Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Transportation Stuff

1) Here is a great article by the great John Tierney on smart cars. While it will take a while to work out all the bugs, I would really like to ride in a computerized car. Many people enjoy driving so I'm sure many will want to maintain control over their vehicle. However, if I can sit in a car with a computer guiding my path, keeping me a safe distance from other cars, and keeping traffic flowing that gives me more time to read and thereby relieving the boredom I find in driving.

2) John Semmens has a good article on the misallocation of resources in road maintenance and makes a brief case for privatization. Here is a good example from the article of some of the bad effects of government ownership of roads:

Consider: Everyone knows that heavy vehicles impose substantially larger costs for building and maintaining roads, yet studies consistently show that these vehicles are undercharged in relation to these costs. A well-organized trucking lobby has been successful in persuading state and federal legislators to shift costs to lighter vehicles and general taxpayers.
In effect, trucking operations are subsidized. The consequences include accelerated wear and tear on the roadways, diversion of freight traffic from rail, and increased roadway congestion. All of these consequences raise the cost of transportation and reduce the efficiency of the road system.
Taking the two articles together, I can't help but wonder if smart cars will become prevalent if roads remain under government ownership.

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