ACCESS 31, Fall 2007

Urgent Action Required

Melanie Curry

At a recent conference in Berkeley sponsored by the University of California Transportation Center, On the Road to Sustainability: From Research to Practice, researcher after researcher discussed the climate implications of a wide range of transportation issues. Participants heard how better coordination of systems for dealing with empty freight containers could reduce the numbers of truck trips; what effects, if any, various finance and land use policies have on the amount of driving people do; what new fuels are in the works and whether they hold potential for greenhouse gas reductions; how much aggregate— rock—is needed to complete California highway projects (a lot) and how much of it must be transported from overseas quarries. . . .

Download the PDF.

For Whom The Road Tolls: The Politics Of Congestion Pricing

David King, Michael Manville, and Donald Shoup

It is almost universally acknowledged among transportation planners that congestion pricing is the best way, and perhaps the only way, to significantly reduce urban traffic congestion. Politically, however, congestion pricing has always been a tough sell. Most drivers don’t want to pay for roads that are currently free, and most elected officials—aware that drivers are voters—don’t support congestion pricing.

Download the PDF.

If Cars Were More Efficient, Would We Use Less Fuel?

Kenneth A. Small and Kurt Van Dender

Reducing US gasoline consumption might seem a straightforward task: just increase vehicle fuel efficiency, also known as miles per gallon (MPG). That, of course, is the principle behind the existing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. But it’s not that simple. If MPG improves, the cost to drive a mile declines, so people drive more. Some critics have even argued that this “rebound” effect is so large that not much gasoline is saved, and other problems such as congestion are exacerbated. Is this right?

Download the PDF.

2017-05-30T22:02:01+00:00Categories: ACCESS 31, Fall 2007|Tags: |

Fuel Economy: What Drives Consumer Choice?

Tom Turrentine, Kenneth Kurani, and Rusty Heffner

When gasoline prices rise, it makes the news. Reporters mob gas stations to ask drivers how they are dealing with the higher prices. Many drivers say, “What can I do? I have to drive.” Some drivers declare they will curtail their driving while others complain of price gouging and oil company conspiracies. We know that few drivers adjust their driving behavior much in response to gasoline price changes on the scale that occurred during our study, but we do see that sales of smaller vehicles have increased, and that hybrids are getting lots of attention. But how do consumers really think about and respond to gasoline prices? Do they know how much they spend on gasoline over the course of a year, or do they think only in terms of price per gallon? When they buy a car, do they think about fuel costs over time, are they just looking for high miles per gallon (MPG)?

Download the PDF.

2017-05-30T22:02:14+00:00Categories: ACCESS 31, Fall 2007|Tags: |

The Intersection of Trees and Safety

Elizabeth Macdonald

For at least 250 years, the finest of streets the world over have been lined with trees. On the best tree-lined streets the trees are planted all the way to the corners. Indeed, in Paris, a city noted for its street trees, if the regular spacing of trees along the street runs short at an intersection, there is likely to be an extra tree placed at the corner. Yet in America, elm- or oak-shaded residential streets and commercial main streets are all too often only memories of good American urban design. In the automobile age, a real concern with safety has resulted in street tree standards that dictate long setbacks from intersections, ostensibly to achieve unobstructed sight lines for drivers. But are street trees the safety problem they are purported to be?

Download the PDF.

Smarter Parking at Transit Stations

Susan Shaheen and Charlene Kemmerer

Transit stations, such as many of the outlying stations along the BART system in the San Francisco Bay Area, provide parking so riders can easily get to and from the station. At first parking spots at BART stations were free to whoever showed up earliest to park. Then in 2002, BART began offering monthly reservations on some parking spots for a fee, so that riders who couldn’t rush out of the house to arrive at the station before anyone else also had the opportunity to park. Commuters without the monthly permits are faced with a dilemma if they want to take BART and can’t get to the station early. Do they risk deviating from their driving commute route to try to find a spot at the station? If they don’t find one, they will have wasted time and gas, and they’d then have to find their way back to their driving route, now a bit later, and reinsert themselves into the stream of traffic.

Download the PDF.