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252 This appendix considers strategies to improve alterna- tive modes of travel, such as transit, ridesharing, bicycling, and walking. Depending on how transportation energy use patterns evolve in the future, such strategies could be help- ful in different ways. If, for example, there are significant technological breakthroughs in alternative fuel and vehicle technologies that lead to much cheaper driving, traffic con- gestion could grow much worse. In this case, the improve- ment of alternative modes might help lure some drivers from their vehicles, and could also provide other options for those who wish to avoid sitting in traffic. On the other hand, if cost- competitive alternatives fail to emerge, and the price of oil continues to climb, driving could become much less afford- able. In such a scenario, improving alternative modes would help ensure mobility options for lower-income travelers. The strategic directions reviewed in this appendix are transporta- tion demand management measures, transit improvements, and integrated land-use policies. L.1 Transportation Demand Management Transportation demand management encompasses a wide variety of strategies intended to reduce single-occupant vehi- cle travel, especially in peak travel hours. TDM strategies can be grouped into several broad categories, including strategies intended to consolidate vehicle trips or shift trips to other modes, such as ridesharing, vanpools, and bicycling or walk- ing improvements; strategies to shift vehicle trips to off-peak periods or less-congested routes, such as flexible or staggered work hours and traveler information services (discussed as part of TSM&O section in the previous appendix); and strategies to eliminate trips entirely, such as telecommuting and compressed workweeks. Various types of TDM strategies can be implemented at the national, state, regional, or local levels. Individually, TDM strategies are unlikely to significantly change travel patterns, but layering multiple strategies at different scales may affect a considerable portion of travel, with corresponding benefits for reduced traffic, fuel consumption, and emissions. L.1.1 Supportive Policies Core TDM policies, implemented either separately or in combination and at various scales and levels of government, may include commute trip reduction programs, non-commute trip reduction programs, ridesharing, shuttle services, non- motorized travel improvements, and regulatory enabling of pay-as-you-drive insurance. Commute trip reduction programs. Commute trip reduc- tion encompasses a wide variety of interventions intended to consolidate employee trips (through carpooling, vanpooling, and parking management), shift trips to times with greater slack capacity (such as off-peak hours), shift trips to other modes (through subsidized or pretax transit passes, bicycle facilities, parking cash-out options, and the like), or elimi- nate trips altogether through telecommuting or compressed workweeks (working 40 hours in 4 days, for example). Many of these strategies are best implemented by working directly with employers, although some can be initiated by employees or transportation management associations (TMAs). Public agencies can encourage commute trip reduction through outreach and incentives (such as employer recognition or commuter rewards programs), can establish mandatory or voluntary trip reduction goals, can offer tax credits for some measures (such as teleworking), and can directly implement such measures for their own employees. Public transporta- tion agencies can assist employers in providing subsidized transit benefits such as discounted passes for bulk purchase. Non-commute trip reduction programs. While the focus of trip reduction programs has traditionally been on the daily commute, TDM programs are increasingly aiming at other types of trips as well. For example, innovative marketing campaigns use social media to target and provide customized A p p e n d i x L Strategies to Improve Alternative Travel Modes
253 information to specific groups or individuals that may be responsive to travel options. Often these programs are imple- mented at a neighborhood level. âSchool poolâ programs foster opportunities for students to carpool, walk, or bicycle to school, and may include âsafe routes to schoolâ strategies such as sidewalk improvements or âwalking school buses.â Ridesharing (including HOV lanes). Ridesharing, which includes traditional carpools, vanpools, and dynamic carpools, reduces aggregate travel by consolidating multiple trips in a single vehicle. Ridesharing is most commonly oriented toward commuters, although emerging dynamic ridesharing websites and mobile apps now support other types of trips in certain urban areas. Public-sector actions to promote ridesharing may include operation or promotion of rideshare matching and vanpooling services among employers or the general public, the creation of incentive programs offering financial rewards for carpooling, and the formation of TMAs to coordinate ridesharing and other TDM programs with local employers. Employer-sponsored programs are often supported by a guar- anteed or emergency ride home program, which provides free rides for employees who must leave in an emergency or stay late. Ridesharing can be further encouraged by the provision of HOV lanes, which permit vehicles with multiple occupants to travel in dedicated lanes, and park-and-ride lots. Shuttle services. The provision of new or expanded transit services for general public use is considered in the next section of this appendix as a separate strategic direction. However, the operation of dedicated shuttle services to serve a specific employer, office park, or business district is often considered as part of a package of TDM strategies. Shuttle services may offer last-mile connections between residential or employ- ment centers and high-capacity transit or provide local cir- culation for residents, workers, and shoppers in multi-use districts. This can make it more feasible for workers to com- mute by transit as well as to run errands in the middle of the day without a car. Nonmotorized improvements. Nonmotorized transpor- tation investments focus on bicycling and walking as alterna- tives to driving. Improvements may emphasize door-to-door nonmotorized trips or combined transit-bicycle trips. Non- motorized projects can include improvements in infrastruc- ture or facilities (such as dedicated bike lanes, bicycle lockers at transit stations, or workplace locker rooms), programs to foster knowledge and awareness of nonmotorized options, and land use policies that enable walking or bicycling trips or trip segments (such as transit-oriented development). Land use strategies are also discussed as a separate strategic direc- tion later in this appendix. Pay-as-you-drive insurance. The purchase of automobile insurance has traditionally been structured around fixed annual or semi-annual premiums that account for such risk factors as the value of the vehicle, the location where the vehicle is registered, and the age of the driver. With PAYD insurance, a relatively recent innovation, the premium is no longer fixed; rather, the amount owed depends in part on the number of miles that a vehicle is driven each year. From the perspective of insurers, PAYD insurance creates the opportunity to offer lower rates, commensurate with the reduced risk of crashes, to attract lower-mileage drivers. From the perspective of aggregate social travel behavior, PAYD insurance creates an incentiveâ similar to that provided by other variable costs of driving such as fuel, fuel taxes, and tollsâfor drivers to reduce total vehicle travel. Thus, PAYD insurance is often grouped in the broader category of possible TDM strategies. While PAYD insurance is a private-sector product, states can facilitate this innovation through enabling legislation that allows insurers to offer this form of rate structure within their jurisdictions. Assumed policies for assessing transportation demand management. In assessing the strengths and limitations of increased focus on TDM as a strategic direction for state DOTs to consider, it is assumed that states would either implement or promote, through technical and financial assistance to local governments, the following policies: public-sector TDM out- reach programs aimed at employers and employees, such as employer recognition programs, rideshare and vanpool pro- gram support (e.g., ride-matching systems, limited start-up subsidies), a guaranteed ride home program, support for tran- sit agency programs to provide discounted transit passes, and partial subsidization of transit shuttle services (with matching funding from the private sector) between transit stations and major employment centers to provide last-mile connections; targeted social marketing programs in neighborhoods with good travel alternatives; policies to improve nonmotorized infrastructure, such as complete streets policies; requirements for developers to create and implement TDM plans (such as TDM-based traffic mitigation) for new large developments in congested areas; and PAYD insurance (states allow insurers to offer a PAYD option, but do not require them to do so). L.1.2 Intended Mitigation Effects Transportation demand management could play a role in mitigating several negative impacts that could arise under certain plausible future transportation energy use futures, most notably by improving non-automotive transportation alternatives. Reducing traffic congestionâmoderately effective. Most TDM strategies are directed at reducing peak-period vehicle trips and will therefore have some effect on reducing traffic congestion. The effect, however, is likely to be relatively modest (ICF 2011). For example, the U.S. DOT estimated that worksite trip reduction programs would be likely to reduce VMT in the range of 0.2% to 1.1% (U.S. DOT 2010). Further, such benefits could be reduced by the effect of induced demandâas road space is freed up, other drivers will take advantage of it. One study, however, estimated that induced demand would only
254 reduce the congestion-reduction benefits of TDM-type strate- gies by a little less than 20% (Cambridge Systematics 2009). Policies that create a direct financial incentive, such as transit subsidies, commuter rewards, or PAYD insurance, are likely to have the most significant impact (U.S. DOT 2010). Estimates suggest, for example, that broad adoption of PAYD would help reduce VMT and vehicle crashes by 5% to 10% (Ferreira and Minikel 2010). It is also worth noting that TDM effects will vary by region and may be most effective where there are good travel alternatives combined with mixed-use, dense, and transit- accessible land uses (Guo et al. 2011. Improving safety outcomesâmoderately effective (uncertain). Fewer vehicle miles of travel should lead to fewer traffic injuries and fatalities, although the overall safety of the traveling public would also depend on the accident rates for the modes adopted by travelers to replace driving. If bicycle fatality rates were higher than driver fatality rates, for instance, a bicycle-oriented TDM strategy would not improve safety for the target population. Strategies that remove trips entirely, like telecommuting, would provide definitive safety benefits. Improving air qualityâmoderately effective. More aggres- sive deployment of TDM strategies could be expected to help improve air quality by reducing VMT as well as idling related to congestion. For example, the U.S. DOT found that current levels of teleworking in the United States remove approxi- mately 10 to 13 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent green- house gas emissions along with a corresponding reduction in criteria pollutants (U.S. DOT 2010). Strategies that require ser- vice increases by other modes (e.g., vanpools, transit shuttles, and transit incentives that cause ridership to exceed capacity) may lead to increases in some pollutants, depending on the vehicle load factors and the fuel and emissions characteristics of the vehicles used. Reducing GHG emissionsâmoderately effective. TDM can be expected to help reduce GHG emissions by reducing VMT and excess fuel consumption related to congestion. Strategies that require service increases by other modes (e.g., vanpools and transit shuttles) could offset GHG emission reductions if vehicle load factors are not high enough to make up for the additional fuel consumed by the van or transit vehicle. Enhancing non-automotive travel optionsâhighly effective. One of the primary purposes of TDM is to improve non-automotive travel options, like transit, bicycling, and walking, as well as telecommuting. L.1.3 Intended Shaping Effects Though TDM policies have traditionally been pursued in the context of reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality, they could also help in reducing oil consumption. Reducing oil consumptionâmoderately effective. Many TDM strategies, such as vanpools, ridesharing, and transit incentives, aim to shift solo driving trips to other modes that are (assuming reasonable load factors) less energy intensive on a passenger-mile basis. PAYD insurance provides a reason- ably strong financial incentive to ration driving, while tele- commuting can eliminate some vehicle trips altogether. To the extent that TDM strategies are successful, they offer at least moderate promise in helping to reduce vehicle travel and, in turn, oil consumption. A U.S. DOT study found, for example, that current levels of teleworking in the United States remove approximately 29 billion VMT each year (U.S. DOT 2010). Ferreira and Minikel (2010) estimate that broad adoption of PAYD insurance would, through corresponding reductions in VMT, decrease fuel consumption by 5% to 10%. L.1.4 Other Effects Individual transportation demand management policies may have differing effects on the economy, environment, and equity. The broad effects of the assumed strategies to be imple- mented range from neutral to moderately positive. Economyâneutral. TDM strategies are likely to have very modest, if any, impacts on the economy. Economic benefits may accrue through better access for workers as a result of improved travel options. However, most TDM strategies also incur modest levels of public- and private-sector costs (e.g., the costs of subsidizing transit passes or providing van- pool start-up incentives). Many of these costs are simply transfers from one party to another (e.g., business to employee) and will not have a measurable net economic impact. To the extent that TDM is effective at reducing peak-period con- gestion, the local economy may benefit. Environment and public healthâhighly positive. As previously discussed, most TDM strategies help reduce cri- teria pollutant and GHG emissions, although TDM generally has no significant impact on other environmental aspects. Through support for much-improved non-automotive travel modes, in addition to air quality and safety benefits, TDM can have a strong positive influence on public health, leading to an overall rating of highly positive. Equityâmoderately positive. Most of the TDM strategies evaluated here, such as improved transit shuttle options or new nonmotorized options, increase travel choices and access to jobs and amenities for lower-income populations, thereby increasing transportation equity. PAYD insurance would also reduce inequities by eliminating the subsidies that low- mileage drivers inevitably pay for high-mileage drivers under more traditional insurance plans with fixed annual premiums (Ferreira and Minikel 2010). L.1.5 Barriers For the scope and scale of strategies assumed to be imple- mented in this assessment, states may encounter some moder- ate barriers.
255 L.2.1 Supportive Policies Policy options for improving public transportation are grouped into several different categories: revised fare struc- tures and integrated payment systems, urban bus transit service, urban transit with exclusive right-of-way (including rail and bus rapid transit with dedicated lanes), and intercity public transportation (passenger rail or bus). Additionally, the possibility of states taking a more active role in planning and funding public transportation is considered. Fare structures and system integration. Transit operators can implement measures such as variable pricing (e.g., peak versus off-peak fares, distance-based fares, low-income dis- counts) to better match demand and supply and offer a wider range of payment options (e.g., monthly and weekly passes, and payment via smartphones) to meet the needs of different customer bases. They can also integrate fare payment systems across multiple transit systems serving a region, improving the convenience of travel and fare payment. Conventional bus transit improvements. Transit operators can improve conventional bus service in a variety of ways. For example, they can provide more frequent service or expanded hours of operation on existing routes; add new routes; restruc- ture fixed-route systems for greater operating efficiencies; add limited-stop service on high-demand routes; implement measures to improve reliability, such as headway control using GPS; and work with local traffic authorities to imple- ment bus signal preemption and queue bypasses where fea- sible in high-passenger volume, congested corridors. Many of these are often included as elements of bus rapid transit (BRT), although this term is used in the following to include dedicated right-of-way as well. Real-time information on the locations and expected arrival times of buses, discussed at greater length in the previous appendix under the strategy of improved transportation system management and opera- tions, can increase ridership by reducing passenger wait times, supporting better decision making, or helping travelers feel more comfortable using the system. Fixed-guideway transit improvements. Fixed-guideway services include light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, street- car, and BRT with dedicated lanes or guideways. These types of services use higher-capacity vehicles, operate in their own right-of-way, and are often grade-separated to allow for higher operating speeds that do not depend on traffic conditions. Because of their permanence and capacity, they can also serve as a focal point for new high-density development, multiply- ing the benefits over the long term. Intercity transit improvements. Agencies such as state DOTs or designated rail authorities can improve intercity rail services through capital upgrades or service improvements to increase operating speeds, provide more frequent service, or provide services to new areas. This may include investments in high-speed rail (HSR), often defined as services operating Financial costâmoderate barrier. In this assessment it is assumed that a state would provide some level of investment to support TDMâfor example, helping to subsidize shuttle services or guaranteed ride home programs. To date, identify- ing adequate funding sources has been a barrier to expansion of TDM in many places. Yet expenditures on TDM programs are typically modest compared to the costs of building and maintaining roads. For example, a 2002 review of the Con- gestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, a common federal source of funding for trip reduction programs, identified annual costs ranging from $170,000 to $3.5 million for eight regional TDM outreach and promotion programs (TRB 2002). Enabling state legislationâmodest barrier (uncertain). Generally TDM strategies fit within current legislative frame- works. PAYD insurance, which is closely related to currently available usage-based insurance products, may require enabling legislation in a handful of states where usage-based insurance is not yet offered. Institutional restructuringâmoderate barrier (uncertain). DOTs may not consider TDM strategies to be consistent with their traditional missions. Seeking to provide more active and effective support for TDM could therefore require some modest institutional restructuring (such as the creation of an office dedicated to that end). L.1.6 Required Lead Time The set of TDM investments assumed for this strategy are not generally capital-intensive and can therefore be imple- mented in a relatively short time frame. A period of 1 to 5 years may be required to develop the programs and set up the insti- tutional capacity for full implementation. L.1.7 Qualifications Each state, region, and locality will have different TDM needs and requirements. TDM is primarily focused on metro- politan areas where travel alternatives exist and there are con- gestion issues that provide a motivation for TDM. However, smaller metro areas will have different needs than larger, more densely populated areasâfor example, a greater focus on ride- sharing and telecommuting compared to transit. L.2 Improving Public Transportation This strategy encompasses investments, programs, part- nerships, and institutional responses to expand or enhance the provision of transit service. Motivating objectives could include reducing vehicle use by inducing more travelers to use transit, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and harmful local air pollutants, and providing improved options for those who need or prefer alternatives to automotive travel.
256 ridersâ). A study of Florida transit systems concluded that between 43% and 50% of transit riders also have access to an automobile that they could use (Tindale-Oliver & Associates 2009). Broadly speaking, investments in transit will be most effective in areas with high levels of traffic congestion, high parking costs, and relatively high densities. If traffic conges- tion and parking costs are less of a concern, or if destinations are dispersed and not easily served by transit, the effects of transit investments in reducing vehicle travel tend to be less pronounced. However, even where transit improvements are successful in stimulating significant mode shift, their effec- tiveness in reducing traffic congestion is likely to be limited by the effects of latent demand. As some drivers shift to tran- sit and congestion lessens, other travelers will observe the improved driving conditions and return to peak-hour driv- ing in response, thus eroding the initial congestion-reduction benefits (Downs 2004). Improving safety outcomesâmoderately effective. Crash, fatality, and injury rates are generally lower per passenger mile of transit than for automobile travel (National Safety Council 2011), so shifting travel to transit should offer some safety benefits. Improving air qualityâmoderately effective. While transit vehicles can carry many more passengers than private auto- mobiles, they also emit, on average, more local air pollutants than the average vehicle. As such, the ability of improved tran- sit service to help improve air quality depends not only on the number of automobile trips replaced with transit trips but also on the average load factor of transit vehiclesâthat is, the number of passengers carried on each transit vehicle. One study found, for example, that the average bus service in 2006, by displacing 8.72 passenger car trips for each transit vehicle trip, would actually increase NOx and PM emissions. If the bus fleet were to meet new (2007 and later) federal emis- sion standards, the same load factor would instead result in a reduction of all relevant air pollutants (Ayres 2007, as cited in U.S. DOT 2010). For this assessment, it is assumed that states would only help support transit investments with sufficient demand to achieve specified minimum load factors; accord- ingly, the investments are rated as being likely to yield modest air quality improvements. It should also be noted that elec- trically powered transit vehicles offer an even greater poten- tial to improve urban air quality since they do not generate direct emissions, and air pollution from electricity generation is often emitted farther from populated areas. Reducing GHG emissionsâmoderately effective. As with air quality, the potential benefits of transit improvements with respect to GHG emissions depend on the number of vehicle trips replaced by transit trips as well as the transit vehicle load factors. In this case, however, evidence suggests that transit, on average, already does help mitigate GHG emissions. Across all existing U.S. transit systems, bus service produces about at 110 to 125 miles per hour or higher, and improvements in conventional services. While public agencies usually limit their role in intercity bus services to safety regulation, they can also help expand mobility options by subsidizing routes or supporting the construction of intermodal facilities serv- ing both intercity and local transit. Greater DOT involvement in public transportation. While most of these strategies would ultimately be imple- mented by transit operators, state DOTs could play an expanded role in supporting public transportation improvements. Possi- bilities include providing supplemental state funding (beyond that provided by the FTA and local sources) for planning, capital projects, and operations; assisting transit operators with joint purchases; providing technical assistance and training to transit providers; and helping to coordinate interjurisdictional services. A few state DOTs already operate or contract out for operation of state or regional transit services; in such states, DOTs would be more directly involved in implementing the improvements. Assumed policies for public transportation improve- ments. In assessing the potential effects of greater invest- ment in public transportation, it is assumed that a state would provide technical and financial support for the fol- lowing improvements: integrated fare payment systems and service coordination in areas with multiple transit operators; convenient noncash payment options; real-time information systems; operational improvements such as GPS-based head- way control and limited-stop service, signal preemption, and queue jump lanes in high-priority corridors; additional peak- period capacity and expanded hours of operation on routes where demand warrants; funding for planning, design, con- struction, and operation of fixed-guideway services (including urban rail and BRT) where demand warrants; and funding for intercity rail improvements (including HSR) and inter modal facilities where demand warrants. Here the phrase âwhere demand warrantsâ is used to indicate that minimum cost- recovery ratios and load factors (the ratio of passenger miles to transit vehicle miles) consistent with industry standards would need to be met before investing in new or expanded services. L.2.2 Intended Mitigation Effects The primary purpose of this strategy would be to enhance non-automotive travel options. The strategy could also pro- vide moderate benefits in the areas of traffic congestion, safety, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing congestionâmoderately effective. Transit improvements that focus on faster, more reliable, and more convenient peak-period service, in particular, should help reduce traffic congestion. The strength of this effect will depend on growth in transit use and the percentage of new riders who previously drove (often referred to as âchoice
257 should not adversely affect savings in fuel consumption to a significant degree. L.2.4 Other Effects While transit improvements would not necessarily lead to greater economic productivity, they would be expected to offer modest environmental and public health benefits and significant equity benefits. Economyâneutral (uncertain). In most cases, the effects of transit on improving mobility and reducing congestion, although helpful, would be modest. Weighed against the oppor- tunity cost of improving transit service, overall effects on the economy are likely to be negligible. For highly congested areas or corridors where significant travel improvements are needed, however, provision of high-quality, high-capacity transit ser- vices may provide local and regional economic benefits by increasing business access to labor markets and reducing transportation costs for both individuals and businesses. Environment and public healthâmoderately positive. As already discussed, improving transit service in ways that increase ridership is likely to provide moderate benefits in reducing local air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. These represent environmental gains, and improved air qual- ity, along with safety benefits, should be positive for public health. The improvement of non-automotive modes should correlate with increased physical activity, although this strat- egy focuses more on transit than on biking and walking. Therefore, the overall rating is judged as moderately positive rather than highly positive. Equityâhighly positive. By expanding or improving the quality of transit service, lower-income travelers are likely to benefit through improved mobility and access to jobs, services, and other essential destinations. L.2.5 Barriers Financial cost is the major barrier to expanding transit service, although in some cases legislation and institutional restructuring might also be required. Financial costâsignificant barrier. Expanding existing service or developing new service can have a significant effect in improving transit options. The capital costs for new rail investment and operating costs for rail and bus services, how- ever, are both expensive. Therefore, in most cases it would likely prove necessary to develop new or augment existing funding streams to pursue such options at a meaningful scale. More modest benefits may be realized at lower levels of effort and investment directed toward revising fare structures, improv- ing existing operations, coordinating services among transit operators, and the like. Enabling legislationâmoderate barrier (uncertain). Some states limit the use of fuel-tax revenueâtypically one of the two-thirds the GHG emissions per passenger mile of a single- occupant vehicle, while rail produces about one-quarter to two-fifths, depending on the mode (FTA 2009). However, the nationwide GHG benefits of existing transit services are dominated by a few large systems (such as New York), and benefits are small or even slightly negative in many states that are heavily rural or generally low in density (Baxandall, Dutzkik, and Hoen 2008). Here again, though, it is assumed that a state would only invest in transit improvements where there is sufficient demand to achieve reasonable load factors. Enhancing non-automotive travel optionsâhighly effective. The improvements envisioned here would con- tribute to faster, more reliable, and more convenient service and could include greater temporal and geographic coverage. All of these would serve to enhance non-automotive options and have been shown to increase ridership as well. The elas- ticity of ridership with respect to frequency averages roughly 0.5 (that is, a 10% increase in service frequency leads to a 5% increase in ridership), but can range from near zero to over 1.0 depending on the context. Based on relatively limited data, it also appears that the number of hours of service each day can be as important as frequency in increasing ridership (Evans 2004). Data on the impacts of other service improve- ments, including reliability and traveler information, are also very limited. In general, reliability can have an even greater effect on ridership than wait time (Evans 2004). L.2.3 Intended Shaping Effects Along with the benefits described previously, transit invest- ments are often promoted for their potential in helping to reduce aggregate oil consumption. Reducing oil consumptionâmoderately effective. With the assumption that a state would only invest in improved transit service where there is enough demand to result in reasonably high load factors, travel by bus should consume much less fuel on a per-passenger basis than would travel by private automobile. Also, transit that runs on electricity, such as most light rail and subway lines, does not consume petro- leum. Thus, improving transit service, to the extent that it is successful in inducing drivers to switch to transit, should contribute to the goal of reducing oil consumption. It has been noted that if some peak-hour drivers switch to transit and this helps reduce congestion, other travelers may notice the improvement and begin to drive in the corridor to take advantage of the improved traffic flow (Downs 2004). Yet many of these new drivers will simply be rearranging their trips from other routes or other timesâas opposed to tak- ing new trips that they otherwise would not have takenâin response to the greater convenience of peak-hour travel in the corridor. While this shifting of trip times and routes may undermine congestion-reduction benefits to some extent, it
258 design roads in urban areas, and interact with other levels of government. Prioritize transportation funding to existing communi- ties. States can deliberately choose to direct funding to areas that are already fairly densely developed instead of building new roads in undeveloped areas. This can help encourage redevel- opment in existing communities, leading to higher land-use densities more amenable to transit and nonmotorized modes. Three different frameworks could be considered: â¢ Invest in existing communities rather than new ones. In 1997, for example, Maryland adopted a policy of direct- ing transportation funds to âpriority funding areas,â which include all of the stateâs incorporated cities and towns (Maryland Department of Planning, undated). â¢ Prioritize existing infrastructure over new projects. Another variation on this idea is known as âfix it first,â which is a policy of directing transportation funding to renova- tion or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure rather than building new capacity. Massachusetts, for example, adopted such a strategy in its 2006 Long-Range Transportation Plan. â¢ Allow for some congestion with additional growth. Some states have concurrency requirements, which require new transportation investments whenever the level of service is projected to drop below a specified level. While the goal of such policies is laudable, they can have the unintended effect of preventing land use densificationâwhich might trig- ger required investmentsâand instead channel additional growth to undeveloped areas where traffic congestion is not yet such a problem (Chapin, Thompson, and Brown 2007). Recognizing this unintended effect, Florida repealed its mandatory concurrency requirements for transportation investments in 2011 (Turner 2011). Create more flexible guidelines for state roads. Standards for state roads are often created for rural roads, which account for a significant share of the roadways that many states man- age. Such standards may require limited access, high design speeds, or other features that make them incompatible with urbanized areas. Relaxing guidelines for urbanized areas can allow more walkable communities and attract development. For example, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development worked with local stakeholders in the city of Natchitoches to repave the downtownâs brick main street in a historically accurate way rather than using current repav- ing methods (FHWA 2009). Build appropriate nonmotorized transportation infra- structure to support bicycling and walking. In an approach often described as âcomplete streetsâ (Smart Growth Amer- ica 2010), states can incorporate nonmotorized access on projects where bicycling and walking are appropriate, thus providing additional travel options where otherwise only most significant sources of transportation fundsâto high- ways only. A decision to invest considerably more in transit at the state level could require relaxation of any such funding restrictions. Institutional restructuringâmoderate barrier (uncertain). For any state that does not already have significant involve- ment in the planning and provision of transit serviceâand this would include most statesâa decision to pursue the stra- tegic direction outlined here could require some institutional restructuring to engage more collaboratively with local gov- ernments to improve public transportation. L.2.6 Required Lead Time Some strategies, such as improved headway control and expanded service on existing routes, can be implemented quickly, in 1 or 2 years. Strategies such as fare integration, route restructuring, and traffic operations improvements may take 3 to 5 years to plan and implement. Major expansion projects may take 5 to 10 years, or perhaps even more, to plan, design, and construct. Taking all of these into account, this strategy is rated as requiring at least a 5- to 10-year lead time to yield significant effects. L.2.7 Qualifications This strategy is potentially applicable to large states as well as small states, and to highly urbanized as well as largely rural states. However, the most significant benefits in terms of transit demand, vehicle travel and congestion reduction, and the environment will be realized in densely populated urban- ized areas. L.3 Integrating Land Use Many of the potential strategies that states might con- sider could be made more effective with closer coordination between transportation and land use planning. For example, policies to improve transit, walking, and biking can be more successful in dense, mixed-use environments. Land use plan- ning is not typically a state function, but rather resides at the level of local governments. Still, there are some actions that states can take to promote better coordination between land use and transportation. This assessment reviews such actions and their potential effects. L.3.1 Supportive Policies States can adopt a number of policies to enable better coordination of transportation and land use decision mak- ing without assuming direct control over land use. These may involve changes in how states determine investment priorities,
259 Improving air qualityâmoderately effective (uncertain). Regional air quality should improve with higher-density land uses since VMT would be expected to decline. A major survey on the literature pertaining to the relationship between land use densities and VMT found that doubling the residential density within an area generally reduces household VMT on the order of 5% to 12% (TRB 2009). On the other hand, traffic congestion is usually higher in denser areas, leading to more stop-and-go driving that could exacerbate local emis- sions to some extent. Reducing GHG emissionsâmoderately effective (uncer- tain). Reducing VMT per capita should also reduce GHG emissions. A recent TRB report found that developing 75% of new and replacement housing at more compact densities over a 20-year period would result in reductions of 7% to 8% in GHG emissions over the base trend line (TRB 2009). Here again, though, it is possible that the inefficiencies of higher levels of traffic congestion could partially undercut such gains. Enhancing non-automotive travel optionsâhighly effec- tive. Higher-density land use should make non-automotive travel modes more viable and attractive for several reasons. To begin with, greater density creates a larger pool of potential rid- ers, making it more feasible to build and operate well-patronized transit lines. This, in turn, leads to more accessible transit service within denser areas. Finally, greater density tends to make walk- ing and bicycle trips more viable since distances between origins and destination are generally shorter, and walking or biking can often be combined with transit for longer journeys. Based on such factors, higher-density land uses are usually characterized by higher per-capita levels of transit ridership and lower per- capita VMT (TRB 2009). L.3.3 Intended Shaping Effects More compact land-use patterns are often viewed as a strat- egy for reducing vehicle travel and, in turn, oil consumption. Reducing oil consumptionâmoderately effective (uncer- tain). Higher-density and mixed land-use patterns should, in theory, help reduce automobile traffic, both by allowing more trips to be made by transit, biking, or walking and by reducing the average distance between trip origins and desti- nations. Evidence suggests that this relationship does indeed hold. As noted previously, a TRB study that examined this question found that a doubling of density reduces household VMT between 5% and 12% (TRB 2009). On the other hand, higher densities also result in greater traffic congestion, which reduces vehicle fuel economy to a significant degree (Barth and Boriboonsomsin 2007). This introduces some uncer- tainty in the ultimate degree to which denser land-use would reduce fuel consumption. motorized vehicles would be allowed or encouraged. For example, Pennsylvania DOT built a parkway with bicycle and pedestrian paths in place of a conventional expressway, which both saved money and provided additional access for nondrivers (AASHTO 2010). Partner with local governments. States can become part- ners with regional and local agencies on a number of policies. At the planning level, the state can fund or participate in efforts to develop regional plans. California does this through its California Regional Blueprints Program, which provides funds to MPOs and rural regional transportation planning authorities to develop collaborative regional plans (Applied Development Economics et al. 2010). New Jersey coordinates its Transit Village Initiative via a partnership between the DOT and NJ Transit (New Jersey DOT 2009). Assumed policies for assessing land use strategies. In the discussion that follows, it is assumed that a state would prioritize funding toward existing communities, create more flexible design guidelines for state roads in urban areas, and work collaboratively with local governments in developing integrated regional land-use and transportation plans. It is further assumed that such actions would generally lead to higher-density land uses, which in turn would lead to some changes in travel behavior. L.3.2 Intended Mitigation Effects State policies to promote more integrated land use could help mitigate several of the challenges identified in this report, although the effects would be gradual as the built environ- ment slowly changes. Reducing DOT costsâhighly effective. Areas with more compact development tend to cost less in infrastructure provi- sion than those with low-density development. In reviewing a number of studies over several decades, Muro and Puentes (2004) found that aggregate construction and maintenance costs were less when investments were focused on higher- density areas. A study in Rhode Island estimated that the state, through compact development strategies, could save $78 mil- lion (43%) in construction costs for new local roads over a 20-year period, and an additional $14 million in operating costs (H.C. Planning Consultants and Planimetrics 1999). These studies also tended to find cost savings in other utilities, such as water and sewers (Muro and Puentes 2004). Improving safety outcomesâmoderately effective (uncertain). Higher-density land uses tend to be associated with pedestrian safety based on narrower streets, slower vehi- cle speeds, and larger numbers of pedestrians. While it does not establish a causal link, the Mean Streets 2004 report on pedestrian safety finds that regions marked by lower-density developments have higher rates of pedestrian deaths per mile walked (Enrst 2004).
260 householdsâ (Rodier et al. 2010, pg. 2). Researchers in the United Kingdom have found that, for some low-income resi- dents, more compact land use has some positive equity effects, such as better public transportation and access to services, but on others there are negative impacts such as the potential for overcrowded housing (Burton 2000, Bramley and Power 2009). L.3.5 Barriers Barriers for this strategy, including public support, enabling legislation, and institutional restructuring, are not likely to be significant. Low public supportâmoderate barrier. Low public sup- port for land use changes is expected to be a moderate bar- rier, although one that may vary from state to state and from city to city depending on current land-use patterns. Groups likely to support higher density could include those com- munities, for instance, that have been in decline and would welcome growth. Opposing groups could include existing lower-density communities concerned about increased traf- fic as well as those generally opposed to government inter- vention in land use decisions. However, disputes over land use tend to take place at a very local scale, so it is possible that changes in state DOT regulations or practices would not in and of themselves attract much opposition. Enabling legislationâmoderate barrier (uncertain). In some states, there may be existing laws or regulations that make it difficult for the DOT to become more involved in integrated land-use and transportation planning. As noted previously, for example, Floridaâs state-level concurrency requirements, prior to their repeal, made it difficult for the state to address anticipated congestion through any means other than building or expanding roads (Chapin, Thompson, and Brown 2007). Institutional restructuringâmoderate barrier (uncertain). It is possible that some state DOTs will require internal restruc- turing to better address land use issues. Some states already have offices that do so, such as Marylandâs Office of Plan- ning and Capital Programming, which has a transit-oriented development program (Maryland DOT 2011). These func- tions could be housed in an existing but expanded department of planning, environment, or local coordination. They might also be housed in entirely new departments or involve new collaborations with other state or local agencies. L.3.6 Required Lead Time Depending on the existing circumstances, which vary from state to state, the time frame for making changes to state laws or regulations that affect how a DOT can deal with land use would likely be quite short, on the order of less than a year. However, such changes may take more than 20 years to have L.3.4 Other Effects Because the state role in land use remains peripheral rather than central regardless of what actions are taken, all of the effects described in the following are to some extent specula- tive. In both economic and equity terms, such effects may be both positive and negative, leading the researchers to rate the effects as both neutral and uncertain. The effects on environ- ment and public health, in contrast, should be highly positive. Economyâneutral (uncertain). The potential effects of higher-density land use on the economy are unclear. Home construction is widely thought to have a positive impact on the economy and on employment, although such effects occur with any type of housing construction. Over the long run, higher-density housing, especially in multifamily buildings, tends to be more affordable because average unit sizes are smaller. On the other hand, new construction also tends to be more expensive, so those units may at first be less affordable. Higher-density housing also tends to be associated with lower infrastructure costs since the same utility lines and roads can serve a larger number of people, meaning that the public sec- tor can save money. For example, Muro and Puentes (2004) found that in the aggregate, states and localities would save almost 12% on road-building costs over a 25-year time frame by using more compact development patterns. Environment and public healthâhighly positive. As noted earlier, the main effect of higher-density land use with regard to transportation is to reduce VMT and increase non-automotive travel, which in turn should help reduce air pollutant and GHG emissions and enhance physical activity levels. It could also have secondary impacts such as encouraging the use of smaller vehicles and car sharing, longer vehicle life, and more efficient delivery by truck. Another environmental benefit is that smaller housing units tend to require less energy use for heating and cooling. Finally, denser land use would also reduce the need for new construction on previously undeveloped land, an especially important benefit in areas with endangered spe- cies. The scale of such impacts would depend on the amount and type of higher-density development, but the overall com- bined effects on the environment and public health should be highly positive. Equityâneutral (uncertain). Equity can be defined in dif- ferent ways, and land use changes are by nature incremental, making it difficult to generalize about the equity impacts. Important issues include whether there is underserved demand for higher-density housing and whether land use patterns have an effect on housing prices. The literature is somewhat mixed on these effects. One study used a model to assess the equity impacts of different land-use patterns in the Sacramento region; it found that âa more compact urban form designed around transit stations can reduce travel costs, wages, and housing costs by increasing accessibility, which can lead to substantial net benefits for industry and for lower income
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