Todd Litman's blog

Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
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Automobility and Freedom: Conflicts and Resolutions

Much of my work involves developing transportation demand management and smart growth policies which improve travel options (walking, cycling, public transit, carsharing, etc.), reform pricing and transport planning to encourage travelers to choose the most efficient mode for each trip, and create more accessible, multi-modal communities.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Transportation Policy

An important new book, Healthy, Equitable Transportation Policy: Recommendations and Research, and its summary report, The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America, were just published by the Convergence Partnership, a coalition that supports more rational and equitable health policy.

Rea Vaya ("We are Moving") In South Africa

To celebrate an important victory a winning team sometimes parades around the arena with their coach on their shoulders as the fans cheer in adulation. Planners sometimes deserve similar treatment! For example, regardless of who wins the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be held in South Africa June and July 2010, the real victor will be residents of the four cities where matches will be held, who gain an efficient new public transportation system as a long-term legacy. Everybody wins!

Sidewalk Design Vehicle

A few days ago I posted a blog that discussed the concept of Universal Design (transportation facilities designed to accommodate all possible users, including those with disabilities and other special needs) and the value it provides to individuals and communities. One way to approach this issue is to define the design vehicle for pedestrian facilities.

Universal Design - Accommodating Everybody

I spent the last week teaching a professional development course for young planners in Buenos Aries, Argentina. It’s been a wonderful experience – my students are smart and enthusiastic, and Buenos Aries is a vibrant city with old-world charm. The buildings, plazas and old statues are beautiful and dignified, although a little frayed around the edges.

"Dreams From My Father," A Planner's Perspective

I recently read President Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father.” It is well written and insightful. Obama uses personal stories to explore issues of identity, race, class, politics, power, and what it means to be ‘United Statesian.’  Let me share some observations about  transportation and land use planning issues mentioned in the book.

Dreams from my Father 

Accessibility-Based Planning

Should society encourage parents to drive children to school rather than walk or bicycle? Should our transportation policies favor driving over walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit and telecommuting? Probably not. There is no logical reason to favor automobile travel over other forms of accessibility, and there are lots of good reasons to favor efficient modes, so for example, schools spend at least as much to accommodate a walking or cycling trip as an automobile trip, and transportation agencies and employers spend at least as much to improve ridesharing and public transit commuting as automobile commuting.

Home Location Preferences And Their Implications For Smart Growth

Location, location, location. Choosing a smart home location can help households become healthy, wealthy and wise, since it affects residents’ physical activity levels, long-term financial burdens and opportunities for education and social interaction.

Socially Optimal Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies

The recently released report, Moving Cooler: Transportation Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which recommends various VMT reduction strategies (also called mobility management, transportation demand management, TDM), has raised debate concerning the best way to reduce climate change emissions. Critics argue that that reducing vehicle travel is difficult and costly to consumers and the economy, and instead support strategies that change vehicle design (increased energy efficiency and alternative fuels).

Moving Cooler Report: Solutions and Criticisms

The new report, Moving Cooler: Transportation Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, written by Cambridge Systematics and sponsored by a variety of organizations, identifies several dozen transportation climate change emission reduction strategies, including improvements to efficient modes (walking, cycling and public transit), pricing reforms and smart growth land use policies.

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