Are Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets Justified? Why and How to Reduce Excessive Automobile Travel
Per capita vehicle travel has peaked and current demographic and economic trends are increasing non-auto travel demands. This is a good time to reform planning practices in response to changing needs. To guide these reforms, some jurisdictions establish vehicle travel reduction targets. These can help align individual planning decisions to support strategic goals. This report investigates why and how to implement these targets. It describes examples of targets, examines why and how communities establish them, describes ways to determine the amount of vehicle travel that is optimal, identifies effective vehicle travel reduction strategies, and evaluates criticisms.
Comprehensive Transportation Emission Reduction Planning. Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Emission Reduction Strategies
Many jurisdictions have ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and are developing plans to achieve them. This study identifies various factors that should be considered when evaluating and prioritizing emission reduction strategies, and evaluates whether typical plans consider them. Emission reduction evaluation should include embodied emissions, rebound effects, implementation costs and subsidies, leverage effects, indirect costs and co-benefits, cost efficiency, and latent demand for non-auto travel. This review finds that most plans overlook or undervalue many of these factors in ways that tend to exaggerate clean vehicle benefits, and undervalue vehicle travel reduction strategies. This study concludes that efficient, equitable transportation emission reduction plans should rely at least as much on vehicle travel reductions as on clean vehicles.
Racism and Colonialism in Geography Textbooks, 1840s to 1950s
Geography textbooks introduce children to foreign lands and people, and so leave a durable legacy on our understanding of the world. This study analyzes descriptions of race and culture from typical school geography textbooks published between 1847 and 1955. It reprints selected texts and images, analyzes how their narratives changed over time, and discusses their impacts. Early books categorized race and culture using methods modelled after biological taxonomies, giving them a veneer of scientific objectivity. They identified various races which were categorized according to various “stages of society.” They were overtly racist – they claimed that some races and cultures are superior to others – and colonialist – they claimed that European imperialism was benevolent and beneficial overall. These racist and colonialist narratives declined over time and later books promoted racial inclusivity and multiculturalism.
Evaluating Active Mode Emission Reduction Potential
This study, to be presented at the 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 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. Conventional planning considers these modes unimportant and ineffective at reducing emissions, but more comprehensive analysis tends to justify far more investment in these modes. 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
Communities have two transportation systems: an automobile-oriented system that includes higher-speed roads and parking facilities, plus a non-auto system that includes sidewalks, paths, lower-speed roads, and public transit services. Planning decisions often involve trade-offs between them. This study evaluates non-auto travel demands and describes how planning should serve them. 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.
Comprehensive Parking Supply, Cost and Pricing Analysis
Parking facilities are a critical part of a transportation system. They impose significant economic, social and environmental costs. This report describes how to estimate the number of parking spaces that exist in an area, their full costs and their optimal pricing. Recent surveys find more than five parking spaces per vehicle in typical communities, including many seldom-used government-mandated spaces. Overall, their costs are estimated to average about $1,000 annually per space or $5,000 per vehicle-year, totaling more than a trillion dollars in the U.S. during 2022. For every dollar motorists spend on vehicles somebody spends about a dollar on vehicle parking. More efficient parking management could provide larger savings and benefits than previously recognized.
New Mobilities: Smart Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies (Planner Press 2021)
This new book by Todd Litman critically evaluates twelve emerging transportation technologies and services that may affect our lives and communities. It systematically analyzes their benefits and costs, and how they affect affordability, safety, social equity goals, and contagion risk, and provides guidance for optimiizing their implementation.
Evaluating Transportation Equity: Guidance for Incorporating Distributional Impacts in Transport Planning
This article, published in the April ITE Journal, discusses why and how transportation practitioners (planners, engineers and policy analysis) can incorporate social equity goals into transportation planning.
The Road Forward: Cost-Effective Policy Measures to Decrease Emissions from Passenger Land Transport
This free 165-page book is a resource for identifying practical, cost-effective passenger transport emission reduction strategies.