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A preview of the driverless-vehicle future: Uber and other TNCs are cannibalizing New York’s transit ridership and worsening congestion and emissions

By Eric Sundquist The effect of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft is one of the central concerns of transportation planning, in part because TNCs can provide a hint about what might happen when driverless vehicles become widely available. In addition, to date the lack of

Unpacking the rise in traffic deaths

By Chris McCahill Traffic deaths shot up for the second straight year in 2016, according to recent estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC). Total fatalities are estimated to have surpassed 40,000 for the first time since 2007, marking a six percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent

Dividing the pie: Maryland lawmakers take on transportation project selection

By Mary Ebeling The Maryland legislature on April 8, 2016 overrode a gubernatorial veto in order to pass a transportation project scoring bill that will rank and ultimately help select major capital projects. The legislation and new ranking system is similar to Virginia’s Smart Scale, which

Downtown Seattle’s drive-alone commute share drops to 30 percent

By Robbie Webber Despite an influx of jobs in Seattle’s downtown area, the number of people driving to work has barely changed since 2010. According to a survey from Commute Seattle, a non-profit working with downtown employers, the working population in and around downtown increased by

SSTI research highlights built environment policies to reduce VMT

By Bill Holloway As part of a larger 2015 project for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, SSTI investigated the influence of six built environment variables on passenger vehicle miles traveled. Using data on average daily household VMT at the Census block group level from the Massachusetts

San Francisco updates planning code with TDM measures

By Mary Ebeling On February 7, 2017, San Francisco approved an amendment to its existing Planning Code Section 169 that incorporates an ambitious transportation demand management program for future residential and commercial development. Working to manage its transportation system across modes in

Municipalities may be liable for crashes on streets where design encourages high speeds

By Bill Holloway On December 22, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities may be liable for traffic injuries when the design of roads contributes to reckless driving or excessive speeding. The 6-1 decision in Turturro v. City of New York found

Portland plans new development fee structure based on people instead of cars

By Robbie Webber For 20 years, Portland, OR, has assessed Transportation System Development Charges (TSDC) on developments based on the presumed new trips that each project would generate. In December, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution allowing the Portland Bureau of Transportation

U.S. DOT: States overestimating VMT growth

By Chris McCahill The U.S. DOT recently released its 2015 Conditions and Performance Report to Congress, describing the current state and future needs of the country’s roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. The report hinges largely on estimates and forecasts of vehicle miles

LA drivers wonder whether expanding the 405 was worth it

By Bill Holloway After years of construction headaches and a $1.6 billion investment, the Sepulveda Pass project, which expanded Interstate 405, the nation’s busiest highway, appears to have had a minimal impact on congestion. The project, which added carpool lanes, on- and off ramps, and three

Crashes fuel U.S. death-rate increase

By Eric Sundquist A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made headlines last week for showing a decrease in Americans’ life expectancy in 2015—a reversal of a decades-long positive trend. One element of the brief report is of special interest to transportation

Automated vehicles will bring big highway capacity increases

By Eric Sundquist As the transportation field grapples with the impending impacts of automated vehicles, one AV-related outcome seems clear: Highway capacity will dramatically expand. One new estimate comes from Dwight L. Farmer in the November ITE Journal (paywall). Because automatic braking

Virginia’s SMART SCALE helped Hampton Roads improve its transportation projects

By Robbie Webber The December 12 edition of the Daily Press (Hampton Roads) features an editorial by Virginia DOT Secretary Aubrey Layne explaining how the state’s new project selection process, dubbed SMART SCALE, improved the way transportation projects are planned and developed. The

Providence, RI decides the future of a deteriorating freeway

By Bill Holloway Efforts to duplicate the urban freeway removal success stories of Milwaukee and San Francisco, both of which allowed valuable urban land to be redeveloped, face an uphill battle despite many boosters. The debate between urban boosters and state DOTs that control most urban

The quest for market share: Is Uber’s business model sustainable?

By Mary Ebeling A new analysis of the scant information on Uber’s profits and losses—information normally confined to investor meetings at this privately held company—calls into question the long-term sustainability of the company. It also raises concerns about whether Uber will be the