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VTPI News, Fall 2012

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    That is a good questions, Peter. Our province of British Columbia is one of the few North American jurisdictions that has a carbon taxes (as opposed to a
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 18, 2012
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      That is a good questions, Peter.

      Our province of British Columbia is one of the few North American jurisdictions that has a carbon taxes (as opposed to a vehicle fuel tax), as discussed in "Carbon Taxes: “Tax What You Burn, Not What You Earn” (http://www.vtpi.org/carbontax.pdf ). The analysis is therefore unique for our jurisdiction: whether some of our existing carbon taxes should be dedicated to public transit rather than reducing other taxes and providing refunds to lower-income households as originally planned. In other jurisdictions the question would be whether a carbon tax should be implemented at all, and if so whether some of the revenues should be used to improve public transit.

      I agree that carbon taxes can be effective at reducing fossil fuel consumption and related air pollution, and are best applied at the national or international level. They are less suited to regional implementation.

      Todd Litman
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)
      Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
      1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
      “Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”

      "PETER JAVSICAS" (javsicas@...) asked


      Re local funding options for public transportation, why is carbon tax in Table 3 but not Table 2?

      Wouldn't a carbon tax be more appropriate as a nation-wide option rather than a local option?

      Regarding a carbon tax it seems to me that horizontal and vertical equity can be adjusted through rebates and other management details.
      I would think that looking at the bigger picture of the urgent need to reduce global CO2 emissions, a carbon tax on all carbon production could be the simplest, most direct, most effective and most equitable way to calculate and apply a tax rate. But call it carbon pricing instead of carbon tax.

      While other pricing measures related to parking, traffic congestion and miles traveled may be helpful too, pricing carbon goes right to the heart of the problem. It also can have large potential and can distribute burden very widely indeed.


      Peter Javsicas
      Exec. Dir.
      1435 Walnut St.
      Suite 3
      Philadelphia, PA 19102
      215 205-8157
      215 382-1895 (Fax)

      > From: Todd Alexander Litman <litman@...>
      >To: 'Todd Alexander Litman' <litman@...>
      >Sent: Monday, December 10, 2012 8:20 PM
      >Subject: [NewMobilityCafe] VTPI News, Fall 2012
      > -----------
      > VTPI NEWS
      > -----------
      > Victoria Transport Policy Institute
      > "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
      > -------------------------------------
      > Fall 2012 Vol. 12, No. 4
      > -----------------------------------
      >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.
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      >"Evaluating Complete Streets: The Value of Designing Roads For Diverse
      >Modes, Users and Activities" (http://www.vtpi.org/compstr.pdf ) 'Complete streets'refers to roads designed to accommodate diverse modes, users and activities including walking, cycling, public transit, automobile, nearby businesses and residents. Such street design helps create more multi-modal transport systems and more livable communities. This report discusses reasons to implement complete streets and how it relates to other planning innovations. Complete streets can provide many direct and indirect benefits including improved accessibility for non-drivers, user savings and affordability, energy conservation and emission reductions, improved community livability, improved public fitness and health, and support for strategic development objectives such as urban redevelopment and reduced sprawl.
      >"Safer Than You Think! Revising the Transit Safety Narrative"
      >(http://www.vtpi.org/safer.pdf ) Public transportation is a very safe mode of travel, and total per capita traffic casualties tend to decline as public transit ridership increases in a community. However, many people have the misimpression that transit is dangerous, and so are reluctant to use it or support transit service expansion in their communities. Various factors contribute to this transit dread (excessive and irrational fear), including conventional traffic safety messages, heavy media coverage of transit-related crashes and crimes, and the nature of public transit, which requires travel with strangers in confined spaces. There is much that public transit agencies can do to change the narrative to emphasize the overall safety of public transit travel, improve passengers’ sense of security, and provide better guidance concerning how passengers and communities can enhance transit safety and security.
      >"Local Funding Options for Public Transportation"
      >(http://www.vtpi.org/tranfund.pdf ) This paper summarizes results of a study that identified and evaluated potential local funding options to help finance public transit improvements. It evaluates eighteen options according to eight criteria. This is a somewhat larger set of funding options and more detailed and systematic evaluation process than most previous studies of this type. This research discovered no new options that are particularly cost effective and easy to implement; each option has disadvantages and constraints. As a result, the overall conclusion of this study is that a variety of funding options should be used to help finance public transit improvements to insure stability and distribute costs broadly.
      >"Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-modal Transport Evaluation"
      >(http://www.vtpi.org/comp_evaluation.pdf ) This report critically
      >evaluates conventional transport policy and project evaluation
      >practices and describes ways to make them more comprehensive and
      >multi-modal. The conventional transport planning paradigm is
      >mobility-based, it assumes that the planning objective is to maximize
      >travel speed and distance, and evaluates transport system performance
      >based primarily on automobile travel conditions. A new paradigm
      >recognizes that mobility is seldom an end in itself; the ultimate goal
      >of most transport activity is accessibility, which refers to people’s
      >overall ability to reach desired services and activities. This new
      >paradigm expands the range of objectives, impacts and options
      >considered in the planning process. It recognizes additional costs from
      >increased motorized transportation and more benefits from walking,
      >cycling and public transport. More comprehensive and multi-modal
      >planning is particularly important in large growing cities where
      motor vehicle traffic imposes particularly large costs, and in developing countries where a major portion of households cannot afford cars.
      > * * * * *
      >Below are recently updated VTPI documents.
      >"Smart Congestion Relief: Comprehensive Analysis Of Traffic Congestion
      >Costs and Congestion Reduction Benefits" (http://www.vtpi.org/cong_relief.pdf ) This report examines the methods used to evaluate traffic congestion costs and the benefits of various congestion reduction strategies. It describes various biases in current congestion evaluation practices. It develops a more comprehensive framework for evaluating congestion reduction strategies. It is important that decision makers understand the omissions and biases in current evaluation methods.
      >"The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be: Changing Trends And Their
      >Implications For Transport Planning" (http://www.vtpi.org/future.pdf ) This report investigates how demographic and economic trends will affect future transport demands (the amount and type of travel people would choose), and their implications. Motor vehicle travel grew steadily during the Twentieth Century but has started to peak in most developed countries. Aging population, rising fuel prices, increasing urbanization, improving travel options, increasing health and environmental concerns, and changing consumer preferences are reducing demand for automobile travel and increasing demand for alternatives. This paper discusses ways that transport policies and planning practices can respond to these changing demands.
      > * * * * *
      >"Reducing Carbon Emissions through TDM Strategies - A Review of International Examples" (http://tdm-beijing.org/files/International_Review_Executive_Summary.pdf ) for Transport Demand Management in Beijing. This report discusses promising TDM options for Chinese cities. It describes international examples of effective transport policy reforms used in London, Singapore, New York, Berlin, Seoul, San Francisco and other cities.
      >"Current Mobility Trends – Implications for Sustainability" (http://www.vtpi.org/Keep_Moving_Litman.pdf ) chapter in Keep Moving, Towards Sustainable Mobility, for the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC) and the Dutch Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli).
      >"Comprehensive Evaluation of Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction Policies" (http://www.vtpi.org/comp_em_eval.pdf ) will be published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.
      >This article uses a comprehensive framework for evaluating various transportation energy conservation and emission reduction strategies.
      >"You Pay the Toll. Where Should That Money Go? "(http://nyti.ms/UNZlfN ), New York Times Room For Debate.
      >Recent Planetizen Blogs(http://www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):
      >'Toward Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Performance Evaluation'
      >(http://www.planetizencom/node/59466 ) 'Greetings from Manila'
      >(http://www.planetizen.com/node/59172 ) 'Share Your Ideas for
      >Evaluating Transport System Performance'
      >(http://www.planetizen.com/node/58924 ) 'Toward More Comprehensive
      >Understanding of Traffic Congestion'
      >(http://www.planetizen.com/node/58429 )
      >Let’s be friends. Todd Litman regularly posts on his Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/todd.litman). Befriend him now!
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