Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
An important current policy debate concerns whether the next U.S. federal
surface transportation reauthorization should require spending on
“enhancements,” which finance projects such as walkways, bike paths, highway landscaping and historic preservation. This issue
receives considerable attention, despite the fact that enhancements represent less
than 2% of total federal surface transportation expenditures, because it raises
questions about future transport priorities, particularly the role of walking and cycling. In other words, should non-motorized modes be considered real transportation.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 11:13pm PST
Let me tell you
a scary story that you can use to frighten fellow planners at next week’s
Halloween party. It’s not just fun and games – this story is true and may
Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 2:30am PDT
Once again the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) published its annual Urban Mobility Report (UMR), and once again I feel obliged to warn planners that it is based on faulty assumptions and biased analysis methods. This is not to deny that traffic congestion is a significant problem, but the UMR significantly exaggerates its importance compared with other transport costs and exaggerates roadway expansion benefits.
Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 12:57pm PDT
“The only thing we have to fear is fear
itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts
to convert retreat into advance” – President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932
This being the decade anniversary of the World
Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, it seems a good time to consider how
our society responds to such threats, and what planners can do to maximize safety.
Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 7:11am PDT
Monday, September 5, 2011 - 5:09am PDT
Monday, July 25, 2011 - 9:02am PDT
As discussed in my previous
Inaccurate Attack On Smart Growth, the National Association of Home
Builders (NAHB) sponsored a research program
intended to raise doubts about smart growth’s ability to reduce vehicle travel,
conserve energy and reduce pollution emissions.
Monday, July 18, 2011 - 6:48am PDT
Note: This column was originally titled, "A Stupid Attack on Smart Growth," intended as a pun on 'smart' and 'stupid.' However, that sounds harsh so I retitled it. - T.L.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a well-financed campaign to discourage communities from considering smart growth as a possible way to conserve energy and reduce pollution emissions. They contend that compact development has little effect on travel activity and so provides minimal benefits. The NAHB states that, “The existing body of research demonstrates no clear link between residential land use and GHG emissions.” But their research actually found the opposite: it indicates that smart growth policies can have significant impacts on travel activity and emissions.
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 6:07am PDT
By all logic, the comic strip character Dagwood should be fat, sick and impoverished due to his gluttonous eating, sedentary habits, and automobile-dependent lifestyle. Blondie should worry about his high blood pressure and clogged arteries, and the Bumsteads should struggle to bear rising automobile expenses. Yet they are all thin, healthy and financially secure, protected from all consequences of indulgent consumerism.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 1:06pm PDT
Most professions have special responsibilities to society. Physicians are expected to observe the Hippocratic oath. Police officers must apply the law fairly and refrain from abusing their power. Lawyers and accountants are expected to offer accurate advice and protect client confidentiality.
And planners? We have a special responsibility to consider all perspectives and impacts. When evaluating public policy questions most people ask selfishly, “How does this affect me?” Planners, in contrast, should ask selflessly, “How does this affect the community, particularly disadvantaged and underrepresented groups?”
Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 11:26am PDT