For the first time in a decade, U.S. per capita highway travel ticks up (SSTI, 2015)

After declining every year since 2004, vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) per capita in the U.S. ticked up by 0.9 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, according to figures released on Thursday, March 12, by FHWA. Accounting for the effect of population growth, total miles driven increased by 1.7 percent. Chris McCahill and Eric Sundquist examine the economic and social trends at work and analyze which factors are likely to most heavily influence VMT in the coming years.

Co-monitoring for Transit Management (Rudin Center for Transportation, 2014)

Transit agencies often do rider surveys and in-person checks of equipment and infrastructure. But by monitoring social media, agencies may get a faster report of problems and rider concerns. This report suggests methods for “co-monitoring,” the monitoring of field conditions through a combination of staff reports, data analysis and public observations.

The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (SSTI & SGA, 2015)

SSTI and Smart Growth America continue working with state departments of transportation and tracking innovative strategies for meeting 21st century transportation needs. The 2015 edition of The Innovative DOT builds upon its predecessor with updated content and fresh new ideas from a growing number of states.

Model Long Range Transportation Plans: A Guide for Incorporating Performance-Based Planning (Federal Highway Administration, 2014)

This Guidebook informs State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and regional transportation planning organizations, as well as their planning partners such as transit agencies, local governments, and Federal agencies, about effective practices for incorporating performance-based planning into the development of a long range transportation plan.

Who’s on Board: The 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey (Transit Center and RSG, 2014)

This study reveals that Americans from regions across the country think about and use public transit in remarkably similar ways. The report is the first to compare rider and non-rider attitudes by age, income, education, family status and ethnicity, and to examine both cities and suburban areas across various regions of the U.S. The work documents the unmet need for reliable, quality transit. This preference is true across age groups and geographic regions.

Transportation Technical Reference Manual: Guide to Characterize the Savings, Benefits, and Costs of Transportation Efficiency Measures (NASEO and VEIC, 2014)

While using standardized methodologies to measure the energy impacts and cost-effectiveness of efficiency programs is common practice in the electric and thermal energy sectors, this is not the case for transportation. National Association of State Energy Officials and Vermont Energy Investment Coprtation have developed the following Transportation technical reference manual to characterize energy savings, environmental benefits, and financial costs of selected transportation efficiency measures and establish a framework for comprehensive and informed decision-making.

Advancing a Sustainable Highway System: Highlights of FHWA Sustainability Activities (FHWA and Volpe Center, 2014)

This report from FHWA illustrates how sustainability has been incorporated into a wide variety of FHWA programs, projects, policies, processes, and partnerships. It is intended to be used by a diverse audience of transportation agency professionals at the Federal, State, and local level as well as the general public.

Partnership Financing: Improving Transportation Infrastructure Through Public Private Partnerships (Eno Center for Transportation, 2014)

Eno’s P3 working group brought together industry leaders and experts to identify barriers to the increased use of P3s and to outline approaches for overcoming these barriers. This report identifies patterns in the challenges that localities have faced when using P3s and presents recommendations for federal, state, and local policy to enable greater use of P3s as an infrastructure delivery mechanism in the future.

A Performance-Based Approach to Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Transportation Planning (FHWA, 2014)

This publication is a handbook designed to be a resource for State DOTs and MPOs engaged in performance-based planning and programming to integrate greenhouse gas performance measures into transportation decisionmaking. It discusses key approaches for integrating GHG emissions into a PBPP approach, considerations for selecting an appropriate GHG performance measure, and using GHG performance measures to support investment choices and to enhance decisionmaking.

Has motorization in the U.S. peaked? Part 5: Update through 2012 (Michael Sivak, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 2014)

Following on previous reports, this report updates driving and fule consumption trends through 2012. The author examines 11 trends in all, including less driving per capita, per licensed driver, per household, and total VMT. Fuel consumption has also declined, and is now lower than the rates in 1984. The main finding of the series of reports is that the respective rates all reached their maxima around 2004. The author argues that, because the onsets of the reductions in these rates preceded the onset of the recession (in 2008), the reductions in these rates likely reflect fundamental, non-economic changes in society. Therefore, these maxima have a reasonable chance of being long-term peaks as well. The present report provides a brief update on these measures through 2012.