Evaluating Impacts and Problems
Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis: Techniques, Estimates and Implications [Second Edition] This is a comprehensive study of transportation benefits and costs, and a guidebook for applying this information for policy and planning analysis. It is unique in several important ways. It includes many impact categories that are often overlooked. It explains economic evaluation techniques and how to apply them. It provides extensive reference information, mostly available through the Internet. It provides costs values in a format designed to easily calculate costs and benefits in a particular situation.
Transportation Cost Analysis Executive Summary This short paper summarizes the comprehensive study, Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis: Techniques, Estimates and Implications. It discusses the importance of transportation costing research, defines major cost categories, describes how costs are estimated, summarizes major findings, and explores implications of this research.
Transportation Planning Distortions and Reforms: Guidance for Reducing Automobile Dependency and Sprawl Automobile dependency and sprawl create communities where it is easy to drive but difficult to get around by other modes. This is unfair to non-drivers and increases many costs. This report investigates the roots of these problems: planning distortions that favor driving over other modes and dispersion over compact development. This study identifies common planning practices that violate these principles, evaluates their impacts, and recommends reforms for efficiency and equity. It indicates that given better options and incentives travellers would drive less, rely more on non-auto modes, save money, and be better off overall as a result.
Evaluating Active and Micro Mode Emission Reduction Potentials This report examines the potential roles that active modes (walking, bicycling and variants such as wheelchairs, strollers, handcarts) and micro modes (e-bikes and e-scooters) can play in reducing climate emissions. This analysis indicates that cost-effective improvements could double or triple active mode travel and provide significant emission reductions. A review of recent emission reduction plans indicates that most undervalue active and micro modes.
Fair Share Transportation Planning: Estimating Non-Auto Travel Demands and Optimal Infrastructure Investments Planning decisions often involve trade-offs between auto and non-auto modes. This study evaluates non-auto travel demands. It estimates that in a typical North American community 20% to 40% of travelers cannot, should not or prefer not to drive and will use non-auto modes if they are convenient, comfortable and affordable. This is higher than indicated by commonly-cited statistics, and much higher than the portion of transportation investments currently devoted to non-auto modes. It concludes that to be efficient and equitable, planning should invest in non-auto modes at least as much as their potential mode shares, and more to correct for a century of underinvestment and help achieve strategic goals such as social equity, public health and environmental protection.
Comprehensive Parking Supply, Cost and Pricing Analysis This report describes how to estimate the number of parking spaces that exist in an area, their full costs, and their optimal pricing. Typical North American communities have more than five parking spaces per vehicle. Their costs are estimated to average about $5,000 per vehicle-year. For every dollar motorists spend on vehicles somebody spends about a dollar on vehicle parking. Most parking costs are external, resulting in higher taxes, rents, and retail prices, plus lower wages. More efficient parking management could provide larger savings and benefits than previously recognized.
Smart Congestion Relief: Comprehensive Analysis Of Traffic Congestion Costs and Congestion Reduction Benefits This report critically evaluates the methods used to measure traffic congestion. Current methods tend to exaggerate congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits. This study develops a more comprehensive evaluation framework which is applied to four congestion reduction strategies: unpriced roadway expansion, improving alternative modes, pricing reforms, and smart growth land use policies. This evaluation framework can identify more efficient and equitable congestion solutions. It is important that decision makers understand the omissions and biases in current evaluation methods.
Not So Fast: Better Speed Valuation for Transportation Planning Planning decisions often involve trade-offs between travel speed and other goals. It is important to consider all impacts when making speed-related decisions. This report examines why and how to do that. It describes various benefits and costs of faster travel; examines how speed valuation affects planning decisions; how those decisions affect economic, social and environmental outcomes; and provides guidance for comprehensive analysis of these impacts. This analysis indicates that conventional planning tends to exaggerate the benefits and understate the costs of higher travel speeds.
Our World Accelerated: How 120 Years of Transportation Progress Affected Our Lives and Communities This report critically examines how 120 years of transportation progress affect our lives and communities. Before 1900, automobile and air travel hardly existed; by 2000 they were dominant forms of travel. We now travel about ten times faster and farther than in 1900. Although this provides benefits, it also imposes significant economic, social and environmental costs. These offset a major portion of benefits and tend to be inequitable.
Comprehensive Transport Emission Reduction Planning. Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies This study critically evaluates the methods used to develop transportation emission reduction plans. It finds that the process is often biased in ways that exaggerate the benefits of clean vehicles such as hybrid and electric automobiles, and undervalue vehicle travel reduction strategies such as transportation demand management programs and Smart Growth policies.
Pandemic-Resilient Community Planning: Practical Ways to Help Communities Prepare for, Respond to, and Recover from Pandemics and Other Economic, Social and Environmental Shocks Resilience refers to a system's ability to efficiently absorb shocks. This report investigates ways that communities can increase their resilience to pandemics and other sudden economic, social or environmental risks. It compares Covid-19 with other health risks, examines various problems caused by pandemic-control interventions, and recommends specific ways that communities can better prepare for, respond to, and recover from pandemics and other shocks.
Evaluating Evaluating Bikeway Criticisms Critics argue that Victoria’s bikeway program is inefficient and unfair. This report critically evaluates their claims. The analysis indicates that many of the critics’ arguments are inaccurate or greatly exaggerated.
Learning from Montreal: An Affordable and Inclusive City (Leçons de Montréal: une ville abordable et inclusive). Montreal, Canada is beautiful, inclusive and economically successful, but also very affordable, with housing prices 20% to 40% lower than peers cities. This results from local policies that support moderate-priced infill housing development. C'est bon!
Labor Perspective on Smart Growth This report examines reasons that working families and unions can support Smart Growth policies that create more compact, multimodal communities.
Congestion Costing Critique: Critical Evaluation of the 'Urban Mobility Report' The 'Urban Mobility Report' (UMR) is a widely-cited study that estimates traffic congestion costs. This report critically examines the UMR's assumptions and methods. The UMR's costing methods do not reflect best current practices recommended by economists. It significatly exaggerates congestion costs and roadway expansion benefits. The UMR does not reflect basic research principles: it fails to explain assumptions, document sources, incorporate independent peer review, or respond to criticisms.
Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens: Understanding Direct and Indirect Costs of Transporting Non-Drivers Household chauffeuring refers to vehicle travel specifically made to transport non-drivers. This paper develops a Chauffeuring Burden Index which can be used to quantify chauffeuring costs and therefore the savings and benefits of transport improvements that reduce chauffeuring burdens.
Evaluating Complete Streets: The Value of Designing Roads For Diverse Modes, Users and Activities 'Complete streets' refers to roads designed to accommodate diverse modes, users and activities including walking, cycling, public transit, automobile, nearby businesses and residents. Such street design helps create more multi-modal transport systems and more livable communities. This report discusses reasons to implement complete streets and how it relates to other planning innovations.
Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-modal Transport Evaluation This report examines conventional transport economic evaluation practices. It integrates two different but overlapping perspectives: planners interested in comprehensive and multi-modal impact evaluation, and economists interested in economic efficiency and economic development impacts. This analysis indicates that conventional evaluation fails to reflect basic planning and economic principles. More comprehensive and multi-modal evaluation can provide better guidance for transport planning and economic development.
The Future Isn't What It Used To Be Changing Trends And Their Implications For Transport Planning This report, originally published in the ITE Journal examines demographic, economic and market trends that affect travel demand, and their implications for transport planning. Motorized mobility grew tremendously during the Twentieth Century, but the factors that caused this growth are unlikely to continue. Per capita vehicle ownership and mileage have started to decline in the U.S., while demand for alternatives such as walking, cycling, public transit and telework is increasing. This indicates that future transport demand will be increasingly diverse.
Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning This report explores the implications of autonomous (self-driving) vehicles on transportation planning. It identifies their potential benefits and costs, predicts their likely development and deployment patterns, and how they will affect transport planning decisions such as road and parking supply and public transit demand. The analysis indicates that some benefits, such as independent mobility for affluent non-drivers, may begin in the 2020s or 2030s, but most benefits will only be significant when autonomous vehicles become affordable and represent a major portion of total vehicle travel, in the 2040s through 2060s.
Safe Travels: Evaluating Mobility Management Traffic Safety Impacts This report investigates the relationships between vehicle mileage and crashes, and the traffic safety impacts of mobility management, which consists of various strategies that increase transportation system efficiency by changing travel patterns. This analysis indicates that mobility management can be a cost effective traffic safety strategy, and increased safety is one of the largest potential benefits of mobility management.
A New Traffic Safety Paradigm Despite large investments in safer vehicles, roads and traffic safety programs, traffic accidents continue to impose huge costs to individuals and society. New approaches are needed. A new traffic safety paradigm is changing how planning professionals measure traffic risks and evaluate potential safety strategies. It expands the range of potential traffic safety strategies to include multi-modal planning, transportation demand management, and Smart Growth policies.
Pricing For Traffic Safety: How Efficient Transport Pricing Can Reduce Roadway Crash Risk This report evaluates the traffic safety impacts of transport pricing reforms including efficient road, parking, fuel and insurance pricing, and public transit fare reductions. This analysis indicates that such reforms can provide significant safety benefits. Crash reductions vary depending on the type of price change, the portion of vehicle travel affected, and the quality transport options available. If implemented to the degree justified for economic efficiency, these reforms are predicted to reduce traffic casualties by 40-60%. These benefits are often overlooked in policy analysis.
The Mobility-Productivity Paradox: Exploring The Negative Relationships Between Mobility and Economic Productivity This paper, presented at the International Transportation Economic Development Conference, explores a paradox: negative correlations between per capita motor vehicle travel and economic productivity, and positive correlations between mobility constraints (higher road use prices or traffic congestion) and productivity. This contradicts common assumptions that policies and projects that increase vehicle travel (roadway expansions and lower road user prices) support economic development.
Comprehensive Transport Planning Framework: Best Practices For Evaluating All Options And Impacts This report describes principles for comprehensive transportation planning, evaluates conventional transport planning practices with regard to these principles, identifies common planning distortions, recommends practical methods for correcting these distortions and improving transport decision-making, and discusses the likely impacts of these reforms. This type of analysis is particularly important for evaluating alternative modes and mobility management strategies.
Comprehensive Evaluation of Transport Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction Policies This report identifies specific factors to consider for comprehensive evaluation of transportation energy conservation and emission reduction options. It applies this framework to evaluating various strategies, including cleaner vehicle strategies that reduce emission rates per vehicle-kilometer, and mobility management strategies that reduce total vehicle travel. Analyses that favor clean vehicle strategies tend to overlook or undervalue significant impacts including embodied energy, rebound effects, and co-benefits. More comprehensive analysis tends to favor mobility management.
Are Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets Justified? Evaluating Mobility Management Objectives Such As Targets To Reduce VMT And Increase Use Of Alternative Modes This report investigates whether transportation policies should include mobility management objectives, such as targets to reduce vehicle travel and encourage use of alternative modes. It evaluates the justificatons and criticisms of such targets. Mobility management can provide many benefits, and specific policy objectives provide guidance for strategic planning.
Socially Optimal Transport Prices and Markets; Principles, Strategies and Impacts This report examines existing market distortions that increase motor vehicle use, market reforms that correct these distortions, and the impacts that such reforms would have on travel patterns.
Smart Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies This report investigates methods for identifying the optimal (best overall, taking into account all benefits and costs) transportation emission reduction strategies. It describes ways to correct current planning bias so mobility management solutions can be implemented to the degree optimal.
Measuring Transportation: Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility This article compares three approaches to measuring transportation system performance and discusses their effects on planning decisions. Originally published in The ITE Journal, October 2003.
A Good Example of Bad Transportation Performance Evaluation This report discusses transportation performance evaluation concepts and critiques indicators used in the study, Transportation Performance of the Canadian Provinces. Some of these indicators are appropriate, but several are ambiguous and biased, and a few are illogical.
Evaluating Transportation Equity Transportation decisions often have significant equity impacts. This report defines different types of transportation equity, discusses various equity issues, and describes ways of incorporating equity into transportation decision-making.
Evaluating Accessibility for Transportation Planning This report discusses the concept of accessibility and how it can be incorporated in transport planning. Evaluating transport based on accessibility rather than mobility allows more comprehensive analysis and expands the scope of potential transport improvement strategies.
Transportation Affordability: Evaluation and Improvement Strategies This report discusses ways to evaluate and improve transportation affordability.
If Health Matters: Integrating Public Health Objectives in Transportation Decision-Making This report investigates how transportation policy and planning practices would change if public health objectives were given a higher priority.
Integrating Public Health Objectives in Transportation Decision-Making This editorial explores how transportation decision-making can better support public health objectives, including reduced crashes and pollution emissions, and more physical activity. Originally published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Smart Transportation Economic Stimulation: Infrastructure Investments That Support Strategic Planning Objectives Provide True Economic Development This report discusses factors to consider when evaluating transportation economic stimulation strategies, including long-term economic, social and environmental impacts. Expanding urban highways tends to stimulate motor vehicle travel and sprawl, exacerbating future transport problems and threatening future economic productivity. Improving alternative modes tends to provide additional long-term economic savings and benefits. Increasing transport system efficiency tends to create more jobs than those created directly by infrastructure investments. Public policies intended to support domestic automobile sales could be economically harmful in the long-term.
You CAN Get There From Here; Evaluating Transportation Diversity This report explores the benefits to consumers and society from a transportation system that offers diverse transportation options. It describes practical methods for evaluating transportation diversity.
Well Measured: Developing Indicators for Sustainable and Livable Transport Planning This report provides guidance on the selection of performance indicators for comprehensive and sustainable transportation planning.
Reinventing Transportation: Exploring the Paradigm Shift Needed to Reconcile Transportation and Sustainability Objectives Sustainability requires more efficient, equitable, and environmentally sensitive transportation systems. This requires changes in the way we think about transport, and how we identify and evaluate solutions to transport problems. This report discusses these changes and their implications for transport planning.
Developing Indicators For Comprehensive And Sustainable Transport Planning This report, published in Transportation Research Record 2017 discusses the selection of indicators for comprehensive and sustainable transportation planning.
Sustainable Transportation Indicators: A Recommended Program To Define A Standard Set of Indicators For Sustainable Transportation Planning This report, developed through a cooperative effort by the Transportation Research Board's 'Sustainable Transportation Indicators Subcommittee,' identifies a program to develop a standard set of indicators for sustainable transportation evaluation. It discusses sustainable transportation definitions and concepts, describes factors to consider when selecting indictors, recommends specific sustainable transportation indicators, and discusses issues of data quality.
Efficient Vehicles Versus Efficient Transportation: Comparing Transportation Energy Conservation Strategies This report evaluates potential transportation energy conservation and emission reduction strategies. It finds mobility management strategies provide significant additional benefits compared with “clean vehicle” strategies.
Appropriate Response to Rising Fuel Prices This report investigates the best public policy response to rising fuel prices. This analysis indicates that efforts to reduce fuel price increases may harm consumers and the economy overall by encouraging long-term inefficiencies.
The First Casualty of a Non-Existent War: Evaluating Claims of Unjustified Restrictions on Automobile Use, and a Critique of 'Washington's War on Cars and the Suburbs' This report evaluates claims of a 'war on cars,' that is, a coordinated effort to unjustifiably restrict automobile use. Objective analysis indicates that no such war exists. Truth is often the first victim of war. Opponents use inaccurate information to exaggerate the costs and underestimate the benefits of these changes, and create unnecessary conflict. An example, critiqued in detail in this report, is Washington's War on Cars and the Suburbs, which contains numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
Evaluating Criticism of Transportation Costing This report critiques published reports which attack transportation costing studies and claim that motor vehicles impose minimal external costs. It identifies inaccuracies and misrepresentations in these reports.
Transportation Market Distortions This report, published in the Berkeley Planning Journal examines various transportation market distortions, including underpricing and biased planning practices, and potential reforms for correcting them.
Evaluating Transportation Economic Development Impacts Economic development refers to progress toward a community's economic goals such as increased employment, income, productivity, property values, and tax revenues. This report examines how transportation policy and planning decisions affect economic development, methods for evaluating these impacts, and ways to maximize economic development benefits in transport decisions.
Generated Traffic: Implications for Transport Planning Transportation improvements can encourage more and longer trips, changes in travel patterns, and land use changes. This is called "generated traffic" or "induced travel." This report defines various types of generated traffic and discusses their impacts.
Mobility As A Positional Good: Implications for Transport Policy and Planning 'Positional' (also called 'prestige') goods confer status on their consumers. Positional value increases status to consumers of prestige goods but reduces status to others. This report investigates how positional value affects transportation decisions (vehicle ownership, travel activity, location decisions, etc.), explores the resulting economic impacts, and discusses implications for transport policy and planning.
Transportation Elasticities This report investigates the influence that prices have on travel behavior. It summarizes research on various types of transportation elasticities and describes how to use this information to predict the travel impacts of specific price reforms and management strategies.
Changing Vehicle Travel Price Sensitivities: The Rebounding Rebound Effect This report summarizes recent findings concerning transportation price sensitivities. Some studies found the elasticities of fuel and vehicle travel declined significantly between 1960 and 2000, but recent research suggests that price sensitivities have returned to more normal levels, indicating that the rebound effect is rebounding. This suggests that mobility management strategies provide greater benefits than many current evaluation models indicate.
The New Transportation Planning Paradigm Demographic and economic trends, and new community concerns, are changing the way practitioners define transportation problems and evaluate potential solutions. A new paradigm expands the range of modes, objectives, impacts and options considered in transport planning. This article published in the June 2013 ITE Journal, discusses this paradigm shift and its implications on our profession.
Build for Comfort, Not Just Speed: Valuing Service Quality Impacts In Transport Planning This report describes ways to evaluate qualitative impacts of transportation system changes. Improved travel convenience and comfort reduce unit travel time costs and so are equivalent in value to increased travel speed. Improved analysis of qualitative factors can lead to better planning decisions.
Land Use Impacts on Transport: How Land Use Factors Affect Travel Behavior This report examines how various land use factors such as density, regional accessibility, mix and roadway connectivity affect travel behavior.
Community Cohesion As A Transport Planning Objective This report describes the concept of 'community cohesion,' which refers to the quality of interactions among people in a community, and discusses how it is affected by transport planning decisions.
Evaluating Research Quality This short report provides guidelines for evaluating research quality and discerning propaganda from true research.
Lessons From Katrina and Rita: What Major Disasters Can Teach Transportation Planners This report examines failures in hurricane Katrina and Rita disaster response and their lessons for transportation planning in other communities. It identifies various policy and planning strategies that can help create more efficient, equitable and resilient transport systems.
Evacuation Station: The Use of Public Transportation in Emergency Management Planning This article by Michael Schwartz and Todd Litman examines emergency transportation planning practices and the role that public transit can play. It provides guidance to help transportation professionals better prepare for emergencies. This article was published in the ITE Journal.
Evaluating Mobility Management Strategies for Reducing Transportation Emissions in the Fraser River Basin This 122-page report evaluates the benefits, costs and feasibility of 24 mobility management (MM) strategies. Each strategy is describe and rated according to various criteria, including energy, emission and congestion reductions, facility cost savings, consumer impacts, safety impacts and implementation requirements.
Report Summary This 14-page document summarizes the full report, "Evaluating Mobility Management Strategies for Reducing Transportation Emissions in the Fraser River Basin".
Mobility Management Evaluation Spreadsheet This spreadsheet model was used to evaluate the individual and cumulative impacts of various mobility management strategies on vehicle travel, energy consumption and emissions.
Climate Change Emission Valuation for Transportation Economic Analysis This report describes climate change impacts and costs, presents methods for quantifying and monetizing (measuring in monetary units) these impacts, summarizes published unit cost estimates, and explains the values used in the report Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis.
Multi-Modal Transport Planning This short report summarizes basic principles for transportation planning. It describes conventional transport planning, which tends to focus on motor vehicle traffic conditions, and newer methods for more multi-modal planning and evaluation.
Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS This article by John Pucher and John Renne analyzes the 2001 National Household Travel Survey and compares its results with previous personal transportation surveys to identify trends and differences in travel behavior among various socioeconomic groups. It investigates variations in vehicle ownership, mobility trends, travel mode (driving, walking, cycling and public transit), trip purpose and travel schedule.
Social Inclusion As A Transport Planning Issue in Canada "Social exclusion" refers to constraints that prevent people from participating adequately in society, including education, employment, public services and activities. This report discusses the concept of social exclusion as it relates to transport, how it is currently incorporated in Canadian transport planning, and the research needed to better address social exclusion.
Urban-Rural Differences in Mobility and Mode Choice: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS This report by John Pucher and John Renne uses data from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey to compare travel behavior in rural and urban areas of the United States.
Transport Policies in Central and Eastern Europe This report by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler compares transportation trends in the formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe since the demise of Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It discusses these changes, their benefits and costs, and potential ways of dealing with the problems that result.
2009 Urban Transport Performance Spreadsheet This spreadsheet contains various urban transportation system performance data, including vehicle travel, mode split, and consumer expenditures for 130 U.S. cities.
What’s It Worth?: Lifecycle and Benefit/Cost Analysis for Evaluating Economic Value This report discussed the application of economic analysis techniques to transportation planning and management. It describes specific techniques including Cost-Effectiveness, Benefit/Cost Analysis, Lifecycle Cost Analysis, and Multiple Accounts Analysis.
Macrolevel Collision Prediction Models to Evaluate Road Safety Effects of Mobility Management Strategies: New Empirical Tools to Promote Sustainable Development This report by Gordon Lovegrove and Todd Litman describes how community-based collision prediction models can be used to calculate the road safety effects of specific mobility management strategies. It summarizes analysis of data from 479 urban neighbourhoods. The results suggest that smart growth, congestion pricing and improved mobility options (better walking and cycling conditions, and improved ridesharing and public transit services) can provide significant crash reductions.
Induced Travel Bibliography This bibliography by Professor Robert Noland provides several dozen references concerning induced vehicle travel and its implications.
Review of U.S. and European Regional Modeling Studies of Policies Intended to Reduce Motorized Travel, Fuel Use, and Emissions This paper by Professor Robert Johnston reviews the experience to date in dozens of metropolitan regions and advanced industrial economies as they have used scenario planning to evaluate an array of pragmatic and feasible policies and investment strategies that are available to help states and regions satisfy this new federal legal requirement.
Making the Most of Models: Using Models To Develop More Effective Transport Policies And Strategies This paper by by Peter Furnish and Don Wignall discusses how transport models influence transport policies and strategies, and discusses the additional contribution that simplified models could make if they were more widely available.

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