Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Summer 2015 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 contributions 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.


When Are Bus Lanes Warranted? Considering Economic Efficiency, Social Equity and Strategic Planning Goals” ( ).

This report describes a framework for determining when bus lanes are warranted. Bus lanes increase urban transport system efficiency and equity by favoring higher value trips and more space-efficient modes over lower-value trips and space-intensive modes. Bus lanes can carry more passengers than general traffic lanes, and so increase total capacity (people per traffic lane), increase transit system operating efficiency, directly benefit bus passengers, cause travelers to shift from automobile to transit which reduces various transportation problems, and support more transit-oriented development. This paper examines how these impacts are considered in conventional planning, describes examples of bus lane planning and evaluation, and discusses ways to optimize their implementation. This analysis suggests that bus lanes are generally warranted where, after all economically justified pro-transit policies are implemented, they would attract more than 800 peak-hour passengers (about 20 buses) on surface streets or 1,800 peak-hour passengers (about 40 buses) on grade-separated highways, since they carry more passengers than a general traffic lane, and so save total travel time. Bus lanes are often justified with even lower ridership levels, due to the additional indirect benefits provided by reduced urban-peak automobile travel. Comprehensive evaluation can justify extensive bus lane networks in most cities, particularly rapidly-growing cities in developing countries.

For an application of this analysis see, “The Case For Bus-Only Lanes on Georgia Street: An Observational Study” ( )

*    *    *    *    *



Your Commute Could Help You Lose Weight: Commuters Who Took Public Transit, Walked Or Biked Lost Pounds Compared With People Who Drove, Research Found” ( ), ‘Wall Street Journal,’ 11 August 2015.

“Marketers of bus and light-rail systems keep falling back on public transit as a way to reduce congestion or air pollution,” says consultant Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute in Victoria, B.C. “They tend to overlook what I consider to be the most significant benefits from users’ perspective.” Among those, he says, is that public-transit commuting will ‘make you look better in shorts.'”

Lattes And Luxury Give Public Transport A Tick: Buses And Trains With Espresso Machines, Phone-Charging Portals And Fold-Down Tables Should Be Part Of The Public Transport Network In Cities Such As Perth, Says A Visiting Transport Expert” ( ).

A “Western Australian” newspaper interview examined ideas for making public transit more comfortable and convenient.


Autonomous Vehicles Are a Traffic Solution Only Alongside Better City Planning” ( ). This article concludes, based on VTPI analysis, that autonomous vehicles may substitute for public transit on low-ridership routes, but cannot solve urban traffic congestion.


Commuting Apps, Technology Take On Urban Traffic: The Future Of Traffic: Technology Could Help Solve Congestion In Large Cities” ( ) and “Self-Driving Cars Confront Urban Traffic Congestion: Does Impact Depend On Whether These Autonomous Vehicles Are Privately Owned Or Not?” ( ). These two articles by Daniel Schwartz of CBC News explore how new technologies are affecting how and how much people travel, and resulting costs. Key takeaway: new technologies are unlikely to eliminate demand for walking, bicycling or public transit.

Why Smart Growth Cities Are Safer, Healthier, and Wealthier” ( ). This City Fix article summarizes our recent study, Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl ( ), produced in conjunction with the London School of Economics for the New Climate Economy ( ).

Why Canada Has Fallen So Far Behind On Public Transit. ‘Electoral Alliances And Political Gains,’ Are Driving New Transit, Not Smart Decision Making” ( ). This CBC article describes the obstacles to more rational public transit funding in Canada.

Recent Planetizen Blogs ( ):

“Smart Planning for Economic Opportunity” ( )

“More Rational Analysis Of Seniors’ Driving Risks And Safety Strategies” ( )
“When is a Bus Lane Warranted?” ( )

“Way to Go, Göteborg!” (

“Self-Fulfilling Automobile Dependency” ( )

Let’s be friends. Todd Litman regularly posts on his Facebook page ( ). Befriend him now!

*    *    *    *    *



Change for Parking Parking Expert Panel” ( ),

June 2, Oakland, California. This panel, included professors Donald Shoup and Betty Deakin, Meea Kang, and Todd Litman, discussed the region’s variable parking pricing research program ( ), which is testing innovative solutions to parking problems. A video is available at .

A New Traffic Safety Agenda: Incorporating Transportation Demand Management Safety Strategies” ( ), presented at the Annual International Conference on Transportation, 8-11 June, Athens, Greece ( ).

This research indicates that vehicle travel reduction strategies, such as improved public transit services, transport pricing reforms and smart growth development policies, can provide large traffic safety benefits: residents of more multi-modal communities have about a fifth the per capita traffic casualty rate as automobile-oriented communities, and many policies that encourage use of alternative modes also increase transport safety and security. However, these benefits are often overlooked in conventional traffic safety planning. This presentation proposes a new traffic safety agenda. It describes a comprehensive framework for comparing the full benefits of potential traffic safety strategies, including indirect costs and benefits.

Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens: Understanding Direct and Indirect Costs of Transporting Non-Drivers” ( ), presented at the ITEA Annual Conference and Summer School, Kuhmo Nectar ( ), June 2015, Oslo, Norway.

This report identifies factors that affect the amount of chauffeuring that occurs in a community, the full costs of that travel, 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, and motorists often benefit from improved transport options that reduce their chauffeuring burdens even if they do not use those options themselves.

Urban Transportation Innovations: A New Paradigm for Efficient and Equitable Cities” ( ) presented at the Mobility in Smart Cities Seminar, ( ), June 23, Gothenburg, Sweden, as part of the Volvo Round the World Ocean Race final celebration.


Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Appraisal and Evaluation Seminar” The Western Australia Department of Transport is developing the “Perth Transport Plan” ( ) which investigates how the region’s largest city, Perth, can efficiently accommodate population growth. Todd Litman was invited to help lead a seminar to identify and prioritize solutions. Perth and nearby Fremantle are lovely. They are developing innovative transportation policies including train and bus service improvements, and parking management programs.


Working Session On The Decarbonization Of Road Transport ( )

In April, Todd Litman participated in a workshop on “Decarbonizing Road Transportation” for the Québec government’s efforts to develop a new, more integrated provincial energy policy. A video of the session is now available ( ). His presentation, from minutes 18 to 26, emphasized win-win emission reduction strategies ( ) which help achieve other planning objectives, such as reducing traffic and parking congestion, saving money, reducing traffic accidents and improving mobility for non-drivers, in addition to energy conservation and emission reductions.

Todd Litman was appointed to the Victoria Housing Affordability Task Force ( ) which developed practical recommendations for increasing the supply of lower-priced housing. He reports, “Overall, it was a great experience and I’m happy with the results. However, I think we could have done more, particularly reforms to reduce parking requirements and to allow incremental increases in building heights and densities to support Missing Middle Housing ( ).” For more information on this subject see “Affordable-Accessible Housing in a Dynamic City” ( ).

*    *    *    *    *



Threadbo 14 Conference, August 2015, Santiago, Chile ( ). Todd Litman will present papers on “Comprehensive Evaluation of Completes Streets Policies: The Value of Designing Roads For Diverse Modes, Users and Activities ( )” and “When Are Bus Lanes Warranted? Considering Economic Efficiency, Social Equity and Strategic Planning Goals” ( ).

Cities and Transport International Congress ( ), Embarq Brazil, 10 Year Anniversary, 9-11 September 2015, Rio de Janeiro. Will present, “Transportation Demand Management In Contraposition to Congestions.” Hear from over 80 experts about successful strategies and best practices for making innovative and sustainable urban solutions work on the ground, including Jaime Lerner, Ken Livingstone, Enrique Peñalosa, Mary Jane Ortega, and other internationally recognized mayors speak about their experiences.

Carsharing Conference ( ), September 22-23, Vancouver, Canada.  This two-day conference will share information on best practices for integrating shared-use mobility into urban transport planning and management. Todd Litman will discuss the importance of quality research, and efficient use of public space for shared mobility.

*    *    *    *    *



The Overhead Wire” by Direct Transfer ( ) is a terrific daily complication of news related to transportation and land use planning innovations.

Living Transport” ( ) is a website about living and about transport, and especially about how important it is to fit the two together.

Urban Accessibility Explorer” ( ). This powerful new accessibility mapping system measures the number of activities – including jobs, schools, parks, stores and libraries – that can be reached by residents of a specified neighborhood within a given amount of travel time by a particular mode and time of day, in the Chicago Metropolitan area. This reflects state-of-art urban accessibility analysis.

Master of Sustainable Transportation ( ) is the University of Washington’s multidisciplinary online program that helps students learn how to apply sustainability principles in transport planning, policy, research and analysis. Application deadline is September 15.

Next-Generation Transportation ( ) is Simon Fraser University’s online program designed to help mid-career professionals use innovative transportation strategies to create more livable and sustainable cities. Application deadline is September 15.

Imagining Livability Design Collection” ( ) is a 38-page visual portfolio of tools and transformations for creating more livable communities. There’s something for every place and everybody! Also see: the AARP “Livable Communities Website” ( )

Seizing the Global Opportunity: Partnerships for Better Growth and a Better Climate” ( ), by Nick Godfrey. Climate-smart actions—such as reforming fossil fuel subsidies, investing in public transport and building efficiency —could provide cities with trillions of dollars in net savings and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Assessment of the Air Quality Effects of Pedestrianization on Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula” ( ). Since 2005, Istanbul has been pedestrianizing select areas on the city’s Historic Peninsula. This study indicates that this has provided significant benefits including increased economic activity, reduced pollution and increased public fitness and health.

Collection Of Existing Good Practice Implementations In Parking Management” ( ). This website provides detailed information and case studies concerning innovative parking management strategies suitable for implementation.

Cities Safer by Design: Urban Design Recommendations for Healthier Cities, Fewer Traffic Fatalities” ( ).  This new guidebook describes how improved street design and smart development can significantly reduce urban traffic risks. It describes 34 different design elements to improve safety and quality of life.

White Paper: Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation” ( ). This report examines potential methods for evaluating nonmotorized transport economic benefits, including user savings, benefits to businesses, economic benefits from reduced vehicle traffic, plus health and environmental benefits.

Active Cities Report: A Guide for City Leaders” ( ), by Designed to Move ( ), describes why and how to create cities where physical activity is designed into daily life. Also see, “Co-Benefits Of Designing Communities For Active Living: An Exploration Of Literature” ( ).

Cycling in Christchurch Overseas Learnings” ( ) includes insights concerning best practices for cycling facility planning and design by LennyBoy, University of Canterbury civil engineering professor Glen Koorey, who recently spent three-months touring North American and European cities to investigate. Well done, Glen!

Density: Drivers, Dividends and Debates” ( ). This report by Greg Clark and Emily Moir, examines how density is measured, its economic, social and environmental impacts, and factors to consider when evaluating optional urban densities.

The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies” ( ). This Mineta Transportation Institute report presents the findings from a comprehensive study of public transit economic impacts. It concludes that transit benefits often substantially exceed costs in both rural and small urban areas. Transit typically pays for itself in congestion relief benefits for mid- to large-sized urban areas. Transit saves users money, increases economic opportunity and productivity. Transit reduces traffic accidents, increases public fitness, and improves health care access.

Income, Location Efficiency, and VMT: Affordable Housing as a Climate Strategy” ( ). This research by Gregory L. Newmark and Peter M. Haas for the California Housing Partnership concludes that accessible-affordable housing (affordable housing in accessible, multimodal neighborhoods) helps save money and reduce pollution emissions. Affordable housing is essential to maintaining economic opportunities for lower-income households. Also see “Smart Planning For Economic Opportunity” ( ).

The End of Automobile Dependence: How Cities Are Moving Beyond Car-Based Planning” ( ). This latest book by professors Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy is the third in their trilogy, and like all good trilogies is about the rise and decline of an empire. It illuminates how the decline of the automobile empire is a positive development overall, and explain how cities can achieve the most productive and sustainable outcomes during this time of fundamental change.

America in 2015: A ULI Survey of Views on Housing, Transportation, and Community” ( ). This report by the Urban Land Institute examines young people’s preferences. It finds that many millennials prefer walkable, bikable communities, and 63% would like to live where they do not need a car often.

Citi Bike: The First Two Years” ( ). In 2013, New York City launched Citi Bike, the largest bike share program in the United States. This study examines the first two years of Citi Bike and its role in New York City mobility. It concludes that Citi Bike has become an integral part of New York’s transportation culture.

Would You Drive Less If You Paid for Insurance by the Mile?” ( ). Metromile is a new insurance company that bases premiums on the amount a vehicle is driven each month, and so gives motorists a new opportunity to save money when they reduce their mileage, providing financial savings plus reductions in accidents, congestion and pollution emissions.

Pricing Freight Transport to Account for External Costs” ( ). This Congressional Budget Office study describes and estimates external costs of freight transport. It finds that net external costs represent about 20% of total truck transport costs and 11% of rail costs. It examines policy options to address those unpriced external costs and increase transport system efficiency.

*    *    *    *    *

Please let us know if you have comments or questions about any information in this newsletter. And please pass this newsletter on to others who may find it useful.

# # #

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. He can be reached at:  Email: Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560

# # #

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.)

View complete profile




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s