Smart parking reduces congestion, increases transit ridership

posted on Friday, September 22, 2017, 4:45pm PDT
Principal Investigator: Nicole Ngo, University of Oregon
Learn more about this research project by downloading the Final Report or tuning in for the Webinar.

In 2011, San Fransisco introduced SFPark, a smart parking program. SFpark uses demand-responsive pricing to open up parking spaces and reduce circling and double-parking. Rates can vary by block, time of day and day of week, and are adjusted at most once per month.

In the latest NITC report, researcher Nicole Ngo of the University of Oregon investigates the effects of the demand-responsive pricing program on transit usage and congestion.

The study focused on metered, on-street parking and used the timing of SFpark's pricing changes as a natural experiment. Researchers observed effects on three important aspects of urban transportation: parking availability, transit bus ridership and congestion. 

Results show that SFpark was effective at...

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Happy World #CarFreeDay! Not satisfied with just one day of celebrating alternate mobility choice, we're kicking off a week of #OffbeatCommute by sharing the off the beaten path commutes of the staff, faculty and researchers of TREC, NITC and IBPI. Whether that's by bike, public transit, rollerblades, skateboarding, cartwheelin', or hitchin a ride (like honorary TREC staffer Tomato - pictured right).

We invite you to join us in tagging your #OffbeatCommute by sharing your photos, videos and stories!

Starting off with a bang, here's our Communications Coordinator, Lacey Friedly, on her trek to TREC (hint, water is involved):

In celebration of Car-Free Day, I wanted to share a video of my human-powered journey to work. And so, last month I borrowed a GoPro and recorded my commute. I wanted to do this before the summer was over, because my commute had gotten particularly awesome during 2017. Earlier this summer I heard about Benjamin David, the man who got so tired of the traffic in Munich that he started...

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Project Summary (Principal Investigator: Ann Joslin, USF)

In Tampa Bay, Florida, it's hard to get around without a car. For those who depend on transit, the simple task of bringing groceries home can take up an entire afternoon. 

Add the extra difficulty of food insecurity—which affects a wide variety of people and may mean they can't afford to go to the grocery store, but must travel to a food pantry—the task of procuring those groceries gets even more difficult. 

Now take away the possibility of transit. Where does that leave you? Hungry, wherever you are.

According to a new study from NITC investigators at the University of South Florida (USF), there are 136,401 people in Florida's Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties who are both food insecure and lack adequate access to transit.

Food insecurity affects a wide range of people and most acutely affects vulnerable populations such as...

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What do Americans get in return for their transportation investments?

It’s a simple enough question on the surface, but digging for an answer yields a gnarled knot of information.

NITC investigators Rebecca Lewis and Rob Zako of the University of Oregon explored six case study states to try to get some clarity on the answer. They worked with metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia to examine how livability goals were embedded in funding processes.

A toolkit for practitioners, developed with the assistance of Transportation for America, explores how to integrate performance measures, especially measures of outcomes, into all phases of transportation decision-making. 

The efforts of three leading states—California, Oregon and Washington—will be examined in a panel discussion at the 2017 Transportation and Communities Summit at Portland State University next week.

Zako will moderate the panel, which will also include Roger Millar of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Tammy Baney of the Oregon...

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Nineteen girls presented ingenious transportation ideas to a packed room on Friday, August 18, the closing day of TREC's 2017 National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI). For two weeks, the high schoolers had stayed in Ondine Residence Hall on the Portland State University campus; meeting for daily lectures at PSU's Engineering Building, hearing from some of the women who run transportation systems in Portland, Oregon and touring the city's agencies.

In between guest lectures and field trips, the NSTI class worked on group projects, which they presented at Friday's closing event to their family members and the course instructors.

On the first day of the camp, they were asked to think about a real-world transportation problem so they could use the skills they would gain to present a solution at the end of the course.

The problems were real, and the solutions were impressive.

It might be because the guest lecturers were actual practitioners, who gave real talk about the issues they've encountered in their work and how they've tried to solve them.

It might also be because the curriculum was directed by TREC's own amazing Lisa Patterson and Ellee Stapleton along with Sarah...

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Principal Investigator: Kristina Currans, Portland State University
Project Overview: Data and Methodological Issues in Assessing Multimodal Transportation Impacts for Urban Development
Learn more about this research project by viewing the two-page Project Brief, related presentations, and the full Final Report.

As cities aim to promote sustainable, multimodal growth, sometimes the way we go about development review processes can create barriers to achieving the results we want. Some of the methods we have inherited, while still useful, have distinct limitations.

NITC dissertation fellow Kristina Currans took on this challenge in her doctoral research project, Data and Methodological Issues in Assessing Multimodal Transportation Impacts for Urban Development.

The guidelines for evaluating transportation impacts of new development were originally published  in 1976 by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). Decades later, we’re still using essentially the same processes all across the U.S. and Canada, and these methods—which harbor a lack of sensitivity to urban contexts—could use an update.

Currans graduated from Portland State...

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Transit-oriented development, or TOD, could be the “poster child” for sustainable urban development. It concentrates land uses, including commercial and multi-family housing, near transit stations so as to reduce car dependency and increase ridership. The benefits are manifold; increased community health, positive economic impacts, less harm to the environment and potentially greater social equity.

But what about affordability? In exchange for all these benefits, do TOD residents spend more money on transportation?

A new NITC study compared TOD with transit-adjacent development, also known as TAD; another form of urban grown that is sometimes almost-affectionately referred to as TOD’s evil twin.

Researchers Brenda Scheer, Reid Ewing, Keunhyun Park and Shabnam Sifat Ara Khan of the University of Utah sought to answer three research questions. First of all, they wanted to establish clear criteria for how to tell TOD and TAD...

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Normally we assume that travel is a means to an end, but the latest NITC report examines other benefits of travel—aspects that aren’t about reaching a destination.

One such benefit is travel-based multitasking. A good example of this is using time on a commuter train to listen to music, relax or get some work done.

The simple enjoyment of a walk in the fresh air relates to another benefit, known as subjective well-being, in which the act of travel itself makes a person feel better. 

These intrinsic benefits can impact travel behavior and mode choice, but our current models don’t have any way to reflect this.

NITC fellow Patrick Singleton investigated the policy and planning implications of this in his dissertation, Exploring The Positive Utility Of Travel And Mode Choice.

"The way we analyze travel behavior assumes people want to get from A to B as quickly as possible. We don’t include the other benefits in travel demand models," Singleton said.

The idea that travel can provide benefits beyond reaching destinations is known in the travel behavior field as "the positive utility of travel" (PUT) concept.

Singleton’s dissertation makes some important contributions to this field.

By documenting reliable and meaningful ways to measure subjective well-being from travel, the report represents an advancement in how these concepts can be investigated. 

The paper...

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The National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) is now accepting proposals for Small Starts grants and Dissertation Fellowships.

The purpose of a Small Starts grant is to assist researchers who are interested in transportation but have not had an opportunity to undertake a small project consistent with NITC's theme of Improving the Mobility of People and Goods to Build Strong Communities.

The NITC theme connects directly with the U.S. DOT priority of improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities. All proposals must be consistent with this theme, as defined in the request for proposals (RFP).

Faculty members and research faculty eligible to serve as Principal Investigators (PIs) at our partner universities: Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Oregon, University of Texas at Arlington and University of Utah may submit proposals and serve as PIs with NITC.

Read more about...

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In late 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Location Affordability Index (LAI) Portal. Its purpose: to estimate housing and transportation costs at the neighborhood level.

The tool is meant to help consumers and communities understand the combined costs of housing and transportation associated with living in a specific neighborhood.

NITC’s newest report evaluated the LAI, particularly its applicability to previously dense urban areas that have experienced significant population loss, also known as "shrinking cities."

The report shows that the LAI overestimates housing costs, and confirms this through a household survey in Cleveland, Ohio. The report also issues a caution regarding the LAI’s transportation cost estimates. 

Final report: What do we know about Location Affordability in U.S. Shrinking Cities?

The project was headed up by NITC researcher Joanna Ganning, with co-investigator J. Rosie Tighe of Cleveland State University. Ganning had previously studied affordability and transportation...

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A new NITC report examines the property value impacts of Lane Transit District’s Emerald Express (EmX), a Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, system that connects downtown Eugene to Springfield, Oregon.

BRT is often seen as an economically powerful transit option, providing high-speed service with a generally lower price tag than a light rail system. It seems intuitive that a location-efficient area, with transportation access boosted by BRT, would be an economically desirable place to live; offering access to jobs, shopping and other destinations. Little research, however, has been done recently in the United States examining to what extent BRT affects property values.

The goal of the latest NITC study, led by Victoria Perk and Martin Catalá of the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida in partnership with Lane Transit District and the Florida Department of Transportation, was to provide a more robust understanding of how BRT services in the U.S. affect surrounding residential property values. 

The final report, Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Surrounding Residential Property Values, found that the EmX line had a statistically significant positive impact on property values, which stands to benefit the...

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