GPS data informs transportation projects in Northern Virginia: SSTI study

Transportation agencies, dependent for decades on traffic counts and travel demand models, are turning to new sources of data to understand the movement of vehicles and people. These include aerial photography, Bluetooth sensors, and cellular location data. Adding to that list, SSTI recently completed a study of vehicle trip-making patterns in Northern Virginia (NOVA), using commercially available GPS data. That study, presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in March, is now available for download.

Trip-making data, TDM, and connectivity in Northern Virginia (SSTI and Michael Baker International, 2016)

Commercially available GPS data offers valuable new insight about trip origins, destinations, and routes, including short trips that travel demand models often cannot capture. Using this data, SSTI worked with Michael Baker International, the Virginia DOT, and local stakeholders to identify opportunities for managing travel demand and improving connectivity throughout Northern Virginia. This final report describes the full data set and 17 selected case studies, along with recommended projects and policies, estimated costs, and benefits for each.

TDM study suggests we are overestimating vehicle trip generation rates

In a recent study done in Melbourne, Australia, researchers compared transportation demand management plans at four new residential developments with control sites with similar characteristics. The results showed lower car mode share and trip generation in the sites with TDM plans, but also significantly lower rates of vehicle trip generation than those published in commonly-used sources.

U.S. 36: Changing commute habits through infrastructure, incentives, and education

The Colorado Department of Transportation is putting the final touches on the reconstruction of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, and their efforts to both accommodate and encourage alternatives to driving alone in the corridor seem to be working. Prior to the completion of construction, a two-year social media-based TDM program launched. The TDM program, managed by 36 Commuting Solutions, is showing success at generating mode shift from single-occupancy vehicles to carpooling and transit.

Expanded transit tax incentive can’t compete with the lure of subsidized parking

Many municipalities and the federal government have goals of improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, and increasing transit use. However, until recently federal policies providing greater tax breaks to car commuters than transit commuters have thwarted these goals. However, recent equivalency in financial incentives does not fully counterbalance the attraction of driving alone to work.

Growing a Culture of Transportation Sustainability in Massachusetts (McCahill, Ebeling and Codd, 2014)

MassDOT is among a growing number of state agencies tackling sustainability efforts in the transportaiton section and its approach offers valuable lessons for others. number of state agencies tackling this issue and its approach offers valuable lessons for others. This paper traces the evolution of MassDOT’s sustainability efforts, beginning with its revised Project Development and Design Guide, published in 2006, and ultimately encapsulated in its ongoing GreenDOT program, launched in 2010. These efforts represent the combined actions of state legislators, agency leaders, and personnel at all levels of MassDOT.

Study finds dynamic ridesharing can boost TDM effectiveness

In a newly released report from the Mineta Transportation Institute, researchers found that ridesharing might actually reduce VMT in the San Francisco Bay area by as much as 23 percent over the long run—more than land use, transit, and VMT-pricing policies alone. The researchers also tested how TOD and pricing might affect demand for battery electric vehicles.

New tool estimates transit’s effect on VMT and emissions

Transit often fails to get the credit it deserves for reducing traffic and emissions. In most U.S. cities, transit’s mode share is in the single digits, so the direct effect of ridership seems small. And while it’s clear that even in places with low mode share transit plays a role in raising densities—and thereby reducing travel distances—this relationship has been hard to quantify; conventional demand models simply take land use as an input. Filling this gap is a report and tool from TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program.

To cut automobile travel, locate jobs near transit

When people live and work near transit stations, transportation service providers have a much easier job of providing essential first- and last-mile connections. While both ends of the trip matter, the location of jobs may be more important to consider in cutting automobile travel, according to researchers at the University of Denver. Moreover, locating both homes and jobs near transit stations can drastically reduce automobile use, even for travel unrelated to work.