Priced parking is fair and effective at lowering car use

New research out of California looks at the effect of priced parking on commuter mode choice and transportation costs for low-income households. Findings from two studies suggest raising the price of commuter parking by 10 percent could lower car use by as much as three percentage points and, while residential parking permits could hit low-income households hardest, few households would be disproportionately affected. Moreover, revenues from paid parking could offset any potential burden.

Inequities in allocation of bike infrastructure investments

The pressing need for safer active transportation infrastructure cannot be overlooked anymore, with 2019 being the deadliest year of the century for pedestrians and cyclists. Although federal spending on active transportation increased from 1990 to 2017, equity advocates claim that these investments are not serving all communities. A recent study that looked at the intersection of bicycle infrastructure and socioeconomic status of residents in 22 U.S. cities strengthens this claim.

Some bias is evident when ticketing speeders in Burlington, Vermont

The negative safety effects of speeding are well established. The enforcement of speed limits is justified to reduce crashes. But does officer discretion when giving tickets result in bias against one group or another? The results of an analysis of speeding stops in Burlington, VT, show that young drivers, male drivers, and drivers belonging to what the researchers termed a non-white “minority” group are more likely to receive a speeding ticket, rather than a warning.

Transit-oriented development, VMT, and induced gentrification

Many cities are pursuing transit-oriented development as a strategy to decrease regional vehicle miles traveled. But as TOD has become popular with higher-income residents, low-income residents can be pushed out, complicating that goal. A recent study in California looked at travel patterns of both the new residents of transit-oriented neighborhoods, as well as the households displaced due to gentrification.

Los Angeles and San Francisco using data to target Vision Zero efforts

As cities commit to Vision Zero, they have started to examine intersections and roadway segments with high crash rates, serious injuries, and fatalities to pedestrians. What they have found is that a small percent of roadways account for a large portion of serious crashes. And crashes disproportionately affect certain populations.

Study: Carlessness drives incomes down

New York City has its share of income disparity problems. However, in terms of transportation, at least parts of New York stand out as places that live up to the idea of providing equity through multimodal choice. A new paper by David King of Arizona State University and two co-authors finds that residents of Manhattan suffer no economic penalty if they lack a car. In the rest of the country—and even in the more suburban borough of Staten Island—that’s not the case.

Can road pricing be used to make LA’s transportation system more equitable?

California nonprofit TransForm and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently released a new report and toolkit with guidance for bringing equity into the implementation of congestion pricing. While conversations about congestion pricing and equity often focus on minimizing the negative—reducing disproportionate impacts to low-income residents—the report authors argue a different paradigm: that pricing strategies can be used to improve the equity of transportation systems overall by harnessing the potential efficiencies to address systemic inequities.

New study details non-emission particulates

Greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles deserve a lot of attention, but particulates from vehicles are also a significant health concern. Tiny soot particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Larger-sized particles can contaminate nearby fields and groundwater, and deliver a significant dose of microplastics to surface waters. Of the microplastic particles polluting surface waters, 30 percent originate from tire wear, according to new research by German and U.S. scientists.

Do mileage-based congestion fees hit low-income drivers harder?

While there is mounting evidence that demand-based pricing—or congestion tolling—can more efficiently manage highway use, serious concerns continue to arise regarding the system’s disproportionate impacts on low-income drivers. However, a recent study by researchers at Purdue University has found that a less onerous tax alternative may exist—one that combines congestion tolling with mileage-based user fees or a VMT tax.