Chart of the Day – Exposing the intersection of obesity and poor infrastructure design/spending in the U.S.

August 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

This chart, via Jennifer Keesmaat, shows the important nexus between the infrastructure design and public health.. As evident from the chart, when it comes to building healthy communities the United States has a long way to go in catching up with their counterparts and the huge (no pun intended) disparity in % of obese people shows how unhealthy we are as a nation.

Health implications of city design: more walking, cycling and transit means less obesity + chronic disease (via @jen_keesmaat on Twitter)

Spurred by this tweet, I went looking for data on healthcare spending in the US vs. other OECD countries. Sigh! The chart below shows how much we spend on health compared to other countries (slightly older data).  If we spent a few billion dollars on building more walking/biking/transit infrastructure instead of building more highways and encouraged more people to walk/bike/ride transit, may be we don’t have to incur such an expensive medical bills after all.  Despite all the evidence, our lawmakers seems to be favoring the highway lobbies (and the optics of ribbon cutting for new highways) but talk endlessly about healthcare spending every election cycle!

U.S health spending vs. other countries

Here is a snapshot of the US health spending, according to the OECD:

  • Health expenditure per capita: $8,713
  • Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 16.4%
  •  Obesity rate: 35.3%
  • Life expectancy: 78.8 yrs

“Health spending in the United States (excluding investment expenditure in the health sector) was 16.4% of GDP in 2013, well above the OECD average of 8.9% and the next highest spenders – the Netherlands (11.1%), Switzerland (11.1%) and Sweden (11.0%). The share of GDP spent on healthcare has remained unchanged since 2009 and health spending growth has matched economic growth. The share of government spending in the United States as a share of total spending on health has increased from around 44% in 2000 to above 48% by 2013. Over this period there has been an increase in health coverage for the population – in 2006, Medicare Part D, a voluntary drug benefit programme for seniors and certain disabled persons was introduced.

What if all trips in a city were carried out by a fleet of self-driving cars shared by users? 9 out of 10 conventional cars could become redundant

April 28, 2015 at 7:54 pm

What if all trips in a city were carried out by a fleet of self-driving cars shared by users? The latest report from OECD’s International Transportation Forum explores the potential outcomes of such a radical upgrade in an urban mobility system. The report concludes that up to 9 out of 10 conventional cars could become redundant under certain circumstances. Vast amounts of public space would be freed for other uses in such a scenario. Take a look:

If you get a chance, visit their website and even better plan a visit to attend the upcoming ITF conference in Leipzig, Germany.  I had the privilege to be a part of this event last year and came away with a lot of very important issues, esp. related to transportation policy, at a global level. It was one of the well-organized and best run events that I got to attend in all of my years as a transportation professional.


Job Alert: Project Manager – Green Trucks China Project — Smart Freight Center @ Netherlands

April 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Smart Freight Centre (SFC) is looking for an energetic and efficient individual with initiative to manage the implementation of the Green Trucks China project, and be part of our global team to advance green freight and logistics worldwide.

The Green Trucks China project is the first project of SFC to catalyze the sector-wide adoption of proven technologies. SFC has selected China as the first market and will operate under the umbrella of the China Green Freight Initiative (CGFI) that is managed by the China Road Transport Association. SFC has selected a ”green tires package” consisting of high quality tires supplemented with tire maintenance and telematics as the first technology package, which could reduce 20 million tons of carbon dioxide from trucks in China annually.

The full job ad is available on

Chart(s) of the day: Transportation Funding Reauthorization Story – #StuckInTraffic

February 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

The images below are from Pew States (most of them), tweeted out as part of the #StuckinTraffic Twitter chat featuring U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and House T&I Committee Chair Schuster.  Please note that most of the images have embedded URL links pointing to a webpage/report. So, feel free to click on the ones that pique your interest to learn more.

P.S: Pardon any shoddiness as you scroll down. This post is a quick hack/harvest of compelling charts from the #StuckINTraffic twitter feed to show the landscape of transportation funding issues and why it is important to get the reauthorization done ASAP.

Image Courtesy: Pew States – US transportation funding 101—& why fed, state investment is declining:

Image Courtesy – Pew States – DYK? Transportation infrastructure funding stems mainly from states:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – Fed, states facing funding challenges as gas tax revenues stall: h

Image Courtesy: Pew States – US #transportation fed grant funding dips 9% from ’08 to ’14:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – New Pew report spotlights surface DOT funding declines, overall down $27B in real terms since 2002

Image Courtesy: Pew States – 66% of fed transportation revenue stems from gas tax—why it matters:

Image Courtesy: Pew States – Fed Highway Trust Fund—major source of state, local funds—running low

Image courtesy; Pew States

Image courtesy: Wonkblog via @TransportDems – 1 in 4 US bridges is deficient. #StuckinTraffic

Image Courtesy: @BikeLeague – What role do transit, bike and pedestrian projects play in local economies?

Chart of the day: Sustainability Indicators – All the Ways Germany Is Less Car-Reliant Than the U.S., in 1 Chart

February 4, 2015 at 6:02 pm

via Citylab

This interesting chart was a part of a CityLab article that analyses how Germany is less car dependent than the United States by looking data from comparable cities in each of these nations.  What caught my attention, among the many things, is the difference in the carbon footprint.  In the US, Transport sector alone accounts for 32% of our overall CO2 emissions whereas in Germany it is only 19%.  If we ever get around to implementing a carbon tax, it could fall precipitously but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, given the current political discourse.

The data come from a recent comparison of German and U.S. planning approaches led by transport scholar Ralph Buehler of Virginia Tech. Drilling down to the city level, Buehler and collaborators find more of the same driving trends in an analysis of two large metros from each country: Washington, D.C., and Stuttgart.


Chart of the day: Net change in Highway Trust Fund Balance Since 1957

January 28, 2015 at 11:46 am

This chart was included as part of a brilliant blog post by our friends at TransitLabs, which analyses the various issues surrounding the perennial shortfalls that dog the highway trust fund (aka Gas tax).  Highly recommend reading the entire blog titled “Why the Trust Fund Keeps Running Out” and explore the beautiful visualizations that accompany the story.

Image courtesy: Transitlabs

Chart of the day – Connected Cars – An Infographic Overview

January 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm

The future of personal mobility looks more and more “connected” as the two economic forces, technology and automobiles, are colliding at a far greater velocity.  This paves way for a landscape that is expected to feature unprecedented levels of connectivity (i.e, tethered vehicles). Here is a neat infograph from Statista that shows the landscape of connected cars and what’s ahead.

That said, one big question that looms large in my mind is this – how are going to manage all that troves of data from these connected cars? How are we going to parse/analyze and make sense out the digital mess that is ready to flood our roads? Only time will tell (or the app developers?).

Image Courtesy: Statista via Forbes

Chart(s) of the day – Resurgence of the American Auto Industry – Autoworkers Building Cars Twice as Fast as in 2009

January 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Today’s White House blog post documents the revival and resurgence of the American auto industry that was once believed to be on the verge of extinction. The whole story is explained in the following three simple gifs.

Image courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

Chart(s) of the day: Maybe we actually do have the money to fix all these potholes (at least in Minnesota)

January 5, 2015 at 1:48 pm has a compelling piece that explains the funding crisis in transportation and why the U.S. transportation system is going broke. This Strongtowns article points to the set of graphics below, which are actually part of a lengthy write-up on Star Tribune that dissects the state of Minnesota’s transportation funding issues.  In all, you get a good understanding of the fundamental disparities when it comes to the state of our unsustainable transportation financing methods and how badly we need a dramatic shift in our approach (H/T Streetsblog for sharing this article via Facebook).

Image Courtesy: Star Tribune. Click on the graphic to be linked to the source story

Image Courtesy: Star Tribune via Click on the graphic to be linked to the source story

Image Courtesy: Star Tribune. Click on the graphic to be linked to the source story

Chart of the Day – New Year’s Eve Edition – Uber’s Official Surge Pricing Chart

December 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

via Yahoo Tech

Image courtesy: “Calling for an ride after midnight? We hope you saved up for it.”

The chart comes to us via Dan Tynan’s “12 Ways to Avoid Uber and Still Get Home Safely on New Year’s Eve“.  If you are one of them brave souls venturing out tonight in the West Coast cities of Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego or Seattle , I highly recommend checking out FlyWheel, who is offering a $10 flat fee rides from 8PM until 3AM. Dan Tynan has done a great job identifying the various alternatives for you to get around safely after a fun night out. One additional smartphone app that I’d like to recommend in addition to Dan’s collection is @RideScout. This mobile app will help you get from point A to point B faster and smarter. RideScout shows you real-time information about transportation options that are available right now around you, including transit, bus, bike, taxi, car share, rideshare, parking and walking directions – all in one view. Now, how cool is that!

I’d like to also use this as an opportunity to wish all my reader a SAFE & Happy New Year! Thank you for your continued support and I promise to keep you even more informed in 2015.