Todd Litman's blog

Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
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Highways And Labor Markets II

One accurate measurement can be more insightful than a thousand expert opinions.

In a recent blog titled, Livability and All That, highway expert Alan Pisarski argues that highway-oriented transport systems are necessary for efficient consumer and labor markets.

Who's Driving This Public Transit System?

Virtually every modern economy is mixed: governments produce some goods and services and private companies produce others. Governments generally provide those goods and services that are either considered essential and should be available to everybody regardless of ability to pay, or that require strategic coordination, including police protection, basic education, transportation infrastructure, parks, and public health services.

Transportation facilities and services are among these basic government functions.

The Selfish Automobile

Why are otherwise generous and smart people sometimes selfish and irrational? 

Multi-Modal Level-Of-Service Goes Mainstream: Chickens Can Finally Cross Roads

 

Why didn’t the chicken cross the road?

Because pedestrian Level-Of-Service was below “C”.

 

Incorporating Health Objectives Into Transport Planning

Planning decisions often have significant indirect effects. As planners, our challenge is to clearly describe these impacts and quantify them as much as possible so they can be incorporated into decision making. An example of this is the effect that transportation planning decisions have on human health. These impacts are significant but often overlooked or undervalued in the planning process. I have worked on several research projects that explore the nexus between transport planning decisions and public health, and are developing practical tools for incorporating them into planning. Let me share some of my current thinking about this issue.

Changing Travel Demands: Implications for Planning

The graph below shows the most recent USDOT vehicle-travel data covering the last 25 years. Although vehicle-miles of travel (VMT) grew steadily during most of the Twentieth Century, in recent years the growth rate stopped and even declined a little. It is now about 10% below where it would have been had past trends continued.

US VMT Trends

And The Winner Is…

Spanish football fans are celebrating in the streets, while in The Netherlands they are drowning their sorrows, but the real winners of the 2010 World Cup are the people of South Africa. Long after the last vuvuzela is sounded, residents and visitors will enjoy the legacy of new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems build in South Africa’s four major cities.

 

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.

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