News 2017-10-30T12:46:37+00:00


Getting Ready For the Rise of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles (AV) are coming, and they are coming faster than we imagined (possibly within the next 5-10 years), but are we ready? AVs have the potential to transform the way people travel, but their impacts on congestion, greenhouse-gas emissions, and travel patterns will largely depend on planning and policy choices. A reoccurring question of concern in this Monday afternoon session was whether a world of driverless cars would be considered heaven or hell in the realm of transportation. Randy Iwasaki, Executive Director of Contra Costa County Transportation Authority (CCTA), showcased the progress CCTA has made with AVs. Under his leadership, CCTA has founded a large connected vehicle (CV) and AV test facility located in Concord, CA (GoMentum Station Program). Among other things, CCTA is exploring how shared AVs like autonomous 12-passenger vans that serve as shuttles to BART and other destinations could complement mass transit to overcome first mile-last mile challenges. Following Iwasaki’s presentation, Prof. Joan Walker, co-director of the [...]

By | November 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Getting Ready For the Rise of Autonomous Vehicles

How Will High-Speed Rail Change California?

California’s High-Speed Rail system isn’t just the biggest transportation project happening in the state right now, it’s the biggest public-works project ever in the history of California. Monday night’s panel, moderated by UCLA Prof. Emeritus Martin Wachs, convened experts to discuss what Californians can expect from this huge undertaking in the years ahead. Wachs began the panel by stressing just how much of a work in progress High Speed Rail is. The overall estimated price tag is $64 billion, and $40 billion of that amount is still uncommitted. In order to save money, the system is being built from the middle out, meaning it won’t serve either of the state’s two main cities for some time. Above all, Wachs noted, “the rules about expending the funds that we have are forcing, in the short run, decisions which are very complex and which are shaping the project in the long run.”As an example of this, Wachs pointed to the legislative mandate [...]

By | November 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How Will High-Speed Rail Change California?

Funding Transportation Through Cap-and-Trade

Sunday night’s panel, “Cap and Trade and the Implications of Stop-And-Go Transportation Funding,” provided a crash course on one of the state’s most innovative funding mechanisms for public transit. Ever since California passed AB32 in 2006, the state’s greenhouse-gas reduction mandates have been some of the strictest in the nation, setting the goal of reducing GHG levels to 1990 levels by 2020, and then reducing them again by 80% by the year 2050. The state-run Cap and Trade program has been a highly publicized part of this process, and because a certain portion of C&T funding is set aside to fund low-carbon transportation, a panel of environmental experts got together to discuss the program’s successes and failures.JR DeShazo of UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation explained the basic structure of the state’s Cap and Trade program: A business needs a permit to emit a ton of carbon, and there is an overall statewide cap on the number of permits that can [...]

By | November 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Funding Transportation Through Cap-and-Trade

Adding Capacity Without Adding Concrete

Traffic congestion is a condition that Los Angeles residents know all too well. But how do we fix traffic? The speakers from Sunday afternoon’s panel offered sustainable and cost-effective solutions, including pricing, policy, and technological solutions, to add capacity to our roads without adding more concrete. The highlight of the session was the study on California’s Road User Charge Pilot Program, discussed by UCLA Professor Emeritus Martin Wachs. Infrastructure is aging, while the funding to maintain infrastructure is shrinking. Revenue from gas tax has declined due to the increasing fuel-efficiency of cars.  Road-user charges offer a new revenue source for the state to fund infrastructure improvements. The California Road User Charge program replaces the current gas tax, in which drivers pay a tax on each gallon of fuel they purchase, with a road-user charge based on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). There are approximately 5000 participating vehicles statewide with a 9-month long demonstration. Interestingly, those who have the most efficient cars [...]

By | November 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Adding Capacity Without Adding Concrete

Obama Administration Tackles Housing Affordability, Cites Lewis Center Scholars

In releasing a Housing Development Toolkit earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development amplified a growing chorus of voices calling for reform to regulations that limit housing production. The report states, “The increasing severity of under-supplied housing markets is jeopardizing housing affordability for working families, exacerbating income inequality by reducing workers’ access to higher-wage labor markets, and stifling GDP growth by driving labor migration away from the most productive regions.” In its opening discussion of the prevalence of local barriers to housing development, the report draws on UCLA Lewis Center scholars several times. First, the report cites PhD alumnus Greg Morrow’s work in a discussion of Los Angeles that is a case study for what local cities should not do. Morrow showed that in 1960, Los Angeles was zoned for 10 million people; after decades of increasingly stringent housing regulations, it is now zoned for only 4.3 million, a figure only slightly higher than the city's [...]

By | September 29th, 2016|Housing, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Obama Administration Tackles Housing Affordability, Cites Lewis Center Scholars

Professor Manville Returns to UCLA

 It is with great excitement that the  UCLA Lewis Center welcomes Mike  Manville back to UCLA Luskin as an  assistant professor of Urban Planning.  Professor Manville received both his  MA and PhD in urban planning from  UCLA in 2003 and 2009 respectively  and afterward served as a post-doctoral  researcher with the Lewis Center.  Professor Manville is coming to UCLA  from the Department of City and  Regional Planning at Cornell University  where he taught courses on traffic  congestion, urban public finance, and  spatial economics from 2011-2016. Professor Manville specializes in two  main areas of research: the relationship between transportation and land use, and local public finance. On the first point, he has conducted research into the costs of parking requirements and the benefits of congestion pricing schemes. On the second point, he specifically studies the willingness of residents to finance public services as well as the tendency of local governments to increase the cost of housing through strict land-use restrictions. Professor Manville [...]

By | August 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Professor Manville Returns to UCLA

A drop in driving, a suburban millennial, and a Lyft Line (DTLA Forum, Part 1)

Can we be confident about the future of public transit, both in Los Angeles and around the nation? On April 27, UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and Institute of Transportation Studies convened professors, policymakers, and administrators to answer this question at the 9th annual UCLA Downtown Los Angeles Forum on Transportation, Land Use, and the Environment. Los Angeles hasn’t had a problem building transit recently, with two major light-rail extensions opening in 2016 alone. But in his opening remarks, ITS Director Brian Taylor noted that “If you build it, they will come” isn’t cutting it anymore. What transit agencies need to ask is, “What happens after you build it?” How can these investments turn into actual riders?The first panel, featuring Prof. Michael Manville of Cornell, Prof. Evelyn Blumenberg of UCLA, and Emily Castor of Lyft, examined transit ridership patterns and demographics in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Manville provided some context for news stories about transit-loving Millennials. For [...]

By | May 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A drop in driving, a suburban millennial, and a Lyft Line (DTLA Forum, Part 1)

If you’ve seen one transit agency, you’ve seen one transit agency (DTLA Forum, Part 2)

If the first part of the “Future of Transit” conference was about cutting-edge research on travel trends and behavior, the next was all about hearing from practitioners about what has worked, what hasn’t, and what is ahead for the industry. The second panel of the day featured representatives from three transit agencies with very different constituencies and challenges. First up was Kurt Luhrsen, VP of Planning for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. The Houston region is famous for its sprawl and car culture, but Luhrsen had an inspiring story to tell about a successful redesign of that city’s bus network.As Houston has opened a number of new light rail lines in recent years, Luhrsen explained that the city has also recognized a need to realign its bus network. In particular, rider feedback on the city’s transit system focused on a need to improve existing service, not just build new services. For many years ridership was falling despite [...]

By | May 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on If you’ve seen one transit agency, you’ve seen one transit agency (DTLA Forum, Part 2)

Women Making Moves: Gender and the Changing Landscape of Transportation

(More photos below the article and on Google Photos). In March, women’s history month, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies convened Women Making Moves: Gender and the Changing Nature of Transportation to celebrate the rise of strong women in the transportation field in Los Angeles, and to elevate the voices of three rising leaders: Lisa Schweitzer (UP Ph.D. ’04), Assistant Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and Chanda Singh (M.A. UP ‘10), Policy Analyst at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. CicLAvia and the LA Cleantech Incubator co-sponsored the event.Herbie Huff (MURP ‘11), Research Associate at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies began the evening by listing some of the many noted female alumni of UCLA’s transportation degree programs. Among them are the current chair of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin, Evelyn Blumenberg (Ph.D. ’95 [...]

By | April 20th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Women Making Moves: Gender and the Changing Landscape of Transportation

Urban Goods Movement Lecture Series: Genevieve Giuliano

(see more photos and Dr. Giuliano's slides below) Dr. Genevieve Giuliano, this year's Perloff Speaker, gave a lecture titled, "Spatial Dynamics of the Logistics Industry in California Metropolitan Areas." This lecture was also part of the Urban Goods Movement Lecture Series, organized by the Lewis Center in partnership with the Community Scholars Program and Center, the UCLA Department of Urban Planning, Labor Occupational Safety & Health Program (LOSH), Downtown Labor Center, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), Institute of Transportation Studies, and Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE).Although dealing with urban sprawl has been an enduring urban planning problem, much less attention has been paid to "logistics sprawl," which is the relocation and deconcentration of logistics facilities such as warehouses outside city centers. The increased distance of the warehouse and distribution (W&D) sector from markets has a negative impact on quality of urban life, causing increased GHG emissions, air pollution, and noise. Some factors that may have changed location patterns include [...]

By | April 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Urban Goods Movement Lecture Series: Genevieve Giuliano