Gas prices can have ripple effects on development patterns and travel options

Gasoline prices have clear impacts on development patterns, according to recent research that adds new evidence for the long-term impacts of transportation pricing signals. The new study shows that wage growth and low gas prices contributed to high rates of suburban growth in the 1980s and 1990s, measured in terms of deforestation. Those trends have reversed as gas prices have risen.

Dog owners drive more, but policy and design changes could help lessen the need

We all can identify a walkable neighborhood, whether we live in one or know what we expect to see in one: good sidewalks, connectivity to surrounding areas, and many destinations. But new research suggests those considerations might be significantly different for dog owners. Since more than one third of households own dogs, complexity is thrown into concepts like the “15-minute city” or cities designed for all age groups and abilities.

Pedestrians respond to built environment changes, according to study

With consistent growth in most urbanized areas around the world, changes to the built environment to accommodate multimodal travel will become one of our most important adaptations. A recent study from Melbourne, Australia, of pedestrian flows over five years found that built environmental changes accounted for 50-60% of the increase in foot traffic in the downtown region.  

Major roads undercut safety benefits of highly accessible places

In working with transportation agencies across the U.S., our team often faces questions about the role of safety in accessibility analysis. While we know the safety and comfort of streets clearly impacts access for people on foot or bicycle, the effects of accessibility on overall safety haven’t been clear. Fortunately, leading experts in both accessibility and traffic safety recently teamed up to answer this question.

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.

Exploring the relationship between transit supply and parking demand

In a recent study, researchers from Australia look closely at the relationship between parking demand and proximity and quality of service supply of public transit. When other socioeconomic factors were considered, the quality of transit service became much more important than proximity alone in determining parking demand. This will be helpful in the ongoing discussion about where and how to reduce or eliminate required parking as part of development.

Growth near transit is key to connecting smaller cities, SSTI finds

A new study by SSTI and the Traffic Operations and Safety Lab at UW-Madison provides a partial roadmap to the future for transit in smaller cities. The study gave Eau Claire, Wisconsin—a city nearing 70,000 people—a look into emerging transit technologies and insight on their residents’ perspectives toward transit. SSTI also laid out a dozen future scenarios, evaluating each one using accessibility metrics.

Seattle moves to new transportation level of service guidelines

Seattle is the latest city to move away from traditional definitions of motor vehicle LOS and toward a more multimodal approach in assessing the impacts of new development. On January 14, the Seattle Council is set to vote on new regulations for developments to support changes in adopted transportation level of service. The new regulations will change which development projects require transportation mitigation and increase the minimum size of developments that are subject to a transportation impact analysis.