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Entries in transportation (5)

10:00AM

WPR's The New Rules: Globalization, Air Hubs and the City of Tomorrow

H.G. Wells’ futuristic 1933 classic, “The Shape of Things of Come,” predicted a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity’s recovery would depend on the airplane as the primary mechanism for both travel and political rule -- the benevolent “dictatorship of the air.”  The book reflected Wells’ prescient fears of catastrophic world war and his faith in technology’s capacity to tame mankind’s worst instincts.  

A book due out in March entitled, “Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next,” is the closest thing to a real-world vision to rival that of Wells. The book, written by journalist Greg Lindsay, is based on the visionary ideas of business professor John Kasarda, a latter-day Wells who dreams of building future cities around airports instead of the other way around.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

12:04AM

Deutch: don't obsess over the BP disaster; instead look ahead on gas

John Deutch (MIT and former gov bigwig) is the latest to tout the "revolution" on the horizon.  He worries that accidents like BP's Gulf disaster or Three Mile Island (great example) have too much lasting--and negative--impact on US energy policy.

Actually, the entire Core stands to benefit from the shale gas revolution, as it re-empowers a host of countries who previously viewed themselves as energy dependent.

Two huge impacts:  

  1. Short-run: gas crowds out coal in electricity generation--crucial for coal-gobbling China especially (although hard to shift percentages when your energy use grows that fast); and
  2. Long run: gas becomes more attractive for transportation.

Guess who leads the world in NG use in transpo?

That would be Pakistan, with 2.4m vehicles and 3000 fueling stations.  The US has only 100k vehicles and 1300 stations, meaning gas now accounts for 0.1% of the 12mbd oil we use for transpo.

As energy "independence" arguments go (I usually hate them), this one is pretty sound. 

12:07AM

More signs of a reviving global economy

Besides the tremendous rebound in global trade (ah, the deaths of globalization are greatly exaggerated), we now see ancillary signs of recovery.

First, an FT story notes Maersk, the world's largest container ship company, announced a sharp return to profit in the first Q and predicted the future would be much brighter than previously anticipated.

Back home, the WSJ notes that venture capitalists are ramping up activity when it comes to acquisitions and IPOs.  One analyst said, "This kind of activity we haven't seen in years, not since the 1999 and 2000 time frame."

Finally, FT says IBM plans on buying $20B worth of companies in the next five years, more than it did in the previous decade.

12:01AM

Chart of the day: which airlines actually let you use FF miles

In a nutshell, why I love Southwest, fly it whenever possible, and use two of its Visa cards (one biz, one personal).

I have used maybe 40 free flights in the last 5 years, to include flying my entire brood of 4 kids + spouse + me on multiple family vacations.  I once got a SWA flight in 5 mins at the airport after USAirways screwed me sideways, and left 45 minutes later.

Yes, I have used FF awards on damn near every airline, recently flying USAir to Capetown this way (and flying to London next month via Delta), but that's only because Jennifer Posda, my agent, is a wizard at making that happen.  For mere mortals, you want to stick with Southwest as much as possible.

12:05AM

US accounts for 1/2 global defense spending; China the same in RR

Map found here

FT story on Bank of China investing $1.1B in China railway per government direction, resulting in 15% stake. This just after announcement of $900M investment in high-speed Shanghai-Beijing line, something on which the BoC may actually get its money back.

China is spending $120B on RRs this year.  The most fantastic estimates of Chinese defense spending land in the same range.

The US spends in the range of $600-700B on defense and nowhere near any such number on RRs, which get less maintenance money each year that the interstate system does.

One World Bank expert says China's RR expansion is the biggest thing since the US built its interstate highway system.  China, BTW, is just finishing up its own such system.