This research investigates the rationale behind the parking mandate in the minimum street width requirement for residential streets adopted by most local U.S. governments. For example, a minimum width requirement of 36 feet for a residential street automatically provides two 10-foot traffic lanes and two 8-foot parking lanes, making it a de facto parking policy. Such a street standard provides a large amount (between 740 million and 1.5 billion) of parking spaces on residential streets, in addition to abundant off-street parking spaces (garage and driveway), and it costs trillions of dollars in road investments. This research explores the two common beliefs underlying the parking mandate: that it is an amenity reflecting market demand, and that it is a technical necessity based on traffic safety concerns.
This research surveyed the decision makers of street standards in the United States: directors of departments of public works or transportation in local…
A growing number of communities are discovering the value of their streets as important public spaces for many aspects of daily life. People want streets that are safe to cross or walk along, offer places to meet people, link healthy neighborhoods, and have a vibrant mix of retail. More people are enjoying the value of farmers’ markets, street festivals, and gathering places. And more people want to be able to walk and ride bicycles in their neighborhoods.
People from a wide variety of backgrounds are forming partnerships with schools, health agencies, neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, and other groups in asking their city councils to create streets and neighborhoods that fit this vision.
As a result, an increasing number of cities are looking to modify the way they design their streets. They are often stifled by standards and guidelines that prevent them from making the changes they seek. Some want to modify their standards and manuals, but don’t…
Carsharing in North America is changing the transportation landscape of metropolitan regions across the continent. Carsharing systems give members access to an automobile for short-term use. The shared cars are distributed across a network of locations within a metropolitan area. Members can access the vehicles at any time with a reservation and are charged by time or by mile. Carsharing thus provides some of the benefits of personal automobility without the costs of owning a private vehicle.
Introduction to H+T
Significance of Transportation Costs and the Lack of Transparency
Today, the real estate market knows how to incorporate the value of land into the price of the home—based on its location and proximity to jobs and amenities—but there is less clarity about how the accompanying transportation costs also contribute to the desirability of a location. In most cases, the very same features that make the land and home more attractive, and likely more expensive per square foot, also make the transportation costs lower. Being close to jobs and commuter transit options reduces the expenses associated with daily commuting. And being within walking distance of an urban or suburban downtown or neighborhood shopping district allows a family to replace some of their daily auto trips with more walking trips. Walking, bicycling, taking transit, or using car sharing instead of driving a private automobile reduces gasoline and auto maintenance costs, and may even allow a family…
Senate Bill (SB) 375, adopted in 2008, calls on regional transportation planning agencies and local governments to develop strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles by reducing per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Three specific strategies, traditionally used to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, are to be employed to help reduce emissions:
Higher-density development, particularly in areas well-served by transit;
Investments in alternatives to solo driving, such as transit, biking, walking, and carpooling; and
Pricing policies that raise the cost of driving and parking.
Although SB 375 is expected to reduce emissions only modestly relative to vehicle efficiency standards and low-carbon fuels, it is also expected to improve public health and reduce energy and water use by encouraging denser development and more “livable” communities. The integration of these three approaches is consistent with an emerging research…
Observations of the various limitations of freeway capacity expansion have led to a provocative planning and policy question – What if we completely stop building additional freeway capacity. From a theoretical perspective, as a freeway transportation network matures, there exists a saturation point beyond which any additional freeway capacity would only be counterproductive from a welfare point of view, and worsen the existing urban transportation problems. Traditional benefit/cost analysis of individual freeway capacity expansion projects often ignores long-term induced demand and land use changes and does not represent a systems approach to this important theoretical issue. From a practical perspective, a no-more-freeway policy can relieve transportation funds for other potentially more effective usages, such as improving urban arterial street system, improving transit level of service and coverage, implementing demand management and pricing strategies, and facilitating more…
Transportation systems are the backbone of America: They keep our nation strong and moving. But we have not been taking good care of this resource. Lacking a coherent vision for our transportation future and chronically short of resources, we defer new investments, fail to plan, and allow existing systems to fall into disrepair.
This shortsightedness and underinvestment—at the planning level and on our nation’s roads, rails, airports and waterways—costs the country dearly. It compromises our productivity and ability to compete internationally; transportation users pay for the system’s inefficiencies in lost time, money and safety. Rural areas are cut off from economic opportunities and even urbanites suffer from inadequate public transportation options. Meanwhile, transportation-related pollution exacts a heavy toll on our environment and public health.
Stakeholders in the transportation community have recognized these costs. It is time to rethink existing…
Colliers’ 10th annual North America Parking Rate Survey again indicates that even in the face of economic hardship, parking garage owners and operators have managed to hold rates steady, providing little relief to businesses or consumers. Over the past year Canadian and U.S. parking rates both registered little change, highlighting the high degree of stability in this often overlooked real estate sector.
This report summarizes the findings from a ULI panel that was formed to assess the economic implications of the California Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), and associated implementation recommendations. As the basis of this inquiry, the panel was charged with reviewing available empirical data and studies pertaining to SB 375 and the impacts of the kinds of development that full implementation is likely to produce, especially compact and transit-oriented development. Drawing on this research and its own substantial professional experience, the ULI panel then convened to review and discuss the economic impacts of SB 375 on the state’s economy and make recommendations that would help deliver on the bill’s goals of regional connectivity, policy alignment, efficient provision of infrastructure, and improved environmental quality.
SB 375 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 30, 2008. This bill links land use decisions to transportation…
The transportation system in the United States is funded primarily by state and federal gasoline taxes. Gasoline taxes provide 90 percent of the funds in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and substantial portions of state transportation budgets (1, 2). But increasing gasoline taxes, even to maintain pace with inflation has proven to be extremely difficult. At the federal level, legislators have increased gasoline taxes just three times in the last 40 years. At the state level, while 15 states increased gas taxes between 1997-2009, the small increases (usually under 5-cents per gallon) lag behind estimated funding needs (3). The lack of substantial increases in gasoline tax revenues combined with increased vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have led to a massive funding shortfall for the transportation system. The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission reports the federal funding gap in the Trust Fund could reach $2.3 trillion over the coming 25 years (4).