Thursday, April 1, 2010

ITS Berkeley Transportation Seminar Series

Courtesy of the UCLA Transporters email list...

Friday, April 2, 2010

4 - 5 p.m. in 512 O’Brien

Rick Shaw
Professor, Graduate School of Business, Leland Stanfurd Junior College

A Life Cycle Analysis of Pedestrians

Abstract: It has become a mantra among transportation engineers and urban planners that our cities should be more “walkable”. However, a detailed cradle to grave study of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of pedestrianism challenges such orthodoxy. First, an historical survey reveals that innovation in perambulation technology has stagnated over the last several millennia. Additionally, a fiscally driven life cycle analysis of sneakers and automobiles reveals that the former has a markedly negative impact on global economic growth when compared to the latter.

Popular media hastens to deride automobiles as "unsafe at any speed" -- yet seldom acknowledged are empirical findings which prove conclusively that vehicle on vehicle collisions occur at a significantly lower rate than pedestrian on pedestrian collisions. Moreover, the recent advent of biofuels raises further questions on the sustainability of walking, as human locomotion now irrefutably impinges on valuable automobile fuel reserves. And though much hullabaloo is generated within government and academic circles regarding gas emissions from vehicles, those of pedestrians (my father's most notably) have been found substantially more noxious. In furtherance of this theme, a parametric smoothing analysis rigorously quantifies the aesthetic blight of unsheathed humans in comparison to the sleeker, glossier (and, yes, sexier) form of cars.

Pedestrian incursions into the automobile landscape run beyond the outdoors, as entrenched perambulatory interests wield an unchecked monopoly on indoor locomotion, where automobile accessibility remains scant. Despite formidable hurdles, it is hopeful that walking can be curbed. To this end, we conclude with a set of policy recommendations. Specifically, a tax on HFW (human feet walked) is proposed to supplement pedestrian registration fees. While vanquishing the foothold of pedestrianism entirely is an all too elusive goal, technical solutions to ameliorate the most pernicious side effects are promising. In particular, rickshaws and “piggy-back-riding” appear to be viable alternatives, as demonstrated by an extensive battery of field tests conducted on graduate students.

Bio: Professor Rick Shaw holds the Exxon-Mobile Chair in Regressive Transportation Studies at LSJC where he was granted his MBA. His research interests include automobile accessibility, zip-line infrastructure management, and cheese.

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