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VTPI NEWS - Winter 2013

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    ... VTPI NEWS ... Victoria Transport Policy Institute Efficiency - Equity - Clarity ... Winter 2013 Vol. 13, No. 1 ... The Victoria Transport Policy
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 13, 2013


                   VTPI NEWS


                    Victoria Transport Policy Institute

                    "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"


                    Winter 2013    Vol. 13, No. 1


      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.





      "Congestion Costing Critique: Critical Evaluation of the 'Urban Mobility Report'" (www.vtpi.org/UMR_critique.pdf ).

      The 'Urban Mobility Report' (UMR) is a widely-cited study that estimates U.S. traffic congestion costs. This report critically examines the UMR’s assumptions and methods. The UMR evaluates urban transport system performance based only on vehicle traffic congestion; it ignores other modes and impacts. It tends to exaggerate congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits. It assumes that urban traffic will grow rapidly in the future, ignoring evidence that vehicle travel is peaking and travel demands are changing. The UMR ignores basic research principles: it fails to explain assumptions, document sources, incorporate independent peer review, or respond to criticisms. More comprehensive and multi-modal planning can identify truly optimal congestion reduction strategies.


      "Critical Analysis of Conventional Transport Economic Evaluation" (http://www.vtpi.org/crit_econ_eval.pdf ).

      This report critically examines conventional transport economic evaluation practices. It integrates two different but overlapping perspectives: planners interested in comprehensive and multi-modal transport system analysis, and economists interested in economic efficiency and economic development impacts. The analysis indicates that conventional transport economic evaluation fails to reflect basic economic principles including comprehensive and neutral analysis, economic efficiency, consumer sovereignty and integrated decision-making. More comprehensive and multi-modal evaluation can provide better guidance for transport planning and economic development.


      "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.

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      "Transportation Affordability: Evaluation and Improvement Strategies" (http://www.vtpi.org/affordability.pdf )

      Transportation affordability means that all households, including those with low incomes, can afford to access basic services and activities. User surveys indicate that affordability is an important issue, but conventional transport planning gives it little consideration and overlooks ways that common planning reduces affordability. This report discusses ways to incorporate affordability as a transport planning objective.


      "Whose Roads? Evaluating Bicyclists’ and Pedestrians’ Right to Use Public Roadways" (http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf )

      Many people believe that non-motorized modes (walking, cycling, and their variants) have less right to use public roads than motorists, based on assumptions that motor vehicle travel is more important than non-motorized travel and motor vehicle user fees finance roads. This report investigates these assumptions. It finds that non-motorized modes have clear legal rights to use public roads, that non-motorized travel is important for an efficient transport system and provides significant benefits to users and society, that less than half of roadway expenses are financed by motor vehicle user fees, and pedestrians and cyclists pay more than their share of roadway costs. Since bicycling and walking impose lower roadway costs than motorized modes, people who rely on non-motorized modes tend to overpay their fair share of roadway costs and subsidize motorists.

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      "Transport Elasticities: Impacts on Travel Behaviour: Understanding Transport Demand To Support Sustainable Travel Behavior" (http://www.sutp.org/index.php/news-archive-mainmenu-156/sutp-news-mainmenu-155/3506-transport-elasticities-impacts-on-travel-behaviour ). 

      This new Sustainable Urban Transport Project Technical Document explains in simple language concepts related to travel demands and elasticities, summarizes estimates of various transport elasticities, and discusses factors affecting their responsiveness. It discusses how pricing reforms can help address transport problems and create more efficient and sustainable transport systems.


      "Changing North American Vehicle-Travel Price Sensitivities: Implications For Transport and Energy Policy" (http://www.vtpi.org/VMT_Elasticities.pdf ).

      This paper recently published in 'Transport Policy' discusses the concepts of price elasticities and rebound effects, reviews vehicle travel and fuel price elasticity estimates, examines evidence of changing price sensitivities, and discusses policy implications. Price sensitivities have increased in recent years, indicating that mobility management strategies are more effective, and cleaner vehicle strategies are less effective and beneficial than previously assumed.


      "Comprehensive Evaluation Of Energy Conservation And Emission Reduction Policies" (http://www.vtpi.org/comp_em_eval.pdf  ). This article recently published in 'Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice' uses a comprehensive framework for evaluating various transportation energy conservation and emission reduction strategies.


      "Gestión de la movilidad para México" (http://mexico.itdp.org/documentos/gestion-de-la-movilidad-para-mexico ).

      This report, ’Mobility Management For Mexico’, for the Mexico City Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) defines mobility management, discusses the role it plays in an efficient and equitable transportation system, and describes various ways to maximize its benefits. It highlights examples and case studies of management policies in cities around the world. 


      "Guía De Estrategias Para La Reducción Del Uso Del Auto En Ciudades Mexicanas" (http://mexico.itdp.org/documentos/guia-de-estrategias-para-la-reduccion-del-uso-del-auto-en-ciudades-mexicanas ). This document, 'Guide to Reducing Car Use in Mexican Cities', provides practical advice for implementing urban mobility improvement programs in Mexican cities. It describes 29 strategies that can reduce car traffic and its negative impacts. 


      "Planes Integrales de Movilidad" (http://mexico.itdp.org/documentos/planes-integrales-de-movilidad ). This document, 'Comprehensive Mobility Plans,' discusses the importance of integrating urban development and mobility planning. It discusses current Mexican urban mobility planning practices and ways to make them more efficient and inclusive. 


      "Manual De Implementación De Sistemas De Parquímetros Para Ciudades Mexicanas" (Parking Meter System Deployment Manual for Mexican Cities) (http://mexico.itdp.org/documentos/manual-de-implementacion-de-sistemas-de-parquimetros-para-ciudades-mexicanas ). This guide describes why and how Mexico City is implementing parking pricing as a demand management strategy.


      "Paying for Parking" (http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Ideas/ID/2329692421 ). This “Ideas” CBC Radio program discusses the high costs of vehicle parking, and potential reforms for encouraging more efficient and equitable parking management, including an interview with Todd Litman by host Dave Redel.


      'Full Cost Analysis of Petroleum Consumption' in "Transport Beyond Oil: Policy Choices for a Multimodal Future" (http://islandpress.org/ip/books/book/islandpress/T/bo8637519.html ). This new book discusses the costs of petroleum consumption and offers practical solutions for creating more resource efficient transport systems. Receive 20% pre-publication discount with this code: TRB2013.


      'Economic Value of Walkability' in Transport, the Environment, and Public Health: Classic Papers on Non-Motorised Travel (http://www.e-elgar.com/bookentry_mainUS.lasso?id=14642 ). This volume brings together a collection of seminal articles published in the past twelve years focused around non-motorised transport.


      "Arguments Against Non-Motorized Transport Development Beginning to Lose Steam" (http://mobilitylab.org/2013/01/11/arguments-against-non-motorized-transport-development-beginning-to-lose-steam ). This blog discusses the true costs and benefits of sidewalks, bicycle lanes and paths, and pedestrian improvements, and responds to criticisms of such projects.


      "Transportation and Public Health" (http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031912-114502 ). This article published in 'The Annual Review of Public Health' investigates various ways that transportation policy and planning decisions affect public health, and transport planning can better incorporate public health objectives. It identifies 'win-win' strategies that help improve public health and achieve other planning objectives.


      Recent Planetizen Blogs (http://www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):

      ·         "Critiquing the 'Urban Mobility Report'" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/61087)

      ·         "Smart Transportation Funding" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/60454 )

      ·         "Measuring Transport System Efficiency" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/59995 )

      ·         "Affordability As A Transportation Planning Objective" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/60908 ). Also see:

      ·         http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/03/3-charts-explain-why-you-spend-so-much-transportation/4859

      ·         http://dc.streetsblog.org/2013/02/28/affordability-as-a-transportation-planning-objective


      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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      "Transportation Bonanza 4: Creating Healthy, Mobile, And Livable Communities Through Safe Routes To School, Innovative Planning, Design, And Construction"

      (http://www.mml.org/pdf/events/2013-trans-bonanza.pdf ), 21 March 2013,  Lansing Michigan, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Planning and the Michigan Safe Routes to School.


      "Adolescent Mobility Health Symposium" (https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/amc/symposium2013 ), 15 May 2013 in Dunedin, New Zealand. This international multidisciplinary event showcases new directions in the areas of teen mobility, the paradox of speed, and the importance of parental and youth engagement in mobility choices. Other New Zealand events are being planned.

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      The TRB Annual Meeting was interesting and productive. I enjoyed seeing many of you there! We had three good sessions on transportation-related data programs. Here is a summary report: "Valuing and Improving: Transportation-Related Data Programs - Report From 2013 TRB Sessions" (http://www.vtpi.org/TRB_data.pdf ). I also attended two wonderful side events:

      ·         "Transforming Transportation" (http://www.slideshare.net/EMBARQNetwork/presentations ) at the World Bank headquarters included excellent presentations on international sustainable transportation development. 

      ·         Institute for Transportation and Development Policy Sustainable Transportation Award (http://www.st-award.org ) ceremony. This year Mexico City won for its expanding Bus Rapid Transit network, bikesharing program, efficient parking pricing, and public space improvements. Felicitaciones! I am particularly pleased because I contributed to some of those projects (http://www.mexico.itdp.org ).

      "Long-run Trends in Travel Demand, OECD Roundtable" (
      http://internationaltransportforum.org/jtrc/RoundTables/2012-Long-run-Trends/index.html ), Paris, 29-30 November 2012. This roundtable investigated evidence that travel demand is peaking in most affluent countries, the demographic and economic factors that contribute to this trend, and its policy implications.

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      "Integrating Demand Management into the Transportation Planning Process: A Desk Reference" (http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop12035/fhwahop12035.pdf ). This document provides comprehensive information on ways to integrate demand management into the trans­portation planning process. It discusses how demand management relates to various policy objectives. It describes various tools for evaluating demand management measures and the known effectiveness of these measures.


      "Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation – Transport Sector" (http://tech-action.org/Guidebooks/TNA_Guidebook_MitigationTransport.pdf ). This report describes a broad range of transport options for increasing transport system efficiency. It describes walking, cycling and public transit improvements, transportation demand management strategies, transit-oriented development, as well as ideas for improving motorized transport technologies.


      "Transit-Oriented Communities Design Guidelines" and "Transit-Oriented Communities Primer" (http://www.translink.ca\TOCs ). These documents provide excellent guidance on policies and planning practices to create more accessible, multi-modal communities.


      "King County Right Size Parking Project" (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/up/projects/right-size-parking ).  This project measured the parking demand (the number of parking spaces actually occupied) in 240 apartment buildings, and used sophisticated statistical analysis to evaluate how factors such as transit access, neighborhood density, rents and parking pricing affect demand.

      "Smart Growth And Economic Success: Benefits For Real Estate Developers, Investors, Businesses, And Local Governments" (
      http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/economic_success.pdf ). This new report indicates that compact, diverse, and walkable development can increase property values and property tax revenues, encourage job creation, reduce housing and transportation costs, and create amenities and places that improve residents’ quality of life. Real estate developers and investors, businesses, and local governments can use smart growth development as a strategy to maximize their economic advantages while improving the quality of life and creating attractive, healthy communities that help protect the environment.


      "Welcome to Victoria 1907" (http://web.uvic.ca/lancenrd/AViewofVictoria ). Here is a very cool 1907 film from a movie camera mounted on the front of a trolley traveling through the city. If you like that one, also see San Francisco in 1906 (www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=NINOxRxze9k ) and Barcelona, Spain in 1908 (www.flixxy.com/barcelona-spain-1908.htm ). 

      "Going On A Road Diet: Lane Reduction Can Increase Safety For Pedestrians, Bicyclists, And Motorists While Improving The Quality Of Life In Downtowns Across The Country" (
      http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/11septoct/05.cfm ). This article published in "Public Roads" describes current efforts to redesign urban streets for multiple users and uses.


      "The Relevance Of Parking In The Success Of Urban Centres" (http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/transport/parkinginlondon/parkingurban.htm ). This study evaluated the role that parking policies play in urban economic development. It concludes that efficient parking management can support economic development and provide other benefits.


      "Transforming Cities with Transit: Transport and Land Use Integration for Sustainable Urban Development" (http://elibrary.worldbank.org/content/book/9780821397459 ). This attractive new book explores why and how to integrate transit and land-use in rapidly growing cities in developing countries. It provides recommendations for creating more sustainable cities through more integrated transport and land use planning. 


      "Evaluate, Enable, Engage: Principles to Support Effective Decision Making in Mass Transit Investment Programs" (www.embarq.org/en/evaluate-enable-engage-principles-support-effective-decision-making-mass-transit-investment-programs ).  This report examines 13 existing national mass transit investment programs and uses the results to identify principles to foster effective decision making in national mass transit investment.


      "Impact Of Urban Form On Transport And Economic Outcomes" (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/513/docs/513.pdf ) and "The Contribution Of Public Transport To Economic Productivity" (http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/514/docs/514.pdf ). These two studies for the New Zealand Transport Agency investigated how urban form impacts transport and economic outcomes, and planning policies can contribute to a more efficient and durable urban form. These findings have implications for the economic evaluation of transport policies and planning decisions


      "Traditional Neighborhood Development Handbook" (http://www.dot.state.fl.us/rddesign/FloridaGreenbook/FGB.shtm ). The Florida Department of Transportation’s Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways now includes a “Traditional Neighborhood Development Handbook” chapter which provides guidance for applying compact urban planning and design principles to greenfield (new), brownfield or urban infill and redevelopment projects.


      "Low-Carbon Land Transport Policy Handbook" (http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781849713771 ). This is a practical guide for transport policymakers and planners to achieve low-carbon land transport systems. With case studies from developed and developing countries, it outlines measures for reducing emissions, tailoring these to specific circumstances. It also highlights how greenhouse gas savings are measured, as well as success factors for implementing policies and measures in complex decision-making processes.


      "Reshaping Metropolitan America: Development Trends and Opportunities to 2030" (http://islandpress.org/ip/books/book/islandpress/R/bo8079737.html ). This new book by Professor Arthur “Chris” Nelson examines new development trends and the opportunities they offer for reshaping urban areas into more livable and sustainable places. It is a reference tool with statistics about the changes in population, jobs, housing and other key factors that impact how and where people will live over the next two decades. It includes a searchable database at www.reshapemetroamerica.net under the resources tab with the extensive metrics that formed the basis of the book. The discount code 2RESHAPE provides a 25% discount when ordering it from Island Press.


      "The Influence Of Urban Design On Neighbourhood Walking Following Residential Relocation: Longitudinal Results from the RESIDE Study" (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307124427.htm ). This  ten-year study found that the overall health of residents of new housing developments in Western Australia improved when their daily walking increased as a result of more access to parks, public transport, shops and services.


      "Does Accessibility Require Density or Speed?" (http://www.connectnorwalk.com/wp-content/uploads/JAPA-article-mobility-vs-proximity.pdf ). This article recently published in the 'Journal of the American Planning Association' indicates that proximity tends to be more important than travel speed in overall accessibility.

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      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.


      Todd Litman
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute (

      Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
      1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
      “Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”

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