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Re: "So much for green transport." - More Comprehensive Evaluation

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    There is considerable debate among transport economists concerning how to correctly value congestion delay and travel time costs. The conventional practice,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26, 2012
      There is considerable debate among transport economists concerning how to
      correctly value congestion delay and travel time costs. The conventional
      practice, which evaluates transport system performance based primarily on
      vehicle traffic speeds and roadway level-of-service, is inherently biased in
      favor of mobility over accessibility and automobile travel over other modes.
      More comprehensive project evaluation should at least consider the following
      factors:

      * Comprehensive congestion evaluation. Many economists criticize the way
      that congestion impacts and costs are quantified. See
      http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0505.pdf.

      * The barrier effect (delay that motor vehicle travel imposes on
      non-motorized travel). Incorporating this factor recognizes that expanding
      roads and increasing vehicle traffic reduces accessibility for many
      travelers, and therefore imposes travel costs as well as benefits. See
      http://www.vtpi.org/tca/tca0513.pdf .

      * The tendency of roadway expansion to generate traffic and induce sprawl,
      which reduces the congestion reduction benefits of highway expansion,
      increases external costs (downstream congestion, parking subsidies,
      accidents, fuel consumption and pollution emissions). See
      http://www.vtpi.org/gentraf.pdf.

      * The full costs of accommodating increased vehicle traffic. For example,
      each additional urban roadway lane typically accommodates 2,000 to 4,000
      commute trips, each of which requires an additional parking space - costs
      that are avoided if the same trips are made by public transport. Similarly,
      automobile travel requires each user to have a vehicle, improving public
      transit can allow some households to reduce their vehicle ownership,
      providing large consumer cost savings. Taking into account parking and
      vehicle ownership costs will often shift the "preferred option" from highway
      to transit improvements - yet by tradition these are ignored in conventional
      project evaluation.

      * Non-drivers travel demands, and therefore the inherent efficiency and
      equity value of improving transport system diversity. See
      http://www.vtpi.org/choice.pdf .


      For more information see:

      Steve Abley, Paul Durdin and Malcolm Douglass (2010), Integrated Transport
      Assessment Guidelines, Report 422, Land Transport New Zealand
      (www.nzta.govt.nz); at www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/422.

      ITDP (2012), Transformando La Movilidad Urbana En México (Transforming Urban
      Mobility In Mexico), Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
      (www.mexico.itdp.org); at
      http://mexico.itdp.org/documentos/transformando-la-movilidad-urbana-en-mexic
      o.

      ITDP (2012), Transforming Urban Mobility In Mexico: Towards Accessible
      Cities Less Reliant on Cars, Institute for Transportation and Development
      Policy (www.mexico.itdp.org); at
      http://mexico.itdp.org/wp-content/uploads/Transforming-Urban-Mobility-in-Mex
      ico.pdf.

      ITDP (2012), El Coche Nos…, Institute for Transportation and Development
      Policy (www.mexico.itdp.org) and Trek Films; at
      http://mexico.itdp.org/galeria/videos/el-coche-nos, with English subtitles
      at http://mexico.itdp.org/archivo/galeria/videos.

      Booz Allen (2012), Integrating Australia’s Transport Systems: A Strategy For
      An Efficient Transport Future, Infrastructure Partnership Australia
      (www.infrastructure.org.au); at
      www.infrastructure.org.au/DisplayFile.aspx?FileID=812.

      Todd Litman (2007), Evaluating Accessibility for Transportation Planning,
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at
      www.vtpi.org/access.pdf .

      Todd Litman (2011), Comprehensive Transport Planning, VTPI (www.vtpi.org);
      at www.vtpi.org/comprehensive.pdf.

      PennDOT & NJDOT (2008), Smart Transportation Guidebook, Pennsylvania
      Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Department of
      Transportation, Smart Transportation Partnership
      (www.smart-transportation.com); at
      www.smart-transportation.com/guidebook.html.

      Nariida C. Smith, Daniel W. Veryard and Russell P. Kilvington (2009),
      Relative Costs And Benefits Of Modal Transport Solutions, Research Report
      393, NZ Transport Agency (www.nzta.govt.nz); at
      www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/393/docs/393.pdf.


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


      -----Original Message-----
      From: sustran-discuss-bounces+litman=vtpi.org@...
      [mailto:sustran-discuss-bounces+litman=vtpi.org@...] On Behalf
      Of Madhav Badami, Prof.
      Sent: July-26-12 7:46 AM
      To: bruun@...; Alok Jain
      Cc: worldtransport@yahoogroups.com; NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com;
      Sustainable Transport in the south
      Subject: [sustran] Re: "So much for green transport."

      Eric et al,

      Indeed! Let me re-state my posting more precisely: Sadly, assigning a high
      value even for small time savings for car users, WHILE NOT VALUING RESULTING
      TIME LOSSES FOR OTHERS, and thereby swaying the results in the favour OF CAR
      USERS is more the norm, than heresy. Even more sadly, what this approach
      leads to in the long run is misery for all, including car users, as other
      modes become unviable, and people who have access to cars are compelled to
      use them even for trips for which cars are easily avoidable (this effect is
      in addition to the sprawl and longer commuting distances that you talk
      about, Eric).

      Following this approach is bad enough in contexts in which the majority,
      even if not everyone, has access to cars. It is obscenely criminal in
      contexts in which the vast majority does not.

      According to Ivan Illich, who was a philosopher (and not a transportation
      engineer), and therefore perhaps understood better, said in his classic
      Energy and Equity that motorized vehicles "create remoteness which they
      alone can shrink. They create distances for all and shrink them for only a
      few"; automobile passengers become "consumers of others' time"; and finally,
      that motorized vehicles (and planning for them) "steal time from (poor)
      groups and reallocate it to usually richer groups".

      Madhav

      ************************************************************************

      "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." -- George
      Orwell

      Madhav G. Badami, PhD
      School of Urban Planning and McGill School of Environment McGill University

      Macdonald-Harrington Building
      815 Sherbrooke Street West
      Montreal, QC, H3A 2K6, Canada

      Phone: 514-398-3183 (Work)
      Fax: 514-398-8376; 514-398-1643
      URLs: www.mcgill.ca/urbanplanning
      www.mcgill.ca/mse
      e-mail: madhav.badami@...
      ________________________________________
      From: sustran-discuss-bounces+madhav.g.badami=mcgill.ca@...
      [sustran-discuss-bounces+madhav.g.badami=mcgill.ca@...] on
      behalf of bruun@... [bruun@...]
      Sent: 26 July 2012 10:27
      To: Alok Jain
      Cc: worldtransport@yahoogroups.com; NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com;
      Sustainable Transport in the south
      Subject: [sustran] Re: "So much for green transport."

      Alok

      No, it isn't heresy. It is standard practice for neoclassical cost-benefit
      analysis. We may think it is a bad idea, but it is quite common.

      The way to criticize it so that the public understands what an outrage it
      can be is to compare saving 5 minutes for a wealthy business person's
      commute with saving a full hour for a poor person. If the rich person earns
      12 times as much, then according to this technique saving the rich person 5
      minutes is just as valuable as saving the poor person a full hour.

      Even worse, using this kind of justification for time savings promotes
      sprawl. All evidence shows that eventually time saved turns into longer
      commuting distance instead.

      Eric Bruun



      Quoting Alok Jain <alok.priyanka@...>:

      > Initial feedback that I received was that this report was based on
      > value of time judgements and assigns a much higher VOT for car users
      > thereby swaying the results in their favour. This is obviously heresy.
      > I will only know it once I have a sight of the full report.
      >
      >
      > On 25-Jul-2012, at 8:24 AM, Karthik Rao-Cavale wrote:
      >
      >> So essentially the argument is that since Delhi has more car traffic,
      >> the city cannot have dedicated bus lanes (no point going into the
      >> argument of whether they constitutes BRT or not. That debate is
      >> futile and meaningless.)
      >>
      >> But I would like to see the weighting of bus and car trips in CRRI's
      >> study. Their claims to expertise have no relevance to the value
      >> judgments they made regarding the assignment of these weights.
      >>
      >> On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 9:51 PM, Alok Jain <alok.priyanka@...>
      wrote:
      >> The Delhi BRT Saga continues. Instead of fixing problems with BRT,
      >> everybody busy pointing fingers.
      >>
      >> http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/CRRI-explained-why-Ahme
      >> dabad-BRT-works/articleshow/15133172.cms?intenttarget=no
      >>
      >> CRRI explained why Ahmedabad BRT works Rumu Banerjee, TNN | Jul 25,
      >> 2012, 03.46AM IST Article Comments
      >>
      >>
      >> inShare
      >>
      >> Read More:CRRI|Central Road Research Institute|BRTS|Ahmedabad BRT
      >> Works|Ahmedabad BRT
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> NEW DELHI: In its desperation to save its ill-conceived and poorly
      >> executed BRT project, Delhi government is now shooting the messenger.
      >> It has not only questioned the study conducted by the Central Road
      >> Research Institute (CRRI) but also launched a scathing attack on the
      >> institute itself.
      >>
      >> Falling back on its worn-out argument of a rich-poor divide, it
      >> called car owners "arrogant" and accused those who conducted the
      >> study of ignoring bus commuters.
      >>
      >> But berating car owners will in no way make the public transport
      >> system any better - for that governance has to improve ? just as
      >> launching a tirade against CRRI will not make a dent in the
      >> organisation's reputation. CRRI director, Dr S Gangopadhyay, told
      >> TOI: "CRRI has been researching on road and transport solutions for
      >> decades. If anyone has questions about the methodology used for the
      >> study, we will be happy to answer. Our report has used international
      >> norms employed in such studies."
      >>
      >> Gangopadhyay's reaction comes in the wake of the government getting
      >> stung by CRRI's finding that "no BRT" was the best option. It has
      >> been promptly dubbed "anti-poor" by the government. It may help to
      >> recall that the agency had been hired by Delhi government on the
      >> suggestion of the court, which had rejected the transport
      >> department's plan to hire RITES for the study. Incidentally, RITES in
      >> a 2004 study of transport solutions for Delhi had recommended 34 BRT
      >> corridors. Preparation of the CRRI report, which is based not only on
      >> a week-long experimental trial run but also on a series of field
      >> surveys, culminated with a simulation exercise. The simulation was of
      >> the traffic scenario on the 5.8km stretch in 2015 with and without
      >> BRT, keeping the existing traffic volume as the base, factoring in an
      >> annual increase in traffic of 5-7%.
      >>
      >> The study found that doing away with BRT would result in a decrease
      >> of 48% in travel time, and a substantial 61% decrease in delay on the
      >> stretch. Compare this to the option of continuing with BRT, which
      >> would result in a further increase in travel time of 13% in
      >> 2015 as well as an increase of 15% in delays on the corridor.
      >>
      >> Sources said the surveys undertaken ? including user perception,
      >> occupancy studies, pedestrian studies, passenger flows and saturation
      >> flow studies ? show that BRT is not working at its optimum at
      >> present. Said a transport department official, "There is no denying
      >> that there are traffic issues on the stretch. Unlike the Ahmedabad
      >> BRT, the Delhi BRT is after all an open corridor."
      >>
      >> It's a point that the CRRI report has also underlined. It observes
      >> that the proportion of cars is almost 1.5 times that of Ahmedabad on
      >> the motor vehicle lane of Delhi BRT, which contributes to the lower
      >> journey speeds. This, says the report, is because the "width of the
      >> available MV lane is only 7-8m in either direction of travel". This
      >> width is less than the 10m width available for each direction of
      >> travel before BRT was conceived.
      >>
      >> The report adds: "Since the Ahmedabad BRTS is a closed system, the
      >> commercial travel speeds are much higher. The bus composition is
      >> about 3% of total traffic in both cases. The observed average speed
      >> of buses on Ahmedabad BRT section varies between 22-25kmph (CEPT
      >> Ahmedabad) which is much higher than that of Delhi BRTS -
      >> 13-15kmph)."
      >>
      >> The last fact seems to have been completely overlooked by Delhi
      >> government, which has been citing the success of the Ahmedabad BRT to
      >> continue with its floundering experiment.
      >>
      >> --------------------------------------------------------
      >> To search the archives of sustran-discuss visit
      >> http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=014715651517519735401:ijjtzwbu_ss
      >>
      >> ================================================================
      >> SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of people-centred,
      >> equitable and sustainable transport with a focus on developing
      >> countries (the 'Global South').
      >>
      >
      >


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      SUSTRAN-DISCUSS is a forum devoted to discussion of people-centred,
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      equitable and sustainable transport with a focus on developing countries
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