Alterations to travel flow resulting from urban decentralization is the effect of the increasing size of the city and its level of urbanization, and it reduces traffic volumes between origins and the central destination thereby raising volumes to other destinations. This lowers radial corridor volumes. These changes make serving transport demand with transit systems more costly because transit costs are higher, and transit service levels are lower at lower levels of corridor passenger flows. The increasing costs and decreasing service levels of transit that accompany decentralization lead more travelers in middle- and high-income countries to use private autos, which further lowers transit passenger volume and further degrades transit performance [Ingram 1998, 1024]. Transportation systems prove to be enormously expensive operations, incurring high construction and purchasing costs to control the necessary real estate. If transport is a determinant of land-use development, what impact will the construction of a large transit system have on an existing metropolitan area?
The privatization of public enterprise and operations has been an increasingly popular phenomenon in the neo-liberal age of modern cities. It is prevalent that many political duties are handed over to the private sector to ensure efficiency and sometimes to resurrect its productivity in the ultimate goal: the satisfaction of the public.
[...] For a price of $ 3.1 billion, the Conservative government of Ontario under Premier Mike Harris leased the highway to a private international consortium, known collectively as 407 International Inc. [Smith January]. The deal included an unprecedented 99-year lease agreement; unlimited control of the highway and its tolls; and a restrictive or competition” clause preventing future governments from constructing any nearby freeways which might potentially compete with the 407. The transition of controlling ownership from the Province of Ontario to a private international corporation results in a political conflict applicable to the study of urban geography and infrastructure; that is, the political aspect of space, and its control by a corporate rather than electorally represented entity. [...]
[...] tragedy of the commons,” Science (1968): 1243-8. Ingram, G. K. “Patterns of Metropolitan Development: What Have We Learned?” Urban Studies (1998): 1019-1035. Ley, D. “Alternative Explanations for Inner-City Gentrification: A Canadian Assessment,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1986): 5210535. National Highway Policy for Canada. The National Highway System: Conditions & Investment Needs [...]
[...] The privatization of the 407 ETR was not only transacted at an apparently low price, thus demonstrating inept financial management by the public sector; the provincial government has allowed the corporation to relentlessly gouge the populace (increasing tolls at rates well beyond the historic inflation) having provided them with a monopoly on highway infrastructure in the region. Perl and Pucher indicate “Canada's ability to balance public and private means of urban mobility appears to have broken down” from their analysis on auto use and public transit ridership in the country [Perl and Pucher 1995, 261]. [...]
[...] The lease-agreement which provided for the 407 ETR permits the construction of a light rail route coinciding with the thoroughfare: a train route is a tangible alternative to automotive travel over medium to long distances, and investment (whether publicly or privately-directed) in its construction would offer an immediate impact on congestion and auto-use by commuters. Commons might exist for the use of the community, but the means whereby they are regulated and divided ensure their survival. Such must be the case for transportation and urban services in the future. [...]
[...] The offset between these two models of urban living, one which facilitates public transportation and the other which promotes the automobile and “empty space” (vacant lots, the requirements for parking, and wider and great thoroughfares), re-orients the 407 ETR political conflict from one focused on the public or private ownership of roadways and transportation to the privileged funding or accommodation of those who live in decentralized locations at the expense of the urban centre. Transportation alternatives to the 407 ETR depend upon future demographic settlement in the urban geography: whether central or peripheral. [...]
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