World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research 2017

World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research 2017

July 3rd- July 6th, 2017
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

We are pleased to announce that the 2017 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, July 3rd- July 6th, 2017. The conference will bring together academics and practitioners working at the intersection of transportation planning, engineering, economics and policy. The conference is aimed at developing a better understanding of the dynamic interaction between land use and transport, with strong interest in how the built environment can contribute to more sustainable transport in a rapidly changing world. Papers are welcome on all modes of personal, passenger, and freight transport on all spatial scales (see Call for Papers). The conference brings together researchers and topics from all parts of the world.

The conference program will feature peer-reviewed paper presentations, workshops, technical tours, and plenary presentations from:

In addition to a thorough exploration of a wide range of land use and transportation issues, the 2017 conference will emphasize two themes: technological change and equity. Specifically, how will technological change influence the development of land use and transportation systems in the future? What equity issues will emerge via future changes in land use and transportation systems? How do technology and equity relate in the context of land use and transportation systems?

Call for Papers

The World Symposium on Transport and Land use (WSTLUR) seeks original papers (not submitted elsewhere) on the interaction of transport and land use. Papers must be submitted by October 31st, 2016. WSTLUR membership is not required to submit a paper, and there is no limit on the number of papers an individual may submit.

Key Dates

  • Initial Papers Due to JTLU for Conference Consideration: October 31st, 2016 
  • Decisions about Conference Acceptance (Reviewer Comments Provided):  Early March 2017
  • Early Registration Deadline: April 1st, 2017
  • Most Recent Accepted Paper Drafts that have been uploaded to the JTLU Website are considered as the Conference Proceedings: Early May 2017
  • Conference: July 3rd-6th, 2017 
  • Revision Deadline for Publication Consideration. Responses to Reviewers and Revised Draft must be submitted to JTLU: August 2017


The symposium will include four keynote speaker addresses, approximately 100 peer-reviewed paper presentations, and several technical and non-technical tours. The preliminary program will be available in April 2017.

Depending on the quality and alignment of the papers submitted in each topic area, up to four workshops will be organized to generate interactive discussion on specific themes listed above. Each workshop will include a summary presentation from a workshop leader followed by the presentation of 3 resource papers. All workshops should leave enough time for significant audience involvement.


Brisbane is Australia’s main sub-tropical city and the nation’s third largest by population with over two million residents. The capital city of the state of Queensland, Brisbane enjoys year-round sunshine and blue skies. The conference venue will be near the vibrant downtown and Southbank precincts which have some of Australia’s most visited galleries, museums and parklands, great restaurants and cafes, waterside walking and cycling paths, a public bicycle hire scheme, busways, river ferry terminals and a wide range of high-quality accommodation options. Brisbane is only an hour away from both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, Australia’s most popular beach resorts. Further north is the Great Barrier Reef. The conference is being hosted by Griffith University, the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology – Brisbane’s largest and most prestigious teaching and research universities.


For questions regarding the conference please direct them to:

WSTLUR Conference Co-Chairs

João de Abreu e Silva, Técnico Lisboa,
Robert Schneider, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,

Local Organizing Committee

Matthew Burke, Griffith University,
Neil Sipe, University of Queensland,

WSTLUR Conference Organizing & Scientific Committees

Straightening your route |

While I don’t ride it as a regular, I have on occasion* found myself on the number 2 bus.  It offends my sensibilities as a transportation planner. It runs along Franklin Avenue from near Hennepin Avenue S to the University of Minnesota and then runs along 8th St SE to Hennepin Avenue SE. Each of the tails is sensible enough, no one really rides from one end to the other. The problem is the zig-zag in the middle.

This route has had essentially this structure since before the Green Line (actually before the Blue Line). A transit historian could tell us when it started, as it clearly does not exactly follow any one streetcar line, instead it circumlocutes. So from Franklin it does a ~120 degree turn and goes up Riverside Avenue to pick up the Fairview Riverside campus (M-Health) and Augsburg College. It does another ~120 degree turn when It stops at the West Bank Station, and then runs along Washington Avenue to East Bank, turns at Oak Street and then again at University Avenue/4th Street which is essentially a third 120 degree turn. It crosses the same line of longitude 4 times.  It then turns at 10th Avenue.

Metro Transit Route 2
Metro Transit Route 2
Imagine we removed all this zigging and zagging and zegging. Instead it would turn at 20th Avenue, picking up the other side of Augsburg College, coming within 2 blocks of Fairview University, and then to the West Bank. Anyone traveling to East Bank could transfer to the Green Line or a Campus Connector, It would proceed across the 19th Avenue/10th Avenue Bridge and resume its route. This would shorten the route by a couple of miles in each direction. It would be less convenient for some riders, but more convenient for others. More importantly, because the route was shorter, more runs per day could be achieved on this or other routes. No coverage would be lost. Franklin still has the 67 bus (see below). Riverside still has the 7 bus. Washington Avenue still has the Green Line. University Avenue still has the 6 bus.

I am sure there were reasons the bus ran this way. They might have made sense at the time. I am sure there are reasons the bus still runs this way. They make less sense now. Someone will school me in the comments.

Metro Transit Route 67, selection
Metro Transit Route 67, selection
The number 67 bus, which I take more often, though by no means daily, generally to get to the Franklin LRT, but sometimes in the other direction to get to St. Paul if I don’t want to take the LRT (since the travel time is almost identical) also offends my sensibilities, though to a much lesser amount. It was created along with the Green Line (replacing the number 8 bus), and has been modified since. I have more sympathies for the planners in this case, since it is a low volume route in these parts and needs to hunt for passengers. It runs east from downtown St. Paul along Minnehaha and Thomas Avenues, and then University and Franklin Avenues. So far so good. It follows Franklin across the River to Riverside and turns on Riverside, presumably to pick up the very same Fairview Riverside Medical / M-Health complex and Augsburg College as the number 2 bus, and then turns down the curvaceous 26th Avenue S back to Franklin Avenue, terminating at the Franklin Avenue LRT. This detour is not long in the scheme of things, and only crosses the same line of Longitude 3 times. From a far distance it looks like a pimple. But from the point of view of the passenger, I could get off the bus, walk to the next stop on Franklin Avenue, and get back on again.  If it went up Riverside to Cedar-Riverside station, I would understand the detour more. Recognizing this would leave only the 2 bus – above serving Franklin, and I just said don’t do that, I would keep it straight on Franklin though. Riverside still has service as well from the 7 bus, so losing the 67 won’t matter much.

All of this is to say that straighter routes cost passengers extra walking access time, but save them both in-vehicle time and waiting time (since shorter routes can have higher frequency for the same resources). All of which seems like a good trade-off given our current position.

I have previously commented on the spiral routing of the 87 bus.

Transit routes with proposed reconfiguration shown for Routes 2 (brown) and 67 (purple).
Transit routes with proposed reconfiguration shown for Routes 2 (brown) and 67 (purple).
What other bus routes would you reconfigure? Discuss below.

* The occasion was carelessly taking the Blue Line instead of the Green Line out of downtown and needing to get back to campus.



Cross-posted at

Fixing the 280 |

Minnesota 280 was first opened in 1959, an element of a freeway network that was not fully realized. It was designed before Interstate standards became standard.  It is an important route, providing access from I-94 west-bound to I-35W northbound, a link that is otherwise missing from the network.  Wikipedia writes:

Highway 280 was authorized on July 1, 1949,[3] but did not begin construction until 1955. It was completed between Highway 36 and Kasota Avenue in 1959[4][5] and to University Avenue (at that time, highways 125256, and 218) in 1961.[6][7] The highway was linked to Interstate 94 in 1968 upon the freeway’s completion between Minneapolis and St. Paul.[8][9]

South of Como Avenue, 280 was widened and its ramps improved in the mid-1990s. The Larpenteur Avenue/East Hennepin Avenue interchange in Lauderdale was reconstructed in 2009 to eliminate the tight, no-acceleration-lane ramps. The intersection at County Road B was also closed permanently in 2009, as were the unsignaled intersections at Roselawn Avenue and Walnut Street. With construction completed in December 2009, the signal at Broadway Street was modified to allow left turns from northbound 280, thus maintaining a stoplight for southbound 280 only, but Broadway Street traffic can now only turn right (south). Thus, 280 is now in a sense a northbound freeway only, with a single stoplight for southbound traffic.

The 2009 construction project also rehabilitated the concrete pavement between Interstate 94 and Territorial Road. The project also included replacement of the BNSF Railroad bridge on Larpenteur Avenue west of 280; placement of a new median on 280 from south of Como Avenue to Larpenteur Avenue; and noise walls along 280’s east side.

Highway 280 was originally proposed (in the 1960s) to continue farther, turning westward south of its Interstate 94 junction in Saint Paul, and then continuing west into Minneapolis as a freeway running roughly along 28th Street. The route would have continued westbound to about France Avenue South. That freeway was never built, and the ramp stubs at Saint Paul’s 94/280 junction were removed in the early 1980s.

There are several problems.

Its first exit, going northbound is at “University Avenue”, but this really means Franklin Avenue and University Avenue and Territorial Road. The first entrance onto 280 NB after I-94 is from University Avenue and Territorial Road (via Cromwell Avenue, which functions as a one-way frontage road). This often results in spillover traffic on the short NB stub of Cromwell between University and Franklin. This is compounded by traffic signal cycles which are periodically interrupted by the Green Line, while the Green Line itself is often delayed at this intersection. When the intersection was designed, there was no LRT on University Avenue.

Its last exit, going southbound, is to Eustis Street (marked as Robbins Street on the attached figure from Google Maps, it’s not clear where one ends and the other begins). Its last entrance is from Franklin Avenue and Eustis Street (which functions as a SB frontage road), but this is complicated and split into two entrances, one which goes to I-94 EB, (merging with the left lane of Mn280 SB), and one which goes to I-94 WB (merging with the right lane of Mn 280 SB). This split is because it is so close to the highway that weaving is undesirable. However this creates a very awkward dog-leg at Franklin to I-94 EB, trucks taking this dogleg often block both directions of traffic.

When I-94 is congested for some reason (an incident, weather), cut-through traffic uses Franklin Avenue as an alternative in the Prospect Park neighborhood. There are efforts to calm Franklin, and bike lanes (and sidewalks!) have recently been added to the St. Paul side, and are coming to the Minneapolis side.

Minnesota State Highway 280 Reconfiguration Proposal sketch.
Minnesota State Highway 280 Reconfiguration Proposal sketch.

The figure shows a possible solution.

In brief, turn Territorial Road into the location of an urban diamond interchange, and close the entrance and exit ramps off of Franklin.

Two new ramps would need to be constructed: denoted “New Ramp A” and “New Ramp B” in the figure.

New Ramp A is straightforward to construct, and if old Ramps 2 and 3 are closed, should not create significant weaving problems with other entering/exiting traffic. It does require traffic that is going EB on I-94 to merge over 1 lane of traffic to reach the left lane exit, but I think there is sufficient room for this to take place (about 2 city blocks). There are other configurations of Mn 280 (like a mini C-D lane for merging traffic and traffic exiting to WB I-94, so lane changing is more controlled) that could make this work in the space available.

New Ramp B requires closing old Ramp 1. This is small loss. Ramp 1 is redundant with the ramp immediately north off of Territorial. I am not sure why both were constructed. Clearly it saves a stop sign for traffic from the south, but it imposes an awkward downramp onto an up-grade on 280, which creates acceleration problems, particularly for trucks.

The closure of old Ramps 2 and 3, entrances from Franklin Avenue to access I-94 are the greatest accessibility losses. Not that traffic cannot reach their desired destination, it can always use the next exits to the East (Vandalia/Cretin) for eastbound trips or west (Huron Boulevard or Riverside Ave/26th St S) for westbound trips, or circle around to Territorial Road. This latter option is up to an extra six blocks of distance for traffic on Franklin Avenue EB to reach I-94 EB. The others require little or no extra travel distance, but extra travel time if the freeways are free-flowing. (Likely very little extra time if the freeways are congested though). Reducing cut-through traffic does not come without costs, which is reducing freeway access for local traffic.

Old Ramps 4 and 5, which are exits from I-94 EB and WB/Mn-280 to Franklin and University would also be closed. Traffic would travel farther up Mn-280 before exiting. Traffic heading to Prospect Park south of University Avenue (and offices like the Court International Building) would thus have a longer trip. However this greatly reduces intersection conflicts at Franklin and University, which are ill-suited to the demands placed on them here.

This proposal reduces traffic on Franklin Avenue. It reduces traffic, especially truck traffic, crossing University Avenue and the Green Line LRT. It simplifies street patterns both locally and on Mn-280. While it will inconvenience some traffic, it will also change travel demands. As we re-learn repeatedly, build it and they will cometake it away and they will go. Traffic, like work, will expand to fill the space allotted it. This also points up the need to have better street grids in Prospect Park North and the industrial area southeast of University and Mn-280.

This also frees up space for a potential freeway cap on Mn-280 at University Avenue and at Franklin Avenue. I don’t think the demand is there now for such a thing, but land use markets change quickly.

The interchange of Mn-280 and I-94 is likely to be reconsidered as MnDOT considers implementing MnPASS lanes on I-94 between the cities (left exits and entrances mix poorly with center lane – express lanes without elevated structures or tunnels).

Note: In Southern California, interstates are not “I-this” or “California-that” or “route-the other”. They are “The ___”. A freeway in the LA area would be The 101, but don’t be caught dead saying “The 280” up in the Bay Area…they stick to the standard naming convention, sans the.



Cross-posted at

Road network circuity in metropolitan areas

Recently published


Circuity, the ratio of network to Euclidean distances, describes the directness of trips and the efficiency of transportation networks. This paper measures the circuity of the 51 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States and identifies trends in those circuities between 1990 and 2010. Overall circuity has increased between 1990 and 2010: random points have not only become farther apart in distance, their shortest network path has become more circuitous, suggesting that the more recently constructed parts of street networks are laid out more circuitously than older parts of the network. Over this period, 35 MSAs experienced a statistically significant increase in circuity (6 experienced a significant decrease). As expected, short trips are more circuitous than long trips. A new circuity distance decay function describes how circuity varies with distance within metropolitan areas. The parameters of this function have changed from 1990 to 2010.

The best show about urban planning, economic development, and transportation that you are not watching

Dreamland (Utopia) is a new Australian show about the fictitious Nation Building Authority. So true to life, it is practically a documentary. Anyone who has worked in a pubic agency will recognize the place immediately. It is hilarious in an absurdist sort of way.

If you liked Yes Minister, Thick of It, W1A, Parks and Recreation, or The Office, you will definitely want to see this. (If you like this, you should see the others). Available on Netflix, or from the usual dark places on the Internet.


Memorial for William Garrison

There will be a Memorial for William Garrison at the Transportation Research Board Conference.

Monday 5:00 PM- 6:00 PM
Convention Center, 151B

Martin Wachs, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), presiding

Sponsored by:

Standing Committee on Transportation History (ABG50)

Professor William L. Garrison passed away at the age of ninety in 2015.  He was a distinguished transportation scholar and teacher who was also active in the TRB and chaired its Executive Committee.  His friends, students, and colleagues will gather at this session to honor his memory with brief tributes and discussions of his work and contributions to our field.

The Maroon Line |

Imagine you had a University with two major campuses connected by an exclusive right-of-way. Imagine the University sends buses back and forth on this transitway at 5 minute intervals during peak times. Imagine the transitway carries 3,197,701 riders per year (2012 numbers via The Transit Camera). Imagine it passes by undeveloped and underdeveloped land. Imagine it cost $6,080,021 per year (ibid) to operate (and so was the most efficient bus line in the state). Imagine it was 2.2 miles long. Would it be worth upgrading?

Consider this as a possible upgrade (area map). Where the Green Line now turns at 29th Avenue to heads into Prospect Park Station, the Maroon Line’s new routing instead continues the extension adjacent to or on top of the Transitway to the St. Paul campus and Minnesota State Fairgrounds. On the West, the service continues through Stadium Village (with an opportunity to transfer to the Green (or Cyan) Line) to East Bank and West Bank stations, and then reverses. Maroon Line trains could run at 10 minute frequency, providing a net 5 minute frequency on campus between West Bank and Stadium Village when combined with the Green Line (or 4 minutes when combined with the Cyan Line and the Green Line).

The Maroon Line - Engineering Sketch
The Maroon Line – Engineering Sketch

In my “Looking Backwards” post about the Evolving the Green Line, I suggested a Maroon Line running along the University of Minnesota Transitway, slated to open in 2030. This was not the first mention, a Forum post on the Transitway discussed it as well.

The distance is about 2.2. miles. The land is already graded and ready for installation. This should be less expensive on a per mile basis than new Rights-of-Way to the far-flung suburbs through swamps, so I will go with the order of $20 million, with some additional costs for stations, since this is really basically streetcar construction with LRT vehicles, assuming the bridge needs no additional work to support the vehicle. The costs of vehicles are whatever the cost of vehicles are, about $3 million per train.

Does it save time over buses?

  • Probably not. The stations cost some travel time, but serve more passengers. Further if the frequencies were less than buses currently provide, waiting time increases.

Does it reduce costs over buses?

  • Probably not. The Blue Line presently has a higher operating cost than the UMN transitway.  The Maroon Line might reduce labor costs if it can be operated in automated mode, like Light Rail Vehicles are in so many places. While not fully grade separated, it is largely an exclusive right-of-way with few at-grade crossings, so this is an opportunity to operated from a control center rather than with drivers in the vehicle.

Does it slow down buses using the Transitway?

  • Perhaps, but the Green Line Washington Avenue demonstrates buses can successfully share roadways with trains (as if that needed to be proven), and if there were fewer signals, all modes would be more efficient. Such a line would presumably replace the Campus Connector most of the time. New stations could have side platforms with a lane or two in-between so buses could pass rather than being blocked.

Does it increase capacity over buses?

  • Probably, the vehicles themselves are larger, even if operated in single car mode. One expects two-car mode most of the time.

Does it increase demand?

  • Probably, to the extent there is a rail bias among users of the line (admittedly mostly students who have little choice, and visitors to the University of Minnesota). It might take some trips from the #3 Bus as well, though it is not a replacement. It can also make remote parking for sports events more viable. Finally if it induces new development (as below) it will increase ridership.

Does it provide development opportunities?

  • One can easily imagine stations at the following
    • Prospect Park (say near Malcolm Avenue at Surly’s),
    • South St. Anthony Park (Hampden Park) (say under Mn-280),
    • North St. Anthony Park (Langford Park) (say Raymond Avenue at Energy Park Drive),
    • Como Avenue,
    • St. Paul campus, and
    • The Fairgrounds, at least seasonally. Perhaps it could be extended through or north of the Fairgrounds to meet the A-Line on Snelling.

Who pays?

Each of those stations is a strong development opportunity right now, with at least some developable land embedded in what are not-controversially transitional land uses (i.e. development would not necessarily be taking homes, monuments, parks, etc.). With improved accessibility to the University of Minnesota, the value of those in-between station sites would be enhanced, perhaps enough to cover the capital costs of the upgrade itself. While travel to downtown will still require a transfer (unless and until Minneapolis builds a subway and allows greater frequency), downtown is not where most people along this line want to go.

The University of Minnesota is the prime beneficiary of such a service, along with the State Fair organization and landowners at prospective station sites. If these parties put up the capital costs (value capture may play a role), and the operating costs are no worse than the current Campus Connector, this is relatively low cost upgrade worth considering.


Cross-posted at