VTPI News - Spring 2013
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
"Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
Spring 2013 Vol. 13, No. 2
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 DOCUMENTS
* * * * *
"Congestion Costing Critique: Critical Evaluation of the 'Urban Mobility
Report'" (http://www.vtpi.org/UMR_critique.pdf )
The Urban Mobility Report (UMR) is a widely-cited study that quantifies and
monetizes (measures in monetary units) traffic congestion costs in U.S.
metropolitan regions. This report critically examines the UMR's assumptions
and methods. The UMR reflects an older planning paradigm which assumes that
"transportation" means automobile travel, and so evaluates transport system
performance based primarily on automobile travel speeds; it ignores other
modes, other planning objectives and other impacts. The UMR methodology
overestimates congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits by using
higher baseline speeds and travel time unit cost values than most experts
recommend, by ignoring induced travel impacts, and using an inaccurate
speed-emission curve. Its estimates represent upper-bound values and are
two- to four times higher than result from more realistic assumptions. The
UMR claims that congestion costs are "massive," although they increase total
travel time and fuel consumption by 2% at most. It exaggerates future
congestion problems by ignoring evidence of peaking vehicle travel and
changing travel demands. The UMR ignores basic research principles: it fails
to identify best current practices, explain assumptions, document sources,
incorporate peer review, or respond to criticisms.
"Valuing and Improving: Transportation-Related Data Programs"
This report summarizes the findings of 2013 Transportation Research Board
Annual Meeting sessions on valuing and improving transportation-related data
programs (programs that collect basic data used for transport policy,
planning and research). It discusses the business case for expanding and
improving data programs, puts data program costs into perspective with
transport expenditures and economic impacts, describes examples of the data
needed to address various transport planning issues, gives examples of
existing transport data programs, describes problems and threats, discusses
who should lead in data program strategic development, summarizes best
practices, and provides conclusions and recommendations.
"The New Transportation Planning Paradigm" (http://www.vtpi.org/paradigm.pdf
Demographic and economic trends, and new community concerns, are changing
the way practitioners define transportation problems and evaluate potential
solutions. A new paradigm expands the range of modes, objectives, impacts
and options considered in transport planning. This article, forthcoming in
the ITE Journal, discusses this paradigm shift and its implications on our
* * * * *
"Pricing For Traffic Safety: How Efficient Transport Pricing Can Reduce
Roadway Crash Risk," Transportation Research Record 2318
This report evaluates the traffic safety impacts of various transport
pricing reforms including fuel tax increases, efficient road and parking
pricing, distance-based insurance and registration fees, and public transit
fare reductions. This analysis indicates that such reforms can significantly
reduce traffic risk, in addition to providing other important economic,
social and environmental benefits. These benefits are often overlooked:
pricing reform advocates seldom highlight traffic safety benefits and
traffic safety experts seldom advocate pricing reforms.
"Parking Pricing Implementation Guidelines"
(http://www.ite.org/councils/Parking/newsletters/Spring13.pdf ), in ITE
Parking Council Journal, Spring 2013. The short article describes why and
how to implement priced parking.
'Full Cost Analysis of Petroleum,' in "Transport Beyond Oil: Policy Choices
for a Multimodal Future" (http://transportbeyondoil.wordpress.com )
This chapter provides a comprehensive review of various external costs
(costs not borne directly by users) resulting from petroleum production,
importation and distribution. It considers four major cost categories:
financial subsidies, economic and national security costs of importing
petroleum, environmental damages and human health risks.
The Transportation Research Board's 'International Research News'
highlighted two of our recent reports:
"Smart Congestion Relief: Comprehensive Analysis of Traffic Congestion Costs
and Congestion Reduction Benefits"
"Critical Analysis of Conventional Transport Economic Evaluation"
Recent Planetizen Blogs ( <http://www.planetizen.com/blog/2394>
"Who Should Pay for Transportation Infrastructure? What is Fair?" (
Let's be friends. Todd Litman regularly posts on his Facebook page (
<http://www.facebook.com/todd.litman> http://www.facebook.com/todd.litman ).
Befriend him now!
* * * * *
"Active Transport Symposium"
um-invite.pdf ), Monday 13 May, Christchurch, New Zealand.
"Moving Forward: Decreasing Car Use Among Teenagers" at the Adolescent
Mobility Health Consortium (https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/amc ), Wednesday 15
May 2013, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. This will be a combined
live and online multidisciplinary international event showcasing current
research and practice in teen mobility, active transport, the effects of the
built environment and climate change, and youth engagement. Register at
"Innovative Parking Management Strategies: And Ways to Evaluate Their
Benefits" at the "International Transportation and Park Areas Management
Symposium" (http://www.otoparksempozyumu.org/en ), Istanbul, Turkey, 30 May
2013. I will also be speaking 29 May at a workshop by EMBARQ Turkey
* * * * *
1a/p=4204> Pedestrian- & Transit-Oriented Design"
(http://www.planning.org/apastore/search/Default.aspx?p=4204 ). This guide,
written by Reid Ewing and Keith Bartholomew, provides detailed information
on ways to create more pedestrian- and transit-friendly communities. It
turns a half-century of urban design theory into step-by-step directions for
creating walkable cities.
The 'Right Size Parking Project' (http://www.rightsizeparking.org ) has
developed a website calculator to estimate multi-family parking utilization
based on location and building characteristic. "Do Land Use, Transit and
Walk Access Affect Residential Parking Demand?"
feb-2013-drowe.pdf ), published in the February 2013 ITE Journal, summarizes
the results from the Right Size Parking Project. Love those graphs!
"The Economics of Transportation Systems: A Reference for Practitioners"
(http://www.utexas.edu/research/ctr/pdf_reports/0_6628_P1.pdf ). This guide
discusses current practices for quantifying and valuing impacts related to
cost efficiency, lifecycle benefits, economic development, property value
changes, travel time savings, motor vehicle crashes, air and noise
pollution, as well as discussion of whether transportation should be
evaluated based on mobility or accessibility, system pricing, and
"Walkable Communities and Adolescent Weight" (http://
www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(12)00800-8/abstract ). This study
published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, collected body
weight, home location and other data for 11,041 high-school students in 154
U.S. communities. It found that the odds of students being overweight or
obese decreased if they lived in communities with higher walkability index
"Integrating Demand Management into the Transportation Planning Process: A
Desk Reference" (http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop12035 ).
This report provides guidance for integrating demand management into
transport planning. It discusses how demand management relates to seven key
policy objectives that are often included in transportation plans, such as
congestion and air quality. It includes information on tools available for
evaluating demand management measures and on the known effectiveness of
"Access Across America"
). This study by Professor David Levinson measured the number of jobs that
could be reached by automobile within certain time periods for the 51
largest U.S. metropolitan areas, taking into account the geographic location
of homes and jobs, roadway network connectivity and average traffic speeds.
"The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012"
The report summarizes the examination of Complete Streets policies adopted
in 125 communities during 2012.
"Pedestrian Safety, Urban Space, and Health"
alth_9789282103654-en ). This report by the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development demonstrates the important role walking plays in
an efficient and equitable transport system, and practical ways to improve
"The New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation"
(http://www.cnt.org/repository/The_New_Real_Estate_Mantra.pdf ). This study
finds that average sales prices for residential properties within walking
distance of high quality public transit significantly outperformed region
averages in U.S. metropolitan areas during 2006 to 2011.
"Pedestrian Safety: A Road Safety Manual For Decision-Makers And
(http://who.int/roadsafety/projects/manuals/pedestrian/en/index.html ). This
manual by the World Health Organization provides information on how to
assess the pedestrian safety situation in a particular area, risk factors,
and how to select, design, implement and evaluate effective interventions.
It stresses the importance of a comprehensive, holistic approach that
includes enforcement, engineering and education. It also draws attention to
the benefits of walking, which should be promoted as an important mode of
transport given its potential to improve health and preserve the
"ChoiceMaps: A New Way to Measure Neighborhoods"
ds ). ChoiceMaps is a variation of Walkscore (http://www.walkscore.com ). It
calculates the number of services and activities, such as restaurants and
grocery stores, that can be reached by walking in a certain amount of time,
and produces colored maps which show the results for different
"Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns: The Impacts of Public Transit on Traffic
Congestion" (http://www.nber.org/papers/w18757 ). This study analyzed
transit commuting impacts on roadway congestion. It found that transit
riders tend to travel on congested urban corridors, and so tend to have
affect roadway congestion far more than suggested by overall mode share.
This was tested by analyzing the effects of the 2003 Los Angeles transit
workers strike, which caused a 47% increase in highway delay.
"Exploring the Relationship between Travel Demand and Economic Growth"
(http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/otps/pubs/vmt_gdp/vmt_gdp.pdf ). This report
presents research which indicates "decoupling" the relationship between
vehicle travel and economic growth.
"When the Road Price is Right: Land Use, Tolls, and Congestion Pricing"
This report by the Urban Land Institute investigates how tolling and
congestion pricing will interact with land use. It includes case studies
that illustrate the policy options for managing travel reliability, traffic
volume, travel speeds, and revenue targets, and for integrating tolling and
"Transportation Energy Futures"
(http://www1.eere.energy.gov/analysis/transportationenergyfutures ). This
U.S. Department of Energy study evaluates potential transportation energy
conservation strategies. However, it uses very low fuel price elasticities
which tends to exaggerate the benefits of increased fuel efficiency and
undervalue transportation demand management strategies, as discussed in my
recently published article, "Comprehensive Evaluation Of Energy Conservation
And Emission Reduction Policies" (http://www.vtpi.org/comp_em_eval.pdf ).
"Enhancing Resource Coordination for Multi-Modal Evacuation Planning"
This research addresses the challenges of effectively incorporating
multi-modalism into local emergency plans by enhancing transportation
* * * * *
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.
Victoria Transport Policy Institute ( <http://www.vtpi.org> www.vtpi.org)
Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
"Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]