Transportist: January 2019

Welcome to the January 2019 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the  blog or on Twitter.


Posts at the Blog

Posts at WalkSydney

If you care about walking in Sydney, and want to get involved, go here.





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


Neither Tesla, Nor Waymo   

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


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


Human-Powered Vehicles/Bikes/Pedestrians/Scooters/eBikes/Last-Mile/First-Mile/Last-Meter/First-Meter/etc.


Curbs and Kerbs


Land Use

Intercity Trains

Aviation and Space

Funding and Finance and Governance





Research & Data

Papers by Us


Books by Others

New organisations


Safety Theatre | WalkSydney

I posted a piece on WalkSydney: Safety Theatre.

What do the following things have in common:

Bicycling in Amsterdam is safer than Sydney, yet there are no helmets in sight. Instead there are separated bikelanes and a better culture, as well as safety-in-neighbors.


  • Bike Helmets
  • Sharrows
  • Marked Crosswalks
  • Fining Pedestrians

They are designed to make people feel safer than they are. The natural reaction is a misjudgment of actual risk due to risk compensation. The result is that people don’t behave safely enough, which makes it more dangerous.

In contrast, when people feel less safe, they behave in a safer way, which improves safety compared to normal behaviour in the same circumstances.

For instance in the controversial case of bike helmets, I am not saying if you are dropped on your head, wearing a helmet doesn’t reduce the chance of your head splitting open. I am saying it increases the likelihood of being dropped on your head. The total risk of your head being split open is the product of these two factors:


Helmets are associated both with P(HeadSplitOpen|DroppedOnHead) decreasing and P(DroppedOnHead) increasing. How this nets out is an empirical question, whose answer varies depending on context.

Recently Published: Accessibility and the journey to work through the lens of equity

Recently published

Access Equity and the Journey to Work, context map
Access Equity and the Journey to Work, context map

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 commute duration for low-income individuals compared to the higher-income, in three major Canadian metropolitan regions, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver using separate multilevel mixed effects statistical models for car and public transport commuters. 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 commute duration are present and in many cases stronger for low-income individuals than for higher income groups. 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.

TransportLab at TRB Schedule

The University of Sydney’s TransportLab will be at a number of sessions at the January 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington. In addition to myself, we will be represented by Mengying Cui and Hao Wu. If you want to meet up, email me, or track me down at a poster session.

Name and Paper ID

Session ID Session Name Date Time Place

Street Rights and Livability: Ethical Frameworks to Guide Planning, Design, and Engineering


1130 Incorporating Equity in Pedestrian Planning and Policy Mon 1/14/2019 8:00 AM- 9:45 AM Salon C, Convention Center
Transport Accessibility Manual Working Group Transport Accessibility Manual Working Group Mon 1/14/2019 6:00 PM- 7:30 PM Mint (M4), Marriott Marquis

Safety in Numbers for Bicyclists and Motorists at Urban Intersections: A Two-part Model of Crashes


1478 Cycling Safety and Comfort Tue 1/15/2019 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM 102B, Convention Center

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


1518 Accessibility for Policy and Practice Tue 1/15/2019 1:30 PM- 3:15 PM 140B, Convention Center

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


1518 Accessibility for Policy and Practice Tue 1/15/2019 1:30 PM- 3:15 PM 140B, Convention Center

Optimum Stop Spacing for Accessibility


1636 Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Tue 1/15/2019 3:45 PM- 5:30 PM Hall A, Convention Center

Stationless in Sydney: The Rise and Decline of Bikesharing in Australia.


1499 Bicycle Transportation Research Wed 1/16/2019 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM Hall A, Convention Center

Network Measures of Polycentricity


1776 Transportation Issues and Solutions in Major Cities Wed 1/16/2019 2:30 PM- 4:00 PM Hall A, Convention Center

Link-based Full Cost Analysis of Travel


1775 Novel Uses of Economic Analysis in Decision Making Wed 1/16/2019 2:30 PM- 4:00 PM Hall A, Convention Center

Evolution of the Sydney Trains Network

Some work we have done at TransportLab at the University of Sydney.

Access to Destinations Data

Many years ago, we completed a project called Access to Destinations. The data from the project has been sitting on my hard drive for many years. I am happy that some of it is now preserved for posterity and open science by the University of Minnesota Data Conservancy. See:


Unfortunately, due to small methodological changes, these data are not directly comparable with more recent outputs, and the 1995 – 2005 data are really not directly comparable with the 2010 data either. It nevertheless might be interesting for selected applications.

Evolution of the Sydney Trams Network

Some work we have done at the University of Sydney’s TransportLab on Network Growth in Sydney:

Spontaneous Access: Reflexions on Designing Cities and Transport. (Free)

I am pleased to announce that you can now download a PDF version of Spontaneous Access: Reflexions on Designing Cities and Transport from the University of Sydney eScholarship Repository. (Free)

Title: Spontaneous Access: Reflexions on Designing Cities and Transport
Authors: Levinson, David M.
Keywords: spontaneous order



transportation engineering

urban design

Issue Date: Sep-2017
Publisher: Network Design Lab
Citation: Levinson, David (2018) Spontaneous Access: Reflexions on Designing Cities and Transport. Network Design Lab.
Abstract: The idea of the ‘spontaneous city,’ one that serves needs and wants in real-time, is a theme running through both the title and the text. How can we design cities and their networks that enable people to do what they want, when they want? What do we do everyday that hinders our freedom?
ISBN: 9781389588099



If you want other versions, including paper, please go here.

Green Square deserves a Green Square |WalkSydney

I wrote a piece for WalkSydney: Green Square deserves a (pedestrian-accessible) Green Square.

We have a high-frequency service train station. Across the street we have a Library. But we are not supposed to cross the street, as there is no intersection, no HAWK signal, no Zebra crossing, none of the animal menagerie designed to protect pedestrians from the onslaught of the more important motorised vehicles whose speed shall not be diminished. Casual empiricism suggests before the most recent installation of barricades walling off the library from its patrons, many people did, in fact, cross the street midblock in an organic but unorganised fashion, exhibiting the desire lines that ought to govern how the street system is arranged.

A Green Square. Drawn by Author. Not to Scale. Indicative Only. Zebra Crossing indicate location of pedestrian crossings. Refuge islands to be deleted, along with section of O'Riordan Street.