Transportist: April 2020

Welcome to the latest issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the transportist.org or on Twitter. The armageddon of the month, Covid-19, is rearing its logistically, not exponentially, growing head. (I am sending this early, since at this rate, there may be no April.)

Open Access Access

Covid-19

Locally, we went to all-online mode at the University of Sydney, as did many other universities, and all our travel and other operational expenses were frozen (this was before the international aviation system more-or-less shut down), so I won’t see many of you in person this winter/summer as I had hoped. I am also sad because we had to switch my Transport Policy, Planning and Deployment class’s game night from being an in person (board game) activity to one where students played electronic games. Maybe one day, spatial distancing will be the problem, and they will want us to huddle together again to improve our immune systems.

We saw lots of other novel behaviours this month.

Hoarding was perhaps the most remarked on at first. Toilet paper hoarding in Australia became a thing. Remember, the only thing to fear is fear itself. But if everyone thinks everyone else is afraid, it is rational to be afraid (and hoard). I would argue hoarding and shortages are the natural consequences of a just-in-time economy transforming into an inventory-based economy. This is not inherently irrational when supply interruptions (due to possible store closures, illnesses taking out the supply chain, etc.) are considered. It is derided as selfish, I think that is needless moralising. Now needless moralising may itself be rational for society to engage it, to convince everyone to behave well, or to signal you align with society, but I prefer facts.

Is everyone so panicked because they have been primed by decades of dystopian media and Zombie Apocalypses that they think *this* is the big one? Will we be better prepared when (not if) a much more fatal epidemic hits? A twitter poll says 2/3 of you think so. I remain skeptical. If the response is successful, and fewer than expected/threatened die, people will believe collectively pushing the self-destruct button and blowing up the world economy (people’s lives and employment, not just their retirement portfolios) an over-reaction. If it is unsuccessful, and many people die, there may be more hope for people taking the warning signs more seriously in the future. It’s a dilemma.

As in the table below, we are collectively fucked unless the virus is a lot weaker than evidence suggests (and people don’t get it yet). (The virus, of course, is what it is, though there is uncertainty about that (since as of this writing, we don’t know the true infection numbers, as most people who have been infected have not been tested), it is only our collective reaction that we collectively control at this point).

The stock market crash (which takes coronavirus as an organising principle, but was long overdue) brings it nearer in line with long-term trends (it had been seriously overpriced, as readers have been warned. [The Precarity of Our Situation][What a Logistic Curve of the S&P 500 Tells Us]).

Oh and oil prices collapsed too. If this sustains, bad news for the environment and public transport. In the mean time, the economic collapse buys us a few extra days of CO2 emissions I suppose.

Incoming President Biden (10 months away if the gerontologically-challenged leadership of the US survives intact), (we’re all thinking it) obviously a fan of high-speed rail, should consider renationalising all the mainline US Railroads and strip them of right-of-way for his HSR system if their low stock prices persist. It would be cheaper than negotiating piecemeal. (I first suggested this 11 years ago). Commercial railroading is in long-term decline with its main commodity, coal, on the downslide.

“Let’s consider a reevaluation of the situation in which we assume that the stuckness now occurring, the zero of consciousness, isn’t the worst of all possible situations, but the best possible situation you could be in. After all, it’s exactly this stuckness that Zen Buddhists go to so much trouble to induce….” 

— Robert Pirsig from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 


In happier matters, I am thinking about a Reviewers Guild to help break academics from their subservience to the for-profit journal publishing hegemony. An editable Google Doc is available to read at the link. Let me know if you are interested in participating.

Transportist Blog

Transport Findings

WalkSydney

News & Opinion

Interesting Research (by others)

Books

Transportist: February 2020

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

About

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

Appendices

  • 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)

WalkSydney

Research

Transport Findings

Transportist Blog

News & Opinion

Australian Expression of the month:

Books

TransportLab News: January 2020

Welcome to the inaugural issue of TransportLab News. This is the periodic newsletter describing what the University of Sydney’s TransportLab group has been up to. You can follow us at Twitter or LinkedIn, or on our Website.

Who are we

TransportLab is a group of transport researchers in the Faculties of Engineering and of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney.

Academic Staff

Students

  • Amir Valadkhani
  • Hao Wu
  • Ye Li
  • Bahman Lahoorpoor
  • Ang Ji
  • Hema Sharanya
  • Sabal Sharma
  • Yadi Wang

Long-term Visitors (2019)

  • Valentin Beauvoir
  • Manman Li
  • Masaki Yuya
  • Xia Zhao

Long-term Visitors (2020)

  • Louise Aoustin
  • Jing Chen

TRB 2020

Several TransportLab members (Levinson, Moylan, Cui, Wu, Ji) will attend the Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, DC. You may catch us at the following:

  • Australia Reception (6:30-9:30pm at Vapiano H St on Monday 13th). It’s for Australians working anywhere in transport, anyone working in Australia on transport, and anyone working with either of those groups.
Monday 01:30 PM-05:30 PM Marriott Marquis, Independence Salon C (M4)

Wu, Hao, El-Geneidy, Ahmed, Stewart, Anson, Murphy, Brendan, Boisjoly, Genevieve, Niedzielski, Michał , Pereira, Rafael H.M., and Levinson, D. (2020) Access Across the Globe: Towards an International Comparison of Cumulative Opportunities	

International Cooperation Committee A0010	

Tuesday 08:00 AM-09:45 AM Marriott Marquis, Pentagon (M4)	

David Levinson, University of Sydney, presiding
Public Transportation, Planning and Forecasting	Transport Accessibility Manual Working Group AP050	

Tuesday 08:00 AM-09:45 AM Convention Center, 147B	

Lahoorpoor, Bahman and Levinson, D. (2020) Catchment if you can: The effect of station entrance and exit locations on accessibility. Journal of Transport Geography. 82, 102556 

Event 1397 Designed to Attract: Transit Access and Inclusion AP045

Tuesday 08:00 AM-09:45 AM Convention Center, Hall A Poster-board Location Number: A106	

Davis, Blake, Ji, Ang,  Liu, Bichen, and Levinson, D. (2020) Moving Array Traffic Probes.	

Event 1408 Advances in Traffic Monitoring ABJ35

Tuesday 01:30 PM- 03:15 PM Convention Center, 146B	

Cui, Mengying and Levinson, D. (2019) Primal and Dual Access. Geographical Analysis.  

Event 1519 Transportation Accessibility Planning ADB50

Tuesday 06:00 PM- 07:30 PM Convention Center, Hall A Poster-board Location Number: A111, A112, A113

Wu, Hao, Somwrita Sarkar, and Levinson, D. (2019) How Transit Scaling Shapes Cities. Nature Sustainability doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0427-7

Cui, Mengying and Levinson, D. (2019) Measuring Full Cost Accessibility by Auto. Journal of Transport and Land Use. 12(1) 649-672.

Rayaprolu, Hema and Levinson, D. (2020) What’s Access Worth? A Hedonic Pricing Approach to Valuing Cities.

Event 1653
Poster Session on Transportation and Land Development ADD30

Tuesday 06:00 PM-07:30 PM Convention Center, Hall APoster-board Location Number: B344	

Ji, Ang and Levinson, D. (2020) A Review of Game Theory Models of Lane Changing.	

Event 1656 Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics, Part 3 (Part 1, Session 1654; Part 2, Session 1655; Part 4, Session 1760; Part 5, Session 1761) AHB45

Wednesday 08:00 AM-09:45 AM Convention Center, Hall A Poster-board Location Number: A138	

Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) Shortest paths, travel costs, and traffic.	

Event 1688 Travel Behavior Mega Poster Session ADB10

Wednesday
08:00 AM-09:45 AM Convention Center, Hall A Poster-board Location Number: B390	

Zhao, Xia, Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) Temporal Variations in Daily Activity Networks Using Smartcard Data	

Event 1694 Public Transportation Demand: Explorations of Traveler Response and Traveler Characteristics AP025

Wednesday 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM Convention Center, Hall A	

Valentin Beauvoir, Emily Moylan (2020) Bike Share System Reliability: The Distribution of Delay Caused by Bike Unavailability 20-05298	

Event 1736 Micromobility Poster Session: Planning, Policy, and User Behavior for Shared Bikes and Scooters

Wednesday 02:30 PM- 04:00 PM Convention Center, 150B	

Lahoorpoor, Bahman and Levinson, D. (2020) Trains, trams, and terraces: population growth and network expansion in Sydney: 1861-1931.	

Event 1740 Research in Urban Transportation History: From Sydney Trams to Los Angeles Ballot Box Planning to Canadian Street Cars ABG50

Wednesday 02:30 PM- 04:00 PM Convention Center, Hall A Poster-board Location Number: A114

Lahoorpoor, Bahman and Levinson, D.  (2020) The Transit Travel Time Machine: Comparing Three Different Tools for Travel Time Estimation.	

Event 1740 Road Scholars: New Research in Travel Time, Speed, and Reliability Data

Teach

In 2020 we launch the new, interdisciplinary Master of Transport, co-taught with ITLS in the Business School, Architecture, Design, and Planning, and Civil Engineering.

The Civil Engineering group also delivers the

We supervise PhD students as well.

Engage

Co-Sponsored Events

Popular Publications

We have published several articles in The Conversation this past year:

and in Foreground:

Journals

TransportLab sponsors the peer-reviewed, open access journal Transport Findings. The journal is unique in that it aims to publish short-form research

Seminars

TransportLab sponsors the Transport Practice Seminar at the University of Sydney for our staff and students.

  • Stephen Greaves, ITLS
  • Rachel Kohan, Arup
  • Graham McCabe, Urbis
  • Tom Van Vuren, Mott MacDonald
  • Kasun Wijayaratna, UTS

Discover

Books

Papers

Reports

Grants

  • Kent, Parenting and the Private Car, Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)
  • Marks, Guillard, Moylan & Ramezani (2019) Cities of the Future: Augmented Reality City. Sponsored by University of Sydney Teaching Innovation Grant
  • Moylan, Wijayaratna, Jian, Saberi and Waller (2019) Moving Towards Network-wide Travel Time Reliability Measurement. Sponsored by TfNSW.
  • Moylan (2020) Reducing Hypothetical Bias in the Valuation of Reliability Associated with Rare Events. Sponsored by University of Sydney Faculty of Engineering
  • Ramezani, Levinson, Bliemer. Opportunities to Build Capability in Traffic Management (with ARRB) Austroads
  • Ramezani. NSW Premier’s Innovation Initiative 2019 Sponsor: DATA61, CSIRO
  • Sarkar, Levinson, Moylan et al (2019) New housing supply, population growth, and access to social infrastructure. Sponsored by AHURI

Attended Events

TransportLab Members and Students attended the following conferences in 2019

  • TRB Jan 2019
  • WCTR May 2019
  • TRISTAN June 2019
  • CICTP/COTA July 2019
  • AITPM July 2019
  • ICMC Aug 2019
  • ATRF Oct 2019
  • Transport Knowledge Conference, Wellington Nov 2019
  • TRANSW Dec 2019

Note

Many of you are also subscribed to the Transportist Newsletter, which this replaces this month, as David only has so much time. They are two independent mailing lists, so subscribing (or unsubscribing) to one does not affect the other.

Transportist: December 2019

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

Jobs

Master of Transport at the University of Sydney

Transport Accessibility Manual

  • The Committee of the Transport Accessibility Manual will meet at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC in January:

Transport Accessibility Manual Working Group (SAM20-0007 AP050)
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020  8:00AM – 9:45AM (US Eastern Standard Time)

  • We will be discussing the first (preliminary) draft of the document, which will be 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

WalkSydney

Book Sales

Research

Transport Findings

Education by Others

  •  Visualizations to teach intro topics for transportation engineering by University of Illinois at Urban Champaign professor Lewis Lehe https://cee310.com/
  • Urban Engineering for Sustainability is a new book by my colleague and University of Illinois at Chicago professor Sybil Derrible.

Transportist Blog

News & Opinion

Australian Expression of the month:

  • “The Big Smoke” – Sydney

Books

Transportist: November 2019

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

Jobs

Master of Transport at the University of Sydney

Transport Accessibility Manual

  • The Committee of the Transport Accessibility Manual will meet at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC in January:

Transport Accessibility Manual Working Group (SAM20-0007 AP050)
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020  8:00AM  9:45AM (US Eastern Standard Time)

  • We will be discussing the first (preliminary) draft of the document, which will be distributed to mailing list members before the meeting. Contact me directly if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Talks

Transportist (the blog)

WalkSydney

Transport Findings

Research

News & Opinion

Research by Others

Australian Word of the month:

Books

The Transportist: October 2019

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

Jobs

Master of Transport

Transportist (the blog)

WalkSydney

Transport Findings

Conferences

News & Opinion

Research by Others

Books

Transportist: July 2019

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

New Interdisciplinary Master of Transport

The University of Sydney is pleased to unveil a new, interdisciplinary (Engineering, Planning, and Business) Master of Transport, and is accepting applications for Term 1 and Term 2 of 2020 now. Contact me if you have questions.

Transportist (the blog)

WalkSydney

Conferences

News

Books

Transportist: June 2019

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

designing the 30-minute city

I briefly made an incursion upon the USA, and gave the 12th Annual Wachs Lecture, designing the 30-minute city, available on YouTube. (Note: There are some sound issues for the first few minutes, but those get resolved quickly.)

The Conversation

Transportist (the blog)

WalkSydney

Transport Findings

Professoring

Papers by Us

by Others

Research

  • Survey for Uber Pick-up Times (A PhD student is trying to determine the actual distribution of schedule delay for Uber pickups, you can help expand human knowledge by sharing your data. It will not be used for nefarious purposes.)

Revived Open Access Journals

News

Books

The Transportist: May 2019

Welcome to the May 2019 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. We are testing a new newsletter platform, Substack. If you received this by email, you have been migrated, and no action is required on your part. As always you can follow along at the  transportist.org or on Twitter.

Laws

Like Newton in Mechanics or Tobler in Geography, we ought to have laws in transport. I posit the following:

  • Law 1: Everyone complains about transport, independent of the quality of travel experienced.
  • Law 2: Everyone is a transport expert.

Transportist(the blog)

Foreground

WalkSydney

News

Professoring

Papers by Us

Books by Others

Books