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


Transportist: May 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 Covid-19 retains its top spot in the armageddon-of-the-month rankings for three months running, after surpassing fires, and overtaking Middle East war.

Open Access Access Redux

  • We are pleased to announce that you can now download a PDF version of A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions from the University of Sydney eScholarship Repository. (Free)

    A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions

    A Political Economy of Access: Infrastructure, Networks, Cities, and Institutions by David M. Levinson and David A. KingWhy should you read another book about transport and land use? This book differs in that we won’t focus on empirical arguments – we present political arguments. We argue the political aspects of transport policy shouldn’t be assumed away or treated as a nuisance. Political choices are the core reasons our cities look and function the way they do. There is no original sin that we can undo that will lead to utopian visions of urban life. The book begins by introducing and expanding on the idea of Accessibility. Then we proceed through several major parts: Infrastructure Preservation, Network Expansion, Cities, and Institutions. Infrastructure preservation concerns the relatively short-run issues of how to maintain and operate the existing surface transport system (roads and transit). Network expansion in contrast is a long-run problem, how to enlarge the network, or rather, why enlarging the network is now so difficult. Cities examines how we organize, regulate, and expand our cities to address the failures of transport policy, and falls into the time-frame of the very long-run, as property rights and land uses are often stickier than the concrete of the network is durable. In the part on Institutions we consider things that might at first blush appear to be short-run and malleable, are in fact very long-run. Institutions seem to outlast the infrastructure they manage. Many of the transport and land use problems we want to solve already have technical solutions. What these problems don’t have, and what we hope to contribute, are political solutions. We expect the audience for this book to be practitioners, planners, engineers, advocates, urbanists, students of transport, and fellow academics.


    [That’s right, we made A Political Economy of Access a free download. Get your copy now. Read it. Make your students and friends and colleagues read it. No excuses. You have the time.]


  • Bridging Transport Research – will be (and always has been) run entirely online. While original aimed at researchers from countries who could not travel for economic or political reasons to the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, that is now a much broader category of people, and will be held in August 2020. Papers are due May 15.

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


News & Opinion

Interesting Research (by others)


Transportist: April 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 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


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


News & Opinion

Interesting Research (by others)


Transportist: February 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.

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.


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


  • 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)



Transport Findings

Transportist Blog

News & Opinion

Australian Expression of the month: