This page provides information about NNYN's free transit study published in 2008. For information on the announcement of the study, click
here. For information on the initial public response,
July 26, 2010 In For whom the road tolls, a columnist for Toronto's Eyeweekly magazine writes that "The mayoral candidates’ transportation strategies have so far lacked anything like vision or pizzazz. Here’s a grand idea whose time has come for the taking." The grand idea is to adapt the Kheel-Komanoff Plan to Toronto.
May 26, 2010 New York Times City Room writes: "In the modern American technocracy, he who wields the spreadsheet is king. And so it is that Charles Komanoff ... approaches the intractable problem of traffic in the city: with a spreadsheet so huge, it gets its own profile in June issue of Wired." Click here for the rest, including the Times' concise summary of the Kheel-Komanoff transit and toll pricing plan.
May 25, 2010 Noted financial writer Felix Salmon reports in The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic on our work on traffic pricing and free transit for New York City. The article is titled The Traffic Cop: Charles Komanoff says he can end Manhattan's gridlock. And he's got the spreadsheet to prove it. The article traces the intersection of Ted Kheel's and Charles's lifetime of urban transit advocacy and conveys the intricacies of the traffic-analysis spreadsheet, the Balanced Transportation Analyzer (BTA), that Charles has created under the aegis of the Nurture Nature Foundation. The core of the article (and the ethical basis of congestion pricing) is Felix's engaging explication of how the BTA quantifies the social delay costs caused by one additional car trip into the Manhattan Central Business District.
March 15, 2010 A report by Charles Komanoff appeared on Andy Revkin’s influential New York Times blog. In the article, Komanoff reported on interest in traffic pricing and a balanced transportation policy in one of China's largest cities. The article, entitled Dot Earth: Postcard from a Guangzhou Traffic Jam can be accessed here.
Aug. 18, 2009 In a Streetsblog article called "Time-Polluting Daily News
Honcho Goes Public," BTA creator Charles Komanoff excoriated a traveler who purposely took a longer route into the city to avoid tolls. In support,
Komanoff pointed out the cost to fellow travelers imposed by that choice,
noting that that the average 11-mile rush-hour car trip into the Manhattan
Central Business District and back out again creates three to four hours of
aggregate delays to others travelling in cars, trucks and buses on the same roads at the same time.
August 4, 2009 In "Bloomberg Tests Free-Transit Waters," Charles Komanoff praised Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to make cross town buses free, and discussed the merits of the proposal, as well as the merits of making buses free in the city generally.
July 22, 2009 Charles Komanoff presented the latest version of the Balanced Transportation Analyzer (BTA) to a packed room at the Manhattan headquarters of Sam Schwartz Engineering.
July 16, 2009 Crain’s Insider, in an article entitled “Congestion pricing gets a new weapon”, stated that “Traffic engineers Charles Komanoff and Sam Schwartz are unveiling a new traffic modeling system that Komanoff says better predicts the impact of tolls and transit fares and of driving into Manhattan.”The system, Crain’s wrote, “could have a significant impact the next time congestion pricing, toll hikes, and fare increases are proposed.”
July 7, 2009 In an Op Ed in the Queens Ledger, city council candidate Medhanie Estiphanos, a Kheel plan enthusiast, wrote about the value of free transit coupled with congestion pricing in saving our environment.
May, 2009 The Institute for Urban Design has included "Fare-Free
Transit, An Immodest Proposal" by Charles Komanoff in "The New York 2030 Notebook," (2008) edited by Jeff Byles and Olympia Kazi. The Notebook "provides an index to the contemporary discourse on the planning of New York", and is the first in a new series to be published by the Institute.
May, 2009 Free transit supporter and council candidate Medhanie Estiphanos hosted a discussion of the issue with Ted Kheel, Charles Komanoff, and George Haikalis. Excerpts from the discussion may be viewed below:
May, 2009 The Kheel team has met over the last year with a number of public figures to describe how progress toward free transit could help balance our city’s transportation system; in the spring 2009 Medhanie Estiphanos became the first candidate for city council to embrace the Kheel proposal.
May 7, 2009 Upon Albany’s passage of a watered down MTA rescue plan contemplating serial fare increases, Charles Komanoff penned an article for Streetblog entitled "Albany’s Choice… or Ours” pointing out that Albany has thereby opened the door for a broad-based campaign to put an end to fare hikes and institute genuine transportation reform based on traffic pricing.
March 27, 2009 Streetsblog carried an article by BTA-creator Charles Komanoff entitled “Whither the MTA: Beyond the Failed Stopgap” addressing the economic toll to the city of the MTA fare-hike, in increased congestion and lost time.
Feb. 29-Mar. 6, 2009 The Downtown Express, in discussing Sheldon Silver's advocacy of a $2 toll to help reduce the MTA budget deficit, quotes Charles Komanoff's statement that "The 'equation' of a bridge toll to a subway fare ought to be disturbing to any fair-minded New Yorker. ...For one thing, there's no 'fare-pooling' equivalent to car-pooling... For another, the congestion cost of each additional car trip into Manhattan is on the order of $30..., whereas the same for a subway ride is measured in pennies. Silver's equation flunks any moral algebra."
Feb. 27, 2009 In an AMNY article called "Step in the Right Direction" Ellis Hennican suggested that the next step for the city should be to reintroduce the concept of congestion pricing into transit thinking, as urged by transportation expert Charles Komanoff and long time transit advocate Ted Kheel.
Feb. 26, 2009 John Tierney, columnist for the New York Times Science section, relied on the Balanced Transportation Analyzer (“BTA”) to analyze the motor vehicle impact of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to close off parts of the city to traffic. The article, entitled “Will a Car-Free Broadway Work,” quotes Charles Komanoff’s description of the BTA as “the first transparent and publicly available tool to gauge the varying impacts of changing the transportation options in a city with a dense central core, like New York.”
Dec. 26, 2008-Jan. 1, 2009 An editorial entitled “Better M.T.A. fixes,” carried in the weekly Downtown Express, stated “Another idea worth discussing comes from Ted Kheel, the well-respected retired labor mediator who wants very high traffic pricing fees to pay for lower and free transit fares depending on the time of day. Many dismiss this as fantasy, but Kathryn Wylde, who represents the city’s largest corporations, says it is easier to sell than the idea on the table.”
Dec. 16, 2008 Ted Kheel and Charles Komanoff testified before the New York City Council regarding the merits of the new Kheel Plan as an alternative to the Ravitch plan for funding the MTA. Their testimony can be accessed here and here.
December 10, 2008 Doug Henwood interviewed economist Charles Komanoff about Kheel Plan II in "Behind The News," an economics show on WBAI-FM, on 99.5 FM. The interview can be accessed here about 10 minutes into the show.
Dec. 10, 2008 Ted Kheel released an alternative to the Ravitch Plan that generates over $1 billion in annual revenue for the MTA while helping to recapture billions of dollars for the local economy, reduce congestion, and bring free transit to all New Yorkers. For a summary of the plan, click` here. For the press release, press here. To access the improved Balanced Transportation Analyzer, the analytic model that underlies the plan, click here.
Dec. 4, 2008 The New York Times City Room blog, in an article entitled "Reaction to Ravitch's M.T.A. Report" by William Neuman and Sewell Chan, reported Ted Kheel's position that "the proposed plan misses a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make meaningful, long-term change in our regional transportation system. Taxes and fare hikes, whether now or in the future, are 100% avoidable."
Nov. 20, 2008: The New York Times, in a City Room blog by transit reporters William Neumann and Sewell Chan, reported that Ted Kheel blasted the MTA’s proposed 23 percent fare and toll increase as “a ticking time bomb that will explode in our vital but vulnerable transit system and damage the city’s and region’s economy.” The article also reported that the proposed increase will “drive 30,000 more cars into the city’s most congested streets, cause a 6 percent drop in subway ridership and a 4 percent drop in bus ridership, and reduce traffic speeds by 4 percent.”
September 16, 2008: Kheel's Open letter was noted in an article by the New York Sun.
September 15, 2008: Ted Kheel issued an Open Letter to the Ravitch Commission on the benefits of free transit and the relation between free transit and the funding issues facing the MTA.
Sept. 1-3, 2008 At the Fourteenth International Conference on Urban Transport and the Environment in Malta, Jane Ann Williams, director of education and training for multicultural affairs at Virginia Tech, presented a paper on balancing congestion pricing and free transit that was inspired by the Kheel Plan. The presentation sparked interest among urban planners abroad in assessing the model for use in their own nations/cities. Thus, in Spain, where the City of Madrid Planning Council is exploring approaches to reduce congestion, the lead research council member will make a presentation based on the Kheel Plan. Similarly, in New Zealand, an official in the National Office Performance Monitoring Manager NZ Transport Agency plans to assess the Kheel Plan for use in New Zealand.
July 23, 2008: In an article entitled "Give Mike Bloomberg the trains, too" in New York Daily News Opinions, Errol Louis recommended that "New York also should give serious consideration to a proposal by lawyer Theodore Kheel that would substantially boost parking, taxi and driving charges in Manhattan - and use the money to make the entire subway system free."
June 27, 2008 The New York Observer published an article entitled "Transportation Advocates Agree: The M.T.A. Is in 'Deep Doo-Doo" which quoted Kheel's views on the politics of congestion pricing as follows: "The promotion, I thought, was in the wrong order. If you start out with free transit, you start out with something people would welcome."
June 26, 2008 Ted Kheel joined a panel on "Traffic Congestion and the Future of Mass Transit," which was moderated by Assemblyman Mike Kellner and included Jeff Zupan of the Regional Plan Association and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. Kheel’s presentation can be veiwed below:
June 26, 2008 Ted Kheel spoke to the New York City Transit Riders Council about free transit and his history of working for transit reform.
June 24, 2008 Ted Kheel is quoted in an article in the Observer on transit financing entitled "Next Stop: Trouble". The article quotes Kheel as calling on the Port Authority, with its great revenue-raising capacity, to spend more of its money on regional transportation projects. According to Kheel, "That agency is the ideal agency to come to grips with this problem of congestion."
June 13, 2008 The Sierra Club took note of the Kheel Plan in an article entitled "Pains, Trains, And Automobiles" published the Club's newsletter, "The Green Life".
April 10, 2008 Ted Kheel issued
a statement announcing his plans for continuing the fight
for a more balanced transportation system, which include a
grant of $170,000 to expand the Balanced
Transportation Analyzer, an analytic tool that forms the
basis for the Kheel plan for free transit.
February 10, 2008 In a debate
hosted by Gabe Pressman on NBC, Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership
for New York City said that the Kheel plan for free transit "is an ideal scenario" and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky commented
that "He's done something interesting and important. [Kheel's]
reminded us that maybe the way to change behavior is to incentivize
January 31, 2008 The New York Traffic Congestion Mitigation
Commission issued its final
recommendation on a congestion pricing plan. The Commission
recommended an $8 fee for automobiles to drive into Manhattan
south of 60th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
January 31, 2008: Andrew Revkin of the New York Times published
an article and accompanying video on Dot Earth entitled "Managing
Traffic in the Urban Age," which discusses the traffic
woes of urban areas and potential solutions, including the
free transit plan of Ted Kheel.
January 17, 2008: George Haikalis testified regarding the
implications of the free transit proposal at an MTA hearing
on increasing the transit fare. To read his statement, click
January 16, 2008 Ted Kheel testified regarding NNYN's study
on free transit at a public hearing of the New York City Traffic
Congestion Mitigation Commission regarding its interim report.
To read his statement, click
Jan. 11, 2008: WorldChanging posted an article entitled "Free
Transit for All" discussing Kheel's free transit proposal.
Dec. 20, 2007: Charles Komanoff, research director and lead
modeler of the free transit report, discussed the report in
a 20-minute interview on WBAI. The interview can be accessed here.
Note that the interview begins about eight minutes in, after
some introductory material.
Dec. 20, 2007 Ted Kheel and George Haikalis appeared on NY
1's half hour feature "Inside City Hall." A clip
from the interview may be viewed here.
Dec. 19, 2007: Marcia Kramer interviewed Kheel for WCBS news.
The story, called "Imagine This: Riding Buses & Subways
For Free-- One Man's Plan Would Raise $4 Billion For Mass
Transit," may be read and viewed here.
December 18, 2007: New York Magazine published an article
entitled "Fare Enough" on Ted Kheel's
free transit proposal.
December 17, 2007: Ted Kheel mailed a letter to each of the
22 members of the MTA's board urging them to consider a Mini-Report of the free transit research team. The text of the letter,
with enclosures, may be viewed here.
December 14, 2007: Ted Kheel mailed a letter to each of the
17 members of the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission
urging them to consider a Mini-Report of the free transit
research team. The text of the letter, with enclosures, may
be viewed here.
December 10, 2007: Majora Carter, Executive Director of the
Sustainable South Bronx, commented on a preliminary report
of the free transit research team that this was worthy of
exploration, and that Sustainable South Bronx welcomes efforts
to rethink the way transit is paid for in order to make it
more affordable and accessible to underserved communities.
A copy of the statement is available here.
November 19, 2007: Another Quinnipiac
Poll showed that New York City voters would support congestion
pricing by a 53-41 margin if it "prevents a hike in mass transit
fares." The new poll also showed that a majority of voters
would oppose the idea of congestion pricing when not paired
with fare relief.
30, 2007: A Quinnipiac Poll was
released showing that 57% of the voters polled would support
congestion pricing if the money were used to prevent an increase
in mass transit fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.
14, 2007: The Secretary of Transportation announced that the
federal government will provide $354 million to implement
congestion pricing in New York City, if the State Legislature
acts by March 2008 to put in effect a congestion pricing plan
in Manhattan. Click here
June 26, 2007, George Haikalis presented a progress report
summarizing some preliminary results of the Price Matters
Study at the Auto-Free New York meeting (see www.auto-free.org).
To view the information presented in that progress report,
June 8, 2007: At a hearing of the New York State Assembly
on the Mayor's sustainability plan, IRUM submitted comments
regarding the need for reduced or free fares. For the full
June 7, 2007: Legislation
was introduced in the NY State Senate to help implement congestion
pricing. That day, Mayor Bloomberg also recognized the relationship
of mass transit pricing and congestion pricing, observing
that congestion pricing could help the MTA avoid fare increases.
The Mayor's comments followed an analysis by the city showing
that transit fares could go as high as $3 over the next three
years. For additional details on the Mayor's statement, click
May 28-June 1: George Haikalis of The Institute for Rational
Mobility (IRUM) traveled to San Francisco to find out more
about the free transit study being conducted there. For a
report on his findings, click
May 16, 2007: NNYN joined the Campaign
for New York's Future, a coalition of civic, business,
environmental, labor, community and public health organizations
that support the goals and strategic direction of PlaNYC.
April 23, 2007: Mayor Bloomberg released PlaNYC2030, strongly
endorsing congestion pricing, a concept that he had rejected
as impractical a few months earlier. For details on the transportation
component of the Mayor's plan, click
here. Although it is a bold and exciting initiative, and
provides for various mass transit improvements, the Mayor's
plan omits mention of any fare relief for mass transit passengers.
April 20, 2007: In an interview with WABC, Mayor Bloomberg explained: “If you were to design the ultimate system, you would have mass transit be free and charge an enormous amount for cars.”
April 11, 2007: NNYN produced an 84 page brochure entitled
"The Road Not Taken" that was distributed at a panel discussion
at the Museum of the City of New York on Robert Moses and
Transportation. To read Kheel's introduction to the brochure,
which explains its relevance to NNYN's free mass transit proposal
and the current transit situation in New York, click
April 1, 2007: The New York Times published an Op Ed article
entitled "Bridge and Tunnel Vision" by Ted Kheel regarding
the Robert Moses exhibits and traffic in New York City. In
it, Kheel reiterated support for both free mass transit and
congestion pricing, explaining that revenues generated by
congestion pricing could subsidize the fare. To
read the article, click here.
March 1, 2007: IRUM's President, George Haikalis, provided
testimony to the New York City Council Transportation Committee
on the need to consider reducing or eliminating entirely the
fares charged for transit service. To
read the testimony, click here.
developments and press coverage in the weeks immediately following
announcement of NNYN's free transit study, click
information on free transit, click
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