Accessibility Now and in the Future

Accessibility Now and in the Future:

“Tuesday, February 19
2:45 – 3:45 p.m. CST
Room 1130, Mechanical Engineering Building
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
Presented in conjunction with a joint meeting of the Transportation Planning and the Environment Council and the Transportation and the Economy Council.
About the Event
This presentation will discuss the techniques developed for a 2010 accessibility evaluation of the Twin Cities metropolitan region as part of the interdisciplinary Access to Destinations project. The 2010 accessibility evaluation sought to generate an accurate representation of accessibility in 2010 and to identify data sources, methods, and metrics that can be used in future evaluations.
The seminar will include a discussion of the methodology that can be used to implement future evaluations of accessibility, including a discussion of the development and use of software tools created for this evaluation. Study recommendations for the future will also be shared, such as the importance of standardizing data sources and parameters to ensure comparability between multiple evaluations over time. Other highlights include the need for data sources and methodology that provide a good representation of actual conditions, are based on measurements rather than models, and are usable with a minimum of manual processing and technical expertise.
David Levinson is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota and co-leader of the Access to Destinations study. His current research focuses on understanding the process of network growth, evaluating transportation technology and policy, and modeling travel behavior.
Andrew Owen is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where he is pursuing master’s degrees in civil engineering and urban and regional planning. His research interests include network structure, travel behavior, transit systems, and multimodal accessibility. 
The seminar will also be broadcast live on the web and available for later viewing. The live broadcast access link will be available here on the day of the event.”

The Pain of Paying

JW sends me to Dan Ariely on “The Pain of Paying”

JW writes:

Here is an interesting presentation by Dan Ariely about the pain of paying. I think there are implications for infrastructure spending. There is a tradeoff between reducing the pain of paying and creating a moral conflict, or developing morally dubious payment schemes. For example, general revenue funds are a common pool resource with all of the tragedy of the commons issues – as people try to exploit the “resource” first before it is exhausted. Tolls create a higher pain of paying than gas taxes. Motor vehicle registration fees probably fall in between. Property taxes may not be recognized as funding local roads and so the pain (and anger) may be misdirected.
Vehicle mileage taxes create a higher pain level than fuel taxes I think.

Ariely has a nice framing and discusses “saliency”. Andrew Odlyzko and I identified mental transaction costs as a related factor in:

Gas Prices and Traffic Safety

My colleague and co-author Guangqing Chi on Gas Prices and Traffic Safety on video:

Some of the work he is describing is published in these papers:

One interesting policy implication is that as gas prices go up, average insurance rates should go down, since risk is dropping. Whether it goes down by cohort, or just overall as the shares of various cohorts traveling changes, is unclear.

Atlanta traffic bad but predictable

I get interviewed about the reliability measures of the new Urban Mobility Report by Ariel Hart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Atlanta traffic bad but predictable :

“‘People care about this,’ said David Levinson, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Minnesota who researches traffic psychology surrounding reliability. People will even accept more congestion to get more reliability, he said, and he has a mathematical formula to calculate how much.
‘It’s the surprises, the inconsistency of the delay that makes it difficult,’ costing people social capital with colleagues, clients and friends when they are unexpectedly late, he said.”

The reliability ratio, the ratio of the value of reliability to the value of time us about 1, depending on how it is measured. See