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Spring 2016, Issue 48

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  • Old Car

Introduction

Anne Brown

In this issue of ACCESS, we cover all kinds of transportation: airplanes, cars, public transit, and running. There’s even a nod to ice-skating.

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Categories: ACCESS 48, Spring 2016|
  • Automobiles Electric Gas

Going the Extra Mile: Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have generated significant interest for their potential to decrease dependence on imported oil and to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. While hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) rely on their internal combustion engines to recharge their batteries, PHEVs generally have larger batteries and can be recharged by plugging into an outside electricity source, such as a standard home outlet (Figure 1). As a result, PHEVs are potentially more efficient and cleaner than HEVs, in part because more of their energy can come from clean, renewable sources.

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  • Airport

Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity?

Megan S. Ryerson and Amber Woodburn

Airports can manage air traffic congestion in two ways: 1) add infrastructure or 2) manage flight demand. The environmental and economic implications of these options, however, often conflict. New runways have significant financial and environmental costs, but they can also stimulate economic development and increase a city’s appeal to businesses. Managing demand saves construction costs and encourages fuel efficiency but may limit opportunities for regional growth. Our research finds that airports in the US underestimate or ignore these tradeoffs and, as a result, frequently fail to consider managing demand as an alternative to building new runways.

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  • FirstPageHousing

A Driving Factor in Moving to Opportunity

Evelyn Blumenberg and Gregory Pierce

In 1992, the US Congress authorized the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing voucher program to operate in five large metropolitan areas: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The MTO program represented a radical departure from standard housing assistance programs, which clustered participants in very poor neighborhoods that offered few opportunities. Running counter to previous policy, MTO used an experimental framework to assess how moving households on assistance to low-poverty neighborhoods can affect their employment, education, and household income. Under the program, residents were randomly assigned into three groups. The first group received housing vouchers that could be used only in neighborhoods with poverty rates under 10 percent. The second group received similar housing vouchers but with no neighborhood restrictions. The third group did not receive vouchers but remained eligible for public housing and other social programs.

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  • EagleBridge

Investing in Transportation and Preserving Fragile Environments

Martin Wachs and Jaimee Lederman

In the early 1970s, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) owned large tracts of environmentally sensitive land near Beach Lake in the Sacramento River Valley. The land, acquired in anticipation of future projects but deemed no longer necessary, was to be declared surplus property and sold according to department protocol. One enterprising staff member, however, was thinking differently. He urged Caltrans to hold on to the land and use it for environmental mitigation credit to offset damage from future transportation projects in other areas. In an unusual move, the agency adopted his creative proposal, and the experiment paid off handsomely. In the following decades, the land fulfilled mitigation requirements for 49 separate projects in 14 counties with documented cost savings to Caltrans of over $25 million.

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  • ParkingHighRise

Cutting the Cost of Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup

At the dawn of the automobile age, suppose Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller had hired you to devise policies to increase the demand for cars and gasoline. What planning regulations would make a car the obvious choice for most travel? First, segregate land uses (housing here, jobs there, shopping somewhere else) to increase travel demand. Second, limit density at every site to spread the city, further increasing travel demand. Third, require ample off-street parking everywhere, making cars the default way to travel.

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  • RunCommuter

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Running to Work

Robert Cervero

As a transportation researcher, I sometimes get asked what falls into the Census’s “other” category of how people get to work—hoverboarding, rollerblading, kayaking? In Ottawa, three percent of commuters ice-skate to work in winter months. In other cities, notably big, dense ones with awful traffic and jam-packed subways, an increasingly popular way to commute is running. Lacing up running shoes and hoofing it to work is arguably the most active form of active transport and helps meet the Surgeon General’s recommended 30 or more minutes of physical activity per day. Combining two things we need to do—exercising and getting to work—can pay off. Research shows active commuters cut their odds of obesity by 50 percent.

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Previous Issue: ACCESS 47, Fall 2015

  • listening_to_a_gramophone

Introduction: We Want to Hear from You!

Donald Shoup

Dear Readers, As many of you know, ACCESS is a grant-funded publication. One of the things our funders look for is whether ACCESS is making transportation research accessible to a wide audience. Do we reach enough people? Do we help enact policy change? Do we help people better understand the transportation issues of today? We think the best way to know whether we are achieving our goal is to ask our readers.

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Categories: ACCESS 47, Fall 2015|Tags: |
  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 7.53.04 AM

Quantified Traveler: Travel Feedback Meets the Cloud to Change Behavior

Raja Sengupta and Joan L. Walker

Halting climate change will require a concerted effort to reduce emissions from on-road vehicles. While significant progress has been made to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, surface transportation accounted for half the increase in US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past two decades. Today, surface transportation accounts for 24 percent of all US emissions. Automobile improvements alone will not be sufficient to meet federal and state emissions targets; policy makers also need to identify solutions that reduce the demand for car travel. Information technology offers a promising breakthrough on this front.

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  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 7.57.47 AM

Unraveling the Modal Impacts of Bikesharing

Susan Shaheen and Elliot Martin

Public bikesharing has emerged as one of the latest transportation innovations, transforming North American cities and providing people with more transportation options. Much attention has focused on how new bikesharing programs fit in with the largely auto-oriented transportation culture. But there is another fascinating question: how do bikesharing programs influence the travel patterns of their members with respect to travel by rail, bus, and on foot?

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  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.00.47 AM

Does Transit-Oriented Development Need the Transit?

Daniel G. Chatman

Urban planners have invested a lot of energy in the idea of transit-oriented developments (TODs). Developing dense housing near rail stations with mixed land uses and better walkability is intended to encourage people to walk, bike, and take transit instead of driving. But TODs can also be expensive, largely because rail itself is expensive. In one study, the average cost for light rail construction was $61 million per mile in 2009 dollars.

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  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.04.48 AM

Life-Cycle Impacts of Transit-Oriented Development

Matthew J. Nahlik and Mikhail Chester

There is a growing interest in pedestrian and transit-oriented development as a way to reduce the cost of transportation and home energy use. Yet there is little knowledge of how much alternative travel modes and compact developments reduce environmental impacts and household costs. As US cities begin to rethink their growth, city planners need better tools to measure the environmental and economic effects of infrastructure redesign.

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  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.05.14 AM

Changing Lanes

Joseph F. DiMento and Cliff Ellis

Few planning decisions have affected American cities as much as those involving urban freeways. Massive freeway infrastructure projects have reconfigured urban form, supplanted neighborhoods, displaced tens of thousands of people, and cost billions of dollars. Congress and state legislatures passed important new laws that guided where freeways could be built, what funds were available, which types of consultation and analysis should be conducted, and what impacts were permissible. Lawmakers and courts required that projects be planned and completed with maximum sensitivity to the environment, with concern for relocating displaced residents, and with active citizen participation.

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  • Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.06.44 AM

THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Common Ground

Karen Trapenberg Frick

With political polarization hindering progress in public policy and meaningful engagement at all levels of government, now is a good time to reflect on how we run public participation processes. How do legislative requirements—like those for the regional planning process in California—help or hinder meaningful public engagement? What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for improving public engagement?

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Categories: ACCESS 47, Fall 2015|Tags: |

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