Big Data sources for understanding non-motorized travel patterns

Although, there are many platforms and companies offering bike-ped travel data acquired through smartphone apps, location-based services, fitness apps, etc., the choice can be very confusing and at times expensive. A recent paper from Texas A&M Transportation Institute discusses the top sources for this travel data. This could help us understand how to solve the complexities of incorporating active transportation modes into traditional planning practices.

New resource offers guidance and tools for right-sizing transportation investments

NCHRP has released a new guidebook to help state DOTs systematically integrate a right-sizing approach into their decision-making. The practice of “right-sizing” involves modifying the size, extent, function, and composition of existing or planned infrastructure and services to better reflect current needs, goals, and economic realities. While right-sizing has gained popularity, few agencies are doing right-sizing routinely. NCHRP’s new guidebook may help bridge that gap.

Why cities aren’t preparing for autonomous vehicles

A study evaluating municipal planning for autonomous vehicles found that an overwhelming majority of cities have done little to prepare for their arrival. At the same time, many of those cities have concerns about the negative impacts AVs could bring along with the substantial benefits, from increased vehicle miles traveled and congestion to reduced transit ridership and increased sprawl.

Motor vehicle dependence is making us sick: How transportation and urban planners are part of the solution

A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet focuses on prevention strategies for the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) stemming from an unsustainable reliance on a transportation system reliant on fossil fuels. Such diseases include such as traffic violence, obesity, or respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. To address this crisis, the authors makes strong arguments that transportation and urban planners must coordinate across departments and accept their professional roles in determining how people travel.

How a Chicago suburb became car-lite and lessons for other communities

In a provocatively titled article—The Suburb That Tried to Kill the Car—Politico digs into how the Chicago suburb of Evanston reinvented itself through transit-oriented development. It is a tale with lessons for many other communities about the interplay and delicate balance of land use, transportation options, parking, zoning, tax revenues, affordable housing, and attracting new development.

Caltrans achieves first state road award from Greenroads

The Presidio Parkway Phase I in San Francisco is the first state highway to be awarded a Greenroads certificate, indicating a high level of environmental sensitivity and sustainability during design and construction of the roadway. The project received a Bronze Rating. Key elements recognized by Greenroads in the project’s certification included an extensive public involvement process with special attention paid to biological, cultural, and natural resources.

State DOTs recognize benefits of supporting local land use planning

As part of a new grant program, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) recently funded three local projects aimed at better coordinating transportation and land use decisions. VTrans has partnered with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to award approximately $200,000 each year for communities to develop plans, policies, and funding mechanisms that support local transportation options and reduce long-term infrastructure demands throughout the state.