Elements of Access … On Sale Now

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

Now available: Elements of Access: Transport Planning for Engineers, Transport Engineering for Planners. By David M. Levinson, Wes Marshall, Kay Axhausen. 342 pages, 164 Images (most in color). Published by the Network Design Lab.

About the Book

Nothing in cities makes sense except in the light of accessibility. 

Transport cannot be understood without reference to the location of activities (land use), and vice versa. To understand one requires understanding the other. However, for a variety of historical reasons, transport and land use are quite divorced in practice. Typical transport engineers only touch land use planning courses once at most, and only then if they attend graduate school. Land use planners understand transport the way everyone does, from the perspective of the traveler, not of the system, and are seldom exposed to transport aside from, at best, a lone course in graduate school. This text aims to bridge the chasm, helping engineers understand the elements of access that are associated not only with traffic, but also with human behavior and activity location, and helping planners understand the technology underlying transport engineering, the processes, equations, and logic that make up the transport half of the accessibility measure. It aims to help both communicate accessibility to the public.

Features & Details

  • Size 8×10 in, 21×26 cm.  340 Pages
  • Images 164 Images (most in color)
  • ISBN
    • Softcover: 9781389067617
    • Hardcover: 9781389067402


  • Publish Date Dec 31, 2017
  • Language English


Table of Contents

I Introduction

1 Elemental Accessibility

  • 1.1  Isochrone
  • 1.2  Rings of Opportunity
  • 1.3  Metropolitan Average Accessibility

II The People

2 Modeling People

  • 2.1  Stages, Trips, Journeys, and Tours
  • 2.2  The Daily Schedule
  • 2.3  Coordination
  • 2.4  Diurnal Curve
  • 2.5  Travel Time
  • 2.6  Travel Time Distribution
  • 2.7  Social Interactions
  • 2.8  Activity Space
  • 2.9  Space-time Prism
  • 2.10  Choice
  • 2.11  Principle of Least Effort
  • 2.12  Capability
  • 2.13  Observation Paradox
  • 2.14  Capacity is Relative
  • 2.15  Time Perception
  • 2.16  Time, Space, & Happiness
  • 2.17  Risk Compensation

III The Places

3 The Transect

  • 3.1  Residential Density
  • 3.2  Urban Population Densities
  • 3.3  Pedestrian City
  • 3.4  Neighborhood Unit
  • 3.5  Bicycle City
  • 3.6  Bicycle Networks
  • 3.7  Transit City
  • 3.8  Walkshed
  • 3.9  Automobile City

4 Markets and Networks

  • 4.1  Serendipity and Interaction
  • 4.2  The Value of Interaction
  • 4.3  Firm-Firm Interactions
  • 4.4  Labor Markets and Labor Networks
  • 4.5  Wasteful Commute
  • 4.6  Job/Worker Balance
  • 4.7  Spatial Mismatch

IV The Plexus

5 Queueing

  • 5.1  Deterministic Queues
  • 5.2  Stochastic Queues
  • 5.3  Platooning
  • 5.4  Incidents
  • 5.5  Just-in-time

6 Traffic

  • 6.1  Flow
  • 6.2  Flow Maps
  • 6.3  Flux
  • 6.4  Traffic Density
  • 6.5  Level of Service
  • 6.6  Speed
  • 6.7  Shockwaves
  • 6.8  Ramp Metering
  • 6.9  Highway Capacity
  • 6.10  High-Occupancy
  • 6.11  Snow Business
  • 6.12  Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram
  • 6.13  Metropolitan Fundamental Diagram

7 Streets and Highways

  • 7.1  Highways
  • 7.2  Boulevards
  • 7.3  Street Furniture
  • 7.4  Signs, Signals, and Markings
  • 7.5  Junctions
  • 7.6  Conflicts
  • 7.7  Conflict Points
  • 7.8  Roundabouts
  • 7.9  Complete Streets
  • 7.10  Dedicated Spaces
  • 7.11  Shared Space
  • 7.12  Spontaneous Priority
  • 7.13  Directionality
  • 7.14  Lanes
  • 7.15  Vertical Separations
  • 7.16  Parking Capacity

8 Modalities

  • 8.1  Mode Shares
  • 8.2  First and Last Mile
  • 8.3  Park-and-Ride
  • 8.4  Line-haul
  • 8.5  Timetables
  • 8.6  Bus Bunching
  • 8.7  Fares
  • 8.8  Transit Capacity
  • 8.9  Modal Magnitudes

9 Routing

  • 9.1  Conservation
  • 9.2  Equilibrium
  • 9.3  Reliability
  • 9.4  Price of Anarchy
  • 9.5  The Braess Paradox
  • 9.6  Rationing
  • 9.7  Pricing

10 Network Topology

  • 10.1  Graph
  • 10.2  Hierarchy
  • 10.3  Degree
  • 10.4  Betweenness
  • 10.5  Clustering
  • 10.6  Meshedness
  • 10.7  Treeness
  • 10.8  Resilience
  • 10.9  Circuity

11 Geometries

  • 11.1  Grid
  • 11.2  BlockSizes
  • 11.3  Hex
  • 11.4  Ring-Radial

V The Production

12 Supply and Demand

  • 12.1  Induced Demand
  • 12.2  Induced Supply & Value Capture
  • 12.3  Cost Perception
  • 12.4  Externalities
  • 12.5  Lifecycle Costing
  • 12.6  Affordability

13 Synergies

  • 13.1  Economies of Scale
  • 13.2  Containerization
  • 13.3  Economies of Scope
  • 13.4  Network Economies
  • 13.5  Intertechnology Effects
  • 13.6  Economies of Agglomeration
  • 13.7  Economies of Amenity

VI The Progress

14 Lifecycle Dynamics

  • 14.1  Technology Substitutes for Proximity
  • 14.2  Conurbation
  • 14.3  Megaregions
  • 14.4  Path Dependence
  • 14.5  Urban Scaffolding
  • 14.6  Modularity
  • 14.7  Network Origami
  • 14.8  Volatility Begets Stability

15 Our Autonomous Future


The End of Traffic and the Future of Access | Spontaneous Access: Reflexions on Designing Cities and Transport | Elements of Access: Transport Planning for Engineers, Transport Engineering for Planners | A Political Economy of Access

Evaluation in a Time of Uncertainty

I was recently in Copenhagen, where I gave a keynote talk at the UNITE Conference (Uncertainty in Transport Evaluation) at DTU. My thanks to the organizers for inviting me. (I really liked Copenhagen, more on that in a later post).

My talk was titled: Evaluation in a Time of Uncertainty

Abstract: We live in a world where the future is increasingly unpredictable. How should we evaluate transportation investments? Should we even try to evaluate investments in advance? What do we know about what people value? This talk will consider directions in transportation evaluation, and suggestions for better decision-making given uncertainty.

The slide deck is here.

The essential tension in my presentation is the hypothesis that essentially “Long-term forecasting is impossible” vs. my argument that forecasting can only be improved if we “Make forecasters responsible for forecasts.”

Why Transportation Costs Too Much, 39 Hypotheses and Counting

Late last year I provoked a bit of a fury with Transportation costs too much and the main follow-up Is transport too expensive?

For the first time, I will briefly list all of the hypotheses in one post.

A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King
A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. King

My coauthors (alphabetically) include John Bedell, Peter Gordon, Michael Iacono, David King, Dick Mudge, Randal O’Toole, Lisa Schweitzer, Stephen Smith, and others who posted anonymously. It goes without saying (which means it doesn’t since I am saying it) that not everyone agrees with everything. At the bottom, I have grouped the causes into larger meta-causes where appropriate.

  1. Standards have risen [Smith’s Man of System].
  2. Principal-agent problem.
  3. Thin markets.
  4. There are in-sufficient economies of scale (Excess Bespoke Design).
  5. Projects are scoped wrong.
  6. Benefits are concentrated, costs are diffuse [Logic of Collective Action].
  7. Decision-makers are remote [Fatal Conceit].
  8. No one actually does B/C analysis.
  9. The highest demand areas for maintenance and new stock occur in places that are expensive.
  10. Project creep.
  11. Envy is a much bigger problem in public works than in personal life.
  12. Benefit cost is only as good as the integrity of the data and the analysts.
  13. Federal funds favor capital-heavy technologies and investments.
  14. Design for forecast.
  15. Planners and engineers are paid as percentage of total project cost [Principal-Agent Problem].
  16. Materials are scarcer (and thus more expensive).
  17. Regulations like ADA and environmental protection are driving up costs.
  18. Formula spending reduces the incentive or need to worry much about costs. This is obviously related to many of the other hypotheses already considered but I think deserves it’s own number.
  19. The State Aid system and associated standards.
  20. Stop/start investment.
  21. Poor commissioning.
  22. “Starchitecture”,
  23. Separation of design and build.
  24. Doing construction on facilities still in operation.
  25. Union work rules (not wages)that inhibit productivity gains through new technologies.
  26. Fragmented governance leads to large and meandering projects rather than centralized projects. Politicians have to “share the wealth” of projects. This is perhaps a cause of “project creep.”
  27. Environmental Impact Statements (Reports) lead to “lock-in”
  28. Public-private partnerships trade additional up front costs for faster construction.
  29. Open government/costs of democracy.
  30. Climate change adaptation is increasing the costs of projects.
  31.  Ratchet Effect.
  32. Baumol’s cost disease.
  33. Transit investment isn’t realizing any productivity gains from labor.
  34. Utility works are uncharged.
  35. Experience and Competence.
  36. Ethos, training and prestige.
  37. Government power.
  38. Legal system.
  39. Lack of user fee funding.

Some other points:
1. Standards arguably includes 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30,
4. Insufficient scale economies, there is some relationship to 1, since bespoke probably means higher quality (better local fitting).
5. Scoping, includes 10, 14, 22, 26

Journal of Transport and Land Use.

We are pleased to announce the Journal of Transport and Land Use.
What, you ask? Another journal amidst an already overcrowded field?
Yes, we respond enthusiastically! Several journals touch on the interaction of transport and land use; however, they do so peripherally. This new venue puts both transport and land use front and center. We seek to be the leading outlet for research at the interdisciplinary intersection of these two domains, including work from the domains of engineering, planning, modeling, behavior, economics, geography, regional science, sociology, architecture and design, network science, and complex systems.
The Journal of Transport and Land Use (JTLU) will be peer-reviewed, web-based, open-content, subscription-free, and free to contribute. All of this is enabled by support from the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota, where the journal will be housed. The advantages of this new journal and new process are several:
1. With a rigorous peer-review process, only quality papers that meet scientific standards will be published within the journal.
2. By being web-based (and web-only), we reduce costs significantly compared with paper journals. Web-based publication allows a much faster turnaround time than paper publication. Our goal is six weeks between submission and first reviews returned to the author. Being web-based also allows the inclusion of full color graphics and multi-media content, and the inclusion of datasets with the publication.
3. By being open-content, papers published in JTLU can be freely distributed (with attribution), increasing the value of papers published in the journal, and increasing their likelihood of being used in course readers and being read by the public.
4. By being subscription-free, we overcome a fundamental problem of today’s expensive journals published by for-profit publishers, which many libraries can no longer subscribe to.
5. By being free-to-contribute, we overcome the burden of the open-content journals that charge the authors to publish their paper.
We are now soliciting papers covering topics at the intersection of transport and land use. Details about the journal, its editorial process, and paper submission can be found at the journal’s website http://www.jtlu.org .
If you are interested in organizing a special issue, please contact one of the editors.
There will be a meeting at the World Conference on Transport Research in Berkeley to discuss the journal, contact the editors for details.
We look forward to any comments, questions, or suggestions you may have.
David Levinson and Kevin Krizek
David Levinson
Richard P. Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation Engineering
Director Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems (Nexus) Research Group
University of Minnesota (612) 625-6354
Kevin J. Krizek
Associate Professor, Urban Planning & Civil Engineering
University of Minnesota (612) 625 – 7318