Transport Policy

Congestion versus mobility

Breaking the Cycle of Automobile Dependency

Many current planning practices reinforce a cycle of increased automobile use, more automobile-oriented community redevelopment, and reduced mobility options. There are good reasons to break this pattern.

June 3, 2019 - Todd Litman

How Not To Measure Traffic Congestion, Redux Again

TomTom's annual traffic congestion rankings predictably generated horrified, self-pitying headlines about awful congestion in top-ranked cities. But there are big problems with their methodology.

March 25, 2016 - City Observatory

Suburban traffic

Self-Fulfilling Automobile Dependency

Common planning practices create automobile-dependent communities where driving is convenient and other forms of travel are inefficient. It's time to recognize the value of transportation diversity.

June 2, 2015 - Todd Litman

Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park

Public Policies For Optimal Urban Development

What amount of expansion, population and vehicle densities, housing mix, and transport policies should growing cities aspire to achieve? This column summarizes my recent research that explores these, and related, issues.

April 13, 2015 - Todd Litman

Traffic Jam in Bangkok

Land for Vehicles or People?

Automobile-oriented planning requires that cities devote signifiant amounts of space to roads and parking—under many conditions each vehicle requires more land than is devoted to housing per capita.

November 21, 2014 - Todd Litman

Paradox: Congestion May Signify Better Accessibility and Economic Productivity

Although transport planners consider traffic congestion economically harmful, economic productivity tends to increase with congestion and decline with increased road supply. This paradox can be explained by more nuanced analysis of accessibility.

June 24, 2014 - The Vancouver Sun

Meant to Deter, Utah's Bad Air Alerts Actually Increase Driving

Call it the law of unintended consequences. Alerts of "bad air days" that ask motorists in the Wasatch Front to reduce driving had the opposite effect, prompting some residents to drive away from lowlands to the mountains where air may be healthier.

September 12, 2013 - The Salt Lake Tribune

Responding to Smart Growth Criticism

Critics claim that smart growth policies are ineffective at reducing vehicle travel and achieving intended to objectives. This column critiques their arguments.

June 24, 2013 - Todd Litman

Share Your Ideas for Evaluating Transport System Performance

<p class="MsoNormal"> <a href="">Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)</a>, the new U.S. federal transportation law, has the following main goals: </p> <ol style="margin-top: 0cm"> <li class="MsoNormal">Safety</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Infrastructure condition</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Congestion reduction</li> <li class="MsoNormal">System reliability</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Freight movement and economic vitality</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Environmental sustainability</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Reduced project delivery delays</li> </ol> <p class="MsoNormal"> &nbsp; </p>

October 21, 2012 - Todd Litman

Optimal Transport Policy For An Uncertain Future

As 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.

February 2, 2012 - Todd Litman

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.