National Links: The High Cost of Driving

Every day at The Overhead Wire, we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list. At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to that focuses on urban issues in the D.C. region. They are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

The cost of driving is leading inflation numbers: The Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers showing that inflation was up 7 percent year over year, the highest jump in the past 39 years. But looking deeper into the numbers, Jeff Davis at Eno Center found that driving had a large influence on the overall increase. All auto-related expenses, which make up 14 percent of consumer expenditures in the index, were up 23 percent from December 2020 to December 2021. (Jeff Davis | Eno Center for Transportation)

Impacts of an $11 billion subway line: Planning has begun for the Ontario Line, a 15.6-km subway line in Toronto, a project first proposed in 2019 under Doug Ford. Unlike previous transit plans that have sat on shelves, this one has been going forward at fast pace. As big projects do, this has meant disinformation, opposition from neighborhoods, and furious campaigns from the transit agency and advocates. (Nicholas Hune-Brown | Toronto Life)

Fort Worth’s river vision gets federal funding: Fort Worth, Texas will be able to move forward with big plans for its river district after the project’s flood control project received federal funding. The project was stalled during the previous administration, but will now move forward. The $403 million for the flood control project will allow the downtown to double, creating 12 miles of developable waterfront and 800 acres of space for 29,000 more jobs. (John Henry | Fort Worth Magazine)

The future of cities is underground: Instead of growing up, Helsinki is growing down and is the first city anywhere to publish an underground city plan. That planning will be needed if cities want to build underground infrastructure and networks in the future that aren’t conflicting and more sustainable than above-ground development. We won’t see complete underground cities, but certain facilities like movie theaters and shopping malls might be a better fit for below ground construction. (Neil Martin | University of New South Wales)

Moving the capital of Indonesia: Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world by population behind China, India and the United States, has voted to move its capital out of the fast sinking city of Jakarta on the Island of Java and into a plot on the Island of Borneo. The new capital, slated to cost $32 billion, will be named Nusantara, a Javanese word for archipelago, representing the collection of islands that make up the country. (Sammy Westfall | Washington Post)

Quote of the Week

“At the same time it relieves everybody else of responsibility they have for improving safety, including DOT. You can’t simultaneously say we’re focused on a ‘safe system’ approach — making sure everybody who shares responsibility for road safety is taking action to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries . . . and have a 94 percent number out there, which is not accurate.”

National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy to the Associated Press on how a statistic saying that 94 percent of traffic deaths are driver error is misleading.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Shannon Mattern who talks with us about her new book, A City is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences.

Feature photo courtesy of Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Jeff Wood

About Jeff Wood

Jeff Wood is an urban planner focused on transportation and land use issues living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff blogs at The Overhead Wire and tweets @theoverheadwire. He also shares news links daily from around the country on issues related to cities at The Direct Transfer