We are pleased to announce that you can now download a PDF version of Elements of Access: Transport Planning for Engineers, Transport Engineering for Planners from the University of Sydney eScholarship Repository. (Free)
I recently received the following from an Elsevier editor at a prominent journal.
Dear Prof. Levinson, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to decline the invitation to review the above paper. As an author who has a paper submitted to Transportation Research Part A, you should know how important is it to have good and prompt reviews. This is possible only if reviewers accept the invitation to review papers. As a very experienced past editor in chief told me once “if you wish your paper to be reviewed, you need to do your share for the journal”. I believe this is a fair comment. Hope you can reconsider your decision. Best wishes,
It would be a shame if you ever submit to this journal again, the editors might not look favourably.
I have edited, for free, i.e. engaged in unpaid labour, for Elsevier’s Transportation Research part A 31 times according to my incomplete records. I have published in this same journal 15 times over the course of my career, usually with coauthors, providing free content which Elsevier resells.
I think I have done my “share” for the journal, owned by one of the most profitable companies in the world.. But sure, if that’s how they want to play it, I am done. I am out. No more Transportation Research part A submissions from me. I won’t stand for this kind of guilt-tripping combined with implicit threat, this distorted version of ‘pay to play’. The editors of the other Transportation Research parts have never been quite so blatant about demanding this for that. I said “no,” that should have been the end of it.
To be clear, when a reviewer declines a new paper to review, the editor can ask nicely again if they need to. It is even more important on the second round. As an editor and founder of two open access journals: Journal of Transport and Land Use and Transport Findings, I know finding responsive reviewers can be difficult. I wish there were more open access journals in transport, so we could spread the wealth.
But I also know what I don’t know. I don’t know the other demands on the reviewers time. I don’t know whether they have sick or disabled family members at home, have a book coming out, face project or proposal deadlines, are recovering from earthquakes or natural disasters, have retired, are physically ill, have a conflict of interest with the paper, or are reviewing for 100 other journals, or anything else.
Jacob Baskin writes:
The Story of GTFS
GTFS is one of the biggest success stories in mobility data. In 2005, Chris Harrelson, a Google engineer, worked together with IT managers at TriMet, the transit agency for the Portland, Oregon metro area, to take an export of their schedule data and incorporate it into Google Maps to provide transit directions. The next step was adding transit in four more cities. Naturally, when Chris asked them to give him their transit data, he asked them to all provide it in the same format. In 2006, that format was enshrined as the Google Transit Feed Specification.
This GTFS format was static, a representation of where buses and trains were supposed to be according to schedule. Since then, a lot of progress has been made on real-time transit vehicle location data, and standards have emerged, and there is a real-time GTFS standard. Version 2.0 is out.
Given the success of GTFS, we want to know why so many other things are not standardized and openly available. This post summarizes the state to date of “GTFS but for.”
- Why there’s no GTFS for curbs (yet) by Jacob Baskin of Coord. (It’s harder than transit schedules)
- “SharedStreets creates a structured language for the street, unlocking new ways of collecting, analyzing and sharing information. A shared language lets us exchange information about what’s really happening on our streets, breaking down barriers the between public and private sectors, and combining layers of data in new ways to make streets work better for people.”
- While it lacks curb usage data, DDOT (Washington DC DOT) has open public street cross-sectional data.
- Parking (on and off street)
- This is related to curb data in the on-street sense, but would track utilization as well as capacity, legality. It would also include off-street data.
- Traffic signals states (past, present, and scheduled/future)
- “SAE has a standard J2735 for Signal phase and timing messages but it is very rarely used at the moment” – Josh Peterman . The standard costs $81 to purchase, I have not done so.
- “There is an ongoing challenge to get 20 signals in all 50 states by 2020 to broadcast the signal phase and timing. A lot of progress has been made & agencies are deploying well into the 100s of signals. Resources and info can be found at https://transportationops.org/spatchallenge/ ” – Patrick Son
- Traffic Technology Services has an API, which they charge for, for accessing this standard traffic signal data which AUDI uses for in-vehicle traffic light information. They claim 4700 signals in the system currently. Some DOTs have feeds accessible with registration.
- VDOT’s SmarterRoads open data. Includes signal phase and timing based on J2735, for all state-controlled signals (which is most of Virginia). Also includes real-time tolling HOT tolls for I-66 and much more.
- Shared vehicles (bikes, ebikes, scooters)
- Some of the shared bike and scooter companies make their data available. Others don’t. For instance, New York’s CitiBike data is available. There is a GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification) standard. The trove of available data is collated at bikeshare-research.org.
- DC also requires bike and scooter shares to provide public real-time information via an API, although the format varies.
- Shared vehicles (cars)
- Mobility-as-a-Service –
- SAE is developing a standard on mobility data sharing
- Traffic data (vehicle counts, turning movements, speeds, vehicle locations, etc.)
- Real-time tolls, road prices.
- There is no standardized feed type, though various agencies make this public.
- EV charging stations and occupancy (queue length)
- Logistics (open delivery services, physical internet)
There is of course some movement. The V2X community (vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure, etc.) is setting standards, but they are not widely deployed nor used, nor are the outputs freely available on the internet — the challenge to get 1000 traffic signals by 2020, out of the million or so out there in the US, “broadcasting” their state (locally and online), shows the sluggishness of deployment.
The first issue is standardization. When the data is standard, applications can be built that suck it in, process it, and provide useful outputs. No one has to reinvent the data filter for every distinct agency.
The second issue is openness. The data needs to be easily accessed. The traffic signal data may exist, but there is as far as I can tell, no open source place where one can go and grab it all.
Some providers might value incompatibility or secrecy for their data, especially parking vendors who are in competition. From a societal perspective all of this information should be freely available (gratis (free as in at no cost) and libre (free to use in any interesting way)). Making these data available in a standard format should be a quid pro quo for a license to operate a parking facility, a taxi or shared vehicle, or a toll road.
What else should there be a “GTFS” for? How do we get from here to there? What other initiatives out there show promise?
With today’s announcement that the University of California is dumping Elsevier (and we expect the rest of the world follows over time), where is a transport researcher to publish? Obviously there are many places, including general open access journals like PLOS One.
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists 51 open access journals with Transport in their descriptor. I don’t know most of them … The ones I am aware and know the people involved from the DOAJ list …
- TeMA: Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment **
- Journal of Transport and Land Use ***
- European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research
There are also these which are affiliated with major publishers …
- IATSS Research (Elsevier – for profit, but currently no charges)
- European Transport Research Review (Springer Open – for profit)
- Urban Science ** (MDPI – for profit)
I am on the Editorial Boards of the ones marked with **, I was founding editor of JTLU of course (***).
Obviously, we prefer non-profit to for-profit organisations in general, as their costs should be lower. Also note that the open access charges in conventional journal are on the order of $3000, which is simply unacceptable.
Two additional journals which the DOAJ does not list yet are:
Good luck all moving beyond the Transportation Research part X series, they own a lot of mindshare and will be difficult to break free of, as well as the rest of the Elsevier collection of transport journals. And to be clear, Elsevier is setting up its own open access in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, but why would we go that way? Their spider web has trapped us for too long. The Mathematicians started boycotting Elsevier a few years ago, see The Cost of Knowledge project
Sadly some open access journals did not make it, including:
- Journal of Transport Literature
- Journal of Transport and Statistics (which due to the fragility and unreliability of US Government sponsorship, is especially galling).
We are pleased to announce the launch of Transport Findings, a new, independent, community-led, peer-reviewed, open-access journal focused on short, clear, and pointed research results. We welcome submissions.
The launch includes the following articles:
- Planning Education in Accessible Transport for Persons with Disabilities
Transport planning for persons with disabilities is not reflected in transport-planning education.
- Understanding Trip Happiness using Smartphone-Based Data: The Effects of Trip- and Person-Level Characteristics
Yingling Fan, Roland Brown, Kirti Das, Julian Wolfson
It is found trip happiness increases with travel using biking and walking, for eating out and leisure, taken during daytime, with family and friends, of duration 15 – 30 min.
- Are more interactions at intersections related to more collisions for pedestrians? An empirical example in Quebec, Canada
Marie-Soleil Cloutier, Ugo Lachapelle, Andrew HowardInteractions between vehicles and pedestrians at road junctions where road users adapt their behavior ahead of the “conflicting zone,” are correlated with actual pedestrian collisions.
- Universal Accessibility Survey of Transport Modes
Clemente Mundi Blanco, Patricia Galilea, Sebastian Raveau
Participants with and without disabilities made identical trips. The difference in average travel times between the groups was approximately 18 minutes.
- Identifying Optimum Bike Station Initial Conditions using Markov Chain Modeling
Mohammed Almannaa, Mohammed Elhenawy, Hesham Rakha
A Markov chain model for each bike station optimizes station-specific initial number of bikes for a day to minimize the rebalancing cost.
- Comparing Google Maps and Uber Movement Travel Time Data
Crowd sourced data provides transport researchers with comprehensive coverage in their research subjects. However, difficulties in data validation and consistency pose a threat to the credibility of research.
- Measuring the Effect of Private Transport Job Accessibility on Rents: The Case of San Francisco’s Tech Shuttles
Matthew Palm, Deb Niemeier
We measure the effect of San Francisco’s technology firm commuter shuttles on rents utilizing a kernel density estimation approach. To model the effects of job accessibility improvements…
- Exploring the importance of transportation infrastructure and accessibility to satisfaction with urban and suburban neighborhoods: An application of gradient boosting decision trees
Jason Cao, Xinyi Wu
Using 2011 data in the Twin Cities, this study shows that urban residents prioritize transportation and accessibility while suburban residents value affordability, safety, and school quality
- dodgr: An R package for network flow aggregation
This article describes the new software package, [“dodgr”](https://github.com/atfutures/dodgr) (**D**istances **O**n **D**irected **GR**aphs) capable of extremely efficient flow aggregation over millions of routes within a network.
- The connection between mode beliefs and mode liking: biking versus driving
Beliefs about walking and driving differ significantly, but in both cases the responses that a given mode is fun and relaxing are more strongly correlated with liking than other responses.
- Using the Average Wage Rate to Assess the Merit of Value of Travel Time Savings: A Concern and Clarification
With flexible work practices and different uses for travel time, the use of the hourly wage rate to determine value of travel time savings is both problematic and misleading.
- Pavement condition and crashes
David Levinson, Toshihiro Yokoo, Mihai Marasteanu
Poor roads generally increase property damage and injury crashes. But on curves, good pavement quality increases fatal, injury, and property-damage crashes.
- Accessibility, equity, and mode share: a comparative analysis across 11 Canadian metropolitan areas
Boer Cui, Ahmed El-Geneidy
In 11 Canadian metropolitan areas, low-income groups exhibit higher public transport use at the same level of accessibility than high-income groups.
Many years ago, we completed a project called Access to Destinations. The data from the project has been sitting on my hard drive for many years. I am happy that some of it is now preserved for posterity and open science by the University of Minnesota Data Conservancy. See:
- Accessibility measures to population, employment and labor by auto and transit for the period of 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 for the Twin Cities region.
- Auto accessibility measures to non-work destination, e.g., retail, entertainment, food/restaurant and recreation, for the period of 1995, 2000, and 2005 for the Twin Cities region.
Unfortunately, due to small methodological changes, these data are not directly comparable with more recent outputs, and the 1995 – 2005 data are really not directly comparable with the 2010 data either. It nevertheless might be interesting for selected applications.
We are pleased to announced that you can now download a PDF of The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape from the University of Sydney eScholarship Repository (Free).
|Title:||The End of Traffic and the Future of Access: A Roadmap to the New Transport Landscape|
Krizek, Kevin J.
|Publisher:||Network Design Lab|
|Citation:||Levinson, D. M., & Krizek, K. J. (2015). The End of Traffic & the Future of Transport. Network Design Lab.|
|Abstract:||In most industrialized countries, car travel per person has peaked and the automobile regime is showing considering signs of instability. As cities across the globe venture to find the best ways to allow people to get around amidst technological and other changes, many forces are taking hold — all of which suggest a new transport landscape. Our roadmap describes why this landscape is taking shape and prescribes policies informed by contextual awareness, clear thinking, and flexibility.|
If you want other versions, please go here.
Transport policy decision follow from application of rules and standards. To the dismay of many in the transport community, these standards often come from another time with different values, including US documents such as:
- ITE’s Trip Generation Manual
- AASHTO’s Green Book
- TRB’s Highway Capacity Manual
While those aren’t going to change overnight, new preferences can be documented and embedded if they too become standards.
One of the key problems is what to value when investing in transport or regulating land development. Readers of this blog will likely prioritize accessibility — the ease of reaching valued destinations. This connects transport and land use, considering both how easy it is to move and where things are located. While many planners know how to measure this, many don’t, and all could benefit from standardizing application to best practice.
To that end, I think we need a working group to develop such a standard, which would clarify topics like how to measure, how to compute, how to present, and what to consider. Let me know if you are interested, and I will add you to a mailing list to discuss this. I hope there can be a meeting at TRB in DC in January.
There should be a peer reviewed journal, named JRNL, aimed at short pieces of empirical research, without long contextualizing theoretical narratives or literature reviews.
— David M. Levinson (@trnsprtst) September 8, 2018
- Journal Name: Transport Findings
- Open Access. Flat $50 fee payable on submission (with no guarantee of acceptance) and $50 payable on acceptance. This filters the cranks, covers limited typesetting, article charges, hosting, etc. See Scholastica website for their costs, (the platform looks good for this) if I read it right, this price would more or less cover fixed costs if we had 50 articles per year. This handbook is also of interest
- Maximum word count of 1000 (including References). Maximum Figure count of 3, Table count of 3.
- The new journal would not be affiliated with existing journals (this creates confusion on the part of authors and reviewers).
- Peer Review by 1 Reviewer drawn from the Editorial Advisory Board. (We add to the EAB if we cannot find someone who can review the article). Everyone who has reviewed in the past 3 years stays on the EAB. The Review should be done in 1 month. So while the Review is anonymous, the reviewers overall are all known.
- Articles must be either New Question, New Method, New Data, or New Finding (i.e. it can almost exactly replicate a previous study and find something different), or some combination of the above.
- The acceptance test is whether it satisfies the above and appears scientifically correct (no obvious mistakes/flaws) and replicable, and quality of English.
- The journal has Accept/Reject decisions only. (Obviously people can submit again if they want to change the manuscript, however NEW submission, NEW reviewer, NEW fee). Acceptance Letters can add some minor comments. No Revise & Resubmit.
Scope: Findings in the broad field of transport
All data must be publicly available if possible (goes to replicability, caveats for personally identifying information)
No special issues, themes, or anything like that, the journal is basically just a list of peer-reviewed short articles in reverse chronological order.
There is a standard template for article submission, (I would say a web form, but that can’t handle equations, figures, or tables well). something like
Comments on Twitter, I guess.
Now I am not thinking I should run this journal (I already have my hands full), but that it should exist. I am happy to help if someone has the energy to organize it. It should be fairly straight-forward and mostly self-organizing to the point of being self-sustaining, but it does need an initial investment of energy to get there.