Researchers re-evaluate how we value transportation

By Chris McCahill

Transportation agencies and metropolitan planning organizations often wrestle with how to properly value transportation investments, especially when it comes to things that can’t be measured in terms of vehicle delay, such as multimodal access and environmental justice. Some of these challenges are tackled in a new issue of Research in Transportation and Business Management, edited in part by SSTI.

The special issue, titled “[Re]Evaluating How We Value Transportation,” was co-edited with Wes Marshall from the University of Colorado and Dan Piatkowski from the University of Nebraska. It features 16 articles from leading researchers and practitioners throughout the U.S. and Canada, along with an introductory editorial from the editors.

Those familiar with SSTI’s recent work in the development and implementation of accessibility metrics may be interested in a paper describing a new measure of non-work accessibility (available free until June 8), which the Virginia Department of Transportation recently implemented in its Smart Scale project prioritization process. Other topics include:

  • Emerging best practices in urban transportation
  • The early impacts of California’s shift from LOS to VMT in measuring transportation impacts
  • Active transportation metrics, intangible benefits, and approaches to funding
  • Reframing traffic safety, including a defense of urban street trees
  • Challenges in properly measuring housing and transportation costs
  • Urban parking demand and lessons in parking policy implementation
  • Curb use and surge pricing in the age of ride hailing
  • Methods for evaluating the benefits of freight movement
  • Problems with static traffic assignment in travel-demand modeling

Chris McCahill is the Deputy Director at SSTI.