While per-capita traffic casualties are declining with increasing transit ridership, many people still harbor an irrational fear of public transit—making them less likely to use transit or support increased transit service. Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI) released a new study last month that delves into this issue.
Carmaggedon leads to significantly better air quality
As Los Angeles-area residents were preparing for “Carmageddon II” – the second scheduled closing in two years of 10 miles of Interstate 405, the busiest highway in the country, to complete bridge work – research findings were released showing almost instantaneous improvements in air quality during the original Camageddon in July 15-17, 2011. Unfortunately, the effect was reversed soon after the freeway re-opened.
Local air quality benefits of street-level foliage much greater than previously thought
In a recently released study, researchers in the UK have found that street-level plantings can reduce two of the dominant pollutants—particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)—by 60 and 40 percent, respectively, in urban street “canyons.” Previous city-scale studies had estimated that vegetation could only reduce levels of pollution by less than 5 percent.
Productivity of trains as mobile offices a factor in mode selection
Although driving or flying may be faster door-to-door, trains offer something those modes do not: uninterrupted time to work. And this additional work time is starting to be a factor in transportation mode choice for many workers.
Public Bikesharing in North America: Early Operator and User Understanding (Mineta Transportation Institute, 2012)
This study evaluates public bikesharing in North America, reviewing the advances in technology and major events during its rapid expansion. It looks at several angles, including current operational practices, business models, and environmental and social impacts in …
Report shows that higher congestion is associated with better economies
While transportation agencies gamely battle to reduce congestion with diminishing resources, a new report suggests that traffic jams may have a good side. They are linked to strong economies.
AZ DOT report finds compact development reduces VMT without increasing localized congestion
A first-ever analysis of land-use and transportation demand in Arizona contradicts fears that compact, “smart growth” development, while beneficial in moderating demand, will increase localized congestion. The report, produced for Arizona DOT in March, also suggests that traditional travel demand modeling is outmoded, unable to reflect land use effects on demand, and it disputes notions that compact development is inequitable and costly.
Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use (Mineta Transportation Institute, 2012)
Ecodriving is a collection of changes to driving behavior and vehicle maintenance designed to impact fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in existing vehicles. Because of its promise to improve fuel economy within the …
Promoting Bicycle Commuter Safety (Mineta Transportation Institute, 2012)
This report examines the “five Es” for increasing bicycle commuter safety, but focuses on education and engineering. Case studies from California and Portland, OR give first hand information about bicycle safety. Download the full report.
Neither roads nor public transit will help?
In the October 2011 issue of the American Economic Review, authors Gilles Duranton and Matthew A. Turner review traffic data from the years 1983 to 2003. Their article, “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence …