Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Fall 2014 Newsletter

This carefully compiled seasonal report from Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute is a fine tool and up to date source guide for researchers and policy makers worldwide. We are pleased to present it in its entirety here, together with references you will find handy to take these entries further. Thanks for your fine continuing work Todd.

Vtpi Litman Canada

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transportation problems. The VTPI website ( ) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues. VTPI also provides consulting services.



Global Commission on the Economy and Climate ( ) is a major new international initiative to provide independent and authoritative evidence on actions which strengthen economic performance and reduce climate change risks. The Commission’s report, “Better Growth, Better Climate” sets out a ten-point Global Action Plan for governments and businesses to secure economic development in a low-carbon economy. Chapter 2 ( ) explores the roles that resource-efficient cities can play in achieving these goals. It incorporates a series of reports by the London School of Economics Cities program ( ):

  1. “Cities and the New Climate Economy: the Transformative Role of Global Urban Growth” ( )
  2. “Steering Urban Growth: Governance, Policy and Finance” ( )
  3. “Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form ( )

Land Transport’s Contribution To A 2°C Target: Key Messages On Mitigation Potential, Institutions And Financing Of Low-Carbon Land Transport For Policy Makers On Transport And Climate Change ( ). This report by the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) argues that the transport sector can make a substantial contribution to climate change emission reduction targets by applying existing, cost-effective transportation emission reduction strategies. Also see, A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts And Potential For More Public Transport, Walking, And Cycling With Lower Car Use ( ).

Transport‘ chapter of the “Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change,” ( ) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concludes that a range of integrated policies can help reduce transport carbon emissions and provide significant co‐benefits.

“Gasoline Prices And Road Fatalities: International Evidence,” Economic Inquiry ( ). This study utilizes two decades of data for 144 countries to calculate the international estimates of the gasoline price elasticity of road fatalities. The results suggest that each 10% increase in gasoline pump prices reduces traffic fatalities 3%–6%, so approximately 35,000 road deaths per year could be avoided by the removal of global fuel subsidies.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Change In Direction?” ( ). This infographic by the Global Subsidies Initiative illustrates the huge subsidies that governments currently provide to fossil fuel production and consumption (estimated at US$548 billion in 2013), their economic and environmental harms and inequity (wealthy people benefit most), and how governments reform them. Reducing these subsidies can reduce climate change emissions and provide other economic, social and environmental benefits.

Menos Cajones, Más Ciudad” (“Less Parking, More City”) ( ), by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Mexico City proposes various parking policy reforms. It describes the importance of parking management to help create more compact and mixed, and less congested and automobile dependence cities.

Bus Karo 2.0 – Case Studies from India” ( ), by EMBARQ India provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning and operations, including the design of routes and support infrastructure, operations management, driving training, technology applications, branding and marketing, and financing models. It uses case studies from various Indian cities to demonstrate the large efficiency gains and benefits that BRT systems can provide.

Urban Mobility Plans” ( ). Urban mobility plans are comprehensive plans that identify urban transportation problems and support development of integrated solutions. This report describes specific policies and planning practices that can maximize urban transport system efficiency.

New Tool Maps Bay Area’s Expensive, Unused Parking” ( ). The GreenTrips Parking Database ( ) measures the number of parking spaces per unit, their occupancy rates, and the cost of that unused spaces for various residential buildings in the San Francisco Bay area. The results indicate that parking requirements can be substantially reduced, increasing housing affordability.

Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand: Explores the Underlying Relationships Among Households, Firms, and Travel Demand”  ( ). This report documents the findings of a major project to help practitioners understand how smart growth development effects travel activity. It includes a user-friendly software tool that can be used to evaluate the impact of smart growth policies on regional travel demand.

“Does Active Commuting Improve Psychological Wellbeing? Longitudinal Evidence from Eighteen Waves of the British Household Panel Survey,” ( ). Data from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey indicates that after accounting for various potential confounding variables relating to work, residence and health, overall psychological wellbeing was significantly higher for active modes commuters compared to car travel or public transport.

Evaluating the Impact of Complete Streets Initiatives” ( ), by the Center for Inclusive Design & Environmental Access at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, describes a framework for evaluating various complete streets project outputs (e.g., miles of on-street bicycle routes, number of crosswalk enhancements, installed curb ramps) and outcomes (e.g., level of service, crash and injury data, mode share, perceived safety, citizen satisfaction).

“A Multi-Modal Approach To Economic Development In The Metropolitan Area Transportation Planning Process, ( ), by the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Planning summarizes research on methods for incorporating economic development goals into regional transport planning.

“Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth” ( ), by Cushman & Wakefield Research, a major real estate consulting firm, looks at transportation and land use policy innovations that can increase economic productivity and urban livability by improving transport options and serve the demand for more compact development.

“Need For A Holistic Assessment Of Urban Mobility Measures – Review Of Existing Methods And Design Of A Simplified Approach” ( ). This paper evaluates current tools used to assess sustainable mobility. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is often applied to large-scale infrastructure projects, but does not capture all relevant local impacts well. Based on this analyses, a holistic approach for project appraisal is proposed, consisting of aspects of a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and CBA methods and applicable to a variety of urban mobility measures. Also see, “Impact Assessment Handbook: Practitioners’ Handbook For Cost Benefit And Impact Analysis Of Innovative Urban Transport Measures,” TIDE (Transport Innovation Deployment for Europe) Project ( ).

Subsidizing Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse” ( , by the Transit Center and the Frontier Group, critiques U.S. federal tax policy which makes parking an untaxed employee benefit. The analysis estimates that this tax benefit increases 820,000 urban automobile commutes, and is regressive overall since more affluent commuters capture the greatest financial benefit.

Trip Generation for Smart Growth Projects” ( ). Researchers Robert J. Schneider, Susan L. Handy and Kevan Shafizadeh developed a new, more rigorous data collection method to count vehicle trips at urban sites. The results indicate that commonly-used trip generation prediction models significantly overestimate trip generation in smart growth locations, by an average of 2.3 times at the sites studied. Also see the “Smart Growth Trip-Generation Adjustment Tool” ( ). Most of these findings are transferable to parking generation analysis.

Phantom Trips: Overestimating the Traffic Impacts of New Development” ( ), summary at This study by Professor Adam Millard-Ball critically examines vehicle trip generation prediction methods. It found that they often:

  • Overestimate trip generation in smart growth locations.
  • Use biased samples, since surveys are generally performed at “successful” sites.
  • Assume that any trips made from a new building are “new” trips, rather than shifts of existing regional trips that would occur if the building had not been constructed (defined as “average” rather than “marginal” trips).

As a result of these factors the author concludes that current planning practices often result in economically-excessive urban roadway capacity. This is further evidence that smart growth development can provide large benefits by reducing motor vehicle ownership and use, and associated costs, and that current planning practices are significantly biased in favor of sprawl and automobile-dependency.

Infrastructure Crisis, Sustainable Solutions: Rethinking Our Infrastructure Investment Strategies (  ), by the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, distills the insights of the Pacific Northwest’s top thought leaders concerning ways to make infrastructure development more sustainable and resilient.

“Handbook for Corridor Capacity Evaluation: WSDOT’s Methods For Comprehensive Analysis Of Multimodal State Highway System Performance” ( ), by the Washington State Department of Transportation describes innovative approaches to multimodal system performance evaluation, including our maximum throughput philosophy, multimodal performance measures, and associated thresholds.

“How Often Do Cities Mandate Smart Growth or Green Building?” ( ), by Michael Lewyn and Kristoffer Jackson evaluates the prevalence of various types of regulations and their impacts. It finds that regulations which encourage sprawl, including minimum parking requirements and maximum density limits, are common while their converse, parking maxima and density minima are uncommon.

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Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting ( ).

Sustainable Transportation Indicators & Measures – From Meta to Local Perspectives” (MSS15-020), Session 677, Tuesday, 3:45-5:30pm, Todd Litman presiding.

These presentations explore the concept of sustainable indicators and performance measures from a board meta-framework to local perspectives and tools that help integrate sustainability objectives into agency planning (using case study examples of Buffalo, NY and Santa Cruz, CA).

Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens” (15-4458), Session 588, Research on Social and Economic Factors of Transportation, Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:45AM – 12:30PM ( ).

Household chauffeuring (also called escort trips) refers to personal motor vehicle trips specifically made to transport a non-driver. This paper develops a Chauffeuring Burden Index which can be used to quantify chauffeuring costs and therefore the savings and benefits of transport improvements that reduce chauffeuring burdens. This analysis indicates that in automobile dependent communities chauffeuring costs often exceed congestion costs.

Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning” (15-3326), Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes Committee, Tuesday, January 13, 2015 1:30PM – 5:30PM ( ).

This paper explores the impacts that autonomous (also called self-driving, driverless or robotic) vehicles are likely to have on travel demands and transportation planning. It discusses autonomous vehicle benefits and costs, predicts their likely implementation, and explores how they will affect planning decisions such as optimal road, parking and public transit supply. The analysis indicates that some benefits, such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the 2020s or 2030s, but most impacts, including reduced traffic and parking congestion (and therefore road and parking facility supply requirements), independent mobility for low-income people (and therefore reduced need to subsidize transit), increased safety, energy conservation and pollution reductions, will only be significant when autonomous vehicles become common and affordable, probably in the 2040s to 2060s, and some benefits may require prohibiting human-driven vehicles on certain roadways, which could take longer.

TRB Sustainability Measurement Subcommittee” (ADD40(1)), Wednesday,  January 14, at 4.30 – 6:00 PM, at the Marriott Marquis, Independence D (M4), Presiding: Dan Hardy; Henrik Gudmundsson. This replaces the Sustainable Transportation Indicators subcommittee. It has the following scope: “To advance the development of conceptual and operational elements for measuring and assessing the sustainability of transportation systems, policies, programs and projects.  The Subcommittee will collect, review, refine, and disseminate knowledge on evolving criteria, standards, and good practice for measuring and rating sustainability with the aim of broadening awareness, and helping to advance, the state of the practice.”

Next-Generation Transportation Certificate: Transportation That Will Stand Up To The Challenges Of The Future ( ). Todd Litman is an instructor in Simon Fraser University’s new online program designed to help mid-career professionals develop and apply new transportation strategies.

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The New Transit Safety Narrative” ( ) , by Todd Litman, Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 121-141.

Public transportation is, overall, a relatively safe (low crash risk) and secure (low crime risk) transport mode. Transit travel has about one-tenth the traffic casualty (injury or death) rate as automobile travel, and residents of transit-oriented communities have about one-fifth the per capita crash casualty rate as in automobile-oriented communities. Transit also tends to have lower overall crime rates than automobile travel, and transit improvements can help reduce overall crime risk by improving surveillance and economic opportunities for at-risk populations. Despite its relative safety and security, many people consider transit travel dangerous and are reluctant to use it or support service expansions in their communities. Various factors contribute to this excessive fear, including the nature of transit travel, heavy media coverage of transit-related crashes and crimes, and conventional traffic safety messages that emphasize danger rather than safety. Transit agencies can help create a new transit safety narrative by better communicating transit’s overall safety and security impacts and providing better guidance concerning how users and communities can enhance transit safety and security.

Playing a CRITICAL ROLE: Author And Researcher Todd Litman On The Future Of Transportation And Why So Much Of It Depends On Parking” ( ), in “The Parking Professional,” the official magazine of the International Parking Institute (, November 2014. This article discusses ways that more efficient parking management can help reduce traffic problems, support compact development, increase housing affordability, support efficient economic growth, and help achieve other planning objectives.

Sustainable Transportation: New Kid On The Block,‘ in “Transportation in Canada: Transforming the Fabric of our Land” ( ), Transportation Association of Canada (TAC). This book was published as part of TAC’s centennial celebration ( ). This chapter describes how sustainable transportation principles are being incorporated into Canadian transport policy.

Social Exclusion and Transportation Services: A Case Study of Unskilled Migrant Workers in South Korea” ( ), “Habitat International,” Vol. 44, October 2014, Pages 482-490, by Younshik Chung , Keechoo Choi, Jungsik Park and Todd Litman.

Abstract: As a progressive and open society, South Korea recognizes the importance of providing public services that respond to the needs of disadvantaged groups, reflecting principles of social justice and community inclusion. Korea has a growing foreign population, including many low-income migrant workers. This study investigates the transportation demands and problems of these workers, and identifies potential ways to better meet their travel needs. It is based on a survey of 300 randomly-selected immigrant workers living on the outskirts of Seoul. The survey investigated respondents’ ability to communicate in Korean, their knowledge of transportation services and traffic regulations, and their travel demands. Various transportation problems that these workers often face, and potential policy reforms to address these problems were identified. This study indicates that many new foreign workers could benefit from information resources and education programs on Korean language, transportation services, traffic rules and pedestrian safety. The topic is a relatively unexplored research subject; most previous research on low-income migrant population transport demands and improvement strategies is from European and North America.

Chauffeuring The Kids Isn’t Just A Pain; It’s A Major Expense” ( ), by Don Cayo. This Vancouver Sun Newspaper article summarizes findings from the paper, “Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens: Understanding Direct and Indirect Costs of Transporting Non-Drivers” ( ) which estimates direct and indirect costs of chauffeuring non-drivers.

Recent Planetizen Blogs ( ):

“Land For Vehicles Or People?” ( )

“Climate Change Targets? No Problem! We Have Win-Win Solutions” ( )

“How Not To Measure Traffic Congestion—Hold the Hyperbole, Please!” ( )

“Reform Transport Engineering: Expand Beyond Just Roadway Level of Service (LOS) Ratings” ( )


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About the author:

Todd Litman is founder and executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transport problems. His work helps to expand the range of impacts and options considered in transportation decision-making, improve evaluation techniques, and make specialized technical concepts accessible to a larger audience. The VTPI website ( ) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues. VTPI also provides consulting services. He can be reached at: 1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada. Email: Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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