Substack

Most of my new writing will be over on Substack … So, if you don’t already, follow me over there, as this blog becomes static, frozen in time.

You can find the new RSS feed at https://transportist.substack.com/feed .

A bifurcation of the peak: New patterns of traffic peaking during the COVID-19 era

Recently published:

  • Gao, Yang and Levinson, D. (2022) A bifurcation of the peak: New patterns of traffic peaking during the COVID-19 era. Transportation. [doi]

This paper analyzes the emergence of two well-defined peaks during the morning peak period in the traffic flow diurnal curve. It selects six California cities as research targets, and uses California employment and household travel survey data to explain how and why this phenomenon has risen during the pandemic. The final result explains that the double-humped phenomenon results from the change in the composition of commuters during the morning peak period after the outbreak.

Traffic flow diurnal curve of Los Angeles in 2020
Traffic flow diurnal curve of Los Angeles in 2020

EVs in Australia

The Daily Mail posts an article with this needlessly antagonistic headline: How Australian taxpayers will need to spend BILLIONS to transition from petrol and diesel to electric cars (which start at $47k for a VERY basic model) – as the ACT pushes ahead with a BAN on combustion engines by 2035 .

Contra the headline, the article itself is not bad.

My quotes:

Professor Levinson estimated the current infrastructure should be able to handle a market share above 20 per cent, given most cars will be charged at home.

‘This is not going to be a sudden crisis,’ he said. 

Professor David Levinson, an American civil engineer and transportation analyst at the University of Sydney, said the federal government’s lack of commitment to the electric vehicle market was ‘disappointing’.

‘Given the potential abundance of renewables in Australia, this is disappointing, but the government has made few efforts to accelerate EV uptake with tax breaks or higher fuel or petrol car purchase taxes, and the previous government was talking down EVs as recently as the 2019 campaign,’ he said of Mr Morrison’s tenure.  

… 

Professor Levinson said he expects lower cost EVs to enter the Australian market in the coming years.

‘As the price of batteries drop, we would expect lower cost car-sized EVs to enter the market in Australia as they have in other countries. That will naturally increase market uptake,’ he said.

‘Inflation will raise the cost of everything, but the relative higher price of EVs should diminish, and Bloomberg expects a crossover point in a few years when EVs are less expensive that petrol cars.’ 

Professor Levinson believes Australia need to do more to combat the country’s ‘large share of carbon emissions’ and commit to electrifying its roads. 

‘Converting new cars purchases to electric takes out tailpipe emissions. But old cars will remain on the road for years,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘It will take about 20 years to turn over nearly the entire fleet from the point that almost all new cars are EVs (around 2030), without government incentives or mandates.’

Some additional points:

  1. Australia is slow in EV uptake compared to peer nations. Almost all of Norway’s new cars are EVs now (https://cleantechnica.com/2022/05/04/norways-april-ev-market-share-at-84-fleet-share-at-23/).
  2. There are 2600 petrol stations in New South Wales (https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/~/media/EPA/Corporate%20Site/resources/clm/2008552ServStations.ashx) So long as electric vehicle range is similar to petrol vehicle range, we would expect that public charging stations should have a similar number. But EVs have the advantage that they can slow charge at many people’s houses, so there might not need to be quite as many. 
  3. EVs should be defined to include e-bikes, small golf cart sized vehicles, as well as replacements for people’s cars and Utes. So there is already a wide range in price, but yes, as the price of batteries drop, we would expect lower cost car-sized EVs to enter the market in Australia as they have in other countries. (The Kia Soul EV is available in Norway, e.g., though still more expensive than the petrol version in Australia )  And that will naturally increase market uptake. (Inflation will raise the cost of everything, but the relative higher price of EVs should diminish, and Bloomberg expects a crossover point in a few years when EVs are less expensive that petrol cars).
  4. The infrastructure should be able to handle a market share above 20% EVs, most EVs will charge at home, most EV homes will have rooftop solar, and most houses will have batteries. Particularly as more storage for renewables comes online (for example, Snowy 2 begins to come online in 2025), this is not going to be a sudden crisis.
  5. The transition to EVs which will happen despite government policies not because of them. (Though government could make this easier or harder). As the transition continues demand for fuel will drop, so there should be plenty of market supply available, but a government serious about Net Zero would tax fuel at a higher rate than present to lower demand. 

Dr. Bahman Lahoorpoor

Bahman Lahoorpoor

Congratulations to Dr. Bahman Lahoorpoor for “satisfying the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney.”

Thesis Title:  “Terraces, Towers, Trams, and Trains : Examining the Growth of Sydney using Empirical Models and Agent-based Simulation

Lead Supervisor: Professor David Levinson.

Abstract: Transport networks and land use are inter-dependent. This joint co-development process of infrastructure and building location is often theorised to be a positive feedback cycle: transport infrastructure produces accessibility that induces land development, which induces transport demand and increases accessibility, increasing the production of transport networks (i.e. inducing supply) and further intensifying land development. In Chapter 2 we investigate the critical elements of this dual connection between land use and transit. Sydney as a good example of a rapidly developing city, had public railway transport services beginning in the 1850s, which facilitated and responded to the development of suburbs. Chapter 3 explains how the historical railway network, including trams and trains, and historical population data are collected and digitised. A series of network characteristic measures and a metric for characterising the population distribution are also presented. In Chapter 4 we test whether trams expanded accessibility relative to buses by comparing the services provided by historical trams, the replaced bus services, and the remaining train and light rail networks. We compare 1925, when the tram system was at its peak, and 2020. In Chapter 5 we investigate the theory of interaction between land use and the transit network. We investigate the direct and indirect links between land development and transit investments using the concept of accessibility. We develop an empirical model to capture the Greater Sydney area’s historical evolution of land use and public transit networks. In Chapter 6 we develop a simulation framework to replicate the growth of railway networks by given exogenous historical evolution in land use. The framework is an iterative process that includes five consecutive components including environment loading, measuring access, locating stations, connecting stations, and evaluating connections.

Publications by Bahman Lahoorpoor include:

  • Lahoorpoor, B. and Levinson, D. (2022) In Search of Lost Trams: Comparing 1925 and 2020 Transit Isochrones in Sydney. Findings, March. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, B., Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., and Levinson, D. (2022) Access-oriented design? Disentangling the effect of land use and transport network on accessibility. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, B., Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., and Levinson, D. (2022) Prioritizing active transport network investment using locational accessibility. TeMA – Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment (in press)
  • Rayaprolu, H., Wu, H., Lahoorpoor, B., and Levinson, D. (2022) Maximizing Access in Transit Network Design. Journal of Public Transportation. 24. [doi]
  • Wang, Yingshuo, Lahoorpoor, B. and Levinson, D. (2022) The Spatio-temporal Evolution of Sydney’s Tram Network Using Network Econometrics. Geographical Analysis. [doi]
  • Lahoorpoor, Bahman and Levinson, D. (2020) Catchment if you can: The effect of station entrance and exit locations on accessibility. Journal of Transport Geography. 82, 102556. [doi] [full report]

Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).

Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).
Sydney FAST 2030: A Proposal for Faster Accessible Surface Transport (FAST).

Compared to comparably-sized cities in North America, Sydney does very well on Public Transport (Transit), with a pre-Covid 26% transit commute share. Compared to cities in Europe or Asia, it does poorly, indicating significant room for improvement. 

Much of that difference has to do with wealth and space. Despite the complaints,  Sydney is rich (money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does grow in rocks), so most families have cars. Sydney is also far less concentrated than cities in Europe or Asia, so distances are more amenable to the automobile and less to public transport, and the accessibility indicators show that.

Still, it’s clear more can be done.

There have been a forest of expired plans for public transport in Sydney. There are more plans still in the works. They almost entirely focus either on Trains (and especially Metros), or on specific lines that a particular party is pushing. But a detailed comprehensive look at the layer below the trains is missing.

I believe that removing rather than recapitalising most of Sydney’s Tram network was a mistake, and the evidence of Melbourne’s popular Tram service is as close to case-control comparison you can find in this field. Sydney has higher transit mode share than Melbourne, but that is because the Trains are so much better (higher frequency), not because people like the buses better than the Trams.

Still, that does not mean the trams should all be put back. First, Sydney cannot build everything on the historic maps, at least not all at once, even Chinese Metros have been built over phases. Even more significantly, you do not want to:

  1. It may have been overbuilt. Many historic tram lines were abandoned fairly early, indicating the proponents missed their mark.
  2. We have to prioritise. Some things are more important than others, or have a higher benefit/cost ratio. 
  3. Conditions have changed. The places where historic trams were built may not warrant tram service today because the land use has changed, and of course because people’s travel preferences have changed with the widespread introduction of the automobile, the broader train network, and telecommunications and other technologies. 

I have been thinking about a “blank slate” redo of Sydney surface public transport (buses and trams). This is something the Government could do in a decade if they applied themselves.

You can see a detailed version in Google Maps here. You will need to zoom out, as it centers on the Liverpool CBD (the geographic center of the region). As always feedback is welcome.

Extending the LRT System

The Figure below shows the Existing, Under Construction, and the Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal LRT Lines. 

Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Proposed LRT Lines, Existing LRT and BRT,  and Under Construction LRT.
Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Proposed LRT Lines, Existing LRT and BRT, and Under Construction LRT.

Design Principles

  1. History: The routes on the historic maps were reasonable starting points, they knew what they were doing and often reshaped the landscape to fit trams, and the human landscape reshaped to adapt to tram corridors. Trams added access.
  2. Comport: The new lines should comport with their environment and take almost no existing buildings, but instead use existing street space as much as possible, especially former tram lines, as well as former rights-of-way where appropriate. 
  3. Significance: We want to connect places that were significant 100 years ago because they are most likely to be significant 100 years from now, lines should follow historic RoW.
  4. Directness: Routes should proceed in a fairly direct (non-circuitous) routes between the origin and destination.
  5. Parsimony: We should have a few core lines with a maximum of one split (two branches) at either end. The branches can be numbered differently (L2 vs. L3), but they share a core. Spurs with high frequency can be used if branching becomes a problem.
  6. Complementarity: All lines should complement existing higher capacity public transport (Trains and Metro), not substitute for them. (Net riders on Trains and Metro should increase after the LRT opens)
  7. Terminals: Lines should start and end at key transfer points (e.g. a Train Station) or destinations (e.g. the Beach)
  8. Gap-filling: Lines should serve areas that are today underserved, even if it violates the above (e.g. Lane Cove)
  9. Rebalance Movement and Place: Motorway construction allows us to repurpose roads that presently have a conflict between Movement and Place function (Parramatta Road, King Street/Princes Highway, Military Road)
  10. Reconcentration: The collection of new lines (these plus that already committed) should serve all areas of the built up parts of Greater Sydney, and support infill (and brownfield) development rather than speculative greenfield development. 
  11. Exclusivity: The designs assume LRT to get high ride quality on exclusive tracks with lower operating costs. These are not classic trams that shared space with roads.
  12. Frequent: Most lines are served by single (articulated) car (L1), at a high frequency rather than fewer but longer trains (L2) at low frequency. 
  13. Electrical: Electric powered, electricity delivered by wire (more efficient than battery storage)

Proposed LRT Lines

The Proposed Lines are discussed below:

  1. L1sx: (Red) L1 Southern Extension: Central to Green Square and Mascot via Elizabeth and O’Riordan, Rationale: Serves existing high density areas and potential redevelopment sites. Elizabeth and O’Riordan are most feasible for Tram services due to Street widths among parallel routes and centrality. Provides capacity relief for T8 service, as well as serving areas in between the far-spaced stations. FAST Buses would serve parallel routes.  Extends L1 to maintain balance of flows (not split CBD frequencies too much on L2/L3, single car trams appropriate for this street running service. (~5.8 km)
  2. L2/L3liz: (Dark Blue) Elizabeth Street: Relocate the L2 and L3 on the eastern side of the Sydney CBD from George Street to Elizabeth Street (Phillip Street), and then circle around to George St. Rationale: Provides service to Eastern CBD via Tram (currently missing), allows George Street to serve L2 and L3 western extensions.
  3. L2ex: (Light Blue) Coogee Extension: Extends L2 from Randwick through The Spot to Coogee Beach. Rationale: Connect to a popular beach from the CBD without a transfer
  4. L2wx: (Light Blue) Broadway – Wolli:   This line takes over the George Street LRT (which meets (and through runs with) the Elizabeth Street LRT. At Central it proceeds west along Broadway, South along City Road, down King Street in Newtown, down Princes Highway, to Wolli Creek. Rationale: Provides high capacity services to part of University of Sydney (Camperdown) currently without rail service, Newtown. It has the potential to pedestrianise King Street in Newtown (like George Street in the CBD)  by terminating City Road at Carillon Avenue and terminating Prince’s Highway at Sydney Park Road, which should be now feasible in a post-WestConnex world.
  5. L3ex: (Dark Blue) Little Bay Extension: Extends L3 along Anzac Parade from Kingsford through Maroubra to Little Bay
  6. L3wx (Dark Blue) Broadway – Five Dock: The line splits with the L2wx line and runs along Parramatta Road to Norton Street in Leichhardt, and turns West at Marion, to proceed through Haberfield to Five Dock, where it terminates at a Metro Station.
  7. L4: (Green) Oxford Street/Victoria Road:  From West to East: West Ryde, via Top of the Ryde, Gladesville, Huntley’s Point, Drummoyne (assumes A40 tunnel under Drummoyne), Rozelle, sharing the existing L1 line (Alt: take two lanes from the Anzac Bridge), Museum, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Woollahra, Bondi Junction  to Bondi Beach
  8. L5: (Purple) North-South: Wynyard to Northbridge via Harbour Bridge, North Sydney, Cammeray to Northbridge. This project restores Tram service to Wynyard Station and the Harbour Bridge, providing local services to North Sydney, and enabling interchanges with regional Trains and Metro services.
  9. L6: (Purple) Wynyard to Lane Cove via Pacific Highway. Sharing track with the L5, it branches to provide local services on the dense Pacific Highway corridor and connecting with the historic regional center of Lane Cove, which is in an area underserved by rail.
  10. P1nx: (Orange) Castle Hill Extension: (Female Factory through Baulkham Hills to Castle Hill)
  11. P1ex: (Orange) Camellia Service (Rosehill – Camellia – Silverwater – Newington – Olympic Park)
  12. P2nx: (Orange) Epping Extension (Carlingford to Epping). Extends Parramatta LRT Phase 2

Creating a Rapid Bus Network

Sydney FAST 2030  Proposal: Rapid Bus Lines. 
Sydney FAST 2030 Proposal: Rapid Bus Lines. 

Buses have not received the attention they deserve. We could do much better with buses than we actually do, but elite projection (elites can imagine themselves riding trains but not buses) is hard to overcome, so buses are regarded as inferior to trains for reasons that mostly have to do with how we use buses in the system, rather than the technology itself.  [Recognising that the ride quality of buses on streets is not as high as trains on exclusive rights-of-way]. This vision for Rapid Buses is not T-Ways (on exclusive rights-of-way) everywhere, but more akin to the Arterial Bus Rapid Transit services that Metro Transit in Minnesota provides. (You can see a nice video about the service). In short, buses are the workhorse of the public transport system, and need more attention to make them as excellent as possible.

Principles

  • Gridded: We should design a Grid-like network, so that people can get to their destination with at most one-transfer. I don’t think this actually holds because of an inconvenient river. All of the proposed V-Lines stop south of the Parramatta River. Rail service north of the River is good, the B-Line already exists (which can be thought of as V-01), and the proposed LRT extension above are fairly comprehensive, so the areas north of Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River get more H-Lines and no V-Lines. The existing Railroad rights-of-way present another barrier, as there are few surface street crossings of the lines, those are taken advantage of where possible, but wind up distorting the network from an idealised grid. (See Bambul’s post for a similar idea with a slightly different implementation or my earlier version focusing on Inner Sydney.)
  • Directness: We should minimise bus circuity for these routes (there can be other minor routes after these are fixed, I won’t bother with that here), so that travelers are not riding all over creation as the bus operator seeks a few extra passengers or to meet some arbitrary standard about distance to the nearest bus stop. 
  • Complementarity: Routes should complement not compete with existing Train, Metro, LRT, BRT routes. So even when there are bridges over the Parramatta River, they are already served by existing rail lines, so the principle of complementarity reduces the ability to provided continuous V-Line services from the south to the north, relying instead on transfers. This proposal assumes everything under construction and budgeted will be built (major Motorways, Metros, etc.)
  • Feasibility: The cost should relatively minimal (achieving High Return on Investment), so essentially no new roads, bridges, and so on, are built for the bus routes, and a minimum number for the proposed  LRT links.

The services are gridded, so they are divided into H-Lines and V-Lines. Specific lines are itemised below.

H-Lines

Shown in pale blue, East-West or Horizontal (“H”) Lines (always even numbers, major lines end in 0, lowest numbers in the North, highest in the South)

  • H10: Parramatta – Eastwood – Macquarie Park
  • H20: Chatswood – Cremorne – Mosman – Manley
  • H30: Crows Nest – Cremorne – Mosman – Taronga
  • H40: Guildford – Lidcombe – Olympic Park – North Strathfield – Concord – Canada Bay – Drummoyne – Birkenhead
  • H50: Bonnyrigg – Cabramatta- Yagoona – Chullora – South Strathfield – Enwood – Burwood Heights – Croydon – Haberfield
  • H60: Bankstown – Belfield – Ashfield – Leichhardt – Annandale – Glebe – Usyd – Redfern – Surry Hills – Moore Park – Waverly – Bronte
  • H64: Stanmore – University of Sydney – Redfern – North Waterloo
  • H68: St Peters – Randwick – Clovelly
  • H70: Liverpool – Canterbury – Dulwich Hill – Petersham – Enmore – Newtown – Alexandria – Green Square – Kensington (via Old Canterbury Road)
  • H80: Bardwell Park – Earlwood – Marrickville – Enmore – Newtown – Erskineville – Alexandria – Green Square – Kensington – Coogee
  • H90: Sydenham – Mascot – Rosebery – Eastlakes – Kingsford – South Coogee – Maroubra
  • H100: Revesby – Padstow Heights – Beverly Hills – Bexley – Arnclife – Kyeemagh – Botany – Pagewood – Eastgardens – Maroubra – Maroubra Beach

V-Lines

Shown in light purple, North-South or Vertical (“V”) Lines (always odd numbers, major lines end in 5, lowest numbers in the East, highest in the West)

  • V03: Bronte – Vaucluse – Watson’s Bay
  • V05: Rose Bay – Double Bay – Eastcliffe – Randwick – Maroubra
  • V11: Botany – Eastlakes – Rosebery – Zetland
  • V13: Potts Point – Zetland – Green Square – Mascot – Botany – Malabar
  • V15: Botany Road – Circular Quay – The Rocks – Barangaroo – Redfern – Green Square – Botany – Pagewood – Eastgardens – Maroubra
  • V21: St Peters – Waterloo Metro – Redfern
  • V23: White Bay – Annandale – Stanmore
  • V25: Balmain – Leichhardt – Petersham – Marrickville – Sydenham – Wolli Creek – Miranda
  • V29: Dulwich Hill LRT – Earlwood – Bardwell Park
  • V31: Summer Hill – Hurlstone Park
  • V35: Abbotsford – Five Dock – Croydon – Canterbury – Bardwell Park – Banksia
  • V41: Bexley – Rockdale – Brighton-Le-Sands – Kogorah
  • V45: Sans Souci – Carlton – Bexley North – Cabarita
  • V47: Mortlake Spur 
  • V55: Ramsgate – Allawah – Bexley – Kingsgrove – Belmore – Strathfield
  • V65: Carrs Park – Hurstville – Beverly Hills – Wiley Park – Flemington
  • V67: Penshurst – Lakemba – Greenacre – Chollura – Lidcombe – Olympic Park
  • V71: Mortdale – Riverwood – Punchbowl
  • V73: Padstow – Bankstown – Yagoona – Regent’s Park – Auburn
  • V75: Rose Hill – Sefton – Revesby
  • V85: Parramatta – Merrylands – Chester Hill to Panania
  • V95: East Hills – Villawood – Fairfield – Westmead

Physical geography is always a factor. Because of the width of Sydney compared to the height, there are more V-Lines than H-Lines. Also, based on the principle of non-redundancy, more vertical bus routes are provided, as there are more existing and under construction horizontal train lines.

Note this service stops in Liverpool, as the areas west are not developed yet. We have ideas about that, and I am currently doing work in the area, so will abstain.

If any of these H- or V-Lines are successful, they can of course be upgraded, and as the physical rail network changes, one expects these lines will evolve as well, taking advantage of the flexibility offered by buses. I have not conducted a formal accessibility analysis of this FAST network proposal, but if you are interested in funding something, find me.

This vision is essential if public and active transport are to be the preferred choice for most Sydneysiders, which is critical for achieving the environmental goals of eliminating CO2 emissions.

Transportist: July 2022

News or Opinion: You Decide

  • Why the return to the office isn’t working — This is a fundamental problem, especially between organisations. When in the office I am Zooming with people across the hall because the third person isn’t showing up. Students in Sydney are attending the Zoom version of Hybrid/Flexible (Hyflex) classes rather than attending in person as they are supposed to. This is a problem for teaching in that many good in-person class activities don’t work if critical mass is not attained. The stable Nash equilibrium without a mandate/subsidy for going to the office or school is that nearly everyone works or studies from home. This is reinforced by our general acceptance of covid and flu as a normal part of life, (rather than trying for elimination), but with “the out” that no one mustphysically attend anything, so it becomes the universal excuse for WFH (available both to people with and without illness, as no one can prove anything).

Twitter avatar for @I_Am_NickBloomNick Bloom @I_Am_NickBloom Returning all WFH employees to the office 5-days-a week looks almost impossible – Firms pushing 5 day returns see <50% compliance – Firms pushing 4 days or less see >80% compliance Firms should aim for something moderate and succeed, rather than aim for a 5-day return and fail

Image

June 8th 2022 61 Retweets 146 Likes

Prezos

In Australian English, perfectly functional, but needlessly long words are often shortened or replaced. A mail carrier is a postie, an electrician is a sparky, trash collectors are garbos, the relatives are relos, and so on. I am not clear on the rule about why a particular shortened word takes the “-ie” (or -”y”) or “-o” ending. A presentation is a prezo. (Arguably it might be a prezzie, but that is a piece of software. The zed might be an s.) The following are some upcoming prezos. heroJuly 2 I will be at an online Public forumTraffic signals and how small improvements can make walking a whole lot faster and better.ABOUT: Prof David Levinson, founding president of WalkSydney and Professor of Transport Engineering at the University of Sydney gives a fascinating speech about traffic signals. In Sydney, traffic signals give priority to motor vehicles over pedestrians. This inequality undermines many of the stated goals of transport, health, and environmental policy.

  • DATE: Saturday 2 July 2022 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM (UTC+10)
  • LOCATION: Online event access details will be provided by the event organiser to registered participants.

July 5 and 6 I will be giving virtual guest lectures at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu.

July 7 I will be presenting in person at the UDIA NSW Young Leaders Committee.

July 22 I will be presenting in person at the AITPM National Conference in the session: Planning for future-focused cities using a variety of data and modelling techniques

Sept 14 I will be presenting in person at: Reducing Australia’s Transport Emissions, Sydney 14th September 2022Exploring evidence based solutions to reduce Australia’s fastest growing source of emissions

Maybe I will see you there.

Research

  • Wang, Haotian, Emily Moylan, and David M. Levinson. 2022. “Prediction of the Deviation between Alternative Routes and Actual Trajectories for Bicyclists.” Findings, June. https://doi.org/10.32866/001c.35701.

ABSTRACT: This study estimates a panel regression model to predict bicyclist route choice. Using GPS trajectories of 600 trips from 49 participants in spring 2006 in Minneapolis, we calculate deviation, the average distance between alternative routes and actual trajectories, as the dependent variable. Trip attributes, including trip length, Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT), the number of traffic lights per kilometer, and the percentage of bike trails and separated bike lane, are included as independent variables. F-tests indicate that both fixed entity and time effect panel regression models offer better fits that the intercept only model. According to our results, routes with shorter length and higher share of bike trails tend to have less deviation in their trajectories. Traffic lights per km, VKT, and share of bike lane are not significant at 95% confidence level in this data set.

  • Loyola Borja, Miguel, Nelson, J., Clifton, G., and Levinson, D. (2022) The relation of visual perception of speed limits and the implementation of cycle lanes – a cross-country comparison. Accident Analysis and Prevention. Volume 174, September 2022, 106722. [doi]

ABSTRACT: Speed plays a key role in road safety research. Recent studies have indicated an association between speed limits and driving behaviour. However, less attention has been paid to the role of context in the perception of speed limits, and the way cycle lanes influence this perception. This study examines how respondents in different countries of residence perceive speed limits, and how cycle lanes influence their perception of speed limits. An online survey provided quantitative data for a cross-country comparison from 1591 respondents in Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The findings show that country of residence influences the way speed limits are perceived, and cycle lanes are interpreted distinctly. In locations where cycle lanes are common, they act as indicators of either lower or higher speed limits, while in countries with less familiarity with cycle lanes respondents associate cycle lanes only with lower speed limits. Suggesting a safer and broader understanding of cycle lanes where they are familiar (the Netherlands) and a narrower understanding where cycle lanes are not common (Australia and the United Kingdom), this study provides evidence for policymakers explaining resistance to implementing cycle lanes and implies that implementing lower speed limits and cycle lanes are a road safety measure. Suggestions are identified for future research.

Research by Others

Follow-Up

GW Writes:

I continue to enjoy reading your newsletter, which has some great insights. I liked your recent article on tradeoffs (“Towards Zero”). However, I thought you might be interested to know that in this particular case your terminology use — equating CBA with “business case” (highlighted below) — is different from the UK and US uses of the business case concept.The UK’s transport appraisal guidance on business case analysis positions it as something separate from CBA — as a qualitative process to cover broader, strategic considerations beyond what is covered in CBA (covering things like equity, distribution and place-based impacts).  And recent work in the US by APTA and AASHTO committees has extended the UK view of business case to quantitative analysis, by defining a concept of “business case ROI” that monetizes the broader strategic business case factors using implied willingness to pay. I think you might be interested to read about the latter (as I worked on it). Here are two links to it. 
New High-Performance Rail ROI Report – American Public Transportation AssociationAASHTO, APTA Issue High Speed Rail Investment Guide – AASHTO Journal

More on Sydney Trains.

The relation of visual perception of speed limits and the implementation of cycle lanes – a cross-country comparison

Recently published:

  • Loyola Borja, Miguel, Nelson, J., Clifton, G., and Levinson, D. (2022) The relation of visual perception of speed limits and the implementation of cycle lanes – a cross-country comparison. Accident Analysis and Prevention. Volume 174, September 2022, 106722. [doi]

ABSTRACT: Speed plays a key role in road safety research. Recent studies have indicated an association between speed limits and driving behaviour. However, less attention has been paid to the role of context in the perception of speed limits, and the way cycle lanes influence this perception. This study examines how respondents in different countries of residence perceive speed limits, and how cycle lanes influence their perception of speed limits. An online survey provided quantitative data for a cross-country comparison from 1591 respondents in Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The findings show that country of residence influences the way speed limits are perceived, and cycle lanes are interpreted distinctly. In locations where cycle lanes are common, they act as indicators of either lower or higher speed limits, while in countries with less familiarity with cycle lanes respondents associate cycle lanes only with lower speed limits. Suggesting a safer and broader understanding of cycle lanes where they are familiar (the Netherlands) and a narrower understanding where cycle lanes are not common (Australia and the United Kingdom), this study provides evidence for policymakers explaining resistance to implementing cycle lanes and implies that implementing lower speed limits and cycle lanes are a road safety measure. Suggestions are identified for future research.

Fig. 1. Images before and after implementing cycle lanes, looking at the opposite side of the street (SOURCE: adapted from Google maps).

Exploring temporal variability in travel patterns on public transit using big smart card data

Recently published:

  • Zhao, X., Cui, M., & Levinson, D. (2022). Exploring temporal variability in travel patterns on public transit using big smart card data. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Sciencehttps://doi.org/10.1177/23998083221089662 [doi]

Abstract

Passengers generate travel behaviours on public transit, whose variations deserve an exploration with an aim to guide daily-updated managements. In this study, we investigate temporal variability in travel patterns for over 3.3 million passengers across 120 days who use public transit in Beijing. Temporal variability is characterized by a series of features in terms of space coverage, travel distance and travel frequency, based on which, passengers are clustered into two types, that is, commuters with daily travel routines, and non-commuters who do not. How, and to which extent, they change travel patterns over time are examined, with using approaches concerning multivariate regression and curve fitting. Results show that, (1) commuters are more likely to travel longer but cover less territory than non-commuters on weekdays, while the opposite patterns occur on weekends. The variation of day of week affects commuters less, compared to non-commuters, due to more fixed schedules, as expected; (2) travel distance and frequency are found to increase faster, more linearly, than space-coverage features, the last of which experience a progressive decreasing of marginal increases before reaching a plateau. The above findings facilitate transport practitioners to design sound management schemes for passengers in different categories.

Time Savings vs. Access-Based Benefit Assessment of New York’s Second Avenue Subway

Recently published:

  • Wang, Yadi and Levinson, D. (2022) Time savings vs Access-based benefit assessment of New York’s Second Avenue Subway. Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis. 13(1) 120 – 147. [doi]

Abstract

Under the current practice of benefit-cost analysis, the direct economic benefits produced by a newly built transit facility are assessed based on how it affects travel time and various costs that are associated with transport needs and travel behavior. However, the time-saving-based benefit calculation approach has been questioned and criticized. Given the strong correlation between accessibility and land value, we propose the access-based land value benefit assessment as an alternative, and apply this assessment method to analyzing the Second Avenue Subway project in Manhattan, New York. The primary principle of the access-based method is that the economic value of a transport project’s intangible gains is largely capitalized by nearby properties’ value appreciation, which is directly caused by improved transport accessibility. We find that: (i) the actual travel time saving is lower than originally forecast; (ii) a strong positive correlation between residential property value and job accessibility by transit is observed; (iii) the appreciation in sold property value and rented property value both far exceed total project cost; and (iv) such results support the decision to approve and construct the Second Avenue Subway.