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.
The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transportation problems. The VTPI website (http://www.vtpi.org ) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues. VTPI also provides consulting services.
NEW VTPI REPORTS
“Evaluating Public Transit Criticism: Systematic Analysis of Political Attacks on High Quality Transit and How Transportation Professionals Can Effectively Respond” (http://www.vtpi.org/railcrit.pdf ). High quality public transit, such as urban rail and Bus Rapid Transit, and Transit Oriented Development (TOD), can provide many benefits, including direct benefits to users and indirect benefits to other members of society. There is evidence of growing consumer demand for these options. As a result, many communities are investing significant resources to improve transit services and encourage TOD. A small but vocal group of critics attack these efforts. Critics argue that transit service improvements attract few riders, provide few benefits, are not cost effective, and are unfair to low-income residents and motorists. This report systematically evaluates these claims. Many of the critics’ arguments are based on inaccurate, incomplete or biased information. This report describes appropriate responses to inaccurate criticisms. This should be of interest to transportation professionals, public transit advocates, and anybody interested in determining optimal investments in transit service improvements and TOD.
“A New Traffic Safety Paradigm” (http://www.vtpi.org/ntsp.pdf ). Despite decades of effort to increase traffic safety, motor vehicle accidents continue to impose high costs, particularly in the U.S. New strategies are needed to achieve ambitious traffic safety targets such as Vision Zero. Recent research improves our understanding of how transportation and land use factors affect traffic risks, and therefore how transport and development policy decisions can help increase safety. Applying this knowledge requires a paradigm shift: The current paradigm favors targeted safety programs that reduce special risks such as youth, senior and impaired driving, a new paradigm recognizes that all vehicle travel imposes risks, and so supports vehicle travel reduction strategies such as more multi-modal planning, efficient transport pricing, Smart Growth development policies, and other TDM strategies.
“Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Implementation Possibilities for Pay-to-save Transportation Price-shifting Strategies” (www.vtpi.org/G&E_GHG.pdf and www.vtpi.org/Greenberg&Evans_GHG_Policies.pdf ), by Allen Greenberg and John (Jay) Evans. This report and presentation estimate the GHG emissions reductions that could be achieved by a bundle of price-shifting policies (no net increase in consumer costs), including pay-as-you-drive-and-you-save (PAYDAYS) car insurance, parking cash-out, and the conversion of new vehicle sales taxes to mileage taxes designed to raise equivalent revenue. These policies could be implemented by federal or state legislation or regulation. The analysis indicates that this package could reduce over two-thirds of the emission reductions provided by the EPA’s current Clean Power Plan Rule, and far more than the emissions reductions by a $50 per ton CO2e surcharge on transportation fuels.
“Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance in BC – Backgrounder” (http://vtpi.org/PAYD%20in%20BC%20Backgrounder.pdf ). ‘Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) insurance is the best transportation policy reform you’ve probably never heard of.’ This short report describes why and how to implement PAYD insurance pricing for affordability, safety and emission reduction’s sake. This is a timely issue. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has applied for a 6.4% vehicle insurance rate increase (http://bit.ly/2BGVH4L ). As an intervener status, Todd Litman can request information and provide testimony concerning how vehicle travel affects crash rates, and therefore the actuarial justification for PAYD pricing.
“Reforming Municipal Parking Policies to Align With Strategic Community Goals” (http://www.vtpi.org/vpr.pdf ). The City of Victoria 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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PUBLISHED & PRESENTED ELSEWHERE
“Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns: A Vital Mobility Link” (www.trb.org/main/blurbs/176733.aspx). This report by Todd Litman for the American Public Transportation Association describes the important roles that public transit plays in small towns and rural communities, current trends that are increasing these demands, examples of rural community public transport programs, and responses to common rural transit myths. Public transportation helps rural communities become more efficient and equitable by ensuring that all residents, including non-drivers, enjoy independent mobility and receive a fair share of public spending on transportation facilities and services. Although public transit serves only a minor portion of total rural travel, many of those trips are crucial, including access to healthcare, basic shopping, employment and education. Current demographic and economic trends are increasing demands for affordable mobility options in rural communities, including ageing population, high poverty rates and a large portion of military veterans. Serving these demands can provide multiple benefits, but many of these benefits tend to be overlooked or undervalued in formal transportation planning.
‘Grounding Urban Walking and Cycling Research in a Political Economy Framework,‘ by
Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Todd Litman, Eduardo Vasconcellos and Winnie Mitullah, published in “Non-Motorized Transport Integration into Urban Transport Planning in Africa” (http://bit.ly/2jdFEDP ). This book chapter examines the political economy that affects urban walking and cycling policy.
“Transportation for Everyone: A New Accessibility Rating System” (http://bit.ly/2AMVqPY ). This Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog by Todd Litman describes how to determine whether a transportation system is multimodal and so can serve diverse users, including people who cannot, should not or prefer not to drive.
“Determining Optimal Urban Expansion, Population and Vehicle Density, and Housing Types for Rapidly Growing Cities” (www.vtpi.org/WCTR_OC.pdf ), published in ‘Transportation Research Procedia.‘ This study by Todd Litman examines the economic, social and environmental impacts of various urban development factors including urban expansion, population and vehicle density, housing type, roadway design and management, and recreation facility availability. The results are used to create guidelines for urban development that optimizes for various planning objectives including openspace (farmland and habitat) preservation, efficient public infrastructure and services, public health and safety, efficient transportation, affordability, economic productivity and opportunity, and urban livability (local environmental quality). This analysis indicates that to be efficient and equitable, cities should provide diverse housing and transport options which respond to consumer demands, particularly affordable housing in accessible, multimodal neighborhoods, and affordable travel modes, with pricing or roadway management that favor resource-efficient modes, plus convenient access to parks and recreational facilities.
“How to Do Efficient Congestion Pricing (Or Thoughts on William Vickrey)” (http://bit.ly/2ASLp4d ). This ‘Market Urbanism Website’ posting is based on a summary by Todd Litman (http://www.vtpi.org/vickrey.htm ) of Nobel Prizewinning economist William Vickrey’s recommendations for efficient road pricing. Without efficient pricing and suitable alternatives, such as high quality public transit traffic congestion is virtually unavoidable. When motorists say “no” to efficient road pricing they are saying “yes” to congestion.
“The Million-Dollar Neighborhood: Walkable Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Can Help Families Build Wealth” (https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/08/07/million-dollar-neighborhood ). This article in the Congress of New Urbanism’s ‘Public Square’ magazine summarizes VTPI research on the direct economic benefits to households from living in Smart Growth communities. Since real estate appreciates and vehicles depreciate in value, households can significantly increase their long-term wealth by purchasing a home in a walkable urban neighborhood where they spend less on transportation and investment more in real estate. A typical household can gain a million dollars in additional equity over their working life. It is based on the VTPI report, “Selling Smart Growth” (www.vtpi.org/ssg ).
“Transportation and the Challenge of Future-Proofing Our Cities” (http://bit.ly/2w6v5JX ). This ‘Governing Magazine’ article mentions the VTPI report, “Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Projections” (www.vtpi.org/avip ).
Recent Planetizen Blogs (www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):
“The Many Problems With Autonomous Vehicles” (https://www.planetizen.com/blogs/95445 ). Optimists predict that autonomous vehicles will be a transportation panacea, but there are good reasons to be skeptical. They may create as many problems as they solve.
“The Future of Mobility in Cities: Multimodal and Integrated” (https://www.planetizen.com/news/2017/10/95204 ). Ten principles developed by international non-governmental organizations are designed to guide urban decision-makers toward the best outcomes for the transition to new mobility options.
“Responding to Public Transit Criticism” (https://www.planetizen.com/node/94729 ). Critics often use fallacious arguments and inaccurate evidence to attack public transit and Transit Oriented Development. Here are suggestions for responding to their false claims.
Let’s be friends. Todd Litman regularly posts on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/todd.litman ). Befriend him now!
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TRB Annual Meeting (www.trb.org )
“Mind the Gap: Can Inclusive Cities Bridge Social Equity Disparities?” (https://annualmeeting.mytrb.org/Workshop/Details/7790 ), Sunday, 7 January 2018, 1:30 PM-4:30 PM, Convention Center
Todd Litman will discuss qualitative and quantitative measures of transportation equity in this multifaceted workshop. This analysis is important because transport planning decisions often have significant equity impacts.
“Rethinking Sustainability for Agencies: It Is Much More Than Green Transportation” (https://annualmeeting.mytrb.org/InteractiveProgram/Details/8227 ), Monday 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM, Convention Center, 152A
NCHRP Report 750 noted that transportation agencies are challenged to build consensus around balancing short-term cost-effectiveness and long-term sustainability. Todd Litman will participate in this panel discussion of how organizations are making a transition to triple bottom-line sustainability.
“Selling Smart Growth” (https://www.nar.realtor ), 9 January, noon-1:00pm, National Association of Realtors Washington DC headquarters.
Households often make trade-offs between housing and transportation costs: they can purchase a cheaper house at the urban fringe where they must spend significantly more on transportation, or pay more for a home in a walkable urban neighborhood with lower transportation costs. In the short-run the costs often seem equal, but motor vehicles rapidly depreciate in value while urban real estate tends to appreciate, so shifting expenditures from transportation to housing tends to generate long-term household wealth. This presentation will discuss ways to measure and communicate the direct economic benefits to households, businesses and local communities that result when households choose Smart Growth, based on the report “Selling Smart Growth” (www.vtpi.org/ssg).
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BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
“Why Transit Oriented Development? Benefits for Everyone!” by Todd Litman, keynote presentation at the Eighth International Symposium on Transportation Demand Management (http://2017tdm.ntu.edu.tw ).
“What’s So Good About EcoMobility? Understanding Co-Benefits” (http://bit.ly/2xTNpYR ), presented at the 2017 EcoMobility Festival (http://www.ecomobilityfestival.org ). Also see the “Kaohsiung Strategies for the Future of Urban Mobility” (http://bit.ly/2BIW9Qa ), a twelve-step program to creating more inclusive, livable and sustainable communities.
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“Inclusionary Housing Calculator” (http://inclusionaryhousing.org/calculator ) can help evaluate development costs and the impacts that factors such as parking regulations and inclusionary housing policies would have on the profitability of development in a particular situation. For more discussion see: http://bit.ly/2wj6IWl .
Urban Amenity and Livability (http://bit.ly/2iNytp9 ), by the Australian Transport and Infrastructure Council (https://atap.gov.au ). The Australian Transport Assessment and Planning (ATAP) Guidelines provide guidance for transportation project Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) and appraisal. These now include guidance on how to evaluate the extent to which community design supports quality of life, health and the general well-being of residents. The Guidance describes practical approaches and implementation of these impacts into Cost-Benefit Analysis.
“It’s Official: Mexico City Eliminates Mandatory Parking Minimums” (http://bit.ly/2ihUmJk ). Mexico City has taken a step that many urbanists advocate: they’ve eliminated parking minimums. “The policy change applies to every land use and throughout the entire city of 8.8 million residents,” Angie Schmitt reports for Streetsblog USA. “The old rules mandated parking even though only about 30 percent of Mexico City residents own cars and the city has a well-developed subway system.” Backers say this change will encourage more development around transit and save money for those renters and home buyers who are not interested in parking.
“Forbidden City: How Los Angeles Banned Some of its Most Popular Buildings” (http://bit.ly/2f80h2q ). L.A.’s forbidden city consists of the many buildings that we inhabit, use and care about but that are illegal to build today. Some of Los Angeles’ most iconic building types, from the bungalow courts and dingbats common in our residential neighborhoods to Broadway’s ornate theaters and office buildings, share this strange fate of being appreciated, but for all practical purposes, banned.
“Automobile Dependency as a Barrier to Vision Zero: Evidence from the States in the USA” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2017.07.012 ), by Hamed Ahangari, Carol Atkinson-Palombo and Norman Garrick, in ‘Accident Analysis and Prevention.’ Using sophisticated statistical analysis of U.S. crash rates this study found that the most important factors were Vehicles per Capita and Vehicle Miles Traveled, that state-level traffic fatality rates decline with urban density and walking rates, and there is little evidence that conventional traffic safety strategies, such as graduated driver’s license programs, provide significant safety benefits.
“New Mobility Playbook” (http://bit.ly/2zLX6pr ), Seattle Department of Transportation. This guidebook identifies integrated policies and strategies to foster new mobility options while prioritizing safety, equity, affordability, and sustainability.
“The Not-so-Secret Trick to Cutting Solo Car Commutes: Charge for Parking by the Day” (http://bit.ly/2iLwp0R ), published in the Seattle Times. Charging for parking by the day, not by the month, is one of the most powerful tools that employers have to spur their employees not to drive alone to work.
“Kicking the Drive-alone Habit has been Key to Seattle’s Economic Boom” (http://bit.ly/2kkFVZ6 ) and “Seattle Businesses Buy into the Vision of a Transit-driven Economy,” (http://bit.ly/2iLE8Mp ). These articles by Ethan Goffman describe the economic efficiency gains provided by Seattle’s multimodal transportation planning.
“The Relationship Between Pedestrian Connectivity and Economic Productivity in Auckland’s City Centre” (http://bit.ly/2wc0VS1 ). This study for the Auckland Council investigates the contribution that walkability makes toward urban economic productivity by facilitating face-to-face interactions that increase knowledge generation and sharing. It found statistically significant positive associations between pedestrian accessibility and labour productivity, and so concluded that city center walkability improvements support economic development.
“Commute Mode Diversity and Public Health: A Multivariate Analysis of 148 US Cities” (https://doi.org/10.1080/15568318.2017.1321705 ) by Chad Frederick, William Riggs and John Hans Gilderbloom, published in the ‘International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.’ Analyzing transportation and health indicators in 148 mid-sized U.S. urban areas, this study found significantly better health outcomes where fewer commuters drive alone to work, and that multimodal transportation planning (improving walking, cycling and public transit) can significantly improve public health.
“America’s Addiction to Automobiles: Why Cities Need to Kick the Habit and How” (http://publisher.abc-clio.com/9781440852817 ), by Professor Chad Frederick. This new book uses detailed quantitative analysis to measure the impacts of motor vehicle travel on urban livability, public health and economic equality, examines ways that public policies contribute to excessive automobile dependency, and describes various policy responses. The book argues that multimodal and auto-dependent cities are categorically different kinds of city, and there are fundamental conflicts between higher rates of automobile travel and healthy community planning objectives.
“Reducing Speeds for Better Mobility and Quality of Life” (http://bit.ly/2jL75Vd ) by Carlos Felipe Pardo. This lecture discusses the impacts of excessive urban traffic speeds and how speed management can increase efficiency and livability.
“Problems and Prospects of Curbside Parking in Lahore: Policy Implications for Effective Management” (http://bit.ly/2ns0ELN ). This article by Salman Sabir and Ghulam Abbas Anjum examines why and how to improve curbside parking regulations and public transport to reduce parking problems in Lahore, India.
“Street Mobility Project” (www.ucl.ac.uk/street-mobility ), includes several reports and a Toolkit for measuring community severance (roads that create barriers to walking and cycling) and improving walking conditions, particularly for seniors.
“Cruel Musical Chairs (or, why is the rent so high?)” by the Sightline Institute (http://bit.ly/2nsGAsv ). This fun Sightline Institute video explains how increasing housing supply can increase housing affordability for everyone, including people who cannot afford new homes.
“Cycling Towards a More Sustainable Transport Future” (http://bit.ly/2vOrWLy ). This editorial by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler published in ‘Transport Reviews’ describes progress in improving cycling conditions and encouraging cycling activity in many cities around the world.
“Bus Stop Urban Design” (www.kjzhang.com and http://bit.ly/2AuUP33 ). This information by Kevin Jingyi Zhang aims to improve the waiting environment of bus stops and their adjacent neighbourhoods through the development and application of 9 design techniques.
“Demystifying Compact Urban Growth: Evidence From 300 Studies From Across the World” (http://bit.ly/2w3mHZa ). This review by Gabriel Ahlfeldt and Elisabetta Pietrostefani for the Coalition for Urban Transitions found significant positive effects of economic density (the number of people living or working in an area) and land use mix and recommend policies that maximize benefits and minimize costs of urban infill, to ensure efficient and equitable access in compact cities.
“Mapping The Effects Of Parking Minimums” (http://bit.ly/2An6tyZ ). This article by Josh McCarty uses concrete data to illustrate the economic harms caused by parking minimums.
“Streets Wide Shut – A Principle for Urban Streets” (http://bit.ly/2Bw4c1E ). This article by Professor David Levinson proposes an urban design principle: ‘No street should carry more than four lanes of private vehicle traffic in a city. No more than two of those lanes should go in the same direction. Most streets should be three, two, or one lane wide.’
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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 (http://www.vtpi.org ) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues. He can be reached at: Email: email@example.com. Phone & Fax: +1 250-360-1560
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About the editor:
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 https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton