Are Australian Vehicles Getting Bigger?

ABC Radio Sydney called me and asked essentially:

`Are Australian Cars Getting Bigger?’

The short answer is ‘No.’

AustralianNewCarMarket.003

Using data from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries that was once freely available online, and is now behind a paywall, I have produced graphs illustrating the Australian vehicle market.  The data show among the passenger cars: medium, small, light, and micro are all gaining in proportion of passenger cars, rising from half the passenger car market to 83% since 2000.

But

`Are Australian Vehicles Getting Bigger?’

The answer here is ‘Yes.’

As will be no surprise to Australians, or North Americans (See Canada data), the share of Sports Utility Vehicles has exploded since the beginning of the Millennium from about 13% to 39%, and now more SUVs are sold each year than passenger cars.

AustralianNewCarMarket.001

AustralianNewCarMarket.002

This trend, which mirrors that in the US, helps explain Ford’s recent decision to exit most of the passenger car business in the US.

Now 50%  of 70% is 35% (small cars share of all vehicles in 2000) while 80% of 38% is 30% (small cars share of all vehicles in 2017), so the share of small and medium cars of all vehicles is falling. But the total market of vehicles sold in Australia is still increasing from 787,000 in 2000 to 1,189,116 in 2017, and 30% of cars sold in 2017 is more than 35% of cars sold in 2000, so there are still more in terms of total number of small and medium cars sold in 2017 in total than 2000, even if it is a declining share of the market.

The Australian government also conducts a Motor Vehicle Census and just as the number of new cars sold each year rises with population growth, the total number of vehicles is also rising. This differs from the US, which has more or less peaked in cars per capita, and perhaps cars. I graphed this data for NSW for selected years (this data, is also, inconveniently, not in one place)

AustralianNewCarMarket.005

The reason for more SUVs vs. large cars are speculative. That is, why do people now prefer SUVs and not station wagons or big cars? It’s not as if people actually do a lot of off-road driving.

One is the idea of the extreme trip. Sometimes (say once a year or even once a month) a very large car would be useful. So instead of renting the specific vehicle when they want it, SUV-owners buy the vehicle they would use 1% of the their trips (or 0.05% of their time – since cars are only used 5% of the day anyway, and at rest the remainder, sleeping more than even cats), but which is too large 99.95% of the time.

One answer is the car Arms Race. In a taller car, the driver can see farther ahead (drivers are less likely to have their view obscured), which lets tall vehicle drivers anticipate better. It makes drivers feel safer, which they are for themselves, even when they are not for others.

More people are killed because of SUVs and light trucks, in the US, Michelle White estimated in 2004 “For each 1 million light trucks that replace cars, between 34 and 93 additional car occupants, pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists are killed per year, and the value of the lives lost is between $242 and $652 million per year.” Presumably the same logic holds in Australia.

Increasing the mass of vehicles on the road doesn’t do society any favours from an energy consumption, or air pollution perspective either. And of course, larger vehicles use more space, consuming more land in parking lots (which are now often restriped to accommodate more massive vehicles) and roads, where the width of lane consumed by larger cars rises, providing less manoeuvrability for other cars.

With the rise of autonomous vehicles, and especially vehicle sharing, the right sized vehicle will be summonable by app, so when travelers need the specific type of car for a large trip with many people, they can get it. The rest of the time, drivers will be able to use a car fit for purpose, one that holds one person for a one-person trip, and two people for two-person trips, and so on. This opens up the potential for skinny cars, enclosed electric cycles, and many other appropriate vehicles, which take up less road space, making it even easier to improve the environment for other road users, including walkers and bicyclists.

Toyota iRoad one-passenger concept cars, image courtesy Toyota.
Toyota iRoad one-passenger concept cars, image courtesy Toyota.

DEFINITIONS:

Passenger Motor Vehicles Passenger vehicles are classified dependent on size, specification and average retail pricing. Selected vehicle types will be assessed on footprint defined as length (mm) x width (mm), rounded, as follows:
Sports Utility Vehicles Vehicles classified as Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) meet the FCAI criteria for classifying SUV vehicles based on a 2/4 door wagon body style and elevated ride height. Vehicles typically will feature some form of 4WD or AWD, however, where a 2WD variant of a model is available it will be included in the appropriate segment to that model.
Light Trucks Vehicles designed principally for commercial but may include designs intended for non-commercial applications.
Heavy Trucks Vehicles designed for exclusive heavy commercial application.

Car sizes:

Micro Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint < 6,300
Light Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint range 6,301 – 7,500
Small Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint range 7,501 – 8,300
Medium Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint range 8,301 – 9,000
Large Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint range 9,001 – 9,500
Upper Large Hatch, sedan or wagon with a footprint range 9,501 >
People Movers Wagon for passenger usage, seating capacity > 5 people
Sports Car, coupe, convertible or roadster

SUV Sizes:

Light Duty 3,501 – 8,000kg GVM
Medium Duty => 8,001kg GVM & GCM < 39,001
Heavy Duty 8,001kg GVM & GCM > 39,000

Light Truck Sizes:

Light bus < 20 Seats 8+ seats, but less than 20 seats
Light Bus > 20 Seats 20+ seats
Vans/CC <= 2.5t Blind/Window vans and Cab Chassis <= 2.5t GVM
Vans/CC > 2.5–3.5t Blind/Window vans and Cab Chassis between 205 and 3.5 tonnes GVM
Pick-up / Chassis 4×2 Two driven wheels, normal control (bonnet), utility, cab chassis, one and a half cab and crew cab
Pick-up / Chassis 4×4  Four driven wheels, normal control (bonnet), utility, cab chassis, one and a half cab and crew cab

Heavy Truck Sizes:

Light Duty 3,501 – 8,000kg GVM
Medium Duty => 8,001kg GVM & GCM < 39,001
Heavy Duty 8,001kg GVM & GCM > 39,000

An empirical study of the deviation between actual and shortest travel time paths

Recently published

DeviationAbstract: This study evaluates routes followed by residents of the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area, as measured by the Global Positioning System (GPS) component of the 2010/11 Twin Cities Travel Behavior Inventory (TBI). It finds that most commuters used paths longer than the shortest path. This is in part a function of trip distance (+, longer distance trips deviate more), trip circuity (−, more circuitous trips deviate less), number of turns (+, trips with more turns per kilometer deviate more), age of driver (−, older drivers deviate less), employment status (+, part-time workers deviate more), flexibility in work hours (+, more flexibility deviate more), and household income (−, higher-income travelers deviate less). Some reasons for these findings are conjectured.

Author keywords: Global positioning system (GPS); Shortest path; Route choice; Wardrop’s principles; Travel behavior.

The Transportist: June 2018

Welcome to the June 2018 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the blog or on Twitter.

Transportist Posts

Transport News

AVs

According to Uber, emergency braking maneuvers are not enabled while the vehicle is under computer control, to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior. The vehicle operator is relied on to intervene and take action. The system is not designed to alert the operator.

CVs [Connectivity is the opposite of Autonomy]

SVs/Taxis/Car Sharing

EVs [and Renewable Electricity]

HPVs/Bikes/Pedestrians/Scooters/eBikes/etc

HDVs and Roads

Transit

Ferries/Ports/Maritime

Intercity Rail

Land Use

Science

Economics

Justice/Equity

Fantasy

Retail and Logistics

Technology

Technology History

Research & Data

Books

 Accessibility-Oriented Development

Recently published:

Abstract

Access to jobs and the labor force by car within 30 min.
Access to jobs and the labor force by car within 30 min.

Local authorities worldwide have been pursuing transit-oriented development (TOD) strategies in order to increase transit ridership, curb traffic congestion, and rejuvenate urban neighborhoods. In many cities, however, development of planned sites around transit stations has been close to non-existent, due to, among other reasons, a lack of coordination between transit investments and land use at a broader spatial scale. Furthermore, while TOD considers access to transit, it often neglects the access to destinations that is provided by transit.

We contend that accessibility-oriented development (AOD) can overcome these drawbacks of transit-oriented development. The AOD strategy fosters an environment conducive to development by balancing access to both jobs and workers. As such, AOD explicitly considers the connections between TOD locations and destinations that matter, both locally and regionally. Where markets are free to take advantage of accessibility levels, AOD is a naturally occurring process. Planners could therefore use the various tools at their disposal to influence accessibility levels (to jobs and workers) in order to attract urban development in potential AOD areas.

To test the assumptions that guide AOD strategies, access to jobs and workers are calculated in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Canada in 2001 and 2011. Cross-sectional and temporal regressions are then performed to analyze average commute times and urban development occurring across the region. Results show that residents in neighborhoods with high access to jobs and low access to competing workers experience the shortest commute times in the region, while the relationship also holds for changes in average commute times between the studied time periods. In addition, both access to jobs and access to workers are associated with changes in residential, commercial and industrial development: high labor force accessibility is associated with increases in job density, and high access to jobs is related to increases in population density between 2001 and 2011. Planners can thus leverage accessibility as a tool to direct development in their cities and to strategically adjust commute times, thereby realizing the full benefits of planned transit investments.

Keywords: Transit-oriented development; Accessibility; Travel behavior; Land use

A modest solution to the housing problem

Everyone (all the cool kids, anyway) says more housing is the solution to high rents and the urban housing shortage. To be sure, it is “a” solution. I have an alternative solution. Compression. Putting more people in the same number of units. Seriously, we used to have a lot more people living in the same number of housing units, with even less floor space. As a typical example of US cities, the City of Minneapolis once (as recently as 1950) had over 500,000 people, now it’s just over 400,000, in about the same number of housing units.

Double, triple, quadruple up. Living room couches are unproductive resources when everyone’s in a bed. Share the same home as your parents and your grown children, it makes for great TV comedy.

Even more systematically, repeal the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution, conscript the millennials (call it National Service) and post-millennials, declare a war against poverty, and quarter them in existing housing in neighborhoods which won’t build more!

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

If you don’t want more housing, love the housing you’re with, and stop mocking adult children living in the basement of their parents home. People aren’t going away just because you don’t build them houses.

baby-in-drawer-attractive-baby-in-dresser-drawer-1-916-x-606

Dr. Mengying Cui: Full cost accessibility

CuiDefense

Congratulations to soon-to-be Dr. Mengying Cui for successfully defending her dissertation: ‘Full cost accessibility’  at the University of Minnesota campus on 8 May 2018.

Abstract:

Accessibility measures the ease of reaching destinations, and is the product of a function of the cost of travel between two points and the number of opportunities at the destination. That cost is usually represented as individual travel time, and occasionally as time and out-of-pocket monetary costs. Thus, it fails to fully capture travel costs, especially the external costs, of travel. This study develops a full cost accessibility (FCA) framework combining the internal and external cost components of travel with accessibility evaluations, to provide an efficient evaluation tool for transport planning projects.FullCost_10D

The FCA framework includes three major steps: analyzing cost components of travel, proposing new path types, and performing FCA analysis. The cost analysis distinguishes the internal and external costs of travel for alternate cost components and proposes a link-based cost model applied to each road segment in a metropolitan road network. The new path types, including the Safest and Greenest/Healthiest paths, in addition to the traditional Shortest Travel Time and Cheapest (least expensive) paths, are proposed to translate link costs into trip costs by selecting the routes with the lowest cost. For the FCA analysis, we measure the number of opportunities that can be reached in a given cost threshold.

The key cost components for travelers are categorized as time costs, safety costs, emission costs, and monetary costs. The Minneapolis – St. Paul Metropolitan (Twin Cities) region was selected as the study area to implement the FCA framework based on each of those key cost components. Our major findings indicate:

    1. The average full cost of travel is $0.68/veh-km in the Twin Cities region. Time and monetary costs account for approximately 85% of the total. It is unlikely that travelers will shift their route significantly to consider safety and emissions.
    2. Except for the infrastructure cost, highways are more cost-effective than other surface roadways considering all the other cost components, and the internal and full costs.
    3. Most new path types show largely the same spatial distribution as the shortest travel time path. However, the healthiest path, concerning the emission intake cost, detours to exurban areas where the on-road concentrations are lower; the lowest infrastructure cost path detours to local surface roadways where the infrastructure expenses are lower.
    4. Job accessibility measurements based on different cost components show similar spatial distribution patterns. Accessibility decreases with the distance to the downtown area. Slight differences exist depending on the properties of cost components.
    5. Accessibility difference assessment reveals a cost-benefit trade-off showing that travelers will save $0.24/veh-km of full cost on average based on the lowest full cost path rather than the shortest travel time path by paying a time-weighted accessibility loss of 191 jobs.

This dissertation demonstrates the practicability of the FCA framework in metropolitan areas.

Access Across America: Auto 2016

My peeps back in Minnesota released Access Across America: Auto 2016. They write:

This study estimates the accessibility to jobs by auto for each of the 11 million U.S. census blocks and analyzes these data in the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan areas.

Travel times are calculated using a detailed road network and speed data that reflect typical conditions for an 8 a.m. Wednesday morning departure. Additionally, the accessibility results for 8 a.m. are compared with accessibility results for 4 a.m. to estimate the impact of road and highway congestion on job accessibility.

Rankings are determined by a weighted average of accessibility, with a higher weight given to closer, easier-to-access jobs. Jobs reachable within 10 minutes are weighted most heavily, and jobs are given decreasing weights as travel time increases up to 60 minutes.

The report presents detailed accessibility and congestion impact values for each metropolitan area as well as block-level maps that illustrate the spatial patterns of accessibility within each area. It also includes a census tract-level map that shows accessibility patterns at a national scale.

The Transportist: May 2018

Welcome to the May 2018 issue of The Transportist, especially to our new readers. As always you can follow along at the blog or on Twitter.

Thank you to all who purchased Elements of Access and Metropolitan Transport and Land Use in recent months. Copies are still available.

Transportist Posts

 

Transport News

AVs

SVs/Taxis/Car Sharing

EVs

HPVs/Bikes/Pedestrians

HDVs and Roads

Aviation/Space

Transit

Ferries/Ports/Maritime

Intercity Rail

Land Use

Science

Economics

Justice/Equity

Fantasy

Retail and Logistics

Research & Data

Books

 

Cash for Clunkers Goes Thud

By Conor Clarke (The Atlantic) Cash for Clunkers Goes Thud … a critique of the scrappage scheme, and why it is not as bad as it might be, but still not good.