Sunday Statshot

21
Aug

2011

Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu: Urban Air Pollution

Typical smog on a typical day - Shanghai. Image by Flickr user Corinna A. Carlson.

A quick look at some of the things that makes air pollution in your city tolerable (or not):

Percentage Americans living in cities with breathing air that’s dangerous to their health: 50

Number of top 10 most polluted cities in US located in California: 8

Most polluted American city: Bakersfield

Number of premature deaths due to air pollution per year in California: 9200

Levels of air quality on an air quality chart: 0 (excellent) – 500 (very poor)

Maximum level for mega polluted air: 500

Air pollution level in Beijing: 595

Number of world’s top 20 most polluted cities located in China: 16

Percent of Chinese cities not meeting air quality standards: 70

Most polluted city in the world: Linfen, China

Linfen’s nickname 20 years ago: Fruit and Flower Town of Shanxi

One of the top air pollutants in the world: Cigarette smoke

Jogging in Manila: Smoking a pack of cigarettes

Breathing one day’s worth of Linfen’s air: Smoking 3 packs of cigarettes

Number of times more particulate matter produced by cigarettes than a Ford Mondeo: 10

Cost to clean up the world’s most polluted cities: $500 million

Prolonged exposure to urban air pollution: Increased chances of lung cancer

Prolonged exposure to traffic congestion: Road rage

Prolonged exposure to London Tube air:  “Tube rage”



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14
Aug

2011

Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Public Transport Profitability – Hong Kong’s MTR (Mass Transit Railway)

Hong Kong's density is a little like New York's... except it's on roids. Image Flickr user by Brad-514.

In terms of financial viability, public transportation in North America is a perpetual loser. However, rumours have it that some transit agencies abroad break even or even make a profit. So let us take a closer look into one of these transit agencies –  Hong Kong’s MTR (Mass Transit Railway) – and see if its profitability scheme could work in your city:

Hong Kong’s population: 7 million

Year MTR was established: 1979

Kilometers of rail in 1984: 66

In 2004: 255

Daily ridership in 2011: 4 million

Percentage of public transport trips taken on MTR: 42

Average fare increase of MTR since 1979: 5.6% per annum

Average growth rate of Consumer Price Index: 5.6% per annum

Percentage more high depreciation and financing costs are compared to recurrent operating costs: 25

Percentage increase in MTR’s non-fare revenue (i.e. developing and enhancing commercial activities) for past 20 years: 50

Percentage of total operating costs due to high depreciation and financial burden of recent/new rail projects: 50

Percentage of railway operating revenue derived from: 1) property development profit and; 2) rental and management income: 50

Percentage of MTR’s profits (before tax) generated by: 1) property development profit and; 2) rental and management income: 90 *

Per-unit operating cost before depreciation and interest of Hong Kong’s KMB (Kowloon Motor Bus) bus operations: HK$0.10 per passenger space-km

MTR: HK$0.09 per passenger space-km

Operating Cost after depreciation and interest for KMB: HK$0.12

MTR: HK$0.18 * (explanation below)

Indirect subsidies available to MTR: Granted exclusive right to real estate property development above railway stations **

Cost of 1200 square foot “old” apartment unit: USD $1.9 million

Cost per square foot of “top” end properties: $10,500

Percentage more costly compared to London, New York and Moscow: 40

Population density: 6,500 persons per square kilometer

Most densely population district in Hong Kong: Kwun Tong

Population density: 53,110 persons per square kilometer

* While the government builds and maintains roads at no cost to bus operators (i.e. bus operating companies use roads for free), MTR funds, builds and owns the railway infrastructure/assets. As such, the operating cost after depreciation and interest for rail operations are always higher than bus operations.

** The local government in Hong Kong virtually owns all land. Given MRT’s exclusive property rights given to them by the government, MRT does not need to go through public auction as is normal for land sale in Hong Kong. Instead, MTR pays a premium that’s determined through negotiations and they earn development profits that payback rail investments.  In other words, without development rights above railway stations, MTR is unable to earn a viable return.



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Economics / Heavy Rail / Sunday Statshot
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07
Aug

2011

Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Auto-Rickshaws

 

Slow, clunky traditional bus transport ain't got nothing on them zippy auto-rickshaws. Image by flickr user eyesore9.

A quick look at some of the things that makes auto-rickshaws/tuktuks in your city work (or not):

Auto-rickshaws/tuktuks: Half golf-cart, half motorcycle

Origin: Daihatsu Midget & Piaggio Ape C

Top speed: 40km/h

Cost: $6,500

Cost of “green” tuktuks: $10,000

Largest producer of auto-rickshaws in world: India

India’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit: “They (auto rickshaws) are uncomfortable and pollute the environment”

Number of auto-rickshaw drivers in India: 5 million

Number of lives dependent on the income of these drivers: 20 million

Number of members in Federation of All Delhi Auto Taxi Transporters Congress: 22,000

Number of female auto-rickshaw drivers: 1, Sunita

Monthly salary of auto-rickshaw drivers: 7000-8000 rupees ($155-180)

Transport typology with the least involvement and contribution to traffic accidents in Mumbai: Auto-rickshaws

Percentage of emissions an auto-rickshaw produces compared to a car: 78% less

Mileage: 2.85 L/100km

Smart Car mileage: 4.4 L/100km

World’s first wifi equipped auto-rickshaws: Cambodia

World’s smallest theatre: Auto-rickshaw Backseat



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Sunday Statshot
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31
Jul

2011

Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu: Urban Chicken Farming

Now this is urban chicken farming! Image by flickr user quinn.anya

A quick look look at some stats that make urban chicken farming in your city work (or not):

Number of chickens raised annual for meat and eggs: 50 billion

Percentage of world’s poultry meat raised using intensive farming techniques: 74

Worldwide chicken to human ratio: 16:9

Number of varieties of domestic chickens: 150

Hours of sunlight chickens need to lay healthy eggs: 14

Number of eggs a hen can produce in a year: 300

Year chicken farming was banned in Toronto: 1983

Number of current Canadian cities permitting chicken farming: 6

In US: 86

Number of members on BackyardChicken.com: 19,000

Cost to buy a baby chick: $0.25

Egg laying hen: $25

Number of eggs laid per week per chicken: 7

Cost of building your own chicken coop: $150-250

Cost of buying your super trendy designer chicken coop to impress your other chicken farming friends: $3500

Time to recuperate cost of schmancy chicken coop assuming you have 3 chickens laying 21 eggs at week while a dozen eggs cost $3: 13 years (math below)

Avoiding the mess of slaughtering your own chickens cause you’re a city slicker who really doesn’t know much about raising and killing farm animals: Mobile Slaughterhouse

Cost per head: $75 (maybe a little less for chickens)

Eggs per week: 21 eggs x 52 weeks = 1092 eggs/year —-  Cost per egg: $3 / 12 eggs = $0.25/egg —- Cost of Chicken Coop: $3500 —- Number of eggs to make up for coop: $3500/$0.25 = 14,000 eggs  —- Time needed to recuperate recoup coop: 14,000 eggs/ 1092 eggs/year = 13 years



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Sunday Statshot
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24
Jul

2011

Sunday Statshot with Nick Chu: Urban Heat Waves and Islands

Record breaking temperatures are expected to hit half the US and Canada this week. Hope you guys are staying hydrated and cool cause I certainly am! Photo by flickr user dustinphillips

A quick look at some of the things that makes sizzling summer days in your city intolerable (or not):

Percentage of Earth’s surface covered by urban area: 3

First year UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect was discovered: 1810

Number of times concrete can hold more heat than equivalent volume of air: 2000

Percentage of New York’s localized warming due to “tar beaches” (black rooftops): 66

Number of heat waves per year in New York today: 14 days

Predicted number of heat wave days in upcoming decades: > 30

Temperature of a conventional rooftop at noon: 80 degrees celsius

Temperature needed to cook an egg on the sidewalk: 35 degrees celsius

Average temperature differences between industrial land uses and parkland: 4.0 degrees celsius

Number of deaths in 2003 Paris heat wave: 15,000

Across Europe: 70,000

Number of deaths attributed to excessive heat exposure in US between 1979-2003: 8000

Equivalent: Greater than total mortalities from hurricanes, lighting, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined

Cost to cool buildings in US per year: $40 billion

Cost of UHI effect on energy costs per year in Los Angeles: $100 million

Temperature difference between urban and suburban areas: 10 degrees celsius

Proposed initiative designed to combat UHI: Los Angeles’ Cool Communities

Number of trees to be planted if implemented: 10 million

Number of roofs re-roofed: 5 million

Annual savings from reduced air-conditioning costs: $170 million

Smog-related savings: $360 million



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Sunday Statshot
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17
Jul

2011

Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu: Urban Vertical Farming

Proponents argue urban farming can reduce carbon emissions, but are growing crops in a city a baaaaa-d idea to start with? Photo by flickr user twenty_questions

A quick look at some of the things that make Urban Vertical Farming in your city work (or not):

Average distance ingredient in a meal in US is grown away from home: 1500 miles

Amount of energy global industrial food system accounts for in worldwide fossil fuel consumption: 21%

Number of farmer markets in US in 1993: 1755

Number of farmer markets in US in 2002: 3100

Percentage of food sales: 0.3%

Number of times more carbon dioxide released by transport of conventional produce versus regional/local produce: 5-17

Projected population by 2050: 9.5 billion

Additional land required to feed extra 2.7 billion people: Land mass of Brazil

Percentage increase in food production required by 2050: 70

Potential solution: Vertical farming

Numbers of acres of food a 30 story vertical farm can produce: 2400

Number of people a 19 story vertical farm could feed: 50,000

Number of acres of wheat in US: 53 million

Number of times more electricity needed to produce a year’s worth of US wheat via vertical farming: 8x total electricity generated in the US

For corn: 40x total electricity generated

Monetary worth of a farmer’s land per square foot: $1

Skyscraper: $200

Tons of carbon dioxide produced per US household due to food consumption: 8.9

Percentage of total carbon dioxide released due to food delivery: 4.5%

Number of days in jail for planting veggies in your front yard: 90



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10
Jul

2011

Sunday Morning Statshot with Nick Chu

 

"When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving." - Steven Wright, Comedian. Image by flickr user danielle_blue.

A quick look at some of the things that make Parking in your city work (or not):

Most expensive parking spot in Toronto: $100,000

Most expensive city to park: London

Cost of Ferrari 458 Italia: $320,000 USD

Cost of parking spot near Harrods in London: $320,000 USD

Cost of parking per hour: $7

Time required for parking space to recuperate cost: 5 years

Percentage of downtown drivers circling the block looking for parking: 25-45

Net worth of Japan’s parking industry: $7.7 billion

Net worth of US’s parking industry: $26 billion

Jobs created: 1 million

Average cost of installing a parking spot: $15,000

Average cost of installing a bike rack: $200

Number of bicycles that can be parked in 2 parking spaces: 16

Number of cars that can be parked per city block: 20 (10 on each side)

Area required per parking space: 200 sq feet

Square feet of parking per block: 4000

Miles of streets in New York: 600

Acres dedicated to parking: 10,800

Equivalent: 13 Central Parks

Gender that parks slower: Women

Gender that parks less accurately: Women

World’s first female only car park: Hebei, China

Difference between regular parking lot and female parking lot: Spaces 3 ft wider



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Sunday Statshot
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