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OpenMarket: Automobiles and Roads

  • Is Driving to Work in Decline?

    October 2, 2014

    Over at The Washington Post's Wonkblog, urban affairs reporter Emily Badger has a post up on the recently released U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2013 commuting data. The title of the post, "The share of Americans driving to work is declining for the first time in decades," seems to suggest that a smaller share of commuters are driving themselves to work. Badger relies almost exclusively on a Brookings Institution blog post that makes similar claims.

    However, what neither blog post mentions is that between 2007 and 2013, the share of Americans driving to work alone actually increased.

    While the...

  • Regulator: True Ridesharing Illegal in California

    September 15, 2014

    In the past, I’ve noted that carve-outs for ridesharing providers leaves more innovative and disruptive business models—particularly future automated services—illegal. While self-driving on-demand transportation services are still a ways off, California’s Public Utilities Commission last week sent letters to Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar warning them that operating commercial carpooling services they have proposed is illegal. (See the letter to Uber here.)

    This is not surprising. The narrow carve-out secured by Uber et al. in California, the “...

  • Uber and Regulation: Pro-Business Is Not Pro-Market

    August 7, 2014

    “Republicans love Uber. Young urban voters love Uber. And Republicans hope that means young voters can learn to love the GOP.”

    That was the opening line of Byron Tau and Kevin Robillard’s piece for Politico after the Republican Party rolled out a pro-Uber petition/prospecting campaign. Notice I say “pro-Uber” rather than “pro-market” or “free market.” Here’s the GOP appeal in full:

    Our country was built on the entrepreneurial spirit. Our cities deserve innovative and effective solutions without government getting in the way. 

    That’s what innovative businesses like Uber provide. And that’s why our cities need Uber. 

  • Public Still Favors Transportation User Fees over Tax Increases

    August 6, 2014

    Voters in Missouri yesterday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have imposed a 0.75 percent sales tax to fund transportation, with nearly 60 percent opposing a plan that would have increased annual state road funding by approximately $500 million. User fee advocates and progressive activists strongly opposed the measure, arguing that it was less efficient than direct and indirect user charges, and unfair for low-income urban residents to pay for the road use of wealthier households and businesses. These concerns have merit and supporters of sound transportation...

  • New Report Highlights Driverless Car Urban Impact; Takes Techno-Dystopian Stance

    July 29, 2014

    Earlier this month, Professor David Begg of Transport Times published a new report on automated transport technology focusing on the potential impacts on London. This is one of the first attempts to apply this new technology to urban areas in a systematic way.

    The U.S. Institute of Electrical Engineers has estimated that up to 75 percent of all vehicles will be autonomous by 2040. Automated vehicles are the future but they are also quickly becoming the present. The chief concern among proponents is the potential for burdensome government regulation. It is absolutely critical lawmakers and regulators do not stand in the way of automated vehicles.

    In his report, Begg explains, like many others have ...

  • Uber, Regulation, and Free Markets

    July 23, 2014

    Libertarians are justifiably excited about the prospects of ridesharing companies such as Uber and equally justified in their disgust of regulators intent on preventing the expansion of ridesharing services. However, supporting the regulatory accomodation strategy that Uber appears to have adopted and supporting free market policies are two very different things. Over at The Skeptical Libertarian, I attempt to briefly outline these concerns and urge libertarians to keep their eye on the prize: dramatic transportation services deregulation. Read it here.

  • Distracted by Paranoia, Obama Administration to Regulate Map Apps?

    June 17, 2014

    story in The New York Times is making the rounds about an Obama administration proposal to clarify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) authority to regulate smartphone navigation apps: the administration supports giving NHTSA this clear authority.

    The tech industry is...


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