Watch the growth of Walmart stores from 1962 to 2010

Just released is an updated version of the now-famous ‘growth of Walmart’ animation which maps out the geography of store openings in the US since the first Walmart opened in 1962. The new version extends the timeline to 2010 and includes data on Walmart’s hardware store, Sam’s Club. Read the rest of this entry »

Ring Road (M80) – an opportunity for road pricing?

The current upgrade of Melbourne’s Ring Road (the M80) provides an unprecedented opportunity to implement a form of peak period congestion charging in Melbourne.

Designation of one lane as a toll lane during congested periods would offer a higher speed for vehicles paying a fee. They would not necessarily enjoy the maximum permitted speed – a time saving of around 15% seems sufficient.

A toll lane would offer clear economic benefits. In particular, it would enable high value trips, which currently suffer the same delays as comparatively low value trips, to be made faster. In the US these sorts of lanes are called High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes but I prefer something like High Value Trip (HVT) lanes to emphasise the underlying efficiency rationale. The ‘price’ or toll varies with how many vehicles use the toll lane to ensure it provides an advantage while optimising the level of use. Read the rest of this entry »