Measuring Urban Transportation Performance: A Critique of Mobility Measures and a Synthesis (CEOs for Cities, 2010)

While peak hour travel is a perennial headache for many Americans — peak hour travel times average 200 hours a year in large metropolitan areas — some cities have managed to achieve shorter travel times and actually reduce the peak hour travel times. The key is that some metropolitan areas have land use patterns and transportation systems that enable their residents to take shorter trips and minimize the burden of peak hour travel.

That’s not the conclusion promoted by years of highway-oriented transportation research. The Urban Mobility Report (UMR) produced annually by the Texas Transportation Institute and widely used to gauge metropolitan traffic problems has overlooked the role that variations in travel distances play in driving urban transportation problems.

This report offers a new view of urban transportation performance. It explores the key role that land use and variations in travel distances play in determining how long Americans spend in peak hour travel.

Download the full report.