Robert Cervero

About Robert Cervero (Edit profile)

Robert Cervero is Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at the University of California Berkeley, the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies, and Director of the University of California Transportation Center (robertc@berkeley.edu).

Are Induced-Travel Studies Inducing Bad Investments?

Robert Cervero

Mark Hansen's 1995 ACCESS article presented compelling evidence on induced travel demand. Titled “Do New Highways Generate Traffic?” it drew on eighteen years’ worth of data for fourteen California metropolitan areas and concluded that added road capacity unleashes new travel. The article showed that added trips quickly fill up an improved roadway, bringing it back to its original congested condition. On average, Hansen found, every ten percent increase in road capacity spurred a nine percent increase in traffic volumes within three or four years. That is, around nine-tenths of added road capacity was absorbed by new trips.

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Informal Transit: Learning from the Developing World

Robert Cervero

Consumer choice is the American way. We have come to expect variety, for example, in our supermarkets. Twenty-five years ago salad lovers were largely stuck with iceberg lettuce; today, however, we find a wide choice of butterhead, romaine, and ruby-leaf lettuces in the vegetable section. Salad consumption is up, and perhaps we’re a little healthier for it. Why do we not enjoy comparable variety and choice in our urban transit sectors? Transit systems can be remarkably versatile. Left to their own devices, they respond and adapt to emerging markets and technologies. In an open and competitive setting, transit operators are keenly aware of the slightest changes in market conditions and accommodate to them. Quick to adjust and eager to make a profit, they deliver what travelers want—a wealth of service options, ranging from motorized three-wheelers to van-size carriers to minibuses, priced at levels the market will bear.

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Middle Age Sprawl: BART and Urban Development

John Landis and Robert Cervero

BART was the first American rail rapid transit system to be built in modern times, and its arrival was greeted with worldwide attention. BART is famous. Its fame is attached to its favorable image as the answer to the problems of the modern American metropolis. And the extent to which it has succeeded, or failed, to live up to expectations is an important lesson for other cities wanting to emulate it.

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Tracking Accessibility

Robert Cervero

Much of transportation planning and engineering today aims at reducing average delays, increasing passenger throughput, and in general keeping traffic flowing smoothly and safely. These are the field’s principal measure of performance. But is a quick, uncongested trip indicative of a well-planned, accessible community?

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The Transportation-Land Use Connection Still Matters

Robert Cervero

and John Landis

In the Spring 1995 issue of ACCESS, Genevieve Giuliano contends there is a weakening connection between' urban land uses and transportation. She therefore finds little justification for public initiatives such as programs to balance jobs and housing and investments in rail transit. She argues that because urban areas in the United States are already so accessible, settlement patterns so well-established, and maintenance of privacy so important, transportation plays an ever-decreasing role in the locational decisions of households and businesses. Her essay infers that the land use-transportation connection is now too weak to matter in terms of public policy.

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Transit Villages: From Idea to Implementation

Robert Cervero

One of the more disappointing transportation trends of the 1980s was mass transit's declining market share of metropolitan trips throughout the United States. Despite the infusion of tens of billions of dollars in public assistance for constructing new facilities and supporting bus and rail operations, transit's nationwide share of total commute trips fell from 6.4 percent in 1980 to 5.3 percent in 1990. In California, while transit journeys rose in absolute numbers during the 1980s (one of the few states where this was the case), transit's share of commute trips fell in the state's four largest metropolitan areas, despite their new rail systems: greater Los Angeles–5.4 to 4.8 percent; San Francisco Bay Area– 11.9 to 10 percent; San Diego–3.7 to 3.6 percent; and Sacramento –3.7 to 2.5 percent.

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Surviving in the Suburbs: Transit’s Untapped Frontier

Robert Cervero

Living in suburbia, owning a house, and watching the kids play on a green lawn was the American dream as early as the 1800s. At first, mass transit was crucial to suburban life, with streetcars and rail lines providing access to new residential areas outside of cities. After World War II, as automobiles became even more popular and the pace of suburbanization accelerated, the American dream expanded to include two cars in every garage. For the mass transportation industry, this spelled disaster.

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