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Subways Versus Taxis

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 9:31 am    Post subject: Subways Versus Taxis Reply with quote

I responded to an article in Grist here

and I thought it could be the source of a new YRIHF thread, because it's been a topic of interest to me for a long time. Grist argues:

Recently I tracked down an article on the annual electricity use of the New York City subway system: 1.8 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh). To put that in perspective, the entire U.S. economy uses about 4,000 billion kwh annually. According to the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, there were 1.499 billion trips made on the subway in 2006. So it takes a little over 1 kwh to move one person on trips, of varying length, in New York City.

And I respond:

All your doing is setting initial conditions (I think that everyone should live in Point B, and Travel to Point A there and back again, five days a week) that guarantee that your optimized system will work.

But what that doesn't take into account is all the other optimizations in the economy that the flexible truck and auto transportation system delivers.

Examples...transporting goods. Yes, you can put all your goods on a train in LA and ship them to NY -- but then what? You still have to fan them out to markets all over the place by truck.

What's optimized about the multinode car/bus/taxi/bike/pedestrian system is that anything that has to be moved place to place, for added services, like many of our goods, for initial materials, to reformed intermediary materials, to assembled product, to sales point, is far better served by the current system.
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