Monday, October 27, 2008

Prop 1A Forum at UC Santa Cruz

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

For those of you in the Monterey Bay or San José areas, I will be part of a panel discussion on Proposition 1A at UC Santa Cruz at noon today, in Cowell Conference Room 132. Rod Diridon of the California High Speed Rail Authority will also be there. RSVP here.

Then at 2pm I will be a guest on Deborah Lindsay's show Tomorrow Matters, broadcast on KRXA 540 AM here in Monterey. Deborah Lindsay focuses on sustainable communities, peak oil, and other environmental solutions to our ongoing ecological crisis. You can listen live online if you don't live in the Monterey Bay area.

UPDATE: Now that was fun. The event at UCSC was a great success - thanks go in particular to Cynthia Burrage Armour and Dan Xie for helping to put it together. I gave a good overview of HSR and the reasons why it is so vital to our future as Californians, and then Rod Diridon gave a really compelling and detailed explanation of HSR around the world and of our own system. He was asked some very good questions by the audience and answered them quite effectively. Diridon gave some key details on the financing of high speed rail that I had not known and that I hope to pass on to you all tomorrow or Wednesday once I can get them written down and confirmed.

The discussion on Deborah Lindsay's show also went well. We got some good calls from folks with questions, some critical, of the HSR project and I thought I did a good and thorough job of responding to them. KRXA is a small operation and doesn't have complete audio archives, otherwise I'd offer you an MP3 here. I was surprised that none of the usual HSR deniers called into the show!


bossyman15 said...

Nice. Good Luck. Knock the sock off!

Anonymous said...

Debunking Vranich- How Statistics Can Be Manipulated

In his testimony to the California Senate Transportation Committee, Mr Vranich uses the example of "Ridership Intensity" to claim that the California High Speed Rail Authority's projections are significantly flawed. He says the following:

"Let’s look at ridership intensity projections, a demand measurement. The Authority projects intensities that are far above those achieved in Japan, France and the Boston–Washington Corridor. In 2005, Japan’s Bullet Train system registered a ridership intensity of 33 million passenger miles of travel per route mile. The Authority projects a far higher figure of up to 62 million intercity passenger miles of travel in 2030—almost double. This, simply put, cannot be believed."

Let's now dissect what "Ridership Intensity" is. It was a term as a transportation planner I didn't recognize, so it set off a bell. He describes it as "passenger miles of travel per route mile". What is that metric? Simply stated, it looks at the length of each trip relative to the total length of the system. If we were rating on a 0 to 1 scale, for the first phase of the CHSRA, if all trips were from San Francisco to Anaheim, the full length of the system, the intensity would be 1. Get it?

Without getting in to exact numbers, let's say the initial system will be about 450 miles. SF to LA will be a bit over 400. No offense to the cities of Palmdale, Bakersfield, Fresno or Gilroy, but most trips will be from Bay Area stations to Los Angeles Basin stations. That is a lot of passengers traveling a lot of miles between Northern and Southern California. A lot of passengers making trips over most of the entire length of the system. A very long system.

Japan has a mature system that covers most of the county. There are more route miles than just a long link between the two largest population centers in the country. See where I'm going with this? Tokyo to Osaka is about 320 miles. The total Japanese HSR network is over 1,500 miles. There are a lot of trips in Japan that don't run the full length of the network. Less intensity...

Amtrak's sorta-high speed Northeast Corridor is another place where very few people ride from one end to the other. Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Penn Station and Boston are all major destinations, and very few people at all will use it for the 6.5 hours trip from Boston to Washington. Less intensity...

In France, most all trips go to Paris. There are four lines radiating from Paris, with most TGVs operating on one line with very few taking the loop around Paris. Intensity lower by design...

I hope you are following this. Vranich has finely crafted his craft. He has made up a metric, then used the public's understanding the Japan's HSR runs through a very crowded place with a lot of rail service. Or how intensely the Northeast Corridor is developed. Or France's extensive and expanding TGV system. But his metric of "Ridership Intensity" isn't useful in comparing the projections of a first phase of a system that will connect two very large regions with a system that is mature.

Testifying to a public body with charts that examine a misleading metric that doesn't make a useful comparison and finishing with " This, simply put, cannot be believed" is snake oil sales at its best. But it looks really good on the surface and takes a knowledge of the details to understand the BLATANT MANIPULATION that took place in the Senate hearing room.

Brandon in California said...

The high speed rail plan is silly? Someone has got to get a hold of themselves.

I'd like to know better plan could be achieved while being sensative to testimony that has already been made an meeting the needs of state-wide travel!

What's silly is doing nothing and relying on God to save us from gas prices, GHG's and global warming, growing roadway congestion, intollerable flying experiences.

njh said...

@ anonymous October 27, 2008 6:18 PM

Thank you for some more in depth analysis.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 6:18 pm

you write

"No offense to the cities of Palmdale, Bakersfield, Fresno or Gilroy, but most trips will be from Bay Area stations to Los Angeles Basin stations"

You had better re-read the data on the High Speed Rail site or better yet ask Raphael to back up that statement, which he won't, because it just isn't what they have published.

Anonymous said...

Robert deleted a full posting of Joseph Vranich's statements at the Senate Transportation and housing committee last Thursday, Oct 23rd. (not by me)

Here is a link to that article Titled:
Prop. 1A: Poorest plan a rail advocate has ever seen.

Reading this article will put into context the comments made by Anon 6:18 pm.