Transportist: August 2021

Accessibility for asynchronous aspatiality. Living in Lockdown.


Notes from a Prison ColonyAs I write this, my city is now in the eighth year of nearly continuous “lockdown” to “eliminate” the dread virus Covid.

Reviews of the Post

  • (1) This post reads like a potential script for a “Black Mirror” episode. “I am only sorry we didn’t begin lockdowns before the virus arrived. I will be sad to see them removed.” But it feels more like a future documentary.
  • (2) Thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece on COVID19’s “Chet” variant in the 8th year of lockdown and its impact on our city and lives.
  • (3) This is an award winning quality satire, seriously. 
    • (4) What! – this is satire? Feels like a credible futurist prediction.
  • (5) Brilliant


Where is Sydney now on the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle with respect to COVID-19/Delta, cause it sure isn’t Acceptance. The mood is (ref):

  • Denial 22.2%
  • Anger 25%
  • Depression 30.6%
  • Bargaining 22.2%


  • The Transportation Experience is now on Video

I have used The Transportation Experience as a primary text for my Transport Policy, Planning, and Deployment class at Minnesota and Sydney for a number of years, and a few other schools use it as well. Over that time, the presentation has evolved. In 2019 I decided to flip the class for 2020, so it would be less of me lecturing, and more interactive. That proved fortuitous planning, as we soon went online, and asynchronous lecturing became standard.

There is no good reason to keep the videos bottled up, knowledge should be free.  I don’t think I will lose any students or book sales by making these videos available more widely, so I am making them available more widely.

To that end, the videos accompanying The Transportation Experience are now online, you can see them on the YouTube Playlist, and the specific videos by chapter listed in the Table of Contents. Happy viewing.

Preface  [Video

Part One – Wave One: 1790–1851 
1. Rivers of Steam [Video
2. Design by Design: The Birth of the Railway [Video
3. The Turnpike Era [Video

Part Two – Phase 1 of the Life-Cycle 
4. Inventing and Innovating [Video

Part Three – Wave Two 1844–1896 
5. Maritime Modes [Video
6. Railroads Deployed [Video
7. Good Roads [Video
8. Transit [Video
9. Telegraph [Video

Part Four – Phase 2 of the Life-Cycle 
10. Magic Bullet  [Video

Part Five – Wave Three 1890-1950 
11. American Shipping  [Video
12. Taking Flight [Video
13. Railroads Regulated [Video
14. Bustitution [Video
15. Public Roads [Video
16. Urban Planning: Who Controls the Turf?  [Video
17. Telephone  [Video

Part Six – Phase 3 of the Life-Cycle 
18. Aging  [Video]

Part Seven – Wave Four: 1939-1991 
19. Logistics  [Video
20. The Jet Age [Video
21. Railroads Rationalized [Video
22. Interstate [Video
23. Recapitalization [Video
24. Lord Kelvin’s Curse [Video

Part Eight – Life-Cycle Dynamics 
25. Lifecycle [Video
26. Meta-cycles [Video

Part Nine – Wave Five: Modern Times 
27. Energy and Environment [Video
28. Higher-speed rail [Video
29. Internet [Video
30. Technology: Hard and Soft [Video

Part Ten – Beyond the Life-Cycle 
31. Policy [Video
32. Speculations [Video

Part Eleven – Afterwords: Reflections on Transportation Experiences 
33. I-35W [Video
34. Design of a Life [Video
35. Commencement [Video

Part Twelve – End Matter 


TransportLab has presentations at WSTLUR next week:

Tuesday August 10 at 6 am  Sydney time

… Jennifer Kent: Special Session on Dogs

Tuesday August 10 at 7  am  Sydney time

1C. Accessibility: Frameworks, Concepts, and Theories

… David Levinson and Hao Wu. Towards a General Theory of Access

Tuesday August 10 at  8 am  Sydney time

2B. Accessibility. Moderator: David Levinson

… Bahman Lahoorpoor, Hema Rayaprolu, Hao Wu and David Levinson. Access-oriented design? Disentangling the effect of land use and transport network on accessibility…

… Jeff Allen, Steven Farber, Stephen Greaves, Geoffrey Clifton, Hao Wu, Somwrita Sarkar and David M Levinson. Immigrant settlement patterns, transit accessibility, and transit use

Wednesday August 11 at 1 am Sydney time

5A. Cycling and health. Moderator: Jennifer Kent

Wednesday August 11 at 9 am Sydney time

7A. Land Development & Auto-dependance.

… Jennifer Kent. The inevitability of automobility: how private car use is perpetuated in a greenfield estate

7C. Accessibility Impacts

… Hema Rayaprolu and David Levinson. Rent/price ratios and access to jobs by transit

Research and Presentation

  • Laura Aston and David Levinson (2021) Accessibility-Oriented Planning: Why and How to Make the SwitchITE Journal(August). p25-29. … Discusses the Transport Access Manual.
      Accessibility-oriented planning

      Why and how to make the switchDate:  Tuesday, 17 August 2021
      Time:  4:30 pm to 6:00 pm AEST
      Venue: Online
      Cost:  freeAccessibility is not a new measure of transport system performance. It was conceptualised in its present form more than 60 years ago. It has garnered attention of late, buoyed by the dual concerns of equity and sustainability in transport, as well as the increased availability of data and software to measure it. The Transport Access Manual has been developed to demystify access measurement. In this seminar, David Levinson and Laura Aston discuss the essential elements of access measurement.

Research by Others

News & Opinion

Transportist: June 2021


  • Hao Wu, Paolo Avner, Genevieve Boisjoly, Carlos K. V. Braga, Ahmed El-Geneidy, Jie Huang, Tamara Kerzhner, Brendan Murphy, Michał A. Niedzielski, Rafael H. M. Pereira, John P. Pritchard, Anson Stewart, Jiaoe Wang, and David Levinson (2021) Urban access across the globe: an international comparison of different transport modes. NPJ Urban SustainabilityVol. 1, Article 16 [doi]

Access (the ease of reaching valued destinations) is underpinned by land use and transport infrastructure. The importance of access in transport, sustainability, and urban economics is increasingly recognized. In particular, access provides a universal unit of measurement to examine cities for the efficiency of transport and land use systems. This paper examines the relationship between population-weighted access and metropolitan population in global metropolitan areas (cities) using 30-minute cumulative access to jobs for 4 different modes of transport; 117 cities from 16 countries and 6 continents are included. Sprawling development with intensive road network in American cities produces modest automobile access relative to their sizes, but American cities lag behind globally in transit and walking access; Australian and Canadian cities have lower automobile access, but better transit access than American cities; combining compact development with an intensive network produces the highest access in Chinese and European cities for their sizes. Hence density and mobility co-produce better access. This paper finds access to jobs increases with populations sublinearly, so doubling metropolitan population results in a less than double access to jobs. The relationship between population and access characterizes regions, countries and cities, and significant similarities exist between cities from the same country.

Transportist Posts

We often talk about networks providing connection. The World Wide Web is a network that connects people with websites across the world. But interesting word “web”, it is appropriated from a spider’s “web“, which has lots of strands that connect internally and to external supports, and enable the spider to move quickly over space. But the spider “web’s” primary purpose is to tangle up the wayward insect that crosses its path and prevent it from traveling further. That meaning of the word comes from a further word describing woven fabrics, weaving, and tapestry. Weaving of clothes is of course aimed at preventing cold air from reaching the body and provides insulation.

We could look at the word “net”, it is appropriated from a fisherman’s net. “Open textile fabric tied or woven with a mesh for catching fish, birds, or wild animals alive; network; spider web,” also figuratively, “moral or mental snare or trap.” So it too has the connotation of restricting movement rather than facilitating it.

Ther term “grid” comes from griddle, a device for keeping things from falling into the fire (while spreading heat along its elements).

Building frames are types of networks to transmit force between the structure and the earth to provide support. But these supports are rigid and generally prevent going through them, requiring people to go around. Normally this isn’t a big deal in a steel frame building, where the supports take a minimum of space, but in masonry or wood structures, the supports are pretty coterminous with walls, and individuals must find doors for passage. The walls and ceilings themselves, like woven clothing, protect the occupant from the vagaries of the environment. 

Modern transport networks have much the same features as a spider’s web. Roadways are designed to facilitate movement for cars while trapping pedestrians who want to cross the street. Cars don’t literally eat pedestrians, but this environment certainly reduces the number of pedestrians, as people who would otherwise walk give up and join the motoring majority. We might say automobility eats walk mode share.

Wired power networks impose their own constraints. High voltage power lines are not to be touched, for instance. But they occupy little space. They do require the clearance of trees, disconnecting the dense bush in places, for the benefit of users of long-distance electricity. Power boxes often interrupt footpaths (needlessly).

Wired communications networks don’t have the same voltages, but still have physical constraints. Boxes for communications need to be accessed, leading to works in the transport network.

The disconnection wrought by communications may be more intangible. For every minute someone is engaged with distant people online (or even colleagues two desks away), they are not engaged with anyone who may be directly in front of them. In person contact has dropped as online has risen. For those not online, their available world is shrinking. I don’t know if this is a problem of the modern world, but it is a feature. Just as automobility enabled further suburbanisation and increasing distances between buildings, worsening the environment for those without a car, the always online world increases the effective physical distance between people, reducing the opportunities for those not on-board with the new technology. 

We don’t weep too many tears for those stuck on AOL or Friendster or Orkut or Myspace or Google Plus or the Blogosphere, in a few years this will be Facebook (I hope) and Twitter, and eventually Insta et al., as the Cool Cycle continues its relentless march. The cool kids can’t be caught dead on the same network (wearing the same clothes) with the less cool kids (or their grandparents), and will migrate elsewhere. Being on different networks helps people differentiate their status, but that differentiation is a disconnection, slowing the flow of real ideas and information for the sake of social standing and relative positioning.

Once we have achieved communications saturation, for every increasing network online, producing network externalities for its members, it a world with a fixed time budget, some other physical or virtual social network is shrinking in either membership, attention, or both. Whether we have reached communications saturation is an empirical question, and perhaps brain to brain links will demonstrate how much further we have to go to create a truly social species, but it is feeling pretty saturated to me.

I was interviewed by Michael Condon at ABC Country hour on the Blue Mountains tunnels. A bit of it shows up in the article Blue Mountains tunnel plan …, my quotes are excerpted below:


David Levinson, author and Professor of Transport at the University of Sydney, is not a fan of the project.

He said while it would benefit people who lived in the mountains, as well as tourists and farmers, it would not save much travel time.

“It takes about 13 minutes to drive and if they get that down to seven or eight minutes … that’s an improvement, but it’s not earth-shaking.”

He also wondered about the the likelihood of costs rising, or the project being sold off to private companies.

“Most tunnelled motorways in the Sydney region have been sold off as toll roads … and what happens in 10 years isn’t necessarily what people are projecting today.”

Until there is a publicly-reviewable (and peer-reviewed) business case, it’s inappropriate to spend $10 billion on any infrastructure project. It’s not that I support or don’t support the project, it’s that the proposed tunnel benefits a very specific group of people and is subsidised by everyone, so requires strong evidence that it is worthwhile.

Another issue is that this is a bottleneck during peak times, but if this bottleneck is relieved, the next downstream bottleneck will just be activated. This is hardly the only bottleneck in the Blue Mountains. That argues for tunnelling essentially the entire mountain range (at an enormous amount of money). But peak times are also relatively rare, holiday periods particularly, and perhaps more manageable in a world where more and more people work from home and have flexible schedules.

As my friend and faithful reader Alex W. notes:

The real issue is how to improve the road alignment between Mt Victoria and Hartley.  It is steep and twisty and has ever been thus since the first road was laid out by the colonial Surveyor-General in the 1830s.  Incidentally, the alternative Bells Line of Road between Clarence and Lithgow is scarcely better because of the need to lose 100 metres in altitude in a short distance.

The originally announced tunnel between Mt Victoria and Hartley would probably have solved the combined gradient and curvature problem by building a longer, but underground, route to address the issue that both the road and the railway occupy a narrow ridge from Emu Plains to Mt Victoria.

Somehow, this project has morphed into a mega project with no sense of being staged to deliver early benefits addressing the real problem, not occasional holiday congestion.



Urban Findings is launching soon. We are plotting Energy Findings now. If you are interested, let me know. The journal continues to solicit articles of under 1000 words that have clear research questions, methods, and findings.

  • Karner, Alex, and Dana Rowangould. 2021. “Access to Secure Ballot Drop-off Locations in Texas.” Findings, May.
  • Chauhan, Rishabh Singh, Denise Capasso da Silva, Deborah Salon, Ali Shamshiripour, Ehsan Rahimi, Uttara Sutradhar, Sara Khoeini, Abolfazl (Kouros) Mohammadian, Sybil Derrible, and Ram Pendyala. 2021. “COVID-19 Related Attitudes and Risk Perceptions across Urban, Rural, and Suburban Areas in the United States.” Findings, June.
  • Paez, Antonio, and Christopher D. Higgins. 2021. “The Accessibility Implications of a Pilot COVID-19 Vaccination Program in Hamilton, Ontario.” Findings, May.
  • Allen, Jeff, and Steven Farber. 2021. “Changes in Transit Accessibility to Food Banks in Toronto during COVID-19.” Findings, May.
  • Goodman, Anna, Anthony A. Laverty, Asa Thomas, and Rachel Aldred. 2021. “The Impact of 2020 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Fire Service Emergency Response Times, in London, UK.” Findings, May.
  • Goodman, Anna, Anthony A. Laverty, and Rachel Aldred. 2021. “Short-Term Association between the Introduction of 2020 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and Street Crime, in London, UK.” Findings, May.
  • Cochran, Abigail L., Jueyu Wang, Lauren Prunkl, Lindsay Oluyede, Mary Wolfe, and Noreen McDonald. 2021. “Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine in Centralized and Dispersed Distribution Scenarios.” Findings, May.
  • Jiao, Junfeng, and Amin Azimian. 2021. “Socio-Economic Factors and Telework Status in the US during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Findings, May.
  • Firth, Caislin L., Michael Branion-Calles, Meghan Winters, and M. Anne Harris. 2021. “Who Bikes? An Assessment of Leisure and Commuting Bicycling from the Canadian Community Health Survey.” Findings, May.
  • Manley, Ed, Stuart Ross, and Mengdie Zhuang. 2021. “Changing Demand for New York Yellow Cabs during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Findings, May.

Research by Others

Follow-up: Hypothesis of the Month

Corinne Mulley writes: Just a quick note about agglomeration economies.  In an attempt to see how public transport contributed, we surveyed some firms’ employeesabout how often they saw someone on PT that reminded them they should contact them.  It was remarkably frequent.  

News & Opinion

Transportist: April 2021

USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently said something not negative about Vehicle Mileage Traveled taxes (VMT taxes) . This raised a minor furore among the left, claiming inequity. Road pricing has long been criticised over equity issues, but to be clear, all taxes (including today’s fuel taxes) are somewhat distortive. But we don’t want to excessively subsidize road travel (which has a lot of negative externalities). So VMT taxes are a good thing, (especially for EVs, fuel taxes are fine for ICEs), and they are not worse than most alternatives. 

I think that like other goods and services, roads should be paid for by users, and driving (including driving by electric vehicle) should be discouraged. 

We should phase-in road pricing one Electric Vehicle at a time.

[Sorry, no new posts this month, they were all stuck on containers ships in the Suez Canal on their way to press. Read this by my colleague Michael Bell instead.] 



Urban Findings is launching soon. We are plotting Energy Findings now. If you are interested, let me know. The journal continues to solicit articles of under 1000 words that have clear research questions, methods, and findings.

  • Aoustin, Louise, and David Matthew Levinson. 2021. “The Perception of Access in Sydney.” Findings, March.
  • Mothilal Bhagavathy, Sivapriya, Hannah Budnitz, Tim Schwanen, and Malcolm McCulloch. 2021. “Impact of Charging Rates on Electric Vehicle Battery Life.” Findings, March.
  • Aldred, Rachel, and Anna Goodman. 2021. “The Impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Active Travel, Car Use, and Perceptions of Local Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Findings, March.
  • Aman, Javad J. C., and Janille Smith-Colin. 2021. “Leveraging Social Media to Understand Public Perceptions toward Micromobility Policies: The Dallas Scooter Ban Case.” Findings, March.
  • Lanaud, Elsa, Andres Ladino, and Christine Buisson. 2021. “First Observations about Response Times and Connectivity in a Vehicles Platooning Experiment.” Findings, March.
  • Pereira, Rafael H. M., Marcus Saraiva, Daniel Herszenhut, Carlos Kaue Vieira Braga, and Matthew Wigginton Conway. 2021. “R5r: Rapid Realistic Routing on Multimodal Transport Networks with R5 in R.” Findings, March.
  • Lehe, Lewis, and David Levinson. 2021. “The Economics of Findings.” Findings, March.

Research by Others

News & Opinion

Transportist: March 2021

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

So in personal news, we bought real estate, moving to Arncliffe, so I am now again a transit commuter (for the first time since 2006-07 in London). The trains are now Standing Room Only in rush hour (near 8 am), with the seat restrictions (but are fine 60 minutes earlier). Mask compliance is pretty high (>90%), despite zero community transmission in Australia, because they are mandated no doubt. I am sure if they were not mandated, the use level would be much lower.

Transportist Posts


  • When will your Council set a 30 km/h limit in your neighbourhood?
  • Walking infrastructure steps up … Community wants a pedestrian crossing …When Council’s Local Traffic Committee (an advisory committee process involving both local council and state government) considered the matter, the pedestrian crossing was rejected because it didn’t comply with the warrant. The issue was then referred to the Regional Traffic Committee and was again rejected because it didn’t comply with the warrant – a document drafted decades ago. Subsequently, Parramatta Council wrote to the NSW Minister for Transport and the Minister responded to say “no”. Council staff then requested a meeting with the Minister and met with TfNSW staff where they were informed that the NSW warrant for pedestrian crossings was written for State roads (known as Classified roads) – these are major arterial roads such as the James Ruse Drive, Parramatta Rd, Cumberland Hwy, Pacific Hwy and Victoria Rd. Parramatta Council was informed that the NSW warrant does not apply to local streets (about 85 percent of the street network) and councils have the discretion to install pedestrian crossings by referring to the other national guides.



Urban Findings is launching soon. We are plotting Energy Findings now. If you are interested, let me know.

  • Brown, Anne, Nicholas J. Klein, and Calvin Thigpen. 2021. “Can You Park Your Scooter There? Why Scooter Riders Mispark and What to Do about It.” Findings, February.
  • Kapatsila, Bogdan, and Emily Grise. 2021. “Public Transit Riders’ Perceptions and Experience of Safety: COVID-19 Lessons from Edmonton.” Findings, February.
  • Goodman, Anna, and Rachel Aldred. 2021. “The Impact of Introducing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood on Street Crime, in Waltham Forest, London.” Findings, February.
  • Lin, Bo, Timothy C. Y. Chan, and Shoshanna Saxe. 2021. “The Impact of COVID-19 Cycling Infrastructure on Low-Stress Cycling Accessibility: A Case Study in the City of Toronto.” Findings, February.
  • Kaufman, Benjamin. 2021. “COVID-19 Impacts On-Demand Ridership in New South Wales: Regional Services More Stable than Urban Counterparts.” Findings, February.
  • Harris, M. Anne, and Michael Branion-Calles. 2021. “Changes in Commute Mode Attributed to COVID-19 Risk in Canadian National Survey Data.” Findings, February.

Research by Others

News & Opinion



Transport Engineering and Planning at the University of Sydney

Emily MoylanJan 8

Welcome to the start-of-year update from TransportLab at the University of Sydney.

We’re looking forward to meeting people face-to-face again, but in the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.


The TransportLab Seminar started up again in the second half of 2020. In addition to student presentations, the virtual format allowed us to host several academic and industry speakers, including:

  • Meead Saberi (UNSW) on Strategic Modelling for Walking Infrastructure
  • Jonathan Busch (SCT Consulting) on a practitioner’s perspective on transport innovation
  • Emilie Gunaratnam and Matthew Jones (TfNSW) on Cost-Benefit Analysis at TfNSW
  • Sue McNeil (University of Delaware) on using real-time time data to provide situational awareness to first responders in emergencies. 
  • Gabriel Metcalfe (Committee for Sydney) on Advocacy for Change in Mobility Systems

TransportLab participated in the annual Transport Research Association for NSW (TraNSW) Symposium on 17-19 November. Six TransportLab students presented their work, and Linji Chen (fourth from left) received an award for Best Research Demonstration.

Together with the UC Berkeley Institute for Data Science, University of Sydney organised a virtual symposium on Big Data and Neighborhood Change. Somwrita Sarkar was a project lead on the event. 


Teck Kean Chin has started his PhD on Smart City Applications in Land Use and Transport

Yang Gao will start a PhD in early 2021.

Mengyuan (Derek) Zhu has started his MPhil on Optimising Space-time Matching in Ridesharing through Predictive Modelling

Former post-doc Mengying Cui started as an Associate Professor at Chang-An University

Jing Chen and Louise Aoustin finished as a visiting scholars with TransportLab at Sydney. 

  • Louise graduated from EPFL and is currently working at Keolis Downer in Sydney. 
  • Jing Chen will finish her PhD at Southeast University in Nanjing, China

Awards, Accolades and Memberships

Jennifer Kent’s book “Planning Australia’s Healthy Built Environments” was awarded a Commendation Award for Planning Excellence in the category of Cutting Edge Research and Teaching by the Planning Institute of Australia, NSW.

The University of Sydney has the most influential academics of any university in Australia. This includes David Levinson who is in the top 2% of citations. 

Emily Moylan received the 2020 Dean’s (Faculty) Award for Teaching Innovation in 2019 for her work incorporating informatics into the transport curriculum.

Mohsen Ramezani was promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Mohsen Ramezani has received an ARC DECRA on Market Design of Next Generation of Shared and Automated Transport Services

PhD student Linji Chen won the Best Research Demonstration Award at the TraNSW 2020 Symposium for his presentation on Decentralised Cooperative Cruising of Autonomous Fleet.

Honours student April Alcock is the 2020 University of Sydney winner of the ITE-ANZ Trafficworks Student Award.

Articles, books and chapters

Davis, Blake, Ji, Ang,  Liu, Bichen, and Levinson, D. (2020) Moving Array Traffic ProbesFrontiers in Future Transportation. doi: 10.3389/ffutr.2020.602356 [doi]

Ji, Ang and Levinson, D. (2020) Injury severity prediction from two-vehicle crash mechanisms with machine learning and ensemble models. IEEE Open Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems. [doi]

Ji, Ang and Levinson, D. (2020) An energy loss-based vehicular injury severity model. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 146 October 2020, 105730. [doi]

Kamal, M. A. S., Ramezani, M., Wu, G., Roncoli, C., Rios-Torres, J., & Orfila, O. (2020). Partially Connected and Automated Traffic Operations in Road Transportation. Journal of Advanced Transportation. [doi]

Kent, J.L. (2020). The role of car-sharing in sustainable transport. In Curtis, C. (Ed.) Handbook for Sustainable Transport. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Kent, J.L. and Thompson, S. (2020) Healthy Cities. In Rogers, D., Keane, A., Nelson, J. and Alizadeh, T. (Eds.) Introduction to Urbanism: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Palgrave McMillan, Camden

Kent, J.L. (2020) Transport, access and health. In Mulley, C. (Ed.) Urban Form and Accessibility. Elsevier, London

Levinson, D. (2020) Logistic Curve Models of CO2 Accumulation. Transport Findings. [doi]

Levinson, D. (2020) A Timeline of Future Transport in Sydney as Revealed in Tablet Form. In Derrible, S. & Chester, M. (Ed.) Urban Infrastructure: Reflections For 2100: An Edited Volume Imagining Infrastructure Transitions And Goals At End-Of-Century. Independently published.

Paine, G., Thompson, S., Prior, J., Connon, I., & Kent, J. L. (2020). Bringing History Forward: Learning from Historical Context when Translating Contemporary Health Evidence into Planning Practice. Journal of Planning History. [doi]

Sarkar S., Farid R. (2020) Data, Science and Cities. In: Rogers D., Keane A., Alizadeh T., Nelson J. (eds) Understanding Urbanism. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. [doi]

Reports and Projects

Liverpool Sustainable Urban Mobility Study. iMOVE CRC/Liverpool City Council

The Transport Access Manual was published by the Committee for the Transport Access Manual, chaired by David Levinson 

Opportunities to build capability in traffic management for Austroads. Dissemination webinar is on the 21st January

New housing supply, population growth, and access to social infrastructurefor Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)


Transport Findings has been renamed Findings, and a new section Urban Findings, will launch in 2021

Mohsen Ramezani is editing a special issue of Transportmetrica B: Transport Dynamics on Advanced Modeling and Control for AI-enabled Multimodal and Automated Transport Systems.

Mohsen Ramezani is editing a special issue of Frontiers in Future Transportation on Integration of Real-Time Information in Transport Planning and Operations.


Jennifer Kent presented at the Sydney Environment Institute’s Critical Companion Series on Sustainable Urban Mobility

David Levinson keynoted at IARAI  Traffic4cast 2020 Special Session: The End of Traffic and Future of Access

David Levinson guest lectured at UBC: The New, New Normal

David Levinson presented at Australia Build Week: 30-Minute City

David Levinson presented at Festival of Urbanism: The New New Normal: Mobility and Activity in the After Times. The article was originally published in The Fifth Estate, November 2, 2020.

David Levinson was a panelist at Transport Australia Society webinar: The Role of Walking in the Movement and Place Framework

David Levinson was quoted by the Daily Telegraph: Outer Sydney Orbital: M9 to be Built Next to Airport Metro, Freight Line

David Levinson was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald: “Sydney’s bike network stuck in the slow lane“.

Emily Moylan was an invited speaker at the CSIRO Symposium Future of Meetings

Emily Moylan spoke at the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference about civil engineering students coding to learn.

Mohsen Ramezani was invited to be a speaker in the full-day online workshop “Emerging Control of Vehicular Traffic for Improving Sustainability and Energy Efficiency” for SICE Annual Conference 2020

Transportist: December 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


Transport Access Manual: A Guide for Measuring Connection between People and Places 

Now available: Transport Access Manual: A Guide for Measuring Connection between People and Places by The Committee of the Transport Access Manual.   (Download PDF) (Paper)


Transport Access Manual cover
Transport Access Manual: A Guide for Measuring Connection between People and Places by The Committee for the Transport Access Manual.   (Download PDF) (Paper)

This Manual is a guide for quantifying and evaluating access for anybody interested in truly understanding how to measure the performance of transport and land use configurations. It contains enough to help transport and planning professionals achieve a more comprehensive look at their city or region than traditional transport analysis allows. It provides a point of entry for interested members of the public as well as practitioners by being organized in a logical and straightforward way.



  1. Access and Mobility: Clearing Up the Confusion
  2. Fundamental Model of Access
  3. Access, Movement, and Place
  4. Access and Equity
  5. Strategies for Access
  6. Roadmap for Using this Manual


  1. Baseline Trend Analysis
  2. Performance Monitoring
  3. Performance Standards
  4. Goals
  5. Transport Project Evaluation
  6. Land Use Change Evaluation
  7. Metrics for Disadvantaged Populations
  8. Transport Equity Analysis
  9. Financial Costs of Access
  10. Predictor of Travel Behavior


  1. Primal Measures: Opportunity-Denominated Access
  2. Dual Measures: Time-Denominated Access


  1. Identify Objectives
  2. Stratify Analysis
  3. Determine Travel Costs
  4. Determine Opportunities at Destinations
  5. Accumulate Opportunities Reachable from Origins
  6. Assess Competitive Access
  7. Calculate Dual Access
  8. Summarize Measures
  9. Visualize Results


  1. Edge Effects
  2. Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP)
  3. Modifiable Temporal Unit Problem (MTUP)
  4. Starting Point Effects
  5. Starting Time Effects


  1. People
  2. Places
  3. Movement
  4. Time
  5. Financial


  1. New and Emerging Travel Modes
  2. Equity of Future Technologies
  3. Conclusions



  1. TransportModeling
  2. EconomicGeographyModeling
  3. Location of Activities and Investments
  4. Real Estate Prices
  5. Spatial Mechanisms
  6. Productivity: the Agglomeration Effect
  7. Wages
  8. Employment Rates
  9. Effects on Gross Domestic Product


  1. Benefits of Access Planning
  2. Audience for Access Metrics
  3. Reflective of Planning Goals
  4. Improving the Adoption of Access Tools


  1. Components
  2. Classification and Assessment
  3. Selection of Measures


  1. Tools to Quantify and Visualize Access
  2. Access-Focused Scenario Planning Software



  1. Project Team and Stakeholders
  2. Budget and Resources
  3. Software Installations and Subscriptions





  • 230 pages.
  • Color Images.
  • ISBN: 9781715886431
  • Publisher: Network Design Lab


Classic Transportist Posts

  • I wrote this in 2014 PHASING IN ROAD PRICING ONE ELECTRIC VEHICLE AT A TIME … this is now salient because Australian states are about to implement this (South AustraliaVictoriaNew South Wales). 
    • General view: Good in theory, depends in practice on the rates and fuel taxes. But given nearly 100% of new cars will be EVs sooner than most people think, and they don’t pay fuel taxes, and they do use roads, and right now their owners have above average incomes, it seems a perfect time to get road pricing implemented without the huge political fight that would come if it is done too late. Of course this might be a disincentive to purchase EVs, but it’s a relatively small charge now, and new EV purchases can be incentivized separately, if that were important. (But why EVs not E-Bikes etc.) 
    • Would this have happened had I not moved to Australia? We will never know. 
    • These recommendations are still mostly pretty good — which is depressing, as it indicates we have made very little progress in domain of transport. Maybe the next President will take it up.

Transportist Posts


  • Jabbari, Parastoo, and Don MacKenzie. 2020. “Ride Sharing Attitudes Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.” Findings, November.
  • Wu, Xinyu, Frank Douma, Jason Cao, and Erika Shepard. 2020. “Preparing Transit in the Advent of Automated Vehicles: A Focus-Group Study in the Twin Cities.” Findings, November.
  • Jamal, Shaila, and Antonio Paez. 2020. “Changes in Trip-Making Frequency by Mode during COVID-19.” Findings, November.
  • Tokey, Ahmad Ilderim. 2020. “Change of Bike-Share Usage in Five Cities of United States during COVID-19.” Findings, November.
  • Du, Jianhe, and Hesham A. Rakha. 2020. “COVID-19 Impact on Ride-Hailing: The Chicago Case Study.” Findings, October.


  • I spoke at the Festival of Urbanism on November 18. Mobility and Housing Futures about the “New New Normal: Mobility and Activity in the ‘After Times’”. A narrated slide-deck of the talk is available on YouTube.
  • I will be speaking at Australia Build conference on the Thirty-Minute City. December 10, 14:40.
  • I will be speaking at the NeurIPS conference on End of Traffic and Future of Access. December 11, 19:15 AEDT.


News & Opinion


Transportist: October 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

The New Normal

While VMT in the US is back to normalpublic transport levels are not.

It will be a while before, if ever, that public transport returns to the pre-virus normal, even in places like Sydney which were not nearly as severely hit as China, the US, and Europe.

There are several reasons public transport demand will remain low, and these changes are perhaps permanent:

  • more people work from home at least a few days a week, especially CBD office workers who would otherwise be packed both onto trains and into hot-desked offices.  
  • people are instructed to avoid trains and buses to ensure distancing, which people who can will voluntarily do anyway.
  • unemployment rates are higher than previously.

Substitutes like walking and biking are likely to pick up some of the slack for those who work in the CBD, though more needs to be done to facilitate safe bicycling in and around Sydney (and most other English speaking cities), in particular following the lead of other global cities in instituting a much larger network of separated and protected bike lanes.


  • Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) Internal and External Costs of Motor Vehicle PollutionTransportation Research Record. [doi]On-road emissions, a dominant source of urban air pollution, damage human health. Emissions increase air pollution intake (and damage health) of travelers (internal costs), and of non-travelers (external costs). This research constructs a framework modeling the microscopic production of emission cost from the vehicle and link level and applies it to a metropolitan road network. It uses project-level Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) simulations to model link-specific on-road emissions, and then employs the RLINE dispersion model to estimate on- and off-road concentrations of pollutants from vehicles. The internal and external emission costs are measured accordingly by counting the health damage costs of travelers and gen- eral population because of exposure. The framework is applied to the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) Metropolitan Area as a proof-of-concept. The estimates show that highways have higher emission concentrations because of higher traffic flow, but that the internal and external emission costs per vehicle kilometer traveled are lower. The emission costs that commuters impose on others greatly exceeds that which they bear. This modeling process is replicable for planners and practitioners assessing emission costs in other regions.

Walk Sydney

  • After a year at the helm, in a peaceful and planned transition of power involving neither vote fraud nor Supreme Court intervention, I transitioned from being President to being an ordinary Committee member of WalkSydney this month. Good luck to our new President Barnaby Bennett.

Transport Findings

  1. Hassanvand, Mina. 2020. “Long-Distance Person Travel: A Cluster-Based Approach.” Findings, September.
  2. Roy, Avipsa, Daniel Fuller, Kevin Stanley, and Trisalyn Nelson. 2020. “Classifying Transport Mode from Global Positioning Systems and Accelerometer Data: A Machine Learning Approach.” Findings, September.
  3. Zimny-Schmitt, Daniel, and Joshua Sperling. 2020. “Quantifying Airport Employee Commuting and Related Energy Use: A Comparison of Six US Airports.” Findings, September.
  4. Fischer, Jaimy, Trisalyn Nelson, and Meghan Winters. 2020. “Comparing Spatial Associations of Commuting versus Recreational Ridership Captured by the Strava Fitness App.” Findings, September.
  5. Aldred, Rachel, and Anna Goodman. 2020. “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Car Use, and Active Travel: Evidence from the People and Places Survey of Outer London Active Travel Interventions.” Findings, September.
  6. Chen, Peng, and Jihao Deng. 2020. “Integrating Affordable Housing with Transit: Where Are the Transit Deserts?” Findings, September.

News & Opinion


TransportLab Newsletter: July 2020

Welcome to the mid-year update from TransportLab at the University of Sydney.

The world has been in flux since our last newsletter, which has led to far less mobility than we would have liked (on a personal level). So while we won’t be seeing most of you this year, we hope to remain in touch online. You can follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

We hope to host a TransportCamp later in 2020, and should see many New South Welshmen there.


Before the shutdown, we were pleased to have a presentation at the TransportLab Professional Seminar from Paul Anderson of Texas A&M on bus bunching. Paul was previously an undergraduate student working for David at the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s Student at EPFL working with Mohsen.

We plan some additional seminars in second semester, which were deferred from the first, as the university and society reboot.


  • Linji Chen started in March 2020 as a PhD student. Thesis topic: Traffic state estimation and congestion control with connected and automated vehicles
  • Jaime Soza Parra is hoping to join us as a postdoc. He was supposed to start 18 May, but can’t until the travel ban is lifted.
  • Jing Chen and Louise Aoustin started as a visiting scholars

Current Projects

  • FAST Corridor Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. iMOVE CRC/Liverpool City Council
  • University of Toronto Partnership Collaboration Awards
  • Access Across New Zealand: 2019
  • Opportunities to Build Capability in Traffic Management. Austroads
  • New housing supply, population growth, and access to social infrastructure.

Editorial Boards

  • Mohsen Ramezani was named Review Editor in Transportation Systems Modeling (specialty section of Frontiers in Future Transportation)


  • Emily Moylan joined AED20 the TRB Committee on Urban Data


  • Beauvoir, V., & Moylan, E. (2020). Unreliability of Delay Caused by Bike Unavailability in Bike Share Systems. Transportation Research Record. [doi]
  • Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) Shortest paths, travel costs, and traffic.Presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 2020. Environment and Planning B. (accepted and in press)
  • Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) The Internal and External Costs of Motor Vehicle Pollution. Transportation Research Record (accepted and in press)
  • Cui, Mengying, and Levinson, D. (2020) Multi-Activity Access: How Activity Choice Affects Opportunity. Transportation Research part D. (accepted and in press)


  • Travel Time Reliability Measurement Research Report: Establishing Empirical Evidence (Feb 2020) Moylan, Wijayaratna, Jian, Saberi, Waller. Commissioned report for TfNSW
  • Designing a Dynamic Matching Method for Ride- Sourcing Systems (2020)  Amir Hosein Valadkhani and Mohsen Ramezani.  Working Paper ITLS-WP-20-01

Transportist: June 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. The next issue of the Transportist will be August, as July will be reserved for the TransportLab newsletter.

Urban riots in response to police murders [tears for my old hometown Minneapolis, the riots were a few miles from our house, and we sometimes went to those shops] moves into the top spot of the armageddon-of-the-month rankings, as Covid-19 fades from attention, because people got bored.

When will Tesla Full Self Drive be functional?

  • End of 2020 0%
  • End of 2021 3.9%
  • End of 2025 20.9%
  • Never 75.2%

I interpret this to be when will Tesla Autopilot be “Level 4” autonomous on a large share of roads, with drivers not needing to touch the wheel or pedals for most trips. This poll comes with a sample size of 153 Twitter people, most of whom have some transport knowledge. The respondents are very skeptical of Elon Musk. Now much of this is probably deserved with Hyperloop and the Boring Company and his general antics, but on the other hand, Tesla Autopilot already exists and works reasonably well on freeways (death rates are probably lower than humans, though this is debated) and they have been testing on arterials for over 4 years, and it’s not like he is the programmer. 

I did a similar poll of GM’s Ultracruise (Supercruise for freeways plus new autonomous/driver assist features for city streets, similar tech to Tesla FSD without the hype), though with a smaller and non-identical sample. People trust GM more than Tesla, but remain skeptical. 

GM Ultracruise will be functional in at least one model by: 

  • End of 2020 3.4%
  • End of 2021 7.2%
  • End of 2025 20.7%
  • Never 58.6%

I’m at 2021 on both of these.

Recall Notice: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The Huanan Seafood Market would like to recall “Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”. It has severe side-effects and should not be consumed. A replacement virus is available with exchange at site of purchase.

Universities, which are financially strapped at the moment, could save money by canceling subscriptions to expensive journals. We can get that knowledge in other ways now. 

In contrast, their current plans are highly uncertain.


Transportist Blog

Transport Findings

News & Opinion