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Does Street Cleaning Encourage Car Usage?Zhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Street cleaning is often a heated topic due to its impact on street parking, particularly in dense urban neighborhoods. In 2011 in New York City, three bills which aim to reduce street cleaning will be voted on by the City Council. Supporters of these bills assert that street cleaning forces residents to use their vehicles more often, contribute to increased traffic and air pollution. However, there is no evidence to support such argument. The goal of the proposed research is to investigate the impact of street cleaning on travel behavior. Researchers at Wagner Mobility and the Rudin Center hypothesize that households with off-street parking tend to drive less on street cleaning days but households with only on-street parking tend to drive more on street cleaning days. Researchers will conduct a survey in which households will report their travel behavior. Some will report on street-cleaning days, while others (the control group) will report their behavior on non-street cleaning days. The households themselves will decide if they will fill out the travel survey on street cleaning or non-street cleaning day, therefore providing the researchers with a random sample.
Does a Maximum Parking Requirement Reduce Off-Street Parking Supply in LondonZhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Government regulation requires that developers must provide a minimum amount of off-street parking spaces on a particular site. The objective of this regulation is to prevent developers from overexploiting the free on-street parking provided by government. Because this minimum requirement is often set up based on the peak demand over a year, it has often been criticized as over-supplying off-street parking and contributing to increased traffic congestion, auto dependency, urban sprawl, degraded urban space and reduced housing affordability. Those who oppose minimum parking requirements tote maximum off-street parking requirements as an alternative policy which will help remedy the above perceived ills. However, with the exception of a few sporadic studies on individual developments, no communities in the United States have attempted to implement such a regulation. Therefore, scholars have yet to prove that a switch to maximum requirements would eliminate excessive off-street parking. In contrast, London in UK switched from a minimum to a maximum standard after 2000. This research will collect the minimum and maximum requirements from the 33 boroughs in London, the level of government where parking policies are made, plus building permits for new residential developments from 2004 to the present. Researchers will then match the parking requirement to the new development and identify if there is a gap between “actually supplied” and the “maximum requirement”. The goal of the proposed research is to prove or disprove the effectiveness of a maximum parking requirement in eliminating excessive off-street parking.
Metro Map Design and Congestion Mitigation in the Washington DC SubwayZhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
A metro map is a diagram that shows the relative location, length, and direction of stations and lines in a subway system. It often displays a distorted rather than an accurate spatial layout. Such a map should be able to effect passengers’ decisions on which line to choose, path to take, at which station to transfer, and subsequently the performance of a subway system. This research investigates whether different map designs can help shift riders from one line to another, and mitigate the bottleneck problem in the Washington DC subway system. The DC subway system crosses Potomac River at two locations: Rosslyn Tunnel and 14th Street Bridge. Rosslyn Tunnel serves Orange Line and Blue Line and is currently at capacity. However, the planned Silver Line (under construction) will pass Rosslyn Tunnel, which will create a bottleneck at this location. The transit agency, WMATA, intends to shift 30 percent of the Blue line capacity to 14th Street Bridge lines. The proposed study will test an alternative solution that redesigning the subway map, making the 14th Street Bridge path (between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza) appear shorter on the map in order to “mis-guide” riders away from the Rosslyn Tunnel. The various map designs will be shown to recruited participants who will be asked to choose the best path for pre-selected origin-destination pairs. The path choices of the participants in these focus groups will help answer the research question, can a distorted metro map influence passengers’ travel decisions.
Interstate Highway Toll Financing: Saving America from a Road to RuinsMitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
Much of America's highway construction and maintenance is funded by the federal fuel tax, which has not been increased since 1993. This project explores the challenges that lie ahead in highway finance and highlights the strengths of a flexible pricing model on the Interstate Highway System to maintain long term solvency for the highway account.
Information Technology and TransportationMitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
Researchers focus on mobile technology and its relationship and potential relationship to transportation in metropolitan regions. Primary emphasis is given to the various ways new mobile technologies can provide cost efficient solutions to current challenges in transportation, particularly through smartphones and mobile apps, Near Field Communications (NFC), mobile commerce, open data initiatives. Researchers examine issues of wireless and user/developer demographics across major U.S. metro areas in considering how these new technologies may provide solutions to transportation challenges in the United States.
Tracking the Evolution of Manhattan's EconomyMitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
The purpose of this research is to identify changes in the economic makeup of Manhattan's diverse neighborhoods over the past decade, from the Financial District to Washington Heights. Researchers are interested in how these neighborhoods have evolved economically since 9/11 attacks (2002 to 2010). Researchers will explore and determine if the industries that have become the namesakes of certain neighborhoods (e.g. Financial District, Theater District, Meatpacking District, etc.) are still the driving economic force of those neighborhoods today. Further, researchers examine the "clustering" of industries in Manhattan's neighborhoods, and whether neighborhoods are becoming more concentrated or more diversified in economic makeup.
Commuting Patterns in the New York Metropolitan RegionMitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
This research identifies Manhattan workers' commuting trends over the past decade. In order to pinpoint these trends, researchers examine Census data for Long Island, Westchester, the five boroughs and surrounding counties in order to determine where workers live, gauge their commutes and ascertain whether there is a significant "non-local workforce," (those who live outside the region in places such as Boston and Philadelphia). Additionally, researchers examine isolated demographic information such as income level and occupational description when identifying workers commutes and household locations.
Mobile Source of Air Toxics (MSATs) Mitigation MeasuresRae Zimmerman, Professor of Planning and Public Administration
This project is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation with matching funds from USDOT (UTRC). The objectives of this project are to develop proposed procedures for qualitatively and quantitatively analyzing mobile source air toxics (MSAT) impacts in NYSDOT NEPA and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) environmental documents and identify feasible MSAT mitigation measures for NYSDOT capital improvement projects and facilities. The NYSDOT MSAT analysis procedures will be based on the FHWA “Interim Guidance on Air Toxic Analysis in NEPA Documents,” but expanded to be specific to the analyses of transportation projects in New York State. The project will involve consultation with several stakeholders, including the Federal Highway Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH).
Assessing the Performance of Mega-ProjectsCharles Brecher, Affiliated Faculty / Professor of Health & Public Administration
Evidence from numerous Mega-urban transportation projects has aroused international disquiet, not only about the ability to deliver on-time and within budget, but also about the projected range of urban and regional development impacts. Funded in part by the Volvo Research and Education Foundation, this research is part of an international study related to mega-projects in several different European, Asian, and North American countries (coordinated by the Global Centre for Mega Project in Transport and Development in London). This research is aimed better understand the decision and planning processes, and evaluation metrics related to transportation mega-projects. The Rudin Center has been asked to develop three case studies from the United States that will eventually be compared to studies from nine other countries, resulting in a total of 30 case studies over the course of five years. The first case study for the U.S. team will be AirTrain JFK. Two other projects being considered are the Alameda Corridor in California and I-15 in Utah. These case studies offer a unique opportunity to participate in a global forum of best practices in the fields of transportation and sustainable development.
Communities Developers and Residents: Rethinking Residential Parking Policies in the USZhan Guo, Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Assessment of the Economic Impact of 3 HeliportsMitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management
Are Land-use Planning and Congestion Pricing Mutually SupportiveZhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Congestion pricing and land use planning have been proposed as two promising strategies to reduce the externalities associated with driving, including traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. However, they are often viewed by their proponents as substitutive instead of complementary tools. Using data from a pilot mileage fee program run in Portland, OR, researchers explored whether congestion pricing and land use planning were mutually supportive in terms of reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Researchers examined whether effective land use planning could reinforce the benefit of congestion pricing, and whether congestion pricing could strengthen the role of land use planning in encouraging travelers to reduce driving. VMT data was collected over 10 months from 130 households, which were divided into two groups: those who paid a mileage charge with rates that varied by congestion level (i.e., congestion pricing) and those who paid a mileage charge with a flat structure. Using regression models to compare the two groups, researchers tested the effect of congestion pricing on VMT reduction across different land use patterns, and the effect of land use on VMT reduction with and without congestion pricing. With congestion pricing, the VMT reduction is greater in traditional (dense and mixed-use) neighborhoods than in suburban (single use, low-density) neighborhoods, most likely because of the availability of travel alternatives in the former. Under the same land use pattern, land use attributes explain more variance of household VMT when congestion pricing is implemented, suggesting that this form of mileage fee could make land use planning a more effective mechanism to reduce VMT. In summary, land use planning and congestion pricing appear to be mutually supportive. For policymakers considering mileage pricing, land use planning affects not only the economic viability but also the political feasibility of a pricing scheme. For urban planners, congestion pricing provides both opportunities and challenges to crafting land use policies that will reduce VMT. For example, a pricing zone that overlaps with dense, mixed-use and transit-accessible development, can reinforce the benefits of these development patterns and encourage greater behavioral changes.
Tube Map and Passenger Path Choice in the London UndergroundZhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Schematic system maps are one of the most visible and frequently checked transit information sources, especially in subway networks. Such diagrams often misrepresent reality and affect the perceived desirability of a path; for example, a map may display a path’s distance as either shorter or longer than it actually is. This raises the question of how, and to what extent, maps effect passengers’ choice among paths? The research focused on path length and compared the map distance with the actual distance (actual travel time). Using the London Underground (LU) as a case study, researchers confirmed that the schematic map affects passenger path choices. LU passengers, including both first-time users and frequent users, often trust the schematic map more than their own travel experience. This suggests a need to revisit all efforts aimed at changing travel behavior through time savings. The map effect may partially explain why Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) often yield modest improvements in travel time savings in public transit. This finding could potentially change the way that passengers and transit agencies look at a schematic map.
Managing World Cities ResearchZhan Guo, Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
Through an objective assessment of walkability which takes into account elements that affects the quality of walking facilities and conditions which make walking safe comfortable and convenient (Centre for Science and Environment 2009) this study is documenting the current conditions of the walking environments in Hong Kong and New York. The secondary objective is to identify areas of improvement for creating more pedestrian-friendly streets. The improvement in the friendliness of roads and streets will benefit all members of the communities.
The Intersection of Urban Form and Mileage Fees: Findings from the Oregon Road User Fee Pilot ProgramZhan Guo, Research Director and Assistant Professor or Urban Planning and Transportation Policy
This research project is sponsored by the Mineta Transportation Institute. Following the State of Oregon groundbreaking mileage-based fee pilot program, researches have examined many facets of the program’s success, including the performance of the technology and ways that drivers changed their travel behavior once they were paying the flat-rate and variable mileage fees rather than a gas tax. One crucial aspect of the behavioral response that remains to be studied, however, is whether people’s behavioral responses to the MBF are correlated with any elements of the urban form around their homes. This research project addresses that question. More specifically, the project explores the following research questions: (1) Do urban form variables correlate with any of the travel behavior changes that participants made in response to the Oregon MBF pilot program? Are such correlations significant even after controlling for household characteristics (e.g. car ownership, household size, median income), personal attributes (e.g. gender, education, and attitudes), and public transit supply (e.g. access, quality, and frequency)?; (2) Which urban form factors are most significant in explaining travel behavior variations?; and, (3) Do the effects of the urban form variables differ under the two different fee structures tested, the flat-rate fee and variable fee with a higher rate during the peak periods?
Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled through Urban Distribution Centers in the New York Metro AreaHyeon-Shic Shin, Project Manager/Research Scientist
In trying to examine options for reducing freight vehicle miles traveled (VMT) this project explores the potential for Urban Distribution Centers (UDCs). The project reviews the current literature related to UDCs and examines three UDCs that have already been developed and discusses the potential applicability of this model to the New York Metropolitan region.
Bus Rapid Transit Peer-to-Peer Exchanges for NACTO Members
With support from the Federal Transit Administration, the Rudin Center is coordinating a series of peer-to-peer exchanges on Bus Rapid Transit for members of the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO). The purpose of this research effort is to provide an opportunity for various large cities around the United States to share information about the BRT and bus running way challenges they face and the solutions that they have developed in response. These practitioner discussions are complemented and supplemented by presentations and advice from outside experts in various relevant disciplines, who help to frame the issues, discuss solutions used around the world, and provide expert opinions on the applicability of various options. The peer-to-peer exchanges are taking place through a series of in-person workshops, in several different cities around the country. This information exchange is being carefully documented by the research team, and will results in a compendium of the discussions, including the options discussed and conclusions reached. In this way, not only do the workshop participants benefit from the discussions, but the process and results of these discussions will be available to other practitioners and researchers.
Assessing the Implementation and Impact of Public Participation InitiativesRogan Kersh, Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (Transportation Participation Pilot Program) this project will assess the implementation and impact of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's efforts to introduce more innovative and meaningful forms of public participation. Like other agencies around the country, NYC's MTA has recently introduced a number of public participation initiatives beyond the legally required minimum. However, the agency is unsure whether its efforts have made any difference, whether it is worth continuing them, whether it should use some of these approaches but not others, and whether it should try other alternatives. The results of the project will be of direct help to MTA and will be enlightening for other agencies as well. More important, perhaps, to other agencies, will be the process by which these public participation efforts are assessed. As part of this research, the Rudin Center is participating in an FTA's TPP coordinated nationwide program, to comparatively assess the key elements that make public participation processes successful. Such an effort will help to elucidate what might work best in various contexts, so that time and monies may be spent most effectively.
Pedestrian Fatalities and Severe Injury Crashes in New York City
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), the sponsor of this project, has identified pedestrian safety and mobility as high priorities and has devoted significant resources to pedestrian safety improvement programs. A variety of safety programs and initiatives have been implemented by NYCDOT over the past fifteen years. Such programs and initiatives appear to have been successful. Despite such improvements in pedestrian safety, pedestrians in New York City are still more vulnerable to motor vehicle-related crashes than those living in other parts of New York State or the United States, because of its unique characteristics in terms of population density, pedestrian volume, and dense urban built environment. Recognizing that a multitude of factors impact pedestrian safety and that these factors may vary not just nationally, but within cities, the NYU Wagner Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, the Center for Transportation Injury Research at CUBRC and State University of New York-Buffalo, the Rensselaer Polytechnic University, and Baruch College, are conducting a joint study aimed at identifying specific locations and means for further improving pedestrian safety in New York City. The goals of the proposed study are three-fold: (1) to identify priority locations for pedestrian safety engineering treatments; (2) to identify priority treatments by location type; and, (3) and to suggest recommendations based on the 5 E's of safety: Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement, Education, and Evaluation.
Pedestrian Safety and Potential High-Risk Groups
Funded by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this study tackles the pedestrian safety issues while specifically addressing the needs and challenges associated with potential high-risk population groups that will be identified in the initial months of the study. Working closed with the current members of National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), as well as several non-NACTO large central cities as appropriate, the goal of the study is to identify the key areas of concern, the potential means for addressing them and the types of policy decisions that would need to be made in order to increase safety for pedestrians in high-risk groups. More specifically, the objectives of this research are to: (1) review related materials on pedestrian safety, with special attention to high-risk populations; (2) collect information about issues, tools, planning methods, and policies for pedestrian safety in large central cities, and to collect available data on pedestrian fatalities and injuries at the city- and facility-level (e.g. school zone and roads) where available; (3) identify high-risk populations and specific safety hazards affecting them through qualitative and quantitative analysis, using the information and data collected in (2); and, (4) suggest tools, recommended practices and performance measures for planning, and policies that would be helpful to improve pedestrian safety for high-risk populations.