The United States has embarked on a program of building high-speed rail corridors in the nation’s most urbanized corridors and regions. This is a bold step toward meeting the infrastructure needs of the coming century, including providing capacity for economic growth in regions where air and road congestion threaten economic competitiveness and quality of life.
However, given the newness of the program, there is a steep learning curve for states and regions in developing high-speed and even “classic” intercity passenger corridors. This report aims to educate the public and decision makers about the elements of success for high-speed rail as measured by factors that contribute to ridership demand for these services, particularly as they apply to the unique spatial attributes and travel patterns of America.
This report provides the first and only comparative study of close to 8,000 existing and proposed rail rights of way (of fewer than 600 miles in length)…
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…
Some of today’s most vexing problems, including sprawl, congestion, oil dependence, and climate change, are prompting states and localities to turn to land planning and urban design to rein in automobile use. Many have concluded that roads cannot be built fast enough to keep up with rising travel demand induced by the road building itself and the sprawl it spawns. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to summarize empirical results on associations between the built environment and travel, especially nonwork travel.
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).
The concept of accessibility has long been theorized as a principal determinant of residential choice behavior. Research on this influence is extensive but the empirical results have been mixed, with some research suggesting that accessibility is becoming a relatively insignificant influence on housing choices. Further, the measurement of accessibility must contend with complications arising from the increasing prevalence of trip chains, nonwork activities, and multiworker households, and also reconcile person-specific travel needs with household residential decisions. With this paper we contribute to the literature by addressing the gap framed by these issues and present a novel residential choice model with three main elements of innovation. First, we operationalize a time – space prism (TSP) accessibility measure, which we believe to be the first application of its kind in a residential choice model. Second, we represent the choice sets in a building-level…
This study evaluates potentially viable strategies to reduce transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study was mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140, December 2007). The Act directed the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and consultation with the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), to conduct a study of the impact of the Nation’s transportation system on climate change and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing GHG emissions from transportation. This study also examines the potential impact of these strategies on air quality, petroleum savings, transportation goals, costs, and other factors. Each GHG reduction strategy may have various positive impacts (including co-benefits) or negative impacts on these factors. Potential tradeoffs and interdependencies when reducing GHG emissions will need to be…
Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish serves as a guide to CNT’s H+T Index (www.htaindex.org), which includes 337 U.S. metropolitan regions. The Index demonstrates that the way in which urban regions have grown in the last half century has had negative consequences for many Americans:
The number of communities considered affordable drops dramatically in most regions when the definition of affordability shifts from a focus on housing costs alone to one that includes housing and transportation costs;
Families who pursue a “drive ‘til you qualify” approach to home ownership in an effort to reduce expenses often pay more in higher transportation costs than they save on housing thereby placing more, not less, stress on their budgets;
Residents of “drive ‘til you qualify” zones are most sensitive to jumps in gas prices because of the distances they must drive; and
The longer distances associated with sprawl also translate into more congestion on our highways, less…
Suburban multifamily housing is an often overlooked housing typology that is the fastest growing housing market in the country and holds strong potential for achieving smart growth goals in suburbia. This housing type is ubiquitous throughout all regions in the nation, is a widespread example of density in suburbia, and is typically located next to commercial uses. The proximity between suburban multifamily housing and commercial uses creates the potential for nodes of concentrated activity, mixed use, and the possibility of substantial non-auto transport in suburbia. While this potential exists, the design of this housing type often follows an enclaved pattern of development, negating any synergy, minimizing the possibility of non-auto transport, and denying any potential for sustainable development.
Through case studies of suburban multifamily development in Oregon, Arizona, Florida, and Massachusetts, this report looks at the specific ways in which regulation,…
Spending on transit generates more jobs than spending on highways.
Based on data from Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) in 20 metropolitan areas, this study shows that the proportion of total transportation dollars spent on transit varies from 15 percent to 75 percent.
Metropolitan areas that give a higher priority to transit generate more jobs per dollar spent on transportation.
If our 20 metropolitan areas shifted 50 percent of their highway funds to transit, they would generate 1,123,674 new transit jobs over a five-year period — for a net gain of 180,150 jobs over five years — without a single dollar of new spending.
If federal spending on transit increased as proposed by Transportation for America and TEN, we estimate it would create 1.3 million jobs over the life of the law, and almost 800,000 more jobs than under present federal transportation law (SAFETEA-LU).
In gathering data from the TIPs around the nation, we found that their…
In nearly all U.S. metropolitan areas, jobs have been moving to the suburbs for several decades. In the largest metropolitan areas between 1998 and 2006, jobs shifted away from the city center to the suburbs in virtually all industries. As the U.S. population also continues to suburbanize, larger proportions of metropolitan area employment and population are locating beyond the traditional central business districts along the nation’s suburban beltways and the more distant fringes.