Destination access bills introduced in U.S. House

A trio of U.S. House members along with 10 co-sponsors have introduced a pair of bills that would set destination access as a national performance measure. Both bills describe destination access, aka “accessibility,” in terms of travel times by auto, transit, walking, and biking, with consideration for traffic-stress levels on the active modes. One of the bills focuses on access to employment, while the other focuses on access to non-work destinations such as shopping and schools.

How best to get our economy and jobs back: Lessons from ARRA

The current COVID-19 pandemic has created unique transportation challenges for cities and states. This includes everything from maintaining transit with plummeting ridership to facing a needed economic recovery with major decreases in the taxes that pay for transportation maintenance and improvements. With the CARES Act passed and more stimulus and recovery funding being considered, the national experience with the ARRA funding from the last recession might hold lessons for how to jump-start the economy and job creation.

Planning for an uncertain future

Traffic forecasts and other projections are often presented as a single line on a graph or number in a chart. But we know—now more than ever—that these predictions are full of uncertainties. The Sacramento Council of Governments (SACOG), for a new study in JAPA, puts hard numbers to some of those uncertainties in order to plan better for them.

VMT ticks up again in 2019

Driving mileage in the United States climbed by just under 0.9 percent in 2019. On a per capita basis, the increase was just under 0.6 percent. The VMT figures come from FHWA’s latest Travel Volume Trends release.

Sweden and Virginia: Messaging and variable tolls can influence mode choice

Two recent studies demonstrate two approaches to reducing driving. A Swedish study looked at what types of messages influence the choice to drive, while a report from Virginia shows that tolls on the I-66 corridor outside Washington have made a difference in both mode choice and when drivers travel.

Dueling congestion reports released

Two reports issued within days provide contrasting takes on the enduring issue of highway traffic congestion. One report from traffic-data firm Inrix is an update of previous scorecards that rank world cities for highway delay, calculated by aggregating travel times slower than free flow. In contrast, Transportation for America’s new report looks closely at how the frequently-employed solution of highway capacity expansion has worked, and finds it wanting.

Impact of “new age” shopping behavior on VMT and the environment

There have been a number of studies studying the relationship between in-store and online shopping behavior and its impact on retail-related travel. A broadly accepted idea is that online shopping, in more ways than one, is substituting for in-store shopping and can thereby reduce shopping related travel. However, major demographic and economic factors affect shopping behavior, and expedited delivery options may reduce the potential of e-commerce to reduce VMT and greenhouse gas emissions.

The argument for ending single-family zoning

An article in the latest issue of the JAPA makes a case for getting rid of single-family zoning in U.S. cities. The authors argue that single-family zoning exacerbates inequality and promotes the inefficient use of valuable urban land. By excluding other types of development, R1 zoning produces a housing scarcity in desirable places, which pushes prices up and excludes all but wealthy residents.