Todd Litman's blog

Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
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Sacrificing Pelicans To Petroleum Gods: Deep Water Horizon Spill Forces Energy Policy Rethink

Many ancient religions required animal sacrifice to satisfy their gods’ desires. We now sacrifice pelicans, marine mammals and sea turtles to satisfy our desire for cheap oil.

Valuing The Precious Hours Of Our Lives

Time is a limited and valuable resource. As much as possible, people should spend the precious hours of their lives in the most satisfying and productive possible ways. This has important implications for transportation planning, since most people spend a significant amount of time in transport, and travel time savings are often the greatest projected benefits of transport projects such as roadway and transit service improvements.

Sustainable Transport and Livable Community Planning

My career is based, to a large degree, on my master’s thesis, which was a comprehensive evaluation of the full costs of various forms of transport. This provides a framework for determining optimal pricing, calculating the benefits of mode shifting and demand management strategies, and for comprehensive analysis of policy and planning decisions.

GreenTRIP Sustainable Transport Building Certification Program

There are various ways to define building sustainability. A narrow perspective assumes that sustainable development simply means that buildings minimize energy consumption and climate change emissions, but a broader perspective recognizes that sustainability requires consideration of additional economic, social and other environmental impacts, such as lifecycle affordability, social equity, community integration, public health and safety, and land use impacts.

New USDOT Report Identifies Win-Win Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies

On Earth Day the US Department of Transportation released an important new, 605-page report, Transportation's Role in Reducing U.S.

Healthy Community Planning - What's It Worth?

We live in a wonderful age! Scientists have proven that many simple, affordable, and often enjoyable activities make us healthier and happier: breath fresh air, avoid dangerous driving, be physically active, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, maintain friendships, play games, and avoid excessive stress. Even chocolate, red wine and sex are perscribed, in moderation, for health sake.

Way-To-Go Vancouver Olympics - Lessons For Transport Planners

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and Paralympics are over now. City Planner Brent Toderian described in a recent Planetizen blog how the event showcased Vancouver’s Urbanism, including the quality of its neighborhoods, streets and public transit system, and the delight of a shared community experience.

Parking Policy Reform More Important Than LEED Certification

Local governments are increasingly encouraging or even requiring LEED certification in new development, which is nice, but most continue to require generous minimum parking supply, which contradicts their goals.

Raise My Taxes, Please! Financing High Quality Public Transit Service Saves Me Money Overall

Most North American cities offer only basic public transit service, with limited coverage and frequency, modest speeds, unattractive waiting areas, poor land use integration, and few amenities. Such service is used primarily by people who lack alternatives. In such communities, riders tend to abandon public transit as soon as feasible.

Carfree Design Manual

As planners, one of our roles is to help stretch the scope of what is considered possible. For example, between 1950 and 2000 most development was highly automobile-dependent, based on the assumption that almost all travel would be by personal automobile and other modes were relatively unimportant. This pattern is so well established that many people have difficulty imagining anything different. It is useful to help people understand the full range of options available, from automobile dependency to carfree communities.

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