Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
A recent paper by Harvard economists Daniel Shoag and Peter Ganong titled, Why Has
Regional Convergence in the U.S. Stopped? indicates that land
development regulations tend to increase housing costs, which contributes to inequality
by excluding lower-income households from more economically productive urban regions. Does this means that planners are guilty of increasing income inequality?
Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 11:07am PDT
I appreciate natural environments. I have always enjoyed walking in wilderness and cycling on rural roads, and I understand the ecological value provided by undeveloped lands, which include clean water, air and wildlife habitat. I also enjoy local fresh vegetables and fruits and so appreciate the value of preserving regional farmlands. Planners call these "greenspace," or more generally "openspace" since some, such as deserts and waterways, are open but not necessarily green.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 3:12pm PDT
Congratulations to this year's high school, college and university graduates! The current crop includes our son, who was recruited by a major corporation. The location of his new job will affect his travel patterns and therefore the transportation costs he bears and imposes for the next few years: until now he could get around fine by walking, cycling and public transport, but his new worksite is outside the city center, difficult to access except by automobile. As a result he will spend a significant portion of his new income to purchase and operate a car, and contribute to traffic congestion, parking costs and pollution. This is an example of how land use decisions, such as where corporations locate their offices, affects regional transport patterns and costs.
Sunday, June 3, 2012 - 8:03pm PDT
People love statistics. They let us understanding the world
beyond our own senses. USA Today
publishes a daily Snapshot
which presents a graph of random statistics. Sports talk and business analysis
are dominated by statistics. We measure our progress, or lack thereof, and
compare ourselves with others, based on statistics about our size, activities and accomplishments.
Friday, May 11, 2012 - 9:18am PDT
Planners strive to anticipate future needs, which sometimes creates self-fulfilling prophecies: by preparing for a situation we help cause it. This
is particularly true of automobile
dependency. Planning decisions intended to accommodate automobile travel
can create a cycle of increased vehicle travel, more automobile-oriented planning, and reduced alternatives. This concept is conveyed brilliantly in the cartoon below, drawn
by transportation engineer Ian Lockwood and published in the March 2012 ITE Journal.
Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 6:36pm PDT
Our profession relies on logical analysis of accurate data.
There are an amazing number of ways to go wrong.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 11:44am PDT
Monday, February 27, 2012 - 5:30am PST
I write this column (2 February) the U.S. House Transportation Committee is debating changes
in H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs
Act, which will determine future federal transportation policy.
Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 12:57pm PST
I am sorry to report that, Canada, my chosen country (I immigrated here in 1993), recently withdrew from the Kyoto Accord, which sets international climate change emission reduction targets.
It’s worth noting that this decision was made by the ruling Conservative Party which received less than 40% of total votes, but the other four parties split the
more progressive votes and are unable to form a coalition, resulting in federal policies that are far more politically conservative than the average Canadian
Friday, December 30, 2011 - 2:46pm PST
Bad planning simply extrapolates past trends:
“We experienced 2% annual growth during the last decade, so we’ll assume that
will continue into the future.” Good planning attempts to understand underlying factors
that affect change. Such is the case with the price elasticity of vehicle
travel, that is, the changes in vehicle travel caused by a change in transport
prices (fuel, parking, tolls, insurance, etc.).
Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 7:13pm PST