Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Fall 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 Todd for your fine continuing contributions. You are definitely part of the solution.

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.



Urban Sanity: Understanding Urban Mental Health Impacts and How to Create Saner, Happier Cities” ( )

This report examines how urban living affects residents’ mental health and happiness, and ways to create saner, happier cities. Some often-cited studies suggest that urban living increases mental illness and unhappiness, but a critical review indicates that much of this research is incomplete and biased. This report examines specific mechanisms by which urban living can affect mental health and happiness, and identities practical strategies that communities and individuals can use to increase their urban mental health and happiness.

Summarized in:

Important New Report on How Urban Design can Help Improve Urban Mental Health” ( ), Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health.

Urban Sanity: Understanding Urban Mental Health Impacts and How to Create Saner, Happier Cities” ( ), CityFix.

Cities are Good for Mental Health and Happiness, But Only if Designed Properly” ( ), Condo.Ca, Canada’s Condominium Magazine.


The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation” ( ), American Public Transportation Association. This report shows how public transportation can increase safety for users and communities. Public transit travel has about a tenth the traffic casualty (death and injury) rate as automobile travel, and residents of transit-oriented communities have about a fifth the per capita traffic casualty rate as in automobile-oriented areas. These benefits are often overlooked: conventional transit project evaluation seldom considers these traffic safety impacts, and traffic safety programs seldom advocate transit improvements, although it can be a very cost-effective traffic safety strategy, considering all benefits and costs.

Summarized in:

High Quality Public Transportation Can Provide Huge Traffic Safety Benefits” ( ), Planetizen

America Has a Terrible Traffic Safety Record Because We Drive Too Much” ( ), Street Blog.

Investing in Transit Is an Investment in Saving Lives” ( ), Mobilizing the Region.

*    *    *    *    *




Evaluating Middle Tennessee Region Public Transportation Funding Sources” ( ). This report identifies and analyzes potential funding sources that could help finance the local portion of investments needed to develop high-quality public transit services in the Middle Tennessee region. It evaluates 20 potential funding sources according to eight criteria, including potential revenue, predictability and stability, social equity impacts, contributions from non-residents, travel impacts, consistency with economic development objectives, public acceptability, and implementation requirements.

Summarized in:

Study Recommends Transit Funding Sources. Leaders Ponder How to Pay for $6B Plan” ( ).


Nashville is an exciting and fun city. In addition to its great music and food, visit the Nashville Civic Design Center ( ), a wonderful organization working to apply state-of-art urban design, including a program called “Shaping the Healthy City” ( ) which provides detailed analysis of community health risks and pro-health strategies. They produced a beautiful book which cites VTPI research.


Evaluating Return: A Benefit-Cost Calculator for Active Transportation Projects” ( ) by Gigi Cooper and Jennifer Danziger, published in the ITE Journal. This article describes a new tool for measuring walking and bicycling benefits and costs, based on the VTPI report, “Evaluating Active Transportation Benefits and Costs” ( ).


Moving Toward a Sustainable California: Exploring Livability, Accessibility & Prosperity ( ). This major study for the California Department of Transportation developed new transportation performance evaluation methods that incorporate prosperity (economic factors such as income, business, and property values) accessibility (factors affecting people’s ability to access opportunities such as travel time, land use accessibility and public transit availability) and livability (quality of life factors such as affordability, public health, environmental quality and aesthetics). Todd Litman contributed to the study.


Mobilizing Sustainable Transport for Development” ( ), the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport. This comprehensive report identifies transport policies that integrate equitable economic growth, social development, and environmental protection. It cites VTPI research on public transport safety benefits.


50 Steps Toward Carbon-Free Transportation” ( ), Environment America Research & Policy Center . Describes a bold new vision for efficient and low emission transportation – with 50 common-sense policy reforms helping to chart a new way forward, incorporating VTPI research.


Transportation Planning Handbook” ( ), Institute of Transportation Engineers. This comprehensive (1,200 page) reference book presents fundamental transportation planning concepts. It cites numerous VTPI publications, particularly in the Parking chapter.


Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures: Word Cities Report 2016″ ( ), United Nations Habitat. This comprehensive analysis indicates that new urban planning and governance can help create more efficient, equitable and healthy communities. It cites Todd Litman’s report, “Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl” ( ).


The Victoria Transport Policy Institute how has a Wikipedia page ( ).


Recent Planetizen Blogs ( ):


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

*    *    *    *    *




Cities of Tomorrow: New Thinking About Cities” ( ), 9th Local Economic Development Forum, Tbilisi, Georgia. Todd Litman will give a presentation on the roles public transit plays in efficient and equitable cities ( ).


TransportationCamp ( ), 7 January 2017, Arlington, Virginia. Transportation Camps are “unconferences” provide an opportunity for transportation professionals and activists to exchange information on diverse topics selected by participants at the event.


The Transportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting, 10-14 January 2016 in Washington DC ( ). More than 12,000 transportation experts are expected to participate in this annual event.

*    *    *    *    *




Selling Transit Oriented Development: Communicating the Direct Benefits to Households, Businesses and Governments” ( ) presented at the 2016 Los Angeles TOD and Real Estate Development Conference ( ). This presentation described the direct benefits that TOD can provide to residents, businesses and local governments, based on analysis in the recent report, “Selling Smart Growth” ( ).


Sacramento Transit 101” ( ). This workshop by Todd Litman discussed why and how to improve public transit services and create more affordable housing in transit-oriented neighborhoods.

*    *    *    *    *




Safer Cycling through Improved Infrastructure” ( ), American Journal of Public Health. This editorial by professors John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, and associated research articles, provide information on cycling crash trends in North American cities, and ways that cities can increase cycling safety.


Housing Development Toolkit” ( ) identifies practical ways to increase affordability by allowing more compact housing types and reduced parking requirements.


6 Tips For Talking Housing Solutions” ( ).

This Sightline Institute “flashcard” provides great information on how to talk about affordable infill housing in a positive way to neighbors who may be skeptical.


Is Usage-Based Auto Insurance the Gas Tax You’ve Been Waiting For?” ( ).  This article describes various benefits of usage-based (also called “pay-as-you-go” and “per-mile”) vehicle insurance, and recent experience implementing this reform. Since insurance is the second or third largest vehicle expense, after fuel and depreciation, this can give motorists a major new incentive to reduce their driving, providing a number of direct and indirect benefits (see “Distance-based Vehicle Insurance as a TDM Strategy” ).


Benefit-Cost Analysis for Transportation Planning and Public Policy: Towards Multimodal Demand Modeling” ( ). This report by the Mineta Transportation Institute examines existing practices of transportation planning benefit-cost analysis, and ways to make them more multimodal.


Transport Justice: Designing Fair Transportation Systems” ( ). The book presents a novel, and radically progressive, approach to transportation planning, with far-reaching implications for current transport policies. Drawing on philosophies of social justice, the book defines a set of principles for transportation planning and subsequently presents a practical approach to transportation planning based on these principles.


City Planning and Population Health: a Global Challenge” ( ). This article identifies eight integrated regional and local interventions that encourage walking, cycling and public transport use, and reduce private motor vehicle use. Together, they help create healthier and more sustainable cities.


Safer City Streets: Methodology for Developing the Database and Network” ( ). This report provides guidance for the International Transport Forum’s  Safer City Streets project, which helps cities improve their road safety data collection and analysis in order to identify effective urban traffic safety strategies.


Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II” ( ). This Strong Towns book includes outstanding essays such as, “Can you be an engineer and speak out for reform?” “Dealing with Congestion,” and “My Car Pays Cheaper Rent Than Me.”


The High Cost of Buying a Car If You’re Poor” ( ). This column, which includes a link to John Oliver’s segment on auto lending, describes how easy it is for lower-income households to become trapped by high automobile costs.


A 90 Second Lesson in How Parking Can Kill Cities” ( ). This short video describes the impacts of that parking can have on urban efficiency and equity, and better ways to manage parking.


Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities for the United States” ( ), the National Academies of Sciences. This new report, available free as PDF file, offers recommendations to help U.S. cities work toward sustainability, based on lessons learned from nine urban regions. The report recommends that every U.S. city develop a sustainability plan that not only accounts for its own unique characteristics but also adapts strategies that have led to measurable improvements in other cities with similar economic, environmental, and social contexts.


The Portland Plan: Down With McMansions, Up With Abundant Housing Options” ( ). This article describes policy reforms to encourage the development of more, smaller and more affordable housing units in Portland, Oregon neighborhoods. This is part of the Sightline Institute’s excellent series, “Legalizing Inexpensive Housing” ( ).


Low Car(bon) Communities” ( ). Authors Nicole Foletta and Jason Henderson describe examples of cities that are reducing dependency on cars. Innovative and inspirational, these communities provide a rich array of data and metrics for comparison and analysis. This book should be of interest to urban planners, sustainable transportation advocates, and students. Use the code FLR40 at the Routledge site for a 20% discount.


Revitalizing Places: Improving Housing and Neighborhoods from Block to Metropolis” ( ). This insightful, comprehensive and attractive guidebook describes best practices for improving housing and neighborhoods, including densifying existing metropolitan areas, retrofitting existing urban areas, and developing better greenfield sites. Although developed for the “Rethinking Social Housing in Mexico” program, most of the concepts apply to cities around the world.


What’s at Stake? How Decreasing Driving Miles in Massachusetts Will Save Lives, Money, Injuries, and the Environment” ( ), MASSPIRG Education Fund. This report describes and quantifies various economic, social and environmental benefits what could result from policies that reduce driving and improve other modes. It estimates that each one percentage point reduction in vehicle travel below current state forecasts will provide $20 billion worth of savings and benefits.


Access Magazine” ( ). This issue includes several interesting and easy-to-read articles concerning smarter parking solutions.


It’s Time to Rethink How the World’s Great Cities Manage Traffic” ( ). Describes costs of car-dominated communities: motor vehicles have an insatiable appetite for space, and cause health risks.

*    *    *    *    *


Please let us know if you have comments or questions about any information in this newsletter, or if you would like to be removed from our email list. And please pass this newsletter on to others who may find it useful

# # #

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