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770VTPI News - Fall 2007

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    Oct 14 3:36 AM
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                                        VTPI NEWS
                            Victoria Transport Policy Institute
                               "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
                                Fall 2007    Vol. 10, 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.
      Planners Press is promoting the book, "Parking Management Best Practices," with a 15% discount for orders this week, when purchased with James Kushner’s "The Post-Automobile City," until October 21. For information go to http://www.planning.org/apastore . Click on the 'Meet The Author' photo for an interview with Todd Litman.
      "Comprehensive Evaluation of Congestion Costs and Solutions" Planetizen Blog by Todd Litman ( http://www.planetizen.com/node/27367 ). This short essay points out that conventional congestion indicators tend to exaggerate congestion costs, and are biased in favor of highway capacity expansion over other congestion reduction strategies. Traffic congestion is overall a modest cost, so it would be wasteful to implement a congestion reduction strategy that increases other transportation costs, such as infrastructure costs, accidents, consumer costs or pollution, while congestion reduction strategies that also help achieve other planning objectives provide far more benefits to society.
      'Transport Expert Todd Litman: Save Oil, Lives, Environment' a three part series by the "Energy Bulletin" ( http://www.energybulletin.net/35342.html ).
      1. Alter Car Insurance & Save Oil, Lives, Environment ( http://energytechstocks.com/wp/?p=335 )
      2. Get Paid for NOT Driving To Work ( http://energytechstocks.com/wp/?p=341 )
      3. 'Congestion Pricing' to Include Entire Regions ( http://energytechstocks.com/wp/?p=345 )
      "Cotter Debate on Transportation Policy and the Environment" between Samuel Staley (Reason Foundation) and Todd Litman (Victoria Transport Policy Institute), held at Colby College, 8 October 2007. A Podcast of the event is available at http://www.colby.edu/academics_cs/goldfarb . For references see "The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be" ( http://www.vtpi.org/future.pdf ) and "Rail Transit In America" ( http://www.vtpi.org/railben.pdf ).
      "Parking Space Tax: Is It Really Such A Bolshevist Fantasy?" – Chicago Transit Blog ( http://sicktransitchicago.blogspot.com/2007/10/parking-space-tax-is-it-really-such.html ).
      Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) pricing means that a vehicle’s insurance premiums and registration fees are based directly on its annual mileage ( http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm79.htm ). PAYD is an innovative, fair, cost-effective, easy way to increase transport system efficiency, providing many economic, social and environmental benefits. PAYD pricing is particularly appropriate in British Columbia because the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has a mandate to maximize safety, affordability and consumer benefits, and to reduce climate change emissions.
      PAYD is receiving growing media attention ( www.news1130.com/news/topstory/article.jsp?content=20070906_151654_5792 ). An Internet poll by News1130 found 61% (600) of respondents want ICBC to offer PAYD insurance, against 39% (376) who oppose the concept.
      The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is working to promote PAYD insurance in BC ( http://www.vtpi.org/paydbc.pdf ). You can help by contacting ICBC CEO Paul Taylor; Minister of Public Safety Honourable John Les; and if you live in BC, your MLA ( www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm).
      *  Describe PAYD pricing benefits, particularly with regard to ICBC’s stated goals (safety, affordability, fairness), and provincial goals (safety, energy conservation and emission reductions, congestion reduction, physical fitness and health).
      *  Ask ICBC to share its research on PAYD and implement a PAYD pilot project.
      *  Request that PAYD be included in ICBC’s Climate Change Secretariat submission.
      *  If the Corporation refuses to act, ask that their objections be explained.
      Paul Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer
      Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
      Email: paul.taylor@...
      Fax: 604-982-2440
      151 West Esplanade, North Vancouver, BC V7M 3H9
      Hon. John Les, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)
      Ministry of Public Safety
      Email: john.les.mla@...
      Fax: 604 702-5223
      #1-45953 Airport Rd, Chilliwack, BC, V2P 1A3
      Please contact Todd Litman (litman@... ) if you would like to stay informed about this issue as it develops.
      "Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Building," Environmental Building News (www.buildinggreen.com ), Vol. 16, No. 9, Sept. 2007; at www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=160901a.xml .
      This article points out that about twice as much energy is consumed in commuting to a typical office building as in the buildings for heating, cooling and lighting. It discusses the importance of applying efficient location and transport management to create truly green buildings, and describes specific ways to do this.
      "Increases In Greenhouse-Gas Emissions From Highway-Widening Projects," Sightline Institute (www.sightline.org ); at www.sightline.org/research/energy/res_pubs/analysis-ghg-roads . This analysis indicates that urban highway expansion does not reduce pollution overall because additional emissions from construction and increased vehicle traffic quickly exceed any reductions from reduced congestion delays.
      "Saving Energy, Growing Jobs: How Environmental Protection Promotes Economic Growth, Profitability, Innovation, and Competition" by David Goldstein, Bay Tree Publishers ( http://www.baytreepublish.com ); more information at http://www.cee1.org/resrc/news/07-02nl/09D_goldstein.html . This readable and insightful book examines how smart policies can reduce pollution and support economic development by encouraging resource efficiency, and discusses how to overcome specific barriers to such reforms.
      "Debunking Cato: Why Planning in Portland Works Better Than the Analysis of Its Chief Neo-Libertarian Critic," Congress for New Urbanism (www.cnu.org); at http://www.cnu.org/node/1533 . This paper by Professor Mike Lewyn evaluates claims in a recent Cato Institute report, "Debunking Portland: The City That Doesn’t Work." 
      "Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change," Urban Land Institute and Smart Growth America ( www.smartgrowthamerica.org/gcindex.html ). This book documents how key changes in land development patterns could help reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, based on a comprehensive review of dozens of studies by leading urban planning researchers. It concludes that one of the best ways to reduce vehicle travel is compact development: building places in which people can get from one place to another without driving. Changing demographics, shrinking households, rising gas prices, and lengthening commutes are contributing to the demand for smaller homes and lots, townhouses, and condominiums near jobs and other activities. It recommends specific policy changes to make green neighborhoods more available and more affordable.
      "Bus Rapid Transit Practitioner’s Guide, Report 118," Transit Cooperative Research Program, TRB (www.trb.org ); at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_118.pdf . This Guide provides detailed information on the costs, impacts, and effectiveness of implementing selected bus rapid transit (BRT) components, and guidance of BRT system development. 
      "Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2007 Benchmarking Report," Thunderhead Alliance ( http://www.thunderheadalliance.org/benchmarking.htm ). This is an on-going effort to collect and analyze U.S. bicycling and walking data. This research found:
      * A positive relationship between the built environment and nonmotorized travel activity.
      * Bicycle and pedestrian safety with nonmotorized travel activity.
      * Higher levels of biking and walking coincide with higher levels of adults meeting recommended levels of daily physical activity, and lower levels of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
      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. Please pass this newsletter on to others who may find it useful.

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