In this issue:
“Writing—the hard part is making it look easy.” E.B.White Academic research in transportation often requires years of work before the author eventually publishes the results. Developing a hypothesis, collecting data, and conducting rigorous statistical tests are usually necessary before a journal will accept an article for publication. Then what happens? A few fellow academics and their students might read the article and discuss it. But transportation planners and elected officials who can use the results to improve transportation policy will probably never see the article or even hear about the research. Download the PDF.
Evelyn Blumenberg, and
Brian D. Taylor
How do you get to work? Do you have a preferred route to your favorite restaurant? To the nearest hospital? To Disneyland? If you know—or think you know—the answers to any of these questions, then your cognitive map is at work. Humans rely on mental maps to store knowledge of places and routes in order to engage in travel and activities. People use their cognitive maps to decide where to go and how to get there. But accessibility research has largely ignored this essential aspect of travel behavior, despite the fact that a trip won’t happen without prior knowledge of a destination and potential routes to it. As cities become larger and more dispersed, good information about opportunities and travel systems is more important than ever. Download the PDF.
It’s official: exposure to diesel exhaust harms human health. In June 2012, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) updated its rankings, shifting diesel exhaust from a probable to a known carcinogen. In addition to being a human carcinogen, diesel emissions contribute to both smog and climate change. Download the PDF.
For much of the past century, federal and state taxes on gasoline and diesel have provided the majority of funding for US highway construction and maintenance. Fuel taxes perform well in this role: they distribute the tax burden among drivers in rough proportion to their use of the road network, are inexpensive to administer, and offer a modest incentive to buy and drive fuel-efficient vehicles. Download the PDF.
Gregory Pierce and
In 2011, San Francisco adopted the biggest price reform for on-street parking since the invention of the parking meter in 1935. Most cities’ parking meters charge the same price all day, and some cities charge the same price everywhere. San Francisco’s meters, however, now vary the price of curb parking by location and time of day. Download the PDF.
Parking requirements in zoning ordinances create one of the most wasteful elements of transportation and land use systems: unoccupied parking spaces. Each space requires over 300 square feet of valuable land or building area, yet many sit empty. Minimum parking requirements at shopping malls, for example, often lead to sprawling developments surrounded by large, underused parking lots. Spaces for workplaces may be well-used during the day but remain unoccupied in the evening because they are not shared with other land uses. Sometimes, the parking required is greater than the amount of parking ever used. Download the PDF.
Researchers and policy makers have long anticipated fully connected vehicular networks that will help prevent accidents, facilitate eco-friendly driving, and provide more accurate real-time traffic information. Today, vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) offer a promising way to achieve this goal. Using advances in wireless communications, computing, and vehicular technologies, VANETs rely on real-time communication not only with roadside sensors but also among vehicles and pedestrians. While there are still communication problems to solve within these complex systems, concerns about privacy, liability, and security are the chief obstacles that prevent progress towards large-scale implementation. Download the PDF.