Todd Litman's blog

Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
Todd Litman's picture
Blogger

Accounting for Latent Travel Demand

Planners must anticipate how people would respond to new options, such as better walking, cycling and public transit services. This requires imagination.

Who Should Pay for Transportation Infrastructure? What is Fair?

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.

Critiquing the "Urban Mobility Report"

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.

Affordability As A Transportation Planning Objective

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.

Smart Transportation Funding

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.

Measuring Transport System Efficiency

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.

Toward Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Performance Evaluation

One of planners’ most important jobs is to help develop the indicators and frameworks use to define problems and evaluate potential solution. Often, a particular solution will seem cost effective and beneficial when evaluated one way, and wasteful and undesirable if evaluated another. It is important that we help develop comprehensive evaluation frameworks that effectively inform decisions.

Greetings from Manila

Greetings from Manila where I'm attending the Asian Development Bank's Transport Forum 2012. It is an exciting and important event: the types of transport planning investments that the bank supports now can have huge impacts on the nature of future development in the world’s fastest growing countries. This is an opportunity to support truly sustainable development.

 

Share Your Ideas for Evaluating Transport System Performance

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the new U.S. federal transportation law, has the following main goals:

  1. Safety
  2. Infrastructure condition
  3. Congestion reduction
  4. System reliability
  5. Freight movement and economic vitality
  6. Environmental sustainability
  7. Reduced project delivery delays

 

Toward More Comprehensive Understanding of Traffic Congestion

Conventional planning tends to consider traffic congestion a significant cost and roadway expansion the preferred solution. It evaluates transport system performance based on indicators such as roadway Level of Service (LOS) and peak-period traffic speeds, and dedicates most transportation resources (road space and money) to roads and parking facilities. This results in predict and provide planning in which roadways are expanded to accommodate anticipated traffic, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy by inducing additional vehicle use.

Pages