A tool to estimate the added VMT from highway expansions

Since passage of S.B. 743 in 2013, California agencies have wrestled with questions around the added travel and emissions resulting from land use and transportation projects. On the land use side, see SSTI’s recent webinars about land-use review reforms in San Jose and Pasadena. On the transportation side, the National Center for Sustainable Transportation has developed an induced travel demand calculator designed to calculate the percentage of additional annual VMT when highways are widened.

A tool to estimate the added VMT from highway expansions

Since passage of S.B. 743 in 2013, California agencies have wrestled with questions around the added travel and emissions resulting from land use and transportation projects. On the land use side, see SSTI’s recent webinars about land-use review reforms in San Jose and Pasadena. On the transportation side, the National Center for Sustainable Transportation has developed an induced travel demand calculator designed to calculate the percentage of additional annual VMT when highways are widened.

To meet clean energy goals, everyone will need better transportation options

The proposed Green New Deal, like many local green energy and climate action plans across the country, aspires to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. SSTI has crunched the numbers in several cases, including for Hawaii’s Transcending Oil report, and found that ignoring the amount that people drive means even the most ambitious energy plans could fall well below their targets. But that also means focusing on those who drive the most—typically in far-flung suburbs with limited transportation options—and finding creative ways for them to reduce their impacts.

To meet clean energy goals, everyone will need better transportation options

The proposed Green New Deal, like many local green energy and climate action plans across the country, aspires to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. SSTI has crunched the numbers in several cases, including for Hawaii’s Transcending Oil report, and found that ignoring the amount that people drive means even the most ambitious energy plans could fall well below their targets. But that also means focusing on those who drive the most—typically in far-flung suburbs with limited transportation options—and finding creative ways for them to reduce their impacts.

Estimating policy effects on reduced vehicle travel in Hawaii (SSTI, 2019)

Transcending Oil, released in April 2018, describes Hawaii’s path toward meeting its ambitious clean energy goals by 2045. The report was commissioned by Elemental Excelerator and prepared independently by Rhodium Group and Smart Growth America. It focuses mainly on transitioning the electrical grid to renewable energy while moving large numbers of vehicles to electric power but also points to the importance of managing overall travel demand through transportation policies and investments. This technical guide describes the methods and findings behind Transcending Oil’s travel demand forecasts, developed by SSTI and Smart Growth America.

Tolling strategies may mitigate the impact of AVs on VMT and congestion

The anticipated shift to autonomous vehicles raises several concerns, among them are whether AVs will increase total vehicle miles traveled, exacerbate congestion, or replace the use of transit and active modes. A new study focused on Austin, TX, models the effects that two adoption scenarios may have, comparing the results to current conditions. The experiment shows a jump in VMT, increased congestion, and a shift away from public transportation. The authors then mitigate the scenarios by applying four tolling schemes, and examine the results.

Tolling strategies may mitigate the impact of AVs on VMT and congestion

The anticipated shift to autonomous vehicles raises several concerns, among them are whether AVs will increase total vehicle miles traveled, exacerbate congestion, or replace the use of transit and active modes. A new study focused on Austin, TX, models the effects that two adoption scenarios may have, comparing the results to current conditions. The experiment shows a jump in VMT, increased congestion, and a shift away from public transportation. The authors then mitigate the scenarios by applying four tolling schemes, and examine the results.

Is working from home really reducing VMT?

With advancement in technology and telecommunications, teleworking is becoming easier for a variety of professionals. Cities and administrations support these initiatives with the understanding and hope that they’ll reduce congestion and total vehicle miles traveled. But do they really reduce VMT? A recent study disputes the assumptions and finds that for most households, teleworking has a positive relation with VMT.

Study finds improving bike, pedestrian infrastructure cuts driving, CO2 emissions

In an attempt to meet CO2 reduction targets, both mandatory and self-administered, cities worldwide are attempting to overhaul their transport infrastructure to limit private vehicle use and encourage more active forms of travel (i.e., walking and biking). While the common assumption among planners is that greater rates walking and biking will lead to subsequent decreases in driving, there is in fact very limited evidence to suggest that this is the case. A new study from New Zealand, however, may shed light on the matter.