Transportist: February 2020

Welcome to the latest issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers.  As always you can follow along at the or on Twitter.

We skipped the January Transportist Newsletter this year (confusing future archivists), and in its place we launched the TransportLab Newsletter. Most of you should have received that, but they are separate mailing lists.

I also attended TRB along with students and colleagues from TransportLab, and then keynoted at Transforming Transportation at the World Bank/WRI, so happy to meet many of you in person again or for the first time.

Sydney has been smoky, with poor air quality, but managed to avoid the brunt of the Australian bush fires which devastated other parts of Australia. Despite reports on US media, the whole continent is not on fire, though something like 6% of the state of New South Wales did burn, destroying far fewer than 6% of houses. It does look like the end-times though.

Book: The 30-Minute City: Designing for Access.

I am pleased to report that  The 30-Minute City: Designing for Access is now available for purchase

The book reads fast, with just over 20,000 words, and contains 50 images and 6 tables.


This book describes how to implement The 30-Minute City.  The first part of the book explains accessibility. We next consider access through history (chapter 2). Access is the driving force behind how cities were built. Its use today is described when looking at access and the Greater Sydney Commission’s plan for Sydney.

We then examine short-run fixes: things that can be done instantaneously, or nearly so, at low budget to restore access for people, which include retiming traffic signals (chapter 3) and deploying bike sharing (chapter 5) supported by protected bike lane networks (chapter 4), as well public transport timetables (chapter 6).

We explore medium-run fixes that include implementing rapid bus networks (chapter 7) and configuring how people get to train stations by foot and on bus (chapter 8).

We turn to longer-run fixes. These are as much policy changes as large investments, and include job/worker balance (chapter 10) and network restructuring (chapter 9) as well as urban restoration (chapter 11), suburban retrofit (chapter 12), and greenfield development (chapter 13).

We conclude with thoughts about the ‘pointlessness’ of cities and how to restructure practice (chapter 14).

The appendices provide detail on access measurement (Appendix A), the idea of accessibility loss (B), valuation (C), the rationale for the 30-minute threshold (D), and reliability (E). It concludes with what should we research (F).

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1  Introduction 15
  • 2  The 30-Minute City: Then and Now 19
  • 3  Traffic Signals 25
  • 4  On the Four Paths 29
  • 5  Bikesharing 35
  • 6  Timetable 37
  • 7  Rapid Bus 39
  • 8  Interface 45
  • 9  Gradial: Or the Unreasonable Network 51
  • 10  Job-Worker Balance 55
  • 11  Urban Restoration 59
  • 12  Retrofit 69
  • 13  Greenfields and Brownfields 75
  • 14  A New Profession: Urban Operations 81


  • A  Theory 89
  • B  Accessibility Loss 93
  • C  Access Explains Everything 95
  • D  Why 30 Minutes? 97
  • E  Reliability 99
  • F  Research Agenda 101

Master of Transport at the University of Sydney

  • Classes start in early 2020, apply now for term 2.

Transport Accessibility Manual

  • The Committee of the Transport Accessibility Manual met at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC in January.
  • We discussed the first (preliminary) draft of the document, which was distributed to mailing list members before the meeting. Contact me directly if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Talks and Conferences

  • I will be in Auckland, New Zealand for the IAEE – International Association of Energy Economics conference 12-15 February 2020. My talk will by on Friday Feb 14 1:40 – 3:20.

    Dual Plenary 4: Energy Transition in Transport | Chair: Professor Frank Jotzo, The Australian National University . Speakers: Professor David Levinson, University of Sydney, Dr Amela Ajanovic, Vienna University of Technology, Dr Selena Sheng, University of Auckland.
    (OGGB3 | 260-092)



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