Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Spring 2016 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.


“Selling Smart Growth: Communicating the Direct Benefits of More Accessible, Multi-Modal Locations to Households, Businesses and Governments”

( ). Summarized in “Selling Smart Growth”

( ).


Households often make trade-offs between housing and transportation costs:

they can choose a lower-priced home at the urban-fringe that has higher transport costs, or pay more for a home in a more accessible and multi-modal, “Smart Growth” neighborhood where transport costs are lower.

Urban fringe homes generally offer more space per dollar, and so appear to be better investments, but there are other economic factors to consider. By shifting household spending from transport to real estate, Smart Growth tends to increase household wealth, and by providing more affordable transport options it increases economic resilience. It increases mobility options for non-drivers, which increases their economic opportunities and reduces drivers’ chauffeuring burdens. Smart Growth reduces residents’

traffic risks, and improves their fitness and health. Smart Growth also increases real estate industry profits, local economic development and property tax revenues. This report examines these factors and describes how to communicate them to consumers, real estate professionals and policy makers.


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<; Todd Litman on the Costs of Congestion, the Drivers of Sprawl and Policies for Smarter Growth” ( ) CityFix Interview. How can we tackle the challenge of traffic congestion?

What is driving urban sprawl? How does public transportation relate to issues of equity? The CityFix sat down with Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, to discuss his thinking on these questions, and how cities can move beyond costly car-oriented development.


“Towards A Sustainable Built Environment For British Columbia: Synthesis Of Findings” ( ), by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, examines how provincial policies can better achieve sustainability objectives such as reducing air pollution emissions and improving public health. Well done Real Estate Foundation!


“Economics of Highway Spending and Traffic Congestion”

( ). Todd Litman’s StrongTowns webinar, which discussed how common methods for evaluating traffic congestion can lead to economically-excessive roadway expansions and vehicle travel. It is part of StrongTown’s ‘No New Roads’ campaign (

). Webinar slides ( ) and bibliography ( ).


“Higher Density Developments Reduce Transportation Costs, Traffic Congestion, Says Study” ( ). This Palmetto Business Daily Report article concerning the costs of sprawl and benefits of compact development quotes Todd Litman.


“We Are Transport! We Have Solutions!”


). CityFix blog describes ‘win-win’ solutions to multiple transportation problems.


Recent Planetizen Blogs ( ):

“Selling Smart Growth” ( )


“Evaluating Affordable Housing Development Strategies”

( )


“Smart Growth Policies for Urban Affordability and Fertility”

( )


“Does Wendell Cox Realize He Just Supported Smart Growth?”

( )


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


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“Selling Transit Oriented Development,” presented at the ‘TOD and Real Estate Development Conference’ ( ).


“TransportationCamp – What Excites You” ( ). This short video shot during the 2016 Washington DC TransportationCamp ( ) asks innovators to describe projects that will make the future of transportation better.


“OECD Roundtable on Income Inequality, Social Inclusion and Mobility”

( ). This Roundtable investigated the distributive impacts of transport decisions and ways that transportation and land use development policies can help achieve social equity (i.e., social inclusion or fairness) goals. Presentations and summary report are posted on the website.

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“Direct Transfer Daily” ( ) is an urban transportation news list that summarizes key articles and reports, including ‘Quote of the Day’ and ‘Most Read’ items. Subscriptions cost $10/month. Use the subscription code “TD34636T” for a 20% discount for the first three months.


Great new tools for measuring urban accessibility:

“Urban Accessibility Explorer” ( ) is the most comprehensive tool for evaluating multi-modal accessibility.


“This Map Wants To Change How You Think About Your Commute; With The Help Of

4.2 Trillion Points Of Data” ( )


“TOD Opportunities in Chicago” ( ) quantifies how transit-oriented development can support regional social and economic development goals.


“All-Transit Tool” ( ) uses General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data to measure transit accessibility and connectivity in U.S. cities.


“Revision” ( ) integrates various data sets to facilitate sustainable communities planning.


“Sugar Access Program” ( ) allows accessibility analysis to be performed in any city.


Great planning resources: “Global Designing Cities Initiative”

( ) and the “National Association of City Transportation Officials” ( ) provide practical guidance for improving urban transport planning and roadway design.

“Parking Basics: Paving the Way for Better Cities!” ( ). This Institute for Transportation and Development Policy report describes why and how to more efficiently manage urban parking in order to achieve economic, social and environmental goals. More efficient management not only reduces parking congestion problems and facility costs, it also helps reduce traffic congestion, accidents, pollution emissions and sprawl-related costs.

Also see our “Parking Management” ( ) report.


” <> Parking Infrastructure:

A Constraint on or Opportunity for Urban Redevelopment? A Study of Los Angeles County Parking Supply and Growth” ( ). This study estimates that Los Angeles County has approximately 18.6 million designated parking spaces, about 3.3 spaces per automobile, including 1.0 residential, 1.7 nonresidential, and 0.6 on-street spaces. In total, 14% of Los Angeles County’s incorporated land is devoted to parking, more than road rights-of-way. The urban core has the greatest density of parking spaces, but suburban areas have greater parking supply growth. This abundant parking supply increases vehicle ownership and use, and so contradicts other planning goals. Also see “Parking Costs”

( ).


“GreenTRIP Connect” ( ) helps users calculate how more accessible locations, affordable homes and traffic reduction strategies can reduce driving and greenhouse gas emissions, and how much money and space can be saved from right-sized parking.


“Rank Eight Congestion Reduction Policies” ( ). This document evaluates potential congestion reduction strategies. It estimates that a combination of cost effective strategies could achieve a 25% reduction in regional vehicle travel and help achieve other economic, social and environmental goals. Summarized in this CityLabs blog: . Also see “Smart Congestion Relief”

( ).


“Increasing Highway Capacity Unlikely to Relieve Traffic Congestion”

( ). This fact sheet explains why urban roadway expansion is unlikely to reduce congestion. It cites our report, ‘Generated Traffic and Induced Travel’ ( ).


“Perspectives on Helping Low-Income Californians Afford Housing”

( ). Also see, ‘Urban Mythbusting’

( ). This study investigates factors that affect housing affordability. It finds that increasing market-rate housing development reduces housing costs for low-income households and can help reduce displacement.


“Legalizing Inexpensive Housing”

( ). This Sightline Institute series describes various policy reforms to allow more affordable housing development.


“Income, Location Efficiency, and VMT: Affordable Housing as a Climate Strategy” ( ). This study uses detailed travel-survey and land-use data to evaluate how affordable-accessible housing can help achieve social equity and environmental goals. Also see our report, “Affordable-Accessible Housing In A Dynamic City”

( ).


“Sustainable Urban Transport Financing from the Sidewalk to the Subway:

Capital, Operations, and Maintenance Financing” ( ).

This World Bank study identifies and evaluates 24 potential urban transportation funding options. Also see our “Local Funding Options for Public Transportation” ( ).


“Calgary, Canada Applies Cost-Based Development Fees” ( ). Calgary development fees now reflect the higher costs of providing public services (water, sewage, roads, etc.) to more dispersed locations ( ), reducing existing subsidies for sprawl. This is consistent with our research on the costs of sprawl and benefits of more compact development ( ). Well done Mayor Nenshi!


“Shared-Use Mobility:


Mobility.pdf> Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit”

( ). This American Public Transportation Association report examines the relationship of public transportation to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, and ridesourcing services such as Uber and Lyft. It indicates that shared modes help households reduced their vehicle ownership and associated costs, and increase public transit use.


“Go LA” ( ) offers information on various urban travel options including ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber, buses, trains, taxis and bicycle commuting. A good example for other cities.


“Urban Access Regulations in Europe” ( ) provides information on policies and programs that restrict vehicle travel in various cities.


“Next Stop Equity: Routes To Fairer Transit Access In The Greater Toronto And Hamilton Area” ( ). This comprehensive (150 page) report evaluates the fairness of public transport service allocation and pricing, and recommends policies to achieve social equity objectives. It cites our transportation equity research ( ).


“Does Walkability Matter? An Examination Of Walkability’s Impact On Housing Values, Foreclosures And Crime” ( ). This academic study found that, all else being equal, higher WalkScore ratings are associated with higher property values, lower housing foreclosure rates, and lower crime rates in Louisville, Kentucky neighborhoods.


“The Value of Cycling: Rapid Evidence Review of the Economic Benefits of Cycling” ( This comprehensive report indicates that cycling provides diverse benefits and helps achieve various planning goals, but conventional analysis tends to undervalue many of these benefits, resulting in underinvestment in walking and cycling. Also see our report, “Evaluating Active Transport Benefits and Costs”

( ).


“Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report”

( ). This report provides great information about active transport trends and programs. It cites our research concerning lower crime rates in more walkable areas due to more “eyes on the street.”


“Future Demand” ( ) by the New Zealand Ministry of Transport. This short video describes the Ministry’s Futures Thinking program, which examines factors that may affect future travel activity. Once again, NZMT demonstrates innovative thinking.


“The Feds Want to Reform the Cult of “Level of Service”

( ). This column discusses changes in the way that transport system performance is evaluated to better support more efficient and multi-modal planning.


“Statement by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) on the Future Direction of Trip Generation” ( ). The ITE is starting a program to improve its trip generation data. Current practices often result in oversized roads and parking facilities, and discourage infill development ( ).


“Accelerating Low-Carbon Development in the World’s Cities”

( ), by the New Climate Economy. This report describes how cities can implement low-carbon urban development strategies using the Compact of Mayors framework.


“Tackling Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change: Levelling the Energy Playing Field” ( ). This Nordic Council of Ministers report describes policies to achieve emission reduction targets by reducing fossil fuel subsidies, investing in energy efficiency, and introducing carbon taxes. It estimates that these strategies can reduce emissions by 11% and provide significant financial savings.


“Does Urban Sprawl Hold Down Upward Mobility?” ( ).

This academic study uses new data sets to measure how land use factors affect economic mobility (the chance that a child born in a lower-income household becomes more economically successful as an adult). It finds that upward mobility is significantly higher in compact areas than sprawling areas due to better job accessibility and more mixed incomes.


“Urban Sprawl as a Risk Factor In Motor Vehicle Crashes”

( ). This study finds that sprawl is associated with significantly higher fatal crash rates due to a combination of increased per capita vehicle travel and higher traffic speeds.


Two of my favorite blogs are Shane Phillips’ “Better Institutions”

( ) and Eric Fischer’s “Experimental Geography” ( ). Both provide thoughtful analysis of urban development policy impacts and options.


“Isochronic World Maps 1914 and 2014” ( ). These two heat-maps show the travel times from London to world destinations (note different time scales). They illustrate the large increase in travel speeds during the last century.

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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.

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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. 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.)

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