Not just speed and land use: considering directness of travel

Improving access to destinations means raising travel speed or reducing travel distance. Because of siloing within government, transportation agencies have traditionally worried about speed while leaving distances to land use authorities. However, one aspect of distance that transportation agencies can affect without breaking any silos is directness or circuity of travel. A paper from the University of Minnesota examines circuity in transit trips.

Capturing value for transit improvements

A new transportation enhancement fund assessment on real estate developers in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Square will help fund transit improvements in that area, including possible enhancements to the Red Line Kendall/MIT station. This type of strategy, known broadly as value capture, is not new, and has been used in other cities such as San Francisco, Portland, and Washington, DC. However, the proposals in Cambridge have potential to serve as a model, developing into a value capture policy and process that can aid the T with further improvements going forward.

Virginia adopts multimodal, competitive project scoring process

Last year Virginia enacted legislation to select state-supported transportation projects through a multimodal, competitive process. The law prescribed five areas to be considered in the scoring, along with project cost: congestion mitigation, economic development, accessibility, safety, environmental quality and land use. The relative weights of those elements, and details of how to assess project benefits in those categories, were left to the rulemaking process, which concluded June 17.

Beyond mobility—prioritizing accessibility in urban transportation

The San Francisco Transit Accessibility Map is a new online tool showing how much of the city is accessible by transit or walking within a selected travel time. Although the map is useful as is, it also presents an enormous opportunity to develop a richly layered analysis that could be used to understand accessibility more broadly by adding data on non-work as well as work destinations. It could also highlight the need to improve accessibility for underserved areas.

Regional accessibility metric offers powerful approach to transportation system planning

Researchers at the University of Minnesota developed a measure of multimodal accessibility for the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, which they hope can be implemented in metropolitan areas around the nation as an alternative to commonly-used congestion metrics for prioritizing transportation projects and planning system improvements. For decades, transportation system performance has been measured in terms of traffic congestion and delay, both at the project scale and the regional scale. Developers of the new accessibility measure flip the equation by asking what the value of accessibility is, rather than what the costs of congestion are.

New accessibility tools available from Walk Score

For agencies that want to address the land use-transportation connection, Walk Score now provides a new form of accessibility measure, as well as data to help measure trends over time. The firm is offering a way to measure the depth of choices of destinations such as groceries or parks, in a platform called ChoiceMaps.

The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (SSTI & SGA, 2012)

State officials across the country are facing the same challenges. Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking while transportation demands grow. Most state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, reduce congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few.
The handbook provides 31 recommendations transportation officials can use as they position their agencies for success in the new economy. The handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

Reducing Costs in Kansas through Transportation Efficient School Siting (SSTI, 2012)

This report was produced by SSTI at the request of the Kansas Department of Transportation in order to better understand the implications of school site selection, particularly transportation-related costs, and how to improve the site selection process in Kansas. It provides a series of recommendations for improving the school site selection process in Kansas with a focus on increasing understanding and coordination between school districts and other levels of government that may be impacted by their decisions.

Reducing Costs in Kansas through Transportation Efficient School Siting (SSTI, 2012)

This report was produced by SSTI at the request of the Kansas Department of Transportation in order to better understand the implications of school site selection, particularly transportation-related costs, and how to improve the site selection process in Kansas. It provides a series of recommendations for improving the school site selection process in Kansas with a focus on increasing understanding and coordination between school districts and other levels of government that may be impacted by their decisions.