Carmageddon in Los Angeles: The Sizzle and the Fizzle

Brian D. Taylor and Martin Wachs

“Carmageddon” refers to the horrific traffic jams predicted when a bridge reconstruction project in Los Angeles required closing 10 miles of the Interstate 405 freeway on two weekends. The closed freeway through the Sepulveda Pass between West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley is one of the most heavily traveled arteries in the world, with more than half a million vehicles passing through on a typical summer weekend. Traffic from the closures was predicted to back up for miles and spill onto local streets, severely congesting some parts of Los Angeles. Download the PDF.

Going Mental: Everyday Travel and the Cognitive Map

Andrew Mondschein, 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.

Thinking Outside the Bus

Hiroyuki Iseki, Michael Smart, Brian D. Taylor, and Allison Yoh

In an era of stretched tax revenues, shrinking public sector budgets, and partisan debates over the appropriate role and scale of government, investments in public transit systems have been increasing. While the Great Recession has recently squeezed many transit operating budgets, overall public capital and operating subsidies of transit systems have grown dramatically over the past decade. Why have transit expenditures grown when so many other facets of public expenditure have shrunk?

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Dynamic Ridesharing

Elizabeth Deakin, Karen Trapenberg Frick, and Kevin Shively

Most cars can carry at least four passengers, but the average auto occupancy rate for all trips in the US is only 1.6 persons. Because all the empty seats in cars represent our greatest source of untapped transportation capacity, promoting ridesharing is of considerable interest. Government agencies across the country employ ridesharing programs both to provide transportation at low cost and to reduce traffic congestion and the other costs of solo driving.

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2018-02-13T23:21:19+00:00Categories: ACCESS 40, Spring 2012|Tags: , |

The Davis Bicycle Studies: Why do I bicycle but my neighbor doesn’t?

Susan L. Handy

Pick a city, any city in the US, and then pick a house within that city. Open the door of its garage and you're likely to find a bicycle. Chances are good that it is covered with dust or has a flat tire. If not, and if its owner has in fact used it any time recently, odds are the purpose was exercise or recreation. Compare this to a garage, any garage, in Davis, California. Inside you're likely to find several bicycles—more bicycles, perhaps, than people living in that house. In all probability, one or more of those bicycles is used at least weekly, not for exercise or recreation but for transportation—to get the rider to work, school, the store, a restaurant, or another destination in town.

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2018-02-16T21:59:33+00:00Categories: ACCESS 39, Fall 2011|Tags: , |

The Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Ownership

Elliot Martin and Susan Shaheen

Carsharing in North America is changing the transportation landscape of metropolitan regions across the continent. Carsharing systems give members access to an automobile for short-term use. The shared cars are distributed across a network of locations within a metropolitan area. Members can access the vehicles at any time with a reservation and are charged by time or by mile. Carsharing thus provides some of the benefits of personal automobility without the costs of owning a private vehicle.

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2018-02-14T23:52:40+00:00Categories: ACCESS 38, Spring 2011|Tags: , |

Falling Immigration Rates Mean Falling Transit Ridership

Evelyn Blumenberg and Alexandra Norton

From almost every angle, immigration generates interest and controversy. Scholars, pundits and policymakers regularly debate immigration and its effects: on culture, on jobs, on schooling. In particular, both academic and popular commentators have focused on whether immigration is associated with increases in unemployment, use of public benefits, or crime. Examinations of these questions have generally revealed that immigration has no effect, or that the effect, if present, is small. Even in the heated debate about immigration and employment, which receives the most popular attention, academics on both sides agree that the effects, be they negative or positive, are modest when compared to the economy as a whole.

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2018-02-14T21:28:22+00:00Categories: ACCESS 37, Fall 2010|Tags: , |

TOD and Carsharing: A Natural Marriage

Robert Cervero

Transit oriented development (TOD) is arguably the most cogent and acceptable form of smart growth. Almost everyone "gets" TOD. Politicians, professionals, and lay citizens alike understand that if there is any logical place to promote compact, mixed-use development, it is around transit stations. The benefits of TOD are largely borne out by empirical evidence. People who live near rail transit stops in the US have much higher rates of transit use than the typical resident of a rail-served region. In California, surveys show that residents who live near a transit station use transit for their commutes at a rate four to five times higher than residents of the same region who don’t live near stations. This pattern has held steady over time. In the case of the Pleasant Hill BART station, for instance, 47 percent of station-area residents took transit to work in 1993. Ten years later, in 2003, the share was 44 percent.

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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)?

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