaho". An excerpt reads: 

In 1890, the Idaho Statesman pointed out that "Boise is becoming quite a manufacturing center in the way of wagons, carriages and stage coaches, especially the latter. Several were shipped west yesterday from one of the largest factories. They are models of workmanship and strength."

In the horse-powered world of the 1890s, all kinds of manufacturing flourished that was related to horses. In 1892, Boise's newest industry was a factory for the manufacture of horse collars. The Statesman said the company had six employees but was expected to grow. "The Boise City Manufacturing Co. Ltd." advertised In the 1893 city directory that it was the manufacturer of horse collars of every description and that it operated its own large tannery for the manufacture of the leather it used in its products.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Boise Streetcar

All that you ever wanted to know about the Streetcar plan in Boise, you can find here

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is sprawl an American problem?

In light of one of the questions raised in class on Tuesday, check out this article from slate:

Suburban Despair - Is urban sprawl really an American menace?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

You asked: How can 1 gallon of gasoline cause 20 pounds of GHG emissions?? Answer is....

Although it seems improbable that a gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6.3 pounds, could produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) - the greenhouse gas or GHG in question - when burned. However, most of the weight of the CO2 doesn't come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air.

When gasoline burns, the carbon and hydrogen separate. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water (H2O), and carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2).

CO2 molecule with one carbon atom (atomic weight 12) and two oxygen atoms (atomic weight of 16 each)A carbon atom has a weight of 12, and each oxygen atom has a weight of 16, giving each single molecule of CO2 an atomic weight of 44 (12 from carbon and 32 from oxygen).

Therefore, to calculate the amount of CO2 produced from a gallon of gasoline, the weight of the carbon in the gasoline is multiplied by 44/12 or 3.7.

Since gasoline is about 87% carbon and 13% hydrogen by weight, the carbon in a gallon of gasoline weighs 5.5 pounds (6.3 lbs. x .87).

We can then multiply the weight of the carbon (5.5 pounds) by 3.7, which equals 20 pounds of CO2! 

Commuting Data - Sources

1. Journey to work and Place of work data from U.S. Census Bureau

2. Census Transportation Planning Project (CTPP 2000) - the American Community Survey (ACS) from Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Unhappiest city: Portland, OR came up with a list of the 20 unhappiest cities. These are major cities that were ranked based on their rates of suicide, depression, divorce, unemployment, job loss, population loss, crime, amount of green space, and cloudy days. According to the Businessweek article, "We gave most emphasis to suicide and depression rates, crime, and economic factors. The city with the highest overall score in our index was Portland, the beautiful Oregon city that also has very high depression and suicide rates. St. Louis, New Orleans, and Detroit were high on the list largely because of their rates of crime, unemployment, and population loss. Other cities such as Las Vegas, Tucson, Sacramento, and Jacksonville, Fla., ranked high because of their suicide rates and difficult economic conditions".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cities vs. suburbs - from Pew trends project

The City Fix blog highlighted the recent Pew trends report on whether Americans want to live in cities or suburbs. It turns out that they want both. Read the blog post here.

Bus Rapid Transit resources at CCNY

University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) @ City College of NY has some research publications on bus rapid transit as well as congestion pricing available here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Urban Mobility Report from TTI @Texas A&M

Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates that congestion is costing Americans more than $78 billion a year. Urban travelers are delayed in rush hour traffic nearly 40 hours a year. TTI has been publishing their annual urban mobility report since 1982. This year it is due out in April. Meanwhile, you can find data from previous year's report here.

Apart from mobility, there is a plethora of research publications from TTI on integrated public transit and even specific policy measures such as the effectiveness of HOV lanes in TX. Enjoy exploring the site on your own!

Science magazine special issue on: Cities

By 2030, nearly 5 billion people, or 60% of the world's projected population, will live in cities. As described in a special section of the 8 February 2008 issue of Science, these hot spots of production, consumption, and creative thinking present both the problems and solutions to the sustainability challenges that face an increasingly urbanized world.

In this video presentation, Michael Batty of University College London, Jesse Ausubel of The Rockefeller University, Nancy Grimm of Arizona State University, and Science's Asia news editor Richard Stone discuss the implications of the mass embrace of city life around the globe.

In the same issue, there are several very interesting articles on cities - including what the city of the future will look like.

Our own private melt-down

With unemployment nearing 7 percent and major valley employers continuing to slash jobs, Idaho Statesman provides insight from a few of the Valley's business and political leaders on what could be causing the treasure valley's once promising economy to gradually disintegrate.

Idaho's Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Here's a link to details on the $17.6 million housing program to buy, fix and resell foreclosed homes will put low- and moderate-income families into houses they can afford and create jobs for contractors.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Clusters Mapping

Here's the website for the Cluster mapping project, Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University. We explored this website for Boise MSA cluster data. The site contains information/data on all U.S. MSAs.