Mainstreaming transportation and land use modeling within Oregon DOT

posted Feb 12, 2018, 2:06 PM by Chris McCahill

States interested in modeling transportation and land use can now learn from Oregon’s experience building its Statewide Integrated Model (SWIM), thanks to a new study published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use. The model, now used in ODOT’s regular operations, grew out of its decades-long Transportation and Land Use Model Integration Program (TLUMIP), launched in the late 1990s. Several keys to its success were committed staff, a sharp focus on meeting agency needs, and the ability to adapt as those needs changed.

Tapping into TNC data

posted Jan 30, 2018, 7:55 AM by Chris McCahill

With the rise of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, and growing concerns about their effects on traffic and curb usage, transportation agencies and local governments are eager for data. Data from TNCs, however, are heavily guarded. Many governments are trying to negotiate agreements with these companies and working on laws that require data sharing. Others, however, are getting more creative.

Efficient networks take work: Traffic management and Braess’ paradox

posted Jan 16, 2018, 2:44 PM by Chris McCahill

Not all roads are created equal. In fact, adding certain roads to a system can actually slow down traffic under the right circumstances. This is a fairly well known phenomenon called Braess’ paradox, named after the German mathematician who first wrote about it in 1968. Fortunately, researchers have studied this occurrence extensively and developed methods for knowing when it can happen and how to prevent it.

Accessibility in practice: A new guide from SSTI

posted Jan 16, 2018, 2:42 PM by Chris McCahill

The Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment recently released its new report, Accessibility in practice: A guide for transportation and land use decision making, developed by SSTI with several partners. The guide describes ways of measuring accessibility and, more importantly, how to use those metrics in planning, project evaluation, and other transportation and land use decisions. The information is useful for any state or local agency interested or already involved in making these kinds of decisions.

California blocks parking requirements where housing needs aren’t met

posted Dec 5, 2017, 2:59 PM by Chris McCahill

In an effort to streamline affordable housing development, a new California law (SB-35) will preclude cities from requiring parking on certain projects, beginning January 1. As the New York Times recently reported, zoning ordinances such as parking requirements are central to the state’s current housing crisis and can be used locally to resist new housing.

Access to jobs by transit is on the rise

posted Dec 5, 2017, 2:58 PM by Chris McCahill

In most large metropolitan areas, the typical worker could reach more jobs by transit in 2016 than in 2015, according to the newest Access Across America report from the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory. Accessibility increased in 36 out of 49 regions. The largest increases (roughly 11 percent) were in Cincinnati, Charlotte, Orlando, Seattle, and Providence. The largest decreases were in Kansas City (-11.3 percent), Pittsburgh (-5.2 percent), and Richmond (-4.3 percent).

More car parking could keep people off bikes

posted Dec 5, 2017, 6:53 AM by Chris McCahill

There are some things that most members and allies of Madison Bikes agree on: improving dangerous intersections, adding safe bike routes connecting the city, and building a strong community of support for those who bike. But there’s one important point that’s probably more contentious than any other: parking for cars. Most bike advocates are drivers, too, and often get frustrated by how difficult or expensive parking can be and we worry about how much worse it could get. Unfortunately, seeing things only from this angle could undermine a lot of great work that Madison Bikes does.

Researchers highlight city-centered practices in “roadmap for the 21st century”

posted Nov 14, 2017, 1:35 PM by Chris McCahill

Our National Highway System was built on two major pillars—popular support for new highway construction and federal funding from gas taxes—according to a new paper published in Research in Transportation Business and Management. Both have recently shown signs of weakening, however, forcing transportation agencies to adjust and re-prioritize. According to the paper, more city-centered practices are helping agencies meet evolving 21st century transportation needs, often with fewer resources.

Where people walk: Two new studies improve “walkability” measurement

posted Nov 2, 2017, 10:26 AM by Chris McCahill

In planning and designing for pedestrians, sidewalks are often a good start but rarely make a place walkable on their own. Measuring pedestrian accessibility (the topic of a recent SSTI webinar) depends on two important pieces of information: 1) where destinations are located, and 2) the quality of the walking network connecting to those places. This second point is the focus of two studies published in a recent issue of the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

Distracted driving: a silent killer?

posted Oct 17, 2017, 11:41 AM by Chris McCahill   [ updated Nov 2, 2017, 12:28 PM ]

“Blame Apps,” read a New York Times headline from last year, referring to the recent spike in traffic deaths. Representatives from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called distracted driving a “serious public safety concern” and a “crisis.” Yet there still doesn’t seem to be any compelling evidence linking the surging death rate to distracted driving.

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