Transportation Policy & Planning

Ridesourcing’s Impact and Role in Urban Transportation

Susan Shaheen, Nelson Chan, Lisa Rayle

App-based, on-demand ride services—also known as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)—have grown rapidly in recent years and caused debate in the passenger transportation industry. Advances in information and communication technology have enabled these services to provide a wide variety of real-time and demand-responsive trips. Companies such as Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar (now defunct) have developed smartphone apps whereby passengers can “source” a ride from a private passenger vehicle driven by a non-commercially licensed driver (usually). These apps communicate the passenger’s location to the driver via GPS and charge a distance-based fare. The driver is paid approximately 80 percent of the fare; the company keeps the rest. Many of these apps maintain a rating system that allows drivers and passengers to rate each other after the trip is completed. A passenger’s credit card information can be saved within the system to facilitate future trips.

Do Cities Have Too Much Parking?

Andrew M. Fraser, Mikhail Chester, Juan Matute, and Ram Pendvala

Minimum parking requirements create more parking than is needed. This in turn encourages more driving at a time when cities seek to reduce congestion and increase transit use, biking, and walking. After nearly a century of development under these requirements, parking now dominates our cities.

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2017-08-14T17:48:32+00:00Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: , |

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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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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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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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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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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2017-05-19T22:57:32+00:00Categories: ACCESS 47, Fall 2015|Tags: |

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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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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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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