Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Winter 2017 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.

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




Cities for Everyone” ( ), a new organization that educates and advocates for housing and transportation affordability. It examines ways that public policies tend to favor more expensive housing and transport over lower-cost alternatives, identifies policy reforms that increase affordability, and encourages citizens to vote for an affordability agenda.

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Reforming Municipal Parking Policies to Align with Strategic Community Goals” ( ). Victoria, Canada is currently engaged in a parking policy review which proposes reducing some off-street parking requirements. These changes are good, but modest. This short report identifies much bolder reforms that would better align parking policies with other community goals. Although written for Victoria, the analysis and recommendations are appropriate for most municipalities.

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

Urban Sanity. Understanding Urban Mental Health Impacts and How to Create Saner, Happier Cities” ( ), in URBANET, which publishes information on municipal and local governance, sustainable urban development and decentralization issues.

These two articles summarized our research ( ) which examines how urban living affects residents’ mental health and happiness, and ways to create saner and happier cities.


Cities Zero in on Road Safety: Ambitious, Rapidly Expanding Vision Zero Movement Seeks to End Vehicular Deaths” ( ). This “In Transition” article concerning the new traffic safety paradigm includes discussion with Todd Litman on ways to increase traffic safety by improving alternative modes (walking, cycling and public transport) and creating more compact, multi-modal communities.


Better Cities, Better Growth: India’s Urban Opportunity” ( ). This major study by the New Climate Economy, the World Resources Institute and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, describes research using night-time satellite images and other data to evaluate development patterns in 479 Indian cities. It incorporates Todd Litman’s research on the costs of sprawl and benefits of compact urban development. The analysis indicates that more efficient development and transport systems can save India between $330 billion and $1.8 trillion annually – up to 6% of national GDP – and provide significant savings for households.


Getting Victoria’s Growth Right” ( ). This article on Victoria regional development policies quotes Todd Litman concerning Smart Growth benefits and affordability strategies.


Are People Driving More or Less? Increase in Vehicle Miles Travelled Not as Steady as it was in the 20th Century” ( ). This article in the National Association of Realtors’ newsletter, ‘On Common Ground,’ discusses changing travel trends and their implications for housing demand.


Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities” ( ) in ‘Environmental Practice.’ 50 free online copies at . This article provides an estimate of the amount of land that is paved for roads and parking facilities in typical urban areas, examines the full economic, social and environmental costs of this impervious surface, and discusses the amount of road and parking land area that can be considered optimal.


Why an Easy Way to Reduce Traffic and Fund Transit will Never Happen in Nashville” ( ). VTPI worked with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce to evaluate potential public transit funding options ( ). A local newspaper reporter investigated a rejected funding option: congestion pricing (road tolls applied on congested roads to reduce traffic volumes to optimal levels) as described in this article.


Atlas of Urban Expansion” ( )

The “Monitoring Global Urban Expansion Program” ( ) is a major study that gathers and analyzes data on a sample of 200 cities around the world. The project used Landsat satellite imagery and census data to analyze how these cities grew between 1990 and 2014. Housing development and affordability surveys investigated how land use policies affect development patterns, home ownership and housing affordability in these cities. Todd Litman supplied this data for Victoria, Canada ( ). This Atlas presents the program’s preliminary results. The “Animations of Urban Growth” ( ) page is especially cool!


Unlocking the Power of Urban Transport Systems for Better Growth and a Better Climate: Technical Note” ( ). This report summarizes the work of the New Climate Economy ( ) and its partners on urban transport, an overview of international collaborative transport initiatives, and recommendations for local, national and international policy-makers. Summarized in, “Cities Are Acting On Climate Change. Will The New Administration Join?” ( ).


The Effects of Long Commutes and What To Do About Them – An Annotated Bibliography” ( ). This report by CloseCommute identifies studies that have analyzed a wide range of negative effects associated with long commutes, ways to quantify those effects, and programs to improve the current situation.


Recent Planetizen Blogs ( ):


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

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Tenth Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum in Asia” ( ), March 14 to 16 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.  The theme is “2030 Road Map for Sustainable Transport: Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Todd Litman will present a keynote speech, “Insight to Implementation of the Bangkok 2020 Declaration ~ Policy Trends and Developments, Challenges and Opportunities.


A pre-event “Contribution of Rural Transport to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” ( ) on March 13, organized by the Research for Community Access Partnership and UNCRD. This event is expected to conclude with the signing of the Vientiane Declaration on Sustainable Rural Transport towards Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ( ). In addition, as a part of the 10th EST Forum, the Vientiane International Mayors Forum ( ) will be held on 15 March 2017. All participating Mayors and local government representatives will be cordially invited to sign the “Kyoto Declaration ~ for the Promotion of Environmentally Sustainable Transport ~ Towards Realizing Resilient, Smart and Liveable Cities in Asia.”

“Harmony Between Urban Growth and Transportation Accessibility”

( ), Smart and Healthy Transport in Cities Conference,  4–5 April 2017 at Parkhotel Plzeň, Czech Republic. Todd Litman will give a presentation on ‘Harmony Between Urban Growth and Transportation Accessibility.’


Moscow Cycling Congress ( ), 14-15 April 2017. The Congress is organized by “Let’s bike it!” ( ) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Foundation ( ), in collaboration with the Russian Ministry of Transport, the Russian Global Environmental Fund and the United Nations Environmental Program. Todd Litman will speak at this event.

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Right-sizing Commercial Parking- With Todd Litman” ( ). 6 February 2017, City of Alexandria, Virginia. Introduction to a review of municipal commercial parking requirements and management strategies.
Transportation Systems & Urban Development Patterns for a One Planet Region” ( ). A good discussion of ways to create more resource-efficient and equitable communities at the ‘One Planet Region’ Community Conversation Series ( at the beautiful Batemen Centre art gallery.

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An Actionable Vision of Transport Decarbonization: Implementing the Paris Agreement in a Global Roadmap Aiming At Net-Zero Emissions Transport,” ( ) for the Global Climate Action Agenda Transport Team. This discussion paper proposes a process to develop a transportation emission reductions action plan between 2020 and 2050 that will achieve targets to limit global temperature increases well below 2°C’ above pre-industrial levels. It describes various strategies that affect all transport sectors, including passenger and freight, urban and rural transport, surface, marine and aviation.


Biketown YYJ” ( ). This rap video offers a positive and humorous perspective on bicycle planning in Victoria, British Columbia. It emphasizes the many benefits to users and communities for improved bicycle conditions and increased cycling activity.


Guidance for Trunkline Main Streets, Michigan Department of Transportation” ( ). Trunkline main streets are highways that pass through urban areas and serve as commercial districts. This document is intended to help communities develop a vision for their trunkline main street corridors that balance various uses and improve multi-modal transportation.


Making the Case for Transportation Language Reform: Removing Bias

( ). Ian Lockwood discusses why and how to reduce biases in transportation planning language that unintentionally favors mobility over accessibility and automobile travel over other modes.


International Green Roof Association Newsletter” ( ). This newsletter describes modern stormwater management strategies that reduce costs and support the natural water cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation.


Unprecedented Spending Trends in America, in One Chart” ( ). This chart by Yuka Kato illustrates U.S. consumer expenditure trends from 1941 to 2014. During this period household spending on housing and transport increased significantly, contributing to unaffordability.


Before/After Images” ( ) shows various urban locations from the same viewpoint at different times, both before and after public realm improvements.


The Case for Healthy Places: Improving Health Outcomes Through Placemaking” ( ). This report describes how placemaking strategies for streets, parks and open spaces, housing projects, and other public realm settings can help improve people’s mental, physical and social health. It translates academic research into practical strategies for community action.


Trends in Walking and Cycling Safety: Recent Evidence From High-Income Countries, With a Focus on the United States and Germany” ( ). “Safer Cycling Through Improved Infrastructure” ( ). “Vienna’s Path to Sustainable Transport” ( ). “Reducing Car Dependence in the Heart of Europe” ( ). These four new journal articles by my friends and colleagues (Ralph Buehler, John Pucher, Alan Altshuler, Regine Gerike, and Thomas Goetschi) describe how cities are improving walking and cycling conditions, and the benefits that result.


Openness to Immigration Drives Economic Success” ( ). City Observatory columnist Joe Cortright examines the economic development benefits of immigration. This research indicates that policies that exclude immigrants are not only mean, they are also economically harmful.


Trump Says Sanctuary Cities are Hotbeds of Crime. Data Say the Opposite” ( ). ‘Sanctuary cities’ that U.S. President Trump characterized as crime incubators are generally safer than other cities according to this analysis of FBI crime data.


On Resistance” ( ). Professor David (‘The Transportist’) Levinson, posted this column which discusses why and how to resist policies that violate the spirit of democracy and moral responsibility.


Empty Spaces: Real parking needs at five TODs” ( ). This study measured parking supply, occupancy and turnover in five transit-oriented developments (TODs). It found that they all generate far fewer vehicle trips than standard guidelines estimate. It found that only 58-84% of parking spaces were occupied during peak periods.


Safe and Sound: International Research on Women’s Personal Safety on Public Transport” ( ). This report investigates international research and media coverage of women’s personal safety when traveling by public transportation, and identifies practical ways to increase women’s security.


Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks” ( ). This guidebook can help small towns and rural communities support safe, accessible, comfortable, and active travel for people of all ages and abilities. It describes examples of innovative and successful bicycling and walking networks in small towns and rural areas.


Moving to Access” ( ) by The Brookings Institution aims to inform and promote access-oriented urban transportation policy, planning, investment, and services. It includes several new reports.


Sustainable Urban Transport Financing from the Sidewalk to the Subway” ( ). Many developing country cities experience an urban transport “underfunding trap” in which they lack revenue to implement transportation improvements that will provide long-term savings and benefits. This study identifies 24 potential urban transport financing options.


Sustainable Transport” ( ). The latest edition of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy’s magazine includes useful and inspiring information on transportation innovations around the world.


Developing Voluntary Global Performance Targets for Road Safety Risk Factors and Service Delivery Mechanisms” ( ). This World Health Organization report identifies ways to plan and evaluate traffic safety. Unfortunately, it considers “road safety” rather than “transportation system safety” and so fails to consider how non-road policies, such as transport pricing reforms, public transit service improvements and Smart Growth development policies can reduce per capita traffic casualty rates. According to our research ( and ), transportation demand management strategies are essential for achieving traffic safety goals, and these policies provide large co-benefits besides traffic safety. Unfortunately, they tend to be overlooked in conventional traffic safety programs which focus on safer driving rather than safer transportation systems. Here are the Independent Council for Road Safety International’s critical comments ( ).

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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

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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