Many residents would prefer to pay for parking separately from rent

Parking reform advocates, backed by urban policy researchers, have long argued for “unbundling” the cost of parking from residential leases, rather than including it in the cost of rent.  This is usually so that households with fewer cars don’t get stuck paying for parking they don’t need. According to new research, however, the policy is also popular among those with more cars than average, who would often happily pay for the extra spaces they need. 

State DOTs could fuel a resurgence in intercity bus travel

While Greyhound bus stations have been closing or relocating and Coach USA enters bankruptcy, some state DOTs are upping their investments in intercity bus service. Riders have been returning to intercity bus routes since the COVID-19 pandemic reduced demand dramatically. These routes often serve rural destinations without train or plane access, and can take the place of dozens of individual car trips. 

Safer infrastructure can drive a surge in cycling

Acknowledging that highway investments drive up car use and traffic, transportation professionals and advocates have grown more interested in accounting for induced demand in transportation investments. But the laws of induced demand are not limited to highways. As several cities have shown, investing in bicycle infrastructure can increase bike use by 100% or more. 

People walking are often blamed for crashes when roads are designed for driving

A pedestrian’s location at the time of a crash often determines who (whether driver and pedestrian) is found at fault, says a new study. Even with a lack of pedestrian infrastructure nearby, pedestrians who cross high-speed arterial roads with bus stops are more likely to be blamed. 

Workers offset their commute travel when working from home 

The massive shift to remote work during the pandemic altered the way many offices operate and increased interest in the potential for widespread telecommuting to help reduce traffic, transportation emissions, and other harmful impacts. We have reported several studies, however, that suggest remote work simply lets people drive at different times of day and for purposes other than commuting. A new study backs that finding. 

Narrow lanes are safer, but they can be extremely difficult to build

A study released by Johns Hopkins last November gained widespread attention for demonstrating that 9-foot lanes are often safer than wider lanes. The researchers note, however, that most state DOTs set minimum lane widths between 10 and 12 feet and require design exceptions for anything narrower. Even in Vermont, where 9-foot lanes are allowed, the researchers found they have not been implemented. Therefore, paving the way to narrow lanes means understanding all the factors that make them challenging in the first place. 

Independent businesses struggle to survive highway improvement projects

While past research has explored the impacts that new, large-scale highway construction projects have on local businesses, a recent study investigated the effects of smaller improvement projects, such as repaving and bridge replacements, and who tends to benefit from such improvements. The study found these types of projects are more common in higher-income neighborhoods, but that local, non-chain businesses were most likely to be negatively impacted by ongoing construction and altered traffic patterns compared to nearby multi-location, chain businesses.  

USDOT could advance travel modeling and help planners account for induced demand

A provision of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Sec. 11205) requires USDOT to review existing travel demand models and, among other things, consider the potential implications of induced travel. Federal officials, committed to that mandate, were at the TRB annual meeting last week to learn from modeling experts and practitioners. This blog post offers one perspective on the issues and lays out several opportunities gleaned through discussions at TRB. 

Informal transit may not be the answer, but it can fill key service gaps

When transit and mobility options are inaccessible or don’t meet needs, people find ways to travel. For most of the world, this often takes the form of informal transit services. As a result of failed public investment in transportation, these flexible, low cost, and unregulated systems are often the main form of travel in developing countries. Although higher income countries have some forms of informal transport, it is often subsidized and more regulated microtransit. These more flexible options do not replace formal transportation networks, but they do provide a critical service to often overlooked communities.