Thursday, September 15, 2011

What’s the Value of Using a Flawed Forecast? Also, Property Appreciates Near Rail Lines: Study

Today’s Civil Beat Fact Check dissects who said what about Oahu’s anticipated 2030 population. Summarizing:

Cliff Slater and his three fellow rail opponents said in their 8/21 op-ed that the city relied on an “old” forecast in predicting Oahu’s 2030 population would be 1,117,200. The city says it was required by federal authorities to use the earlier forecast and switched when it could to the new one, which forecasts the population to be 1,017,600. Civil Beat bestows a  HALF TRUE  grade for reasons it strives to explain.

Well, what about that “new” forecast, which was published in 2009? How well did it predict Oahu’s population one year later? Not so hot, it turns out, as we noted here on August 30th.

The newer forecast by the state’s Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism said in 2009 that Honolulu County’s 2010 population would be 911,800. The US Census Bureau found 953,207 residents on Oahu in 2010. DBEDT’s predicted growth rate in that decade was 4.2 percent, but the rate actually was more than twice that – 8.8 percent.

Civil Beat also points out the failure of DBEDT’s forecast to come close to the true 2010 population, but then it appears to have made a misstep in projecting Oahu’s 2030 population using that same forecast: “If the new actual population (in 2030) were to be extrapolated using the “new” forecast’s annual growth rates (emphasis added), Honolulu would be home to 1,063,737 people in 2030 – almost exactly halfway between the city’s earlier projection and the new projection.”

Why would Civil Beat use a flawed forecast’s growth rate going forward if it already knows the forecast was wildly off in predicting the growth rate in the 2000-10 years? Using the decade's actual rate of 8.8 percent over the next two decades would put Oahu’s population at more than 100,000 above the newer but already-shown-to-be-flawed DBEDT forecast, which Mr. Slater’s quartet thinks is the better one.

Our grade for the quartet’s population claims is a new category we've created that’s missing in Civil Beat’s Fact Check hierarchy –  MOSTLY FALSE . (In that regard, Civil Beat still hasn't corrected the wildly misleading headline above yesterday's Fact Check that isn't supported by the Check's own "bottom line.")

Rail Boosts Housing Values
A new study by the Center for Housing Policy examined the effect a rail transit line has on the value of nearby housing properties. A StreetsBlog website summarizes the finding:

“According to dozens of studies over decades, a rail station within a short walk can add 6 to 50 percent to home values.”
Not all cities and rail lines enjoy equal housing appreciation, the analysis shows. The study examines the variables.

Bombardier’s Appeal
A Circuit Court judge has denied the appeal filed by losing bidder Bombardier. A company executive said Bombardier is “frustrated” by the ruling and hasn’t yet decided whether to take its complaint to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals.

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