An ongoing research project on teens and travel led by Lewis Center Faculty Fellow Evelyn Blumenberg and Lewis Center Director Brian Taylor was referenced in a recent CBS story about declining automobile usage. Blumenberg, Taylor, and their research team find that young Americans today are traveling much fewer miles than previous generations. In support of the study, the CBS article mentions related research indicating that Americans overall are now driving less than in the past. Although the number of total trips taken by Americans rose in 2013, fuel consumption by Americans driving automobiles has declined. The recession, fuel economy, gas prices, and other economic factors appear to be partially responsible for the decline.
The Urban Institute recently released a report co-authored by Lewis Center affiliates Evelyn Blumenberg (Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Urban Planning), Michael Smart (Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and former Lewis Center Post-Doctoral Researcher), and Gregory Pierce (Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA Department of Urban Planning). The report, Driving to Opportunity: Understanding the Links among Transportation Access, Residential Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Housing Voucher Recipients examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants. The principal investigator of the study, Rolf Pendall, Director of the Metropolitan Housing & Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, worked with Professor Blumenberg and her Lewis Center colleagues on the project, which has received attention in The Washington Post and The Atlantic Cities. For more information, click here.
The Lewis Center's Herbie Huff was recently interviewed by NPR for a story on All Things Considered on biking in Los Angeles. Click here to listen to the segment and read more about L.A. Bike Trains, an organization that arranges and guides bicycle commuting groups. Ms. Huff is a research associate at the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and the Institute for Transportation Studies, where she works to bring data and research to bear on the most pressing planning and policy questions facing decisionmakers. She holds a M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and a B.S. in Mathematics and English from Harvey Mudd College. She is a Mayoral appointee to the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee and a board member at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.
The latest issue of Access Magazine is now available online. You can view and download the issue here, or click on the titles below to be taken directly to each article. In this issue: Going Mental: Everyday Travel and the Cognitive Map; Andrew Mondschein, Evelyn Blumenberg, and Brian D. Taylor Driving Down Diesel Emissions; Robert Harley From Fuel Taxes to Mileage Fees; Paul Sorensen SFpark: Pricing Parking by Demand; Gregory Pierce and Donald Shoup Parking Reform Made Easy; Richard Willson The Access Almanac: Vehicular ad hoc Networks - Storms on the Horizon; Amelia Regan
Madeline Brozen, Manager of the Lewis Center's Complete Streets Initiative, delivered a presentation entitled Bicycle Count Data Clearinghouse at UCLA's GIS Day 2013 program at the Charles E. Young Research Library on Wednesday, November 20. The program also featured the following presentations: Looking for Asokan Edicts with GIS - Thomas Gillespie; A Map for the Future: Measuring Radiation Levels in Fukushima, Japan - Yoh Kawano and David Shepard; TextMapper: Visualizing Locations Stored in Bodies of Text - Michael Shin; and Exploring Social Media Users in Los Angeles with SimplyMap - Steven Swartz For more information on the Bicycle Data Clearinghouse project, click here.
Eric Lee, the president of management consulting firm Bennett Midland LLC, visited the Lewis Center this week to present his firm’s innovative work regarding the economic impacts of reallocation of street space in New York City for dedicated bikeways, pedestrian improvements, and bus lanes. Mr. Lee first set the stage by showing pictures of the types of projects considered in the study. Quite dramatic changes, such as parking-protected bikeways and the conversion of parking into pedestrian plazas, have taken place in New York City in recent years. Mr. Lee’s research concerns the question, “Will these changes hurt economic activity?” Mr. Lee’s presentation was an overview of the study methodology and findings. Sales tax receipts provided a direct and impartial measure of economic activity. Mr. Lee’s firm compared sales tax receipts on 11 study corridors with comparison corridors -- chosen by a typology to have similar scale and use -- as well as with borough-wide sales tax data. Only retail and service-oriented businesses were included in the analysis, because these businesses depend upon customer access (whether by private vehicle, bus, bike, or walking). Mr. Lee displayed some examples of graphs showing retail sales tax receipts over the course of the study. [...]
On Sunday, October 19, policymakers and thought leaders from around the country convened in Lake Arrowhead, CA for a three-day symposium on the relationship between technology, data, transportation and land use planning, and the environment. The event, entitled “Smart Technologies, Smart Policies” is the 23rd annual installment in a series of relatively intimate, carefully curated symposia convened by the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. This year, the panels dealt with such questions as: How can the public sector be responsive to the fast-pace and great uncertainty that technological change presents? How are city governments using more data and new technologies to plan and manage transportation systems in innovative ways, from smart parking meters to taxicab GPS to open transit data feeds? What new institutions, regulations, and systems are needed to deal with a changing technological world? To view the entire photo set, please visit our Arrowhead Flickr gallery
In a recent article posted on TheAtlanticCities.com, Evelyn Blumenberg, Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a Lewis Center Faculty Fellow, discusses her research on teens and travel, What's Youth Got to Do with It? Exploring the Travel Behavior of Teens and Young Adults. To view the article, click here.
Professor George Galster, of Wayne State University, visited the Lewis Center this week to present a vibrant summary of his new book, “Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City.” Speaking to a full room of students, faculty, staff and Luskin School guests, Galster offered his insight into how Detroit arrived at its current dysfunctional metropolis. His analytical framework used basic psychological principals to examine how Detroit’s residents quest for securing physical, social and psychological resources contributed to this deterioration. Galster demonstrated this framework with a series of examples, including the “chain of moves” whereby developers continually built new housing on the ever-expanding urban fringes, encouraging residents to persistently purchase a home in a nicer neighborhood than where they currently live. As this cycle continues, the urban core is left to decay, creating an environment where 30% of land is now vacant, leaving dire consequences to the physical and economic environment. He attested this and other rational choices made by individuals, when combined, are collectively irrational. Throughout his talk, Galster demonstrated moving use of language, once describing an abandoned automotive assembly plant as the “fossilized bones of an industrialized dinosaur.” The question and answer session, following an excellent [...]
This October, Dr. Yodan Rofe visited UCLA to present his work developing a model for pedestrian activity in Israeli cities. Speaking to a full audience, he discussed the state of the practice in pedestrian modeling and the goals and results of his work in Israel. Dr. Rofe cited the work of Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, and Jan Gehl as theoretical predecessors. He defined and explained the “spatial configuration approach” to travel modeling, which draws on the work of Hillier and Hanson, who pioneered this concept in 1989 with their book The Social Logic of Space. This approach entails formalizing the street network in a city as a set of links and nodes, and assigning values to these links and nodes based upon various measures of their centrality and connectedness in the network. Dr. Rofe’s work, funded by a national authority in Israel, aims to identify the variables explaining pedestrian volumes in Israeli cities, with a particular emphasis on understanding the movements of children and elderly people. Dr. Rofe’s team conducted pedestrian counts on a representative sample of streets, and then performed a regression analysis to explain pedestrian volumes. His team constructed both city-scale models and neighborhood-scale models, and found that the [...]