ITSLibrary's blog

Some Things Are Changing


Yesterday the move of a portion of our collection to the Annex was completed. The material in the Annex is still accessible by request. High-use material, such as every thing from the Transportation Research Board is available in the library. We are working to update our records in the catalog, so if you need help finding anything don't hesitate to ask.

We've also moved furniture around in preparation for construction this summer. Hopefully that will take place next month, but the date has yet to be finalized. We will let you know as soon as it's scheduled.

Summer Hours will start next week. We'll be open Tuesday through Friday from 1-5 p.m.

Closed 5/8 and 5/9 for moving


The Library will be closed this Tuesday and Wendesday (May 8 and 9) while part of our collection is moved to our new Annex. This is the start of a number changes for the library over the next few months. We'll reopen Thursday with normal hours. If you have any questions or need immediate asistance, email

Thanks for your patience.

Friday Seminar - Celeste Chavis on Analyzing the Structure of Informal Transit Systems


Shuttle Bus Only

This week's Friday TRANSOC Seminar features Celeste Chavis, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, presenting "Analyzing the Structure of Informal Transit Systems."

Through the use of a profit-maximizing continuum approximation model, this presentation systematically analyzes the development and structure of informal transit systems as a function of the network, user, and modal characteristics.  The study examines the evening commute problem along a linear corridor where passengers with a constant trip generation rate at the CBD travel to destinations uniformly distributed along the corridor.  Informal transit drivers who are profit-maximizing will be compared against the traditional case of coordinated, government service that aims to maximize the total welfare. Policies, such as fare regulation and vehicle licensing schemes, will be presented to help rationalize informal transit service using a government-operated service as the baseline.

The seminar will be held in 534 Davis Hall on Friday, May 4, from 4:00-5:00pm. Please join us for a TRANSOC-sponsored Cookie Hour in the ITS Library, 412 McLaughlin Hall, at 3:30pm.


Friday Seminar - Robert Campbell on Failure to Yield: A Framework for Evaluation of Compliance Measures

Traffic Circle Trails

This week's Friday TRANSOC Seminar features Robert Campbell, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, presenting "Failure to Yield: A Framework for Evaluation of Compliance Measures."

In this presentation, we explore the safety problem of drivers violating yield signs in a freeway context. Drivers violating traffic controls is a common problem, and agencies have a collection of strategies that they often use to address the problem. These include increasing the size of the traffic control, adding an advanced warning upstream, installing pavement markings, or using LEDs to capture drivers' attention. As common as these (and other) compliance measures are, however, no research has been done to properly evaluate how they compare in terms of effectiveness.

In cooperation with Caltrans, two different compliance strategies—increasing the size of the control, and adding supplemental pavement markings—were implemented on Interstate 10 in Los Angeles so that the effectiveness of each could be measured in the field. Although our experiments involve yield sign violations, the insights obtained can be adapted to other contexts as well, such as pedestrian crosswalks or turn prohibitions at intersections.

We will explore the outcomes of these two experiments and, using a method we have developed to allow for responsible comparisons of effectiveness, will come to conclusions about the performance of each one. Our analysis offers insights into the mechanisms behind the observed behavioral response that occurs in drivers over time after a strategy is implemented (including what happens in the often-ignored "unstable" or "novelty" phase), which we can then use to inform our assessments of each compliance strategy. Our results will reveal flaws with the conventional before-and-after approach used to evaluate compliance measures, and will show how such errors can be avoided or corrected.

 The seminar will be held in 534 Davis Hall from 4:00-5:00 on Friday, April 27. Please join us for a TRANSOC-sponsored Cookie Hour in the ITS Library, 412 McLaughlin, from 3:30-4:00.


Friday Seminar - Karthik Sivakumaran on Access and the Choice of Transit Technology

MBTA RTS bus 0026

This week's Friday TRANSOC Seminar features Karthik Sivakumaran, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, presenting "Access and the Choice of Transit Technology."

An urban transit system can be made more efficient by improving the access to it.  Efforts in this vein often entail the provision of greater mobility, as when high-speed feeder buses are used to carry commuters to and from trunk-line stations.  Other efforts have focused on the creation of more favorable land-use patterns, as occurs when households within a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) are tightly clustered around trunk stations.  The efficacy of these mobility and land-use solutions are separately examined in the present work.  To this end, continuum approximation models are used to determine the design parameters that minimize the generalized costs to both the users and the operators of hypothetical transit networks.

Though idealized, these assessments furnish useful and very general insights.  They confirm that if transit is accessed slowly on foot, as is commonly assumed in the literature, then the optimal spacings between routes, and between the stations along those routes, are quite small.  This typically places capital-intensive rail systems at a competitive disadvantage with transit systems that feature buses instead.  However, these spacings expand when access speeds increase.  Hence, we show how Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Metro-Rail can become a preferred option for trunk-line service when accessed via faster-moving feeder buses.

By comparison, the influence of altered land use patterns brought by TODs is less dramatic when all users walk to Metro-rail stations.  We find that clustering households around these stations justifies larger spacings between them, but produces only modest reductions in generalized costs.  This is because the larger spacings penalize transit users who reside outside of the TODs.

The seminar will be held at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30! See you here.

Friday Seminar: Anurag Pande presents "Traffic crash patterns: What can we learn from retailers?"


This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar features Anurag Pande presenting, "Traffic crash patterns: What can we learn from retailers?"

 Data mining applications are becoming increasingly popular for many applications across a set of very divergent fields. Analysis of crash data is no exception. Association analysis or market basket analysis is used by retailers all over the world to determine which items are purchased together by consumers. It is then applied to stock items (e.g., Salsa and Chips) close to each other. In traffic safety research based on association rule mining, crashes are analyzed as supermarket transactions to detect interdependence among crash characteristics. The results from the analysis include simple rules that indicate which crash characteristics are associated with each other. Results will be presented from two of research articles in which this application is demonstrated using crash data from the state of Florida.

The seminar will be at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall as usual. Don't miss Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30!


New Global BRT Database

Estação e vermelhão

This week was launched by the Bus Rapid Transit Center of Excellence and EMBARQ. The site acts a clearinghouse for data from BRT systems all over the world. You can see performance indicators by country or city, such as passengers per day, number of corridors, and legth. Check it out and let them know what you think.

Friday Seminar: Shomik Mehndiratta on Sustainable Low-Carbon City Development in China

Shanghai Urban development centre on people's square

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar, which is happening today (4/6), features Shomik Mehndiratta from the World Bank. He will present, "Sustainable Low-Carbon City Development in China."

This talk summarizes the key messages of a recently released book that examines, through the specific lens of low-carbon development, the lessons of the World Bank’s activities related to urban development in China.  Amid unprecedented levels of urban migration, rapidly increasing incomes, double digit annual growth in motorization and expanding city forms, many Chinese cities are already on a high carbon-emission growth path. With China set to add an estimated 350 million residents to its cities over the next 20 years, the case for urgent action is strong.

On one hand, China's cities are already reacting to ambitious commitments their leaders have made to reduce the carbon and energy intensity of the economy and transition to a low-carbon growth path.  The country's current (12th) Five-Year Plan includes, for the first time ever, an explicit target to reduce carbon intensity by 17 percent by the end of 2015. However, the imperative to reduce carbon intensity is only one of many competing priorities for government officials in the midst of unprecedented urbanization, modernization, and economic development.

What are the choices Chinese cities are making?  And what are the implications?  Achievements and challenges to low-carbon city development in China will be discussed with a particular focus on transport, land-use and urban spatial development.

The seminar will be at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall as usual. Don't miss Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30!

Pardon Our Mess....

ITS Library Stacks in Flux

Some big changes are happening here at the ITS Library over the next few months and things are going to get messy. We've started by ripping up the carpet, removing some bookselves, and moving books over to our new annex in O'Brien Hall. While we're processing our collection for the move, finding things on the shelf might be a little tricker, so don't hesitate to ask us for help.

We'll keep you all updated as things keep moving. Thank you for your patience while we transition.

Spring Break!


It might not look like Spring here in Berkeley, but it is Spring Break this week! We have quite a few special projects in the works, so we'll be closed this week to tackle them.

We'll resume normal hours on Tuesday April 3.

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