Felix Salmon

How roads could beat rail

By Felix Salmon
January 24, 2013

The best conference panels, like the best blog posts, are the ones which change your mind. And while I haven’t done a U-turn on anything, after yesterday’s panel on smart cars I’m now thinking very differently about the relative merits of various ways of improving how we move around where we live and travel. While I’ve generally been a fan of just about any alternative to the automobile, now I’m not so sure: I think that smart car technology is improving impressively, to the point at which it could be the most promising solution, especially in developed parts of the world like California.

The case of the $400 million bike lane

By Felix Salmon
March 26, 2012

Everybody’s favorite transportation geek, Charles Komanoff, has a fascinating new paper out on the economics of New York’s new Tappan Zee Bridge. The old bridge is decrepit, and needs to be replaced — everybody agrees on that. And the replacement is now in the works, at a cost of $5.2 billion. But does it need to cost that much? Komanoff makes a strong case that it doesn’t.

How the taxi-medallion bubble might burst

By Felix Salmon
January 20, 2012

Remember the sharp rise in taxi medallion prices over the past few years? I thought that the price was pretty justifiable back then, in October, although I did have my concerns:

Uber and the cognitive zone of discomfort

By Felix Salmon
January 3, 2012

If you spend a fair amount of time among privileged dot-com types, you’ll probably be familiar with Uber, a kind of luxury car service for the smartphone era. The idea is that you pull out your iPhone, punch a couple of buttons, and in a few minutes a swanky black car pulls up to drive you to your next destination. You get out, no tipping, and the cost of the fare is automatically charged to the credit card you have on file. Elegant!

Getting the unbanked on bikes

By Felix Salmon
December 27, 2011

American Banker’s Andy Peters has a jolly story about how West Virginia’s United Bank is teaming up with Washington’s bike-sharing program, to help the formerly unbanked have access to this handy form of transportation.

Did wifi cause a rise in bus ridership?

By Felix Salmon
December 26, 2011

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What’s behind the rise in bus travel in recent years? It certainly seems very impressive, according to the latest research from DePaul University.

Market failure of the day, Connecticut commuter department

By Felix Salmon
October 25, 2011

Shelly Banjo’s article about the multi-year waiting lists for parking spots at Connecticut train stations is going somewhat viral, for good reason:

Bag-check datapoint of the day, AA edition

By Felix Salmon
October 17, 2011

In March 2010, I had the bright idea — stolen shamelessly from Eric Joiner — that airlines might charge a negative bag-check fee.

New Jersey’s stupid parking-privatization plan

By Felix Salmon
December 13, 2010

In cases like that of the Chicago parking meters, I have a certain amount of sympathy for the privatization argument. But New Jersey Transit parking spaces aren’t Chicago parking meters, and so I’m entirely in agreement with Yonah Freemark that privatizing NJ Transit’s parking lots is a very bad idea.