Increasing “reverse commuting” inspires innovative transit programs

Over the last decade, “reverse commuting”—travel from central city residential areas to suburban jobs—has increased significantly. Two trends—increased movement of employment to suburbs and growing preference by some employees for central city living—are driving the reverse commute. While in-migration to walkable and transit friendly cities has reduced driving for non-work auto trips, many workers still need to travel to jobs in the suburbs during peak hours, posing new challenges for transit planners. Transportation planners, employers, and commuters around the country are attempting to adjust to these changes in a number of ways.

New report from SSTI discusses freight transportation demand management strategies

A new report, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education, identifies and evaluates freight transportation demand management strategies to improve transportation efficiency by reducing the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas.

Getting the Goods Without the Bads: Freight Transportation Demand Management Strategies to Reduce Urban Impacts (SSTI, 2013)

This project, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE), identifies and evaluates strategies to reduce the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas by managing freight transportation demand.

A new future for downtown Rochester: Removing the Inner Loop highway

After several unsuccessful TIGER applications, Rochester, NY underutilized urban Inner Loop, built in the 1960s, received 17.7 million dollars to facilitate the removal of the expressway and frontage roads and reconstruction as a parkway. A road once disparaged by the city itself as a “noose around the neck of downtown,” has been two decades in planning and will give way to a boulevard that will reconnect the city street grid, improve the business environment, and improve livability for Rochester’s residents.

At a crossroads: Complete streets and functional classification

As the demand for more complete, multimodal streets increases, so does the push to alter the functional classification system to allow for greater local flexibility in roadway design. The functional classification system often restricts communities seeking flexibility in roadway design and can effectively hobble transit planners attempting to advance livability initiatives.

Rural routes more dangerous than those in urban areas

Rural areas, although home to less than 20 percent of the nation’s population, account for 55 percent of traffic fatalities, and largely rural states have the deadliest roadways. Despite the greater risk, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota, drivers feel safer and more relaxed on these rural routes than on urban freeways

Cities feel left out of transportation discussion

At the first national conference of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), city transportation and elected officials expressed dismay that cities may be on their own in moving forward with innovative plans and policies. Attendees were frsutrated that neither cities nor transportation overall got much attention during the recent campaign season.

The Correlates of Housing Price Changes with Geography, Density, Design and Use: Evidence from Philadelphia (Congress for the New Urbanism, 2012)

University of Pennsylvania economist Kevin Gillen analyzes the stability of Philadelphia-area home prices from 2007-2012 as they correlate to walkable, urban neighborhoods versus exurban, auto-centered locales. In a reversal of trends from past recessions, the walkable, urban neighborhoods have weathered the recent housing crisis better than more car-centered counterparts.

The Correlates of Housing Price Changes with Geography, Density, Design and Use: Evidence from Philadelphia (Congress for the New Urbanism, 2012)

University of Pennsylvania economist Kevin Gillen analyzes the stability of Philadelphia-area home prices from 2007-2012 as they correlate to walkable, urban neighborhoods versus exurban, auto-centered locales. In a reversal of trends from past recessions, the walkable, urban neighborhoods have weathered the recent housing crisis better than more car-centered counterparts.