VTPI News - Summer 2013
Victoria Transport Policy Institute
"Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
Summer 2013 Vol. 13, No. 3
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
"Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport
Planning" (http://www.vtpi.org/avip.pdf )
This report explores the implications of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles
on transportation planning. It identifies their potential benefits and
costs, predicts their likely development and deployment patterns, and how
they will affect transport planning decisions such as road and parking
supply and public transit demand. The analysis indicates that some benefits,
such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the
2020s or 2030s, but most benefits will only be significant when autonomous
vehicles become affordable and represent a major portion of total vehicle
travel, in the 2040s through 2060s.
"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 estimates
U.S. traffic congestion costs and recommends various congestion reduction
strategies. This report critically evaluates its methodologies. The UMR does
not reflect best congestion costing methods: it uses higher baseline speeds
and travel time unit cost values than experts recommend, exaggerates fuel
savings and emission reductions; ignores generated traffic and indirect
impacts. As a result it overestimates congestion costs and roadway expansion
benefits, and undervalues other congestion reduction strategies that provide
co-benefits. The UMR's congestion cost estimates represent upper-bound
values. The UMR ignores basic research principles: it includes no current
literature review, fails to fully explain assumptions and document sources,
does not discuss possible biases, has no sensitivity analysis, and lacks
independent peer review. This report continues a point-counter-point
dialogue with the UMR's lead author, "Congestion Measurement in the Urban
Mobility Report: Response to Critique by Mr. Todd Litman"
"Critical Analysis of Conventional Transport Economic Evaluation"
Transportation economic evaluation refers to the process of quantifying and
monetizing a transport policy or project's benefits and costs. How it is
performed can significantly influence transport planning decisions. This
report critically examines conventional evaluation practices. Conventional
transport economic evaluation overlooks many significant impacts and
accessibility factors, and seldom measures the economic efficiency gains
from strategies that favor higher value trips and more efficient modes, or
the consumer surplus benefits of accommodating latent demand. Various
reforms described in this report can result in more comprehensive and
"Evaluating Active Transport Benefits and Costs: Guide to Valuing Walking
and Cycling Improvements and Encouragement Programs"
This report describes methods for evaluating the benefits and costs of
active transport (walking, cycling, and their variants). It describes
various types of benefits and costs and methods for measuring them. These
include direct benefits to users from improved active transport conditions,
and various benefits to society from increased walking and cycling activity,
reduced motor vehicle travel, and more compact and multi-modal community
development. It discusses active transport demands and ways to increase
walking and cycling activity. This analysis indicates that many active
transport benefits tend to be overlooked or undervalued in conventional
transport economic evaluation.
* * * * *
"Transportation Demand Management: Win-Win Solutions for Transport Problems"
Chapter in "Transportation Demand Management: Insights from the Mobil.TUM
2012 International Scientific Conference on Mobility and Transport."
"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, published in the
June 'ITE Journal,' discusses this paradigm shift and its implications on
"Impacts of the ecoParq program on Polanco"
This report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
evaluates the impacts of the new parking meters in Mexico City's Polanco
neighborhood. The analysis indicates that the time motorists spend cruising
for a parking space declined from 13:26 to 3:04 minutes after parking meters
were installed, saving motorists' time and fuel, and reduces local traffic
congestion and pollution. The project is also generating 21.6 million pesos
annually in net revenue that is being spent to improve neighborhood streets
- an important benefit since Mexico City has beautiful streetlife that has
been degraded by automobile traffic.
"Transportation and Public Health"
This article published in the 'Annual Review of Public Health' investigates
various ways that transport policy and planning decisions affect public
health and better ways to incorporate public health objectives into
transport planning. Conventional planning tends to consider some public
health impacts but ignores others. This article identifies various win-win
strategies that can help improve public health and other planning
objectives. A draft version is at http://www.vtpi.org/ARPH_Litman_2012.pdf .
"Changing North American Vehicle-Travel Price Sensitivities: Implications
For Transport and Energy Policy" (http://www.vtpi.org/VMT_Elasticities.pdf
). Published in "Transport Policy," Vol. 28, pp. 2-10.
There is growing interest in transport pricing reforms to help achieve
various planning objectives such as congestion, accident and emission
reductions. Their effectiveness is affected by the price sensitivity of
transport, that is, the degree that prices affect travel activity, measured
as elasticities (percentage change in travel caused by a one-percent price
change). Some studies found very low transport elasticities during the last
quarter of the Twentieth Century but recent evidence suggests that price
sensitivities have since increased. This article 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.
"Full Cost Analysis of Petroleum" (http://www.vtpi.org/Beyond_Oil_Litman.pdf
This chapter in the book, "Transportation Beyond Oil: Policy Choices for a
Multimodal Future" (http://transportbeyondoil.wordpress.com ) 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.
"Public Transit 101: Read A "How To Start A Business"
This article by Kevin C. Brown discusses ways to make public transit more
attractive to discretionary travelers (people who have the option of
driving) and therefore help reduce traffic and parking congestion, accidents
and pollution emissions.
Recent Planetizen Blogs (http://www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):
"Planners are Futurists With a Practical Bent"
"Rational Fear" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/64369 )
"Responding to Smart Growth Criticism" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/63327
"Accounting for Latent Travel Demand" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/63198
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!
* * * * *
"Turkish Transportation Forum" (http://www.ulastirmasurasi.gov.tr/en/ ), 5-7
September, Istanbul, Turkey.
"Round Table on Valuing Convenience in Public Transport" International
Transport Forum (http://www.internationaltransportforum.org), OECD, 12-13,
"Oregon Public Transportation Conference"
(http://www.oregontransit.com/index.cfm?cid=1481 ), 6-9 October, Bend,
* * * * *
BEEN THERE - DONE THAT
"Freedom From Automobile Dependency: How Youths Benefit from Better Living
through Multi-Modalism" keynote speech at "Second Adolescence Mobility
Health Symposium" (https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/amc/symposium2013 ). Includes
"Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Urban Transport Planning" Motu Wellington,
New Zealand seminar
). Also see "A Decade Too Late: Canadian Planner Challenges Roads Of
National Significance" (http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=55758 ) and
"Complete Streets Keep Transport Options Open"
(http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx ) "Kapiti
Observer", New Zealand.
"Hawai'i Clean Energy Day" (http://www.hawaiienergypolicy.hawaii.edu ). Todd
Litman gave the keynote presentation, and was interviewed on the "Honolulu
On The Move" television show sponsored
* * * * *
"Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions
Among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality"
This comprehensive report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
provides guidance for evaluating environmental and economic impacts of land
use policies, particularly smart growth benefits.
"The Sexiest, Coolest, Most EPIC Bus Commercial Ever"
"A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the
Implications for America's Future"
This new report by Tony Dutzik and Phineas Baxandall summarizes evidence of
peaking vehicle travel and its implications for transport policy. Also see,
"Has Motorization in the U.S. Peaked? Part 2: Use of Light-Duty Vehicles
"The Driving Boom is Over"
"International Comparisons of Transport Appraisal Practice"
sport-appraisal-practice ). This report by professors Peter Mackie and Tom
Worsley is a review of recent developments in economic appraisal in the
transport sector and the use of appraisal in the decision making process
including practices in England, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, USA,
Australia, and New Zealand.
"Driving Commuter Choice in America: Expanding Transportation Choices Can
Reduce Congestion, Save Money and Cut Pollution"
This study by the Natural Resources Defense Council examines opportunities
for Americans to reduce the impacts of transportation by altering how often
we drive, particularly when it comes to commuting. The focus is on
opportunities and potential outcomes for individual and combined changes to
driving behavior, which can lead to substantial cost savings and other
"Health Co-Benefits Of Climate Change Mitigation - Transport Sector: Health
In The Green Economy"
imate_change_mitigation/en ). This new World Health Organization report,
part of the Health in the Green Economy series, considers the evidence
regarding health co-benefits and risks of climate change mitigation
strategies for transport.
"Creating Universal Access to Safe, Clean and Affordable Transport"
rt ). Evaluation of recommendations presented at last year's Rio+20
Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by the Partnership for Sustainable Low
Carbon Transportation (SLoCaT), an international network that includes major
organizations such as United Nations agencies, the International Energy
Agency, regional development banks, various sustainable transportation
groups, as well as the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
"Cycling to the Future: Lessons from Cities across the Globe"
This slide show by John Pucher at the Bicycle Urbanism conference, documents
the boom in cycling in both European and North American cities. It shows
that cycling can thrive even in cities with no history or culture of daily,
utilitarian cycling, but only if government policies provide safe,
convenient, and pleasant cycling conditions. Also see, "How to Increase
Cycling for Daily Travel,"
(http://www.activelivingresearch.org/dailybiketravel ) and "Infrastructure,
programs, and policies to increase bicycling: an international review"
"Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United
This article published in the 'Annals of Emergency Medicine' compared injury
death rates for U.S. counties rated on a ten-point urban-rural scale. Death
rates are lowest in urban areas and increase as an area becomes more rural
due to large increases in motor vehicle deaths and modest increases in gun
deaths. Also see "Rational Fear" (http://www.planetizen.com/node/64369 )
"Moving Dangerously, Moving Pleasurably: Improving Walkability in Dhaka.
Using a BRT Walkability Strategy to Make Dhaka's Transportation
pdf ). This Asian Development Bank report presents a BRT Walkability
Strategy, which provides policy and infrastructure recommendations to create
an environment in which walking is appealing, safe, and convenient. This can
be used as a model for similar strategies in other developing country
"Reallocation of Road Space"
tion-of-road-space.pdf ). This study New Zealand Transport Agency report
investigated the economic impacts of transport and road space reallocation
in shopping areas located in central cities and along major transport
corridors. It found that walking, cycling and public transport users account
for 40% of total expenditures, that they spend proportionately then their
modal share, and are important to local shopping area's economic viability.
"Urban Traffic Calming and Health Inequalities: Effects and Implications for
Practice" (http://www.ncchpp.ca/175/publications.ccnpps?id_article=917 ).
This report examines the effects of traffic calming on health inequalities.
Additional reports on traffic calming safety, air quality, noise and active
transportation impacts are available at:
"Parking? Lots!" (http://daily.sightline.org/blog_series/parking-lots/ ).
This new Sightline Institute series describes in interesting and sometimes
funny ways how parking regulations in zoning codes can increase traffic
problems, drive up housing prices, dampen business profitability, amplify
sprawl, and pollute both air and water. See, for example, "Ugly By Law"
(http://daily.sightline.org/2013/06/18/ugly-by-law ), and "Apartment
Blockers" (http://daily.sightline.org/2013/08/22/apartment-blockers ).
"Getting the Prices Right"
(http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/PricingParkingByDemand.pdf ), by Gregory Pierce
and Donald Shoup, in the Journal of the 'American Planning Association'
provides information on parking pricing reforms.
"Parking Guidebook for Chinese Cities"
This guidebook by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
identifies strategies for efficiently managing parking resources in urban
areas that are experiencing increased motorization and perceived parking
"Sustainable Transport in China Blog" (http://sustainabletransport.org )
This blog focuses on our four areas of expertise: Transport and Climate
Change, Electro-Mobility, Green Logistics and Urban Transport. It provides
news on transport in China, programme workshops and conferences, as well as
free downloads of our latest research reports.
"Financing Sustainable Urban Transport - International Review of National
Urban Transport Policies and Programmes"
national-review-of-national-urban-transport-policies-and-programmes ). This
study evaluates various urban tarnsport financing and planning practices. It
was presented at the "Workshop on Prospects for National-Level Programmes
and Funds for Sustainable Urban Transport in China"
"Does Congestion Pricing Work?"
hic.html ). This Infographic summarizes information on experience with
congestion pricing in various cities.
"The Rebound Effect for Passenger Vehicles"
(http://www.rff.org/RFF/Documents/RFF-DP-13-19.pdf ). This study finds a
higher elasticity of vehicle travel with respect to vehicle fuel economy
(miles per gallon or liters of fuel per 100 kilometers) than for fuel price,
indicating significant rebound effects from vehicle fuel efficiency
standards. This is consistent with my report, "Changing Vehicle Travel Price
Sensitivities: The Rebounding Rebound Effect"
"Walking, Riding And Access To Public Transport: Supporting Active Travel In
Australian Communities: Ministerial Statement" (
l/index.aspx). This Australian federal document identifies various benefits
of active transport (walking and cycling), and the economic justifications
for increased investment in active transport improvements. It estimates that
an average urban bicycle commuter provides $14.30 worth of economic
benefits, and a pedestrian commuter provides $8.48 worth of benefits, based
on a Queensland Department of Transport study, "Benefits Of Inclusion Of
Active Transport In Infrastructure Projects"
"The Effect Of Transportation, Location, And Affordability Related
Sustainability Features On Mortgage Default Prediction And Risk In
Multifamily Rental Housing"
ainability.pdf ). This study by Gary Pivo indicates that housing foreclosure
rates tend to decline in more multi-modal communities.
"Introduction - Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes" handbook
series (http://www.trb.org/Publications/TCRPReport95.aspx ). This updated
document includes detailed discussion of transport elasticities and other
"Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of
Smart Growth Development"
New report comparing various development scenarios finds that smart growth
typically costs 38% less to build, generates 10 times the revenue for towns
"Economic Aspects Of Non-Technical Measures To Reduce Traffic Emissions"
(http://www.isi-projekt.de/wissprojekt-de/ntm/downloads.php ). This study
evaluated the economic impacts of policies that shift 10% of urban trips to
walking and cycling. Using standard economic models this predicts that by
2030, German GDP would increase by 1.11 %, employment by 1.37 %, air
pollutants would decline 5-10%, and CO2 about 2%. Also see, "Bicycle
"Mosaic Planning Tool" (http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TD/TP/pages/lcp.aspx ).
This economic evaluation model expands the range of impacts and options that
can be considered in transportation planning.
"Development Of A Public Transport Investment Model"
(http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/524/docs/524.pdf ). This
modelling tool developed by the New Zealand Transport Agency can help make
public transport investment decisions. The economic model we developed
incorporated the interactions between prices, service levels and patronage
for public transport and private car.
"Post Implementation Reviews"
(http://www.nzta.govt.nz/planning/monitoring/audits/pir.html ) and the "Post
Opening Project Evaluation of Major Schemes"
-pope/post-opening-project-evaluation-pope-of-major-schemes) are two
programs that evaluate whether transport projects achieve their intended
objectives, and identify lessons learnt which can inform future planning.
"Unraveling Ties to Petroleum: How Policy Drives California's Demand for
Oil" (http://www.next10.org/unraveling-petroleum ). This report identifies
fifteen policy reforms that could provide significant energy conservation
and emission reduction benefits, including more efficient parking pricing,
distance-based vehicle insurance, bus and high-occupant-vehicle priority,
improved air travel control systems, and more comprehensive and multi-modal
transportation performance evaluation.
"Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual"
(http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/169437.aspx ). This reference document that
provides current research-based guidance on transit capacity and quality of
service issues and the factors influencing both.
* * * * *
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Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)
Phone & Fax 250-360-1560
1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, CANADA
"Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
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