The Future of Transport and Access

I had the opportunity to present in Manly earlier today to GPT, an Australian property company,   about The Future of Transport and Access. (I also had the opportunity to ride the Manly Fast Ferry, twice!) Actually, I gave the talk 4 times to 4 different groups, as they had the attendees shop around at the marketplace of ideas (it was a regulated marketplace). They had an artist draw my talk (once), which is below.


The full book is available of course at a very reasonable price.

The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.
The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape. By David M. Levinson and Kevin J. Krizek.

Accessibility,  Equity, and the Journey-to-Work

Recent working paper:

Inequality in transport provision is an area of growing concern among transport professionals, as it results in low-income individuals travelling at lower speeds while covering smaller distances. Accessibility, the ease of reaching destinations, may hold the key in correcting these inequalities through providing a means to evaluate land use and transport interventions. This article examines the relationship between accessibility and commuting duration for low-income individuals, compared to the general population, in three major Canadian metropolitan regions, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver using multilevel mixed effects statistical models for car and public transport commuters separately. Accessibility measures are generated for jobs and workers both at the origin (home) and the destination (place of work) to account for the impact of competing labor and firms. Our models show that the impacts of accessibility on commuting duration are present and stronger for low-income individuals than for the general population, and the differences in impact are more visible for public transport commuters. The results suggest that low-income individuals have more to gain (in terms of reduced commute time) from increased accessibility to low-income jobs at the origin and to workers at the destination. Similarly, they also have more to lose from increased accessibility to low-income workers at the origin and to low- income jobs at the destination, which are proxies for increased competition. Policies targeting improvements in accessibility to jobs, especially low-income ones, by car and public transport while managing the presence of competition can serve to bridge the inequality gap that exists in commuting behavior.

I only get some satisfaction: Introducing satisfaction into measures of accessibility

Recent working paper:


Travel time decay curves by mode

Improving accessibility is a goal pursued by many metropolitan regions to address a variety of objectives. Accessibility, or the ease of reaching destinations, is traditionally measured using observed travel time and has of yet not accounted for user satisfaction with these travel times. As trip satisfaction is a major component of the underlying psychology of travel, we introduce satisfaction into accessibility measures and demonstrate its viability for future use. To do so, we generate a new satisfaction-based measure of accessibility where the impedance functions are determined from the travel time data of satisfying trips gathered from the 2017/2018 McGill Transport Survey. This satisfaction-based measure is used to calculate accessibility to jobs by four modes (public transport, car, walking, and cycling) in the Montreal metropolitan region, with the results then compared to a standard gravity-based measure of accessibility. We then offer a dissatisfaction index where we combine the ratio between satisfaction-based and gravity-based accessibility measures with mode share data. This index highlights areas with potentially high proportions of dissatisfied commuters and where interventions for each mode could have the highest impacts on the quality of life of a given mode commuter. Such analysis is then combined with a vulnerability index to show the value of this measure in setting priorities for vulnerable groups. The study demonstrates the importance of including satisfaction in accessibility measures and allows for a more nuanced interpretation of the ease of access by researchers, planners, and policy-makers.

Disparity of Access: Variations in Transit Service by Race, Ethnicity, Income, and Auto Availability

Percent zero-car household elasticity
Percent zero-car household elasticity

Recent working paper:

This study explores the relationship between transit-based job accessibility and minority races and ethnicities, low- and middle-income households, and carless households at the block group level for the 50 largest by population metropolitan regions in the United States. A log-linear regression model is used to identify inequities in transit-based job accessibility across the US using data collected from the American Community Survey, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Location Database, and the Access Across America database. The intra-metropolitan analyses reveal that accessibility is unevenly distributed across block groups that have different densities of race and levels of income. The differences in accessibility are especially apparent where there are denser pockets with higher percentages of African Americans, Hispanics, low-income households, and zero-car households. The inter-metropolitan analyses show that accessibility is unevenly distributed across metropolitan regions across the US when considering various sociodemographic populations. Different metropolitan regions provide different levels of accessibility for all investigated sociodemographic categories, whether considering racial minorities, levels of income, or car ownership. The results may inform recommendations for equitable transport planning and policy-making.

Effects of Timetable Change on Job Accessibility

Recent working paper:

Accessibility change between old and new timetables.
Accessibility change between old and new timetables.

Accessibility is often not a performance measure for transit services. This study is conducted following the introduction of new timetables which intended to improve passenger throughput for Sydney’s transit services, but resulted in major delays experienced by passengers thereafter. Accessibility at 30-minute travel threshold before and after the timetable change are calculated between 8 to 9 am, to measure accessibility benefits, if any, from the new timetable. The results show a lack of systematic improvement by the new table, and downgrade of accessibility on average. The overall person-weighted accessibility dropped by 3%, from 45,070 to 43,730, and 63.3% of the population’s access to jobs would be adversely affected after its implementation. This study advocates for the inclusion of accessibility metrics into transit performance measures to connect with people who use transit.

Towards a Transport Accessibility Manual

Transport policy decision follow from application of rules and standards. To the dismay of many in the transport community, these standards often come from another time with different values, including US documents such as:

  • ITE’s Trip Generation Manual
  • AASHTO’s Green Book
  • TRB’s Highway Capacity Manualfinal_cbsa_35620

While those aren’t going to change overnight, new preferences can be documented and embedded if they too become standards.

One of the key problems is what to value when investing in transport or regulating land development. Readers of this blog will likely  prioritize accessibility — the ease of reaching valued destinations. This connects transport and land use, considering both how easy it is to move and where things are located. While many planners know how to measure this, many don’t, and all could benefit from standardizing application to best practice.

To that end, I think we need a working group to develop such a standard, which would clarify topics like how to measure, how to compute, how to present, and what to consider. Let me know if  you are interested, and I will add you to a mailing list to discuss this. I hope there can be a meeting at TRB in DC in January.

Transport Findings: A Prospectus

I tweeted last weekend
which garnered many likes. But of course Twitter is no place to have a discussion like this. So
This is what I am thinking:
  1. Journal Name: Transport Findings
  2. Open Access. Flat $50 fee payable on submission (with no guarantee of acceptance) and $50 payable on acceptance. This filters the cranks, covers limited typesetting, article charges, hosting, etc. See Scholastica website  for their costs, (the platform looks good for this) if I read it right, this price would more or less cover fixed costs if we had 50 articles per year. This handbook is also of interest
  3. Maximum word count of 1000 (including References). Maximum Figure count of 3, Table count of 3.
  4. The new journal would not be affiliated with existing journals (this creates confusion on the part of authors and reviewers).
  5. Peer Review by 1 Reviewer drawn from the Editorial Advisory Board. (We add to the EAB if we cannot find someone who can review the article). Everyone who has reviewed in the past 3 years stays on the EAB.  The Review should be done in 1 month. So while the Review is anonymous, the reviewers overall are all known.
  6. Articles must be either New Question, New Method, New Data, or New Finding (i.e. it can almost exactly replicate a previous study and find something different), or some combination of the above.
  7. The acceptance test is whether it satisfies the above and appears scientifically correct (no obvious mistakes/flaws) and replicable, and quality of English.
  8. The journal has Accept/Reject decisions only. (Obviously people can submit again if they want to change the manuscript, however NEW submission, NEW reviewer, NEW fee). Acceptance Letters can add some minor comments. No Revise & Resubmit.
  9. Scope: Findings in the broad field of transport
  10. All data must be publicly available if possible (goes to replicability, caveats for personally identifying information)
  11. No special issues, themes, or anything like that, the journal is basically just a list of peer-reviewed short articles in reverse chronological order.
  12. There is a standard template for article submission, (I would say a web form, but that can’t handle equations, figures, or tables well). something like
No sections titled: Intro, No Lit Review, No Theory, No Discussion, No Conclusions

Comments on Twitter, I guess.

Now I am not thinking I should run this journal (I already have my hands full), but that it should exist. I am happy to help if someone has the energy to organize it. It should be fairly straight-forward and mostly self-organizing to the point of being self-sustaining, but it does need an initial investment of energy to get there.

Transport Research Association for NSW (TRANSW)

image001What is TRANSW?

The Transport Research Association for NSW (TRANSW) is a new joint initiative of the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales (UNSW), University Technology, Sydney (UTS), and Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW). It aims to foster and support cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional transport research and practice. For more information, please visit TRANSW will be launched this year and its Inaugural Symposium will be held in Sydney CBD on Thursday 15 November 2018. Please save the date!

Annual Symposium

The annual Symposium provides a platform for transport research students, academics, and practitioners to discuss relevant topics in transport. Research students will have the opportunity to showcase their research and attendees will have the opportunity to meet transport students, academics, and practitioners in an informal setting.

The Symposium will be organised each year by one of the participating universities. The Inaugural Symposium on 15 November 2018 is organised and sponsored by the University of Sydney and registration is available free of charge for researchers in transport from the three participating universities as well as for transport experts at Transport for NSW. Personal invitations will be sent by email on 15 October 2018.

Expression of interest to present (research students only)

We would like to invite research students (MPhil and PhD) from the participating universities to submit an expression of interest (EoI) to present at the Symposium on one of the themes (listed below) that are based on the strategic research directions of the Transport for NSW Research Hub.

For the EoI, please send an email with subject header “EoI” to before Tuesday 25 September 2018 and we will email you a personal invitation to submit an abstract (maximum 300 words) via our online webportal.

Symposium themes

  1. Future mobility
  • Traffic flow simulation, management and control
  • Travel demand forecasting and survey methods
  • Travel behaviour and values
  • Transport network modelling and optimisation
  • Scenario analysis
  1. Successful places
  • Integrated transport and urban planning
  • Land use
  1. Sustainability
  • Active travel and health
  • Public transport
  • Energy and emissions
  1. Technological drivers of change
  • Big data in transport
  • Impact of alternative-fuel and autonomous vehicles
  • Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)
  1. Freight transport
  • Maritime and aviation
  • City logistics
  1. Safety and security
  • Traffic safety analysis and evaluation
  • Disaster planning and resilience
  1. Valuing wider benefits
  • Transport economics, pricing, and appraisal
  • Evaluation and benefits realisation of transport projects and programs
  • Transport business strategy

Important dates

15 September 2018

25 September 2018

30 September 2018

12 October 2018

15 October 2018

5 November 2018

15 November 2018

Abstract submission opens (research students only)

Deadline for expression of interest (research students only)

Deadline for abstract submissions

Notification of acceptance of abstracts for presentation

Registration opens

Registration closes

Inaugural TRANSW Symposium


Symposium Committee

Emily Moylan

Taha Rashidi

Claudine Moutou

Paul Gaynor

University of Sydney

University of NSW

University of Technology, Sydney

Transport for NSW

The Transportist: September 2018

Welcome to the September 2018 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the blog or on Twitter.



  • Save the date for the World Symposium on Transportation & Land Use Research in Portland, OR July 13-15, 2020



Automated, Autonomous, Driverless, and Self-Driving Vehicles, and Semi-Autonomous Systems 

Shared Vehicles/Ride-sharing/Ride-hailing/Taxis/Car Sharing

Electric Vehicles [and Renewable Energy]

Human Powered Vehicles/Bikes/Pedestrians/Scooters/eBikes/etc

Human Driven Vehicles, Signs, Signals, Sensors, and Markings, and Roads


Land Use/Architecture


Kerbs and Sidewalks

Retail, Freight, Waste, and Logistics

Technology History


Isochrones and Maps




Research & Data

by Us

by Others


Elements of Access: Transport Planning for Engineers, Transport Engineering for Planners. By David M. Levinson, Wes Marshall, Kay Axhausen.