Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
Planners are futurists, but with less pretension and jargon. Our work requires predicting how current trends are likely to affect future conditions and activities, and how communities should prepare. For example, let's predict self-driving cars.
Friday, August 16, 2013 - 2:31pm PDT
Many people believe that cities are dangerous due to exaggerated fears of urban crime. Cities are actually far safer and healthier than suburban and rural locations, and smart growth policies can further enhance their safety and health advantages.
Monday, July 29, 2013 - 5:19am PDT
Critics claim that smart growth policies are ineffective at reducing vehicle travel and achieving intended to objectives. This column critiques their arguments.
Monday, June 24, 2013 - 6:13am PDT
Changing demands justify policies and programs that encourage people too choose efficient travel options and smart growth locations. Are these coercive?
Saturday, May 25, 2013 - 3:13pm PDT
Planners must anticipate how people would respond to new options, such as better walking, cycling and public transit services. This requires imagination.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 - 2:44am PDT
Many people assume incorrectly that motorists pay their share of roadway costs through fuel taxes. Not so. Fairness would require much higher motor vehicle user fees to finance roadways.
Monday, April 29, 2013 - 6:19am PDT
The "Urban Mobility Report" produces widely-cited congestion cost estimates. It is biased in various ways that exaggerate congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits. Few users of these cost estimates seem aware of these problems.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 10:34pm PST
Transportation system users rate inaffordability as a top concern, but conventional planning ignores this issue. Increasing transport affordability requires changing planning practices to favor more affordable modes and more accessible development.
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 3:52am PST
Governments need money to finance transportation system improvements, but revenues from traditional sources are flat. This is leading to debate over how best to generate new funds. There are many possible options, some better than others, because in addition to raising revenue, they support other strategic objectives. Politicians will be tempted to choose the easiest funding options. It is up to planners to point out the best options, taking into account all impacts.
Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 9:00pm PST
There are various ways to define transport efficiency which can lead to very different conclusions as to what transport policies and projects are best overall. Conventional planning tends to evaluate transport system performance based on mobility, which assumes that faster travel is always better. A new planning paradigm evaluates transport system performance based on accessibility (people's ability to access services and activities) which leads to very different definitions of efficiency and very different conclusions about how to improve transport systems.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 6:25pm PST