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M II A II R II K May 24, 2014 4:19 PM

Water Buses — Could Maritime Complement To Buses & Trams Solve Traffic Congestion, Reduce Travel Time?

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A new study from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering recently explored the concept — finding that it could be quite an effective solution to traffic congestion, as well as helping to reduce transit times. Travel time can be reduced up to 33% for many trips, the study found.

- The new research — referred to as the Waterway 365 project — explored the possible ways that such water buses could be integrated into Stockholm’s mass transit system. The findings of the research suggest that “a strong case (can be made) for a maritime complement to trains and buses — and not just in Sweden.”

- Researcher Karl Garme, of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, notes that while the water buses could help reduce the load on land-based transit, add capacity to a city’s transit system, and (positively) change transport flows, they could also do much more.

With regard to potential applications in other cities, the report notes five basic conditions that have to be taken into account:

• “The water buses have to be integrated with land infrastructure, physically and through payment systems.”

• “They should run year-round, even if the water freezes in the winter. The researchers point out that heavy steel reinforced hulls add to fuel consumption, but one solution could be that the system gets assistance ice breaking vessels that clear water routes, much as plow trucks keep roads open in the winter.”

• Boarding and disembarking needs to be fast. “We want the boats works as a subway or a bus, where you get on and off from the sides, instead of at the bow or stern,” Garme states.

• “That the boats are energy efficient, effective and efficiently produced. They also should be modular, with different sizes for different needs.”

• “Planning for water buses should be done before the possibilities are ‘built away’. Planning for water traffic has to be integrated into planning for the rest of the system or it won’t be profitable.”


amor de cosmos May 24, 2014 5:43 PM


What are These Giant Concrete Arrows Across the American Landscape?
Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe | 18 Jul 2013

Backpacking through Europe in my 20s, my sense of direction served me well—until I hit the cities with the truly medieval street plans. So in Florence, after renting a motorcycle, I devised a clever way to find the garage again: Next to the garage was an impressive, obviously important brick building, with a large arrow and some Italian words pointing to it. I observed these same signs along the street pointing back towards this building, so I knew that if I got close enough, the signs would lead me back to the building and the garage.

Attempting to return at the end of the day, I located the signs, began following them—and was soon hopelessly lost. It was only after going in a complete circle that I realized what was written on the sign—Senso Unico—was Italian for "One Way."

To follow arrows is human-behavior-meets-graphic-design 101. So it may not surprise you to learn that these gigantic concrete arrows dotting America, from east to west, are for wayfinding.


Racial Bias in Driver Yielding Behavior at Crosswalks
Posted by InfraUSA on Friday, May 23rd, 2014


Tara Goddarda, Kimberly Barsamian Kahnb, and Arlie Adkins

amor de cosmos May 26, 2014 5:00 PM


China to scrap millions of cars in anti-pollution push
By David Stanway and Kathy Chen
BEIJING Mon May 26, 2014 4:57am EDT

(Reuters) - China plans to take more than five million ageing vehicles off the roads this year in a bid to improve air quality, with 330,000 cars set to be decommissioned in Beijing alone, the government said in a policy document published on Monday.

Pollution has emerged as an urgent priority for China's leaders as they try to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck growth and head off public anger about the sorry state of the nation's air, water and soil.

In a wide-ranging action plan to cut emissions over the next two years, China's cabinet, the State Council, said the country had already fallen behind in its pollution targets over the 2011-2013 period and was now having to step up its efforts.

As many as 5.33 million "yellow label" vehicles that fail to meet Chinese fuel standards will be "eliminated" this year, the document said. As well as the 330,000 cars in Beijing, 660,000 will be withdrawn from the surrounding province of Hebei, home to seven of China's smoggiest cities in 2013.

According to Beijing's environmental watchdog, vehicle emissions in Beijing were responsible for about 31 percent of the hazardous airborne particles known as PM 2.5, with 22.4 percent originating from coal burning.

M II A II R II K May 29, 2014 4:05 PM

What Happens When You Introduce Airport-Style Security to the World's Busiest Subway

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Beijing’s beleaguered commuters already have to deal overcrowded public transportation, massive traffic jams and air so dirty that biking to work is often not an option. This week brought a new woe: airport-style security at some subway stations, which created massive lines and long waits to get on trains in the first place.

- Even a small malfunction, like a temporary signal failure, can lead to huge crowds on subway platforms. --- “The usual subway security check no longer involves just ‘putting your bags through’ [an X-ray scanner] as commuters now have to be checked as though they are going through airport customs,” The Nanfang Insider reported. Nine stations have instituted the new checks, which according to Beijing police “should not take more than 30 minutes.”


ssiguy May 29, 2014 5:00 PM

I guess that takes the "rapid" out of their rapid transit system........absurd.

amor de cosmos May 29, 2014 5:06 PM


People jam! What congestion looks like without cars (pics)
Zachary Shahan
Transportation / Bikes
May 27, 2014

Traffic congestion isn't much fun, but when it's in cities designed for people, it's immeasurably better. These pics above and below of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Groningen give a sense of that.

M II A II R II K May 30, 2014 11:10 PM

Another Reason Not to Build the Hyperloop

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At a wide-ranging CityLab panel on the future of urban infrastructure, Sir Edward Lister, London's deputy mayor for planning, spoke of the perils of chasing the next big thing. Responding to a question from transit consultant Jarrett Walker about generating support for a new infrastructure project, Lister cautioned against letting official eyes wander too far from the present.

- "The trouble we always have, especially when dealing with government and trying to negotiate funding packages, is you always get this argument: you don't want that scheme because this next scheme is going to be more modern, much faster, much cheaper," he said. "Therefore you kill off the current scheme but you never quite get to the next scheme because another few years have rolled by. That is a danger. I've come to the conclusion that it almost doesn't matter what you build, just build it. It always gets used and it gets used very quickly and fast becomes overcrowded. In any kind of mass transit operation, get moving with whatever you've got, which is current technology."

- Look no further than what London has done with its Overground system to see how simply investing in maintenance can stimulate infrastructure progress. As recently as 2007, that commuter rail network was "in a sorry state," as the Economist wrote just a few days ago. After a series of rather simple fixes — mostly increasing the train frequency and cleaning up the stations — service is booming and people are wondering when the system will expand.

- Even the way cities pay for infrastructure should look backward (or, at least, sideways) to move forward, said Lister. In older days, railways in the United States and Britain "were all built with a profit motive" that relied on capturing land value increases that occurred in the corridor, he said. While rail companies in Asia still use real estate profits to pay for high-quality service, Western operators have stopped capturing the value that transit infrastructure creates.

- "Somewhere along the journey we split land values away from the railway operation, and the railway operation just became a railway operation, and they lost their property arm," he said. "When you look at cities like Hong Kong, what they've done with their metro system, it's fundamentally a property company. They built a metro system on the side. It's there to increase values. We have to return to that. I think that's what we've lost. That connectivity between the two things."


Busy Bee May 30, 2014 11:50 PM

^Always pregnant with the future as the expression goes.

M II A II R II K May 31, 2014 7:06 PM

The Real Rules of Engagement on the Subways of Europe

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Push your way onto a subway train in Copenhagen and you blend in – according to Danish friends it’s the one place in Denmark where mild social aggression is tolerated. Try the same thing in Glasgow and … well, just try it and see. In London, dumped newspapers on trains are a form of courtesy. In Vienna, they are treated like something dead that the cat’s dragged in.

- Manners on London’s Tube system are a typically British brew of tension, tolerance and passive aggression. In some ways, rules can be surprisingly lax. You can eat food, even stinky food, without being reprimanded, though if you’re a woman you risk being shamed for it on social media. Drinking alcohol has fairly recently been banned, but it used to be the accepted rule on weekend nights (as these 1980s photos show). As for littering with newspapers, it’s actually considered polite to dump reading matter for other passengers to pick up, even though it leaves cars looking like a junkyard.

- In the German capital, subway rules are the opposite of London’s. Riders tend to be freaked out by untidiness or disorder, but they aren’t in as much of a hurry. Leave a paper behind on the seat, and you’ll often get barked at – I’ve been snapped at for leaving papers I’d never even touched. Eating food is also a no-no, which is fair enough. If you break the rules, don’t be surprised if Berliners are vocal about it. This is partly because low-level grumpiness is more socially acceptable in Berlin but mainly because, with a moderate crime rate, people just aren’t as scared as each of other there.

- If jamming the doors is taboo in Berlin, in Paris it’s mandatory. Metro doors stay open so briefly before they buzz and slam that it can be nigh impossible for a crowd to get on without someone using a foot as a wedge. This extremely short board time could explain the air of persecution on Paris’ metro: you feel as if the entire system is hectoring you, basically because it is. At the same time, it gives you a chance to show good manners. While officialdom strongly discourages it, it’s considered polite in Paris to hold the doors so everyone behind you has time to jump on too. Fail to do so, and you may pull out of the station watching someone’s shaking fist fade into the distance.

- To a northern European like myself, the Roman metro seems to be a place of no taboo. In London’s rush hour, subway riders stand crushed together in silence. In Rome, they stand crushed together talking at the top of their voices. No one does hushed whispers here, which could explain why no one feels the need to pretend they’re not eavesdropping on each other’s conversations. If it’s considered rude to push onto a Roman metro train before all passengers have alighted, then it’s a rudeness so widely tolerated as to be almost ubiquitous. Getting off a car can be a struggle: so great can be the press of people who can’t be bothered to let you off before they get on. Escalators, meanwhile are stately and almost exclusively for standing on. This might all sound like hell, but Italians sometimes feel the same about London’s Tube, wondering what intense psychic pressure must be in place to enforce all that queuing, shuffling and silence.

- Are you worried about the younger generation’s lack of manners? Then take a ride on the Athens Metro and have your assumptions shaken. In Greece’s capital, it’s younger riders who are generally the more patient and well behaved. Find yourself jostled while getting on a train or notice someone pushing in front of you at a ticket office, and the likelihood is that your antagonists hair will be salt and pepper at least. So why are older Athenians pushier? A possible explanation is that, in a country that became overwhelmingly urban only after World War II, an etiquette system designed for making metropolitan living smoother took a generation or two to develop.


Going off the rails: The Edinburgh trams saga

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Trams will return to Edinburgh's streets for the first time in almost 50 years, when the service begins on Saturday. However, in the decade since the first money was allocated to the project, the price has doubled, the network has halved and it has taken twice as long to build as was first thought.

Edinburgh's tram "network" is now just part of one of the original lines, stretching from the airport to the city centre. It had been intended to reach the waterfront at Leith and Newhaven, and there were to be other lines too, but they fell away as the troubled project rumbled on. The idea of bringing back trams to Edinburgh's congested streets goes back many years but the current saga can be said to have begun in September 2003.


Wizened Variations May 31, 2014 7:39 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 6597364)

Too many people too close together for too long. The security risks are extreme.

I wonder which side of the Xray machine these lines are? Have attaché cases, backpacks, and purses already been checked by security?

Wizened Variations May 31, 2014 7:52 PM

Bicycle, moped, and motorcyle traffic in a huge city.

amor de cosmos Jun 1, 2014 9:06 PM

Video Link


Study finds mode of transportation affects how we feel

CLEMSON — What mode of transportation makes you happiest?

Clemson researchers investigated how emotions like happiness, pain, stress, sadness and fatigue vary during travel and by travel mode in a new study published in the journal Transportation.

Utilizing data from the American Time Use Survey, collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the researchers were able to determine the average mood felt by people during different types of travel.

“We found that people are in the best mood while they are bicycling compared to any other mode of transportation,” said Eric Morris, lead author on the study and assistant professor in Clemson’s planning, development and preservation department.

Morris said that bicyclists tend to be a self-selected group who are very enthusiastic about their mode of transportation.

“Bicyclists are generally younger and physically healthy, which are traits that happier people usually possess,” he said.

Next happiest are car passengers and then car drivers. Bus and train riders experience the most negative emotions, though a small part of this can be attributed to the fact that mass transit is disproportionately used for commuting to and from work, according to the researchers.

Video Link


Originally Posted by Wizened Variations (Post 6600380)
Bicycle, moped, and motorcyle traffic in a huge city.

that's nutty

LMich Jun 2, 2014 8:43 AM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 6600347)
The Real Rules of Engagement on the Subways of Europe

Interesting article. I was surprised when this girl I sat next to on a Paris bus just up and started a conversation. Somehow, I guess she could tell I must not have been from around there, and thought I was rude for not having greeted her first. lol Not that she seemed to be typical, but transit there wasn't nearly as quiet as I was used to.

This is the complete opposite of mass transit where I live, where it is rare to see people chatting each other up on the bus, and you don't make eye contact or smile at someone. There is no flirting on the bus. All of this stuff is all right at bus stops, it's even all right on the bus if you're doing it with the driver, but otherwise, you sit down and shut up, this is even when you get on with friends or loved ones.

Perklol Jun 2, 2014 10:15 AM


Originally Posted by amor de cosmos (Post 6601103)

Yeah right. I thought car drivers were the most miserable because of traffic delays and gridlock.

I'm assuming a suburbanite wrote this "study" to take away funds from mass transit.

M II A II R II K Jun 2, 2014 3:45 PM

Grid-connected Electric Buses Could Displace Diesels

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Researchers at the University of Delaware argue that cleaner electric school buses can make financial sense for school districts if they provide services to grid operators.

- In an economic analysis published in Applied Energy and announced yesterday, researchers found that switching over to a fleet of electric buses, each of which costs more than twice a diesel bus, could save a school $38 million over at typical 14-year lifespan. “It would be cheaper to operate these buses,” said Jeremy Firestone, director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware. “And kids don’t need to be exposed to diesel fumes.”

- The University of Delaware has an ongoing experiment that's at the leading edge of vehicle-to-grid technology. It has 15 electric Mini Cooper sedans that earn money by providing quick bursts of power—as short as a few seconds or as long as several minutes--to balance the local electric grid. The cars’ batteries effectively act as a mini power plant, providing frequency regulation services that are normally provided by fossil fuel plants or very large stationary batteries.

- Electric school buses could provide the same services and, in some ways, are better suited for the task than consumer-owned plug-in cars. Because electric buses are only used for short periods of time, their batteries are typically available for many hours of the day, which makes them more valuable to the local grid operator that would purchase frequency regulation services. Also, fleet owners are more likely to invest in the inverter and control hardware to create two-way connection to the grid.


How Maya Angelou Became San Francisco's First African-American Female Streetcar Conductor

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In 1944, at the age of 16, Maya Angelou walked into Muni's personnel department to ask for an application to become a streetcar conductor. She had moved to San Francisco from St. Louis with her mother, Vivian Baxter (described in today's NYT obit as "beautiful and volatile"), and dropped out of high school two years earlier.

She had always admired the tailored uniforms the female streetcar conductors wore, outfitted with change dispensers on the front, and she thought to herself "that's a job I want." --- But San Francisco's Municipal Railway had hired only a few black people by that point, and they refused even to give Angelou a job application. (Some reports that she was the very first African American hired have been debunked by the MTA, which points to anecdotal evidence that there were a couple before her, but she was likely the first black female.)

She went home to her mother and told her what had happened, and as she recounted to Oprah last year, it was her mother's advice that helped get her the job after at first being denied. --- [My mother] asked me why. "Do you know why?" --- I said, "Yes, because I'm a Negro." She said, "Yes, but do you want the job?" And I said yes, and she said, "Go get it. Here, I'll give you money. Every day, you go down and be there before the secretaries get there. You sit there in the office. You read one of your big, thick Russian books. (I was reading Dostoevsky or Tolstoy or something at the time.) And when they go to lunch, you go. Go to a good restaurant. You know how to order good food. Then go back before the secretaries get back from lunch, and sit there until they leave." I did all of that. They laughed at me. They pushed out their lips and used some negative racial [slurs].... But here's the thing. I sat there because I was afraid to go home. I was afraid to tell my mother that I wasn't as strong as she thought I was. So I sat there for two weeks. Every day. And then after two weeks a man came out of his office and he said, "Come here." And he asked me why I wanted the job, and I said, "I like the uniforms." And I said, "I like people." And so I got the job.


amor de cosmos Jun 3, 2014 7:25 PM


Diesel bus alternative
Electric school buses that power grid could save school districts millions

9:29 a.m., May 28, 2014--Electric school buses that feed the power grid could save school districts millions of dollars — and reduce children’s exposure to diesel fumes — based on recent research by the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE).

A new study examines the cost-effectiveness of electric school buses that discharge their batteries into the electrical grid when not in use and get paid for the service. The technology, called vehicle-to-grid (V2G), was pioneered at UD and is being tested with electric cars in a pilot project.

Adapting the system for school bus fleets is a logical application. School buses generally travel distances within electric vehicles’ battery range, and they are not in use for much of the day. Electric school buses also do not release sooty diesel exhaust, which contains pollutants that can cause respiratory irritation, lung cancer and heart disease.

“I see neighborhood kids waiting for and riding school buses out my window or when walking my dog,” said Jeremy Firestone, CEOE professor of marine policy and director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration. “Electric buses have the benefit of kids not standing around or having their windows open while diesel fumes are being released.”

For the study, researchers analyzed existing diesel school bus routes in a mid-sized suburban school district in Delaware and calculated the costs and benefits of V2G-capable electric bus replacements. Over 14 years, which is the typical lifespan of a bus, a V2G electric bus fleet could save an estimated $38 million.

“I was surprised,” said study lead author Lance Noel. “The savings go through the roof.”

M II A II R II K Jun 4, 2014 3:47 PM

Self-Driving Cars Are Still Cars—Which Means They Won't Improve Your Commute

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If the company wants to revolutionize mobility, it shouldn't waste its time with cars. They're intractably inefficient uses of energy and space, and building our communities around them has failed.

- Google’s cars are electric, but even the best electric cars still fall short of the energy efficiency of comparably advanced buses and trains. And in regions with particularly dirty power supplies, the carbon footprint of electric cars is no smaller than gas-powered cars rated at 31 to 40 miles to the gallon. Mass transit isn't simply more energy efficient. Passenger cars are huge wastes of space—visually, the comparison is comical.

- Google’s promotional video shows its driverless, horseless carriages zipping around empty suburban office parks, but this isn’t what driving looks like to Americans. Driving is a miserable experience inflicted upon 86 percent of us every morning and every afternoon, five days a week. Much of this misery is due to the presence of other people’s cars.

- The notion that hundreds of thousands of Google car pods will glide through cities in humming packs just inches apart is deeply naive. Almost every major city in the U.S. contains the rebuttal to that idea, in the form of new freeways that ere supposed to relieve congestion and improve commute times. When it comes to roads and traffic, more supply means more demand.

- Conversely, if you make driving more expensive and time-consuming, people will seek more efficient, greener alternatives. London knows it and Mike Bloomberg wanted New York to find it out: the best thing you can do to reduce traffic jams is to give people a reason not to get into cars in the first place.

- Cars make sense in rural and otherwise remote parts of America, and it will be a long time, if ever, before we wean our suburbs off its automobile dependence. But our car-centric cities are a problem that needs to be solved, not a status quo that merely needs tweaking. Driving a car isn’t just expensive for you, it imposes costs on other people, too. For instance, in Manhattan, driving a car during the week creates $160 of negative externalities for everyone else.

- Cars stifle, rather than promote, free, individual movement. They inhibit incredibly valuable, often spontaneous social interaction. They tend to entrench rather than blur class barriers. Walking in a pedestrian-friendly city isn’t just more enjoyable than driving. It's also is a minor form of economic stimulus.

- If even Google can't innovate in this space, who can? Elon Musk, for all his faults, has a better understanding of the problem than his Silicon Valley peers. His proposed Hyperloop, which would shuttle passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 35 minutes, is both sensible mass transit—an efficient use of time, space, and energy—and a technological marvel. While Google is busy trying to make cars more boring, Musk has found a way to make mass transit more exciting.


M II A II R II K Jun 4, 2014 11:03 PM

Ontario PC platform gets low grade for transit from Pembina Institute

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The American experience with LRTs shows why it’s so critical to get motorists out of their cars, said Burda. Building new transit isn’t enough to persuade drivers to ride it.

- Motorists tend to view driving as free because the cost of owning and fueling a car is already part of their budget. Switching to transit feels like an added cost. People need to be convinced that transit will save them money and free up time for reading or work.

- “American experts are recognizing that unless you put in mode-shift-based road pricing revenue tools you’re not going to raise the money you need to keep building out the transit, and you’re not going to move people’s behaviour — and that’s what’s really critical,” she said.


amor de cosmos Jun 5, 2014 4:25 PM


Study shows gap between public health and transportation policy
Major roads built in poorest areas

By David Kelly | University Communications

A new study from the University of Colorado Denver shows public health issues are often ignored in many transportation projects, especially when major roads are built through lower-income neighborhoods.

Air pollution, crime and numerous traffic hazards, the study said, point to a serious and persistent gap between public health and planning.

“The public health effects of heavy traffic are broad,” said study author Carolyn McAndrews, PhD, assistant professor at the CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning, one of the largest schools of its kind in the U.S. “Studies have found associations between high-traffic roads and high mortality rates, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, poor birth outcomes and traffic-related injuries.”

McAndrews said that since many neighborhoods along these major roads tend to be non-white and poor, it was time to start viewing this as a social justice issue.

“In my classes I encourage future transportation planners to think of ways planning can improve community health,” she said. “This is something that designers love to do if you give them the chance."

amor de cosmos Jun 8, 2014 6:19 PM

When I think of how a lot of people drive on the ground I always wonder who would get licenses for flying cars:


GF7 Flying Car Reaches 550 MPH in the Air, Then Turns into an Electric Car on the Ground
by Marc Carter, 06/07/14

Designer Greg Brown and engineer Dave Fawcett are finessing a design for a jet-propelled car that can reach speeds up to 550 miles in the air, but then converts into a zero-emissions electric car on the ground. Over the last few years flying cars like the Terrafugia Transistion and the Skylys have provided a realistic glimpse into the future of flying cars. The idea of a jet-propelled flying car has been missing, but the GF7 could bridge that divide if it comes to life.

Brown and Fawcett are currently based in Napa, California where they are hoping to create a four-passenger flying car that can travel up to 1,000 miles in the air, but at the same time easily drive up to 120 miles on the ground.

How does it work? On the ground the GF7 drives like a standard car with its four wheels and wings folded up. It can reach speeds up to 100 mph and the 50 kWh battery pack has a range that’s on par with electric vehicles at between 80-120 miles. Upon take off the wheels retract into the fuselage and the wings fold down with a wing span of 23 feet. The jet engine also recharges the battery pack during flight. Unlike the Terrafugia, the GF7 can fly at altitudes up to 38,000 feet high.


Friday, June 6, 2014
Study: Corrupt States Spend More on Highways
by Angie Schmitt

A new academic study helps explain the enduring political popularity of expensive transportation boondoggles like Birmingham’s $4.7 billion Northern Beltline and Kentucky’s $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges.

According to research published in the journal Public Administration Review, states with higher levels of public corruption spend more money on highways and construction. The study found highway and construction projects and police programs provide the most opportunities for lawmakers to enrich themselves, according to Governing Magazine, and are positively correlated with state levels of corruption. Meanwhile, highly corrupt states also spend relatively less on health, education, and welfare — categories that were less susceptible to graft and bribery, the report found.

Public corruption for each state was ranked based on 25,000 convictions between 1976 and 2008. Overall, the authors found, the 10 most corrupt states spend $1,300 more per person annually than the average state.

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