Todd Litman's blog

Todd Litman is the executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
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Carfree Design Manual

As planners, one of our roles is to help stretch the scope of what is considered possible. For example, between 1950 and 2000 most development was highly automobile-dependent, based on the assumption that almost all travel would be by personal automobile and other modes were relatively unimportant. This pattern is so well established that many people have difficulty imagining anything different. It is useful to help people understand the full range of options available, from automobile dependency to carfree communities.

Accessibility, Mobility and Automobile Dependency

Let me wade into an ongoing debate among fellow Planetizen bloggers Samuel Staley and Michael Lewyn concerning the meanings of accessibility and mobility, and their implications for transportation and land use policy.

Report from TRB

Last week I attended the Transportation Research Boards (TRB) 89th annual meeting, which attracted approximately 10,000 transportation professionals from around the globe to Washington DC. More than 2,000 papers were presented at more than 700 sessions, plus several hundred committee meetings took place. Let me share some highlights.

Fun With Research: Higher Fuel Prices Increase Economic Productivity

Last week I posted a blog, “Win-Win Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies: Good News for Copenhagen which described emission reduction strategies that also help achieve economic and social objectives. I’ve continued doing research on the subject and made some additonal discoveries that I can report on now.

Win-Win Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies: Good News for Copenhagen

Here is good news for anybody looking for smart ways to reduce climate change. "Win-Win" transportation emission reduction strategies can provide substantial energy conservation and emission reductions in ways that also help achieve economic and social objectives.

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.

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