The shortest path usually isn’t the best one, according to bikeshare users

posted by Chris McCahill

Many transportation models assume that people choose the shortest (or least cost) path connecting them from point A to point B. But this isn’t how individuals actually behave—or so confirms one recent study based on bikeshare trip data. This affects how we model travel behavior, but also our understanding of people’s travel preferences and the ways in which we accommodate them.

Safety climate, not just pedestrian infrastructure, affects walking behavior

posted Aug 6, 2018, 1:19 PM by Chris McCahill

To get people on foot adhering to traffic rules, according to one new study, road designers likely need to consider not only the immediate walking environment (sidewalks and crossings) but also the entire traffic safety climate of an area. According to the study, pedestrians tend to break the rules and make mistakes more often when they perceive city traffic as less “safe” and less “harmonious.”

Read more at SSTI news.

Travel time peaked in the 1990s, new research shows

posted Jul 23, 2018, 2:23 PM by Chris McCahill

Americans spent more than 10 hours per week traveling in the early 1990s—the highest amount in two decades—but that number has since dropped below 1975 levels to less than 8.5 hours, according to a new study published in Transportation Research Part A.

The resulting travel time peak mirrors a similar peak in average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) that occurred roughly a decade later. This earlier peak, however, suggests that important shifts in travel behavior were already underway well before the recession took hold around 2007. Demographic trends and changes in leisure-related travel are among the main reasons, but their effects have changed considerably over time.

Utah stepping up multimodal planning and investment under new law

posted Jul 3, 2018, 9:19 AM by Chris McCahill

Transportation decisionmaking is changing in Utah, thanks to the state’s SB136, which passed earlier this year. The bill garnered attention in part because it reforms the governance of the Utah Transit Authority, but UDOT is also moving forward on other important aspects, including adding a new deputy director, developing a strategic multimodal vision, and supporting the development of new project prioritization criteria.

New multimodal trip data on the horizon

posted Jun 19, 2018, 7:44 AM by Chris McCahill

StreetLight Data, which provides trip-making data compiled from cellphones and mobile devices, recently announced a new multimodal data initiative called “M2.” The company has offered data from personal and commercial vehicles for several years. SSTI used these data for a study of travel demand management opportunities in Northern Virginia. By incorporating additional data from location-based services, the company can now identify trips made by walking, biking, transit, and potentially other modes.

Pricing mechanisms key to reducing transportation emissions

posted Jun 19, 2018, 7:42 AM by Chris McCahill

Cities, counties, and states are setting ambitious emissions reduction goals, requiring them to cut transportation sector emissions, which account for more than a quarter of the national total. Electric vehicles powered by clean energy could make a big difference, but it is unlikely those technologies will be deployed at a fast enough rate. To meet their goals, governments need policies that not only keep vehicle use from rising, but also push it down considerably.

To improve walking, give pedestrians the green light

posted May 29, 2018, 7:54 AM by Chris McCahill

Walking in many parts of the U.S. is notoriously difficult and increasingly dangerous, but there’s one simple way that transportation agencies can start tipping the balance in favor of those on foot: by adjusting signal controls. That’s according to research highlighted by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Read more at SSTI news (originally from May 21).

International review confirms speed management is critical to road safety

posted May 9, 2018, 7:42 AM by Chris McCahill

Speed reductions can lower crash risks significantly, confirms a new report by the International Transport Forum, an intergovernmental organization of 59 member countries including the U.S.

Millennials are driving more, but only those making the least money

posted Apr 16, 2018, 4:03 PM by Chris McCahill

The new 2017 National Household Travel Survey gives us our first look at changing travel habits since the recession. From what we can tell, the average American drives less in 2017 than eight years earlier. Driving also seems to have increased considerably among Millennials—but mostly among those with the lowest incomes—bucking expectations.

Curbs: A new data frontier

posted Apr 4, 2018, 7:24 AM by Chris McCahill

State and local transportation agencies have long focused on what’s happening between the curbs—collecting data about the speed, volume, and types of vehicles moving along each road—but growing competition for curb space from parked cars, bikes, taxis, TNCs, and deliveries presents new challenges both in terms of data and policy. Fortunately, data experts are stepping up to the task.

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