Thursday, October 29, 2009

Introducing Lanier Event and Executive Solutions

I don't toot Lanier's horn often enough on this blog, but it has added some new services
which I think drivers and non-drivers alike can enjoy.

Lanier Parking Solutions now offers valet, shuttle, and luxury transportation to private consumers. These new services are invitations not only to park with Lanier, but to think of Lanier Parking Solutions for all of your transportation logistical needs. For information, see an on-site Lanier manager or call Ben Epstein at 770-880-7681.

Lanier Event Solutions delivers access to metro Atlanta’s best valet teams and special event parking management. Our valet teams bring a customized, personable and professional approach to events at private homes, restaurants, or special events.

The event valet team is a self-contained, value added program that can assist in achieving an all-star quality to any event.

Lanier Event Shuttle transportation can be customized for many event scenarios. Lanier provides group transportation as a low cost alternative to multiple cars. It is ideal for events such as broker tours and corporate golf outings. Lanier shuttles can even be wrapped with an event or sponsorship advertisement. An on-board concierge can assist with attending to your guests' needs such as after event dining reservations, promotional giveaways, and information about the entertainment opportunities near the departure/arrival site.

Lanier has partnered with Atlanta Luxe transportation to provide luxury transportation for the executive in all of us. With one call, you can arrange for airport transportation, valet for your wedding or event, and shuttles for that class reunion golf outing. Atlanta Luxe offers a fleet of vehicles ranging from the traditional Lincoln Town Car to a 2008 Rolls Royce Phantom. This fleet is maintained beyond state industry standards, and all drivers are the best trained chauffer professionals in the business. Lanier’s partnership with Atlanta Luxe also gives our guests the ability to arrange transportation in five major U.S. cities.

These new services are yet another reminder of why Lanier is Beyond Parking.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Economics of Transportation

Last Thursday, I saw Kenneth A. Small, Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California, Irvine and Author of "The Economics of Urban Transportation" speak at the Public Affairs Forum hosted by the Federal Reserve of Atlanta. Mr. Small spoke about how congestion is imposing a heavy cost on urban economies and how the economic solution of congestion pricing will be the most effective in solving the problem.
Congestion pricing is a simple theory that puts a price on congestion paid by the people who contribute to it. Congestion pricing uses off-peak toll discounts and relatively higher peak tolls to encourage drivers to drive during less congested hours, carpool, vanpool or use public transportation. Mr. Small spoke of other ways of trying to deal with congestion, such as building new roads, regulating parking, or subsidizing public transportation, which he emphasized all play a role, but none on its own will have the same impact as congestion pricing.
He went on to talk about how Singapore and London implemented very successful congestion pricing programs and how the United States is starting to take notice. In London the impact of the scheme exceeded expectations. In the first year of the charge, traffic delays in London dropped 30 percent, journey time reliability increased by 30 percent and average speeds rose 17 percent.
Recently the United States created a federal program called Value Pricing Program to study the feasibility and to support pilot tests of variable tolls throughout the nation. New York City, under Mayor Bloomberg's administration, went as far as trying to institute the same program as London but was rebuffed by state legislators.
There was a lot of discussion about the politics of congestion pricing. Critical political and institutional issues include public opposition to any new taxes or fees, geographic and economic equality concerns, lack of regional transportation coordination and the lack of alternatives to driving alone during peak periods. Mr. Small’s did offer some advice to communities considering such a solution. He indicated that congestion pricing will require strong leaders as well as competent administration and tight enforcement. He also strongly recommended putting some if not all the money back into public transportation improvements. If this is done the benefits of congestion pricing will be felt across the spectrum.
I do believe that as we search for additional ways to pay for our transportation systems, these economic solutions to transportation will start to have more acceptance. If you want to read more about congestion pricing, check out these sources:

Alternative approaches to congestion pricing. Website of the Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free
Congestion Pricing: A Primer. FHWA. December 2006
Congestion Pricing: A smart solution for reducing traffic in urban centers and busy corridors. Website of the Environmental Defense Fund
Congestion Pricing-Paying Your Way in Communication Networks
Congestion Reduction Demonstration-USDOT Electronic Tolling/Congestion Pricing
Equity and Congestion Pricing-RAND Corporation 2009
Income-Based Equity Impacts of Congestion Pricing: A Primer. FHWA. December 2008
Policy Corner-USDOT Online TDM Encyclopedia: Road Pricing - Congestion Pricing, Value Pricing, Toll Roads and HOT Lanes-Victoria Transport Policy Institute Online TDM Encyclopedia: Vehicle Restrictions-Limiting Automobile Travel At Certain Times and Places Alternatives to congestion pricing
Road User Charging Schemes Worldwide. U.K. Commission for Integrated Transport
Transportation Research Board Committee on Congestion Pricing - US National Academies of Sciences, Transportation Research Board
Urban Partnerships-USDOT
Using Pricing to Reduce Traffic Congestion-US Congressional Budget Office. March 2009