U.S. cities and developers beleaguered by too much parking, Mortgage Bankers report finds

Des moines parking

There are 83,141 households in the city of Des Moines, and 1.6 million parking stalls. Even allowing that some of those stalls are occupied by commuters, that’s a pretty staggering disparity. And even accounting for commuters, peak parking occupancy rates are only 65 percent downtown. These are some of the eye-opening findings from a new Mortgage Bankers Association report on parking supply in American cities. The report argues that localities should do their own parking inventories rather than rely on rules of thumb for parking needs and risk squandering resources. Read More >

Travel time peaked in the 1990s, new research shows

figure1-Travel times and VMT

Americans spent more than 10 hours per week traveling in the early 1990s—the highest amount in two decades—but that number has since dropped below 1975 levels to less than 8.5 hours, according to a new study published in Transportation Research Part A. The resulting travel time peak, mirrors a similar peak in average vehicle miles traveled that occurred roughly a decade later. This earlier peak, however, suggests that important shifts in travel behavior were already underway well before the recession took hold around 2007. Read More >

Accessibility in practice (SSTI and Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, 2017)

VirginiaBeach_jobs_transit_change_noLegend

Planning agencies and transportation decision makers often talk about the importance of improving access to destinations, but they rarely have the tools or resources to measure accessibility and incorporate those metrics into decision making. This report guides agencies through that process. Read More >


FEATURED RESOURCE

Trip-making data, TDM, and connectivity in Northern Virginia (SSTI and Michael Baker International, 2016)

Commercially available GPS data offers valuable new insight about trip origins, destinations, and routes, including short trips that travel demand models often cannot capture. Using this data, SSTI worked with Michael Baker International, the Virginia DOT, and local stakeholders to identify opportunities for managing travel demand and improving connectivity throughout Northern Virginia. This final report describes the full data set and 17 selected case studies, along with recommended projects and policies, estimated costs, and benefits for each. More Resources...

NEWS

Red light cameras save lives. Turning them off puts lives at risk.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that red light camera programs are an effective deterrent to red light running. The IIHS study found that implementing red light cameras lowers the rate of fatal crashes at intersections that are remotely enforced, but the rate increases if they are turned off. More than half of the fatalities caused by red light runners are pedestrians, cyclists, other motorists, or passengers. The IIHS has also issued a checklist to help communities successfully implement red light cameras. Read More >

Safety climate, not just pedestrian infrastructure, affects walking behavior

To get people on foot adhering to traffic rules, according to one new study, road designers likely need to consider not only the immediate walking environment (sidewalks and crossings) but also the entire traffic safety climate of an area. According to the study, pedestrians tend to break the rules and make mistakes more often when they perceive city traffic as less “safe” and less “harmonious.” Read More >

California meets GHG goals, but transportation progress faces uncertain future

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, California has met its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels four years early, an impressive feat, and one that comes while the California economy continues to flourish. But the reductions come almost entirely from the generation of electricity, while emissions from transportation continue to rise. More driving, public preferences for larger cars, lower gas prices, and a booming economy are all to blame for the rise. Despite the relative lack of progress in transportation, the Trump administration announced on Aug. 1 that it plans to eliminate the waiver California enjoys from national mobile source pollution rules, allowing the state to impose GHG emissions limits. Read More >

Climate change killing us in more ways than expected?

While the positive relationship between traffic crashes and extreme summer conditions is certainly not unheard of, it is rarely used in practice when designing policies or issuing roadway safety warnings. A recent study in Accident Analysis and Prevention shows that heat waves have a significant effect on the frequency of traffic crash fatalities. With climate change resulting in extreme temperatures all around the world, these studies highlight a pressing need for policy and safety interventions to adapt to changing conditions. Read More >

SSTI CEO Community of Practice meets in Boston

CEOs and other senior officials from 16 state DOTs, as well as the Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Transportation, gathered in late July for SSTI’s annual Community of Practice meeting. While the conversation was free-flowing without any formal motions or votes, and so is not readily summarized, readers may enjoy seeing the briefing materials that formed the basis for the discussion. Read More >

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