Jan 09, 2015

The video begins at 9:25.

This paper, co-authored with Ian W.H. Parry, derives formulas for the welfare effects of reforming subsidies for peak and off-peak urban rail and bus fares, and applies them to the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and London. The model accounts for congestion, pollution, oil dependence, and accident externalities associated with automobiles and each transit mode. It also accounts for scale economies in transit supply, costs of accessing and waiting for transit service, crowding costs, pre-existing fuel taxes, and the transit agency’s adjustment of frequency, vehicle size, and route network in response to changes in demand. We find that in almost all cases existing subsidies – which typically exceed 50% of operating costs – are either about right, or possibly too low, across bus and rail, peak and off-peak period, in the three cities.

Speaker Biography: Kenneth A. Small, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California at Irvine, specializes in urban, transportation, and environmental economics. Recent research has concentrated on urban highway congestion, measurement of value of time and reliability, effects of fuel efficiency standards, public transit pricing, and the role of fuel taxes in managing external costs of automobiles. Prof. Small served five years as coeditor of the international journal, Urban Studies, and is now Associate...

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Jan 09, 2015

The video begins at 2:23.

Where curb parking is free and overcrowded, many drivers cruise for a curb space rather than pay to park off-street. Research throughout the last century has shown that cruising for parking accounts for a substantial share of the t in city centers. Charging the fair market price for curb parking can elimina this cruising and all its harmful side effects. Because city governments set the prices for curb parking, they play a large part in determining whether drivers cruise. Cruising for curb parking stems from faulty public prices.

Underpriced curb parking is a perverse subsidy because it encourages drivers to congest traffic, pollute the air, and waste fuel. Cities then spend more money trying to fix the congestion and pollution problems they have created. If cities want to reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, reduce energy waste, reduce greenhouse emissions, improve neighborhoods, and do this all quickly, they should charge the fair market price for curb parking and spend the resulting revenue to improve local public services. Getting the price of curb parking right will do a world of good.

Donald Shoup has extensively studied the issue of parking as a key link between transportation and land use, with important consequences for cities, the economy, and the environment. His research on employer-paid parking led to the passage of California’s parking cash-...

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Nov 25, 2014

ITS Lab (Engineeering 315)

Abstract: Despite the never-ending cascade of depressing economic developments recently, there are some encouraging new trends to be discovered. Some of these trends relate to the vehicles we buy and how we drive them, and the consequences of these actions. In this presentation, I will discuss several new findings about the positive influences of the recent economic changes on (1) the fuel efficiency of purchased new vehicles, (2) the amount and type of driving that we do, (3) how much carbon dioxide emissions we produce from driving, and (4) the number of road fatalities.

Bio: Dr. Michael Sivak is a Research Professor and the Head of the Human Factors Division of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). He received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Sivak's primary expertise is in perceptual and cognitive aspects of driving. Examples of his recent research topics include human-factors aspects of vehicle design, bounded rationality and driver behavior, and the relative risks of flying and driving. In 2001, he was named a Distinguished Research Scientist by the University of Michigan. In 2006, he received the A.R. Lauer Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for outstanding contributions to human aspects of the broad area of safety.

Apr 10, 2013

Bicycle commuters represent a significant chunk of business consumers in Portland, Ore., one of America's most bike-friendly cities. OTREC research in the past year has provided data on how cyclists and other mode users patronize local businesses.

The final OTREC research report is available on the project pageLead researcher Kelly Clifton of Portland State University also presented her findings at the 2013 Oregon Active Transportation Summit in Salem.
The research found that bicycle consumers spend as much money, on average, as those who drive, and that local businesses can make an effort to attract this share of the market. The Plaid Pantry convenience store chain, a participant in the research, subsequently installed bike racks at 12 locations to make them more hospitable to cycling consumers, as first reported in a post on the Bike Portland blog.  
 
Efforts to promote active transportation often come...
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Dec 04, 2012
Efforts to promote active transportation often come up against concerns, from business owners, that any shift away from automobile use will mean fewer customers or less revenue.
 
In fact, this research indicates that, for the most part, how much people spend has little to do with what transportation mode they use.
 
Lead researcher Kelly Clifton of Portland State University, in a recent project, "Consumer Behavior and Travel Mode Choices," does highlight some key differences between transportation modes. People arriving by bus, bike or on foot average more trips per month to convenience stores, supermarkets, drinking establishments and restaurants than do people arriving by car. They also spend more per month at all types of establishments except supermarkets, where the auto users’ greater spending per trip more than makes up for their fewer trips.
 
Clifton offered some preliminary findings from this...
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Jun 04, 2012

With various governments encouraging people to drive less, economists have wondered if such goals can have the side effect of harming the economy. In most cases, the answer is no, OTREC researcher B. Starr McMullen concluded in a research report.

  • Click here to read more about the research and to download the report.

It’s more than an academic question: driving and the economy do tend to rise and fall together. McMullen, a transportation economics professor at Oregon State University, examined the relationship between the two by looking at which happens first—a change in driving or a change in economic activity.

In general, economic growth leads to more driving, not the other way around, McMullen said. That’s particularly true for metropolitan areas, the very places most likely to pursue policies that reduce driving.

“The more economic activity you have, the more VMT [vehicle miles traveled] you’re going to have,” McMullen said.

On the other hand, if there are policies to reduce VMT and driving decreases, “you’re not going to have the economy fall apart," as some have suggested.

If a state sets a goal to reduce VMT or transportation emissions, it is reasonable to expect big urban areas to...

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