Built Environment Impacts on Individual Mode Choice

Downtown Houston

The built environment has an impact on mode choice. It's a topic ripe for study. In "Built Environment Impacts on Individual Mode Choice: An Empirical Study of the Houston-Galveston Metropolitan Area" by Jae-Su Lee, Jin Nam & Sam-Su Lee examines the built environment and mode choice for the city of Houston, publised in the most recent issues of the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.

This study examines the impacts of the built environment measures based on two geographic scales, i.e., traffic analysis zone and one quarter-mile buffer on individual mode choice in the Houston metropolitan area. It is confirmed that they have significant impacts on mode choice in varying degrees. The models including the buffer-based measures are more reasonable than those with conventional zone-based variables for both home-based work and other trips. Finally, the elasticity estimates suggest the built environments are undervalued in the conventional transportation practices. Both land use and transport pricing measures should be considered complementary to control the demand for driving.

You can read the whole paper here

Friday Seminar: SFpark: A New Approach to Managing Parking

Parking meters...four/five forms of payment

Today's TRANSOC Friday Seminar features Jay Primus talking about SFpark

SFMTA established SFpark to use new technologies and policies to improve parking in San Francisco. SFpark works by collecting and distributing real-time information about where parking is available so drivers can quickly find open spaces. To help achieve the right level of parking availability, SFpark periodically adjusts meter and garage pricing up and down to match demand. Demand-responsive pricing encourages drivers to park in underused areas and garages, reducing demand in overused areas. Through SFpark, real-time data and demand-responsive pricing work together to readjust parking patterns in the City so that parking is easier to find.

This presentation will be an overview of SFpark, a new approach to managing parking that is being demonstrated in San Francisco. We will run through a deep overview of the project’s planning, implementation, and operation, and touch on lessons learned and relevance for other cities.

The seminar takes place from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour commences at 3:30 in the library. See you then!

Closed 11/27-11/29 for Thanksgiving

Wild turkeys on my bike ride in the Oakland hills.

We will be closed Wednesday November 27 through Friday November 29 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means shifts in travel behavior patterns. 

Happy Thanksgiving! See you on Monday, December 2. 

Friday Seminar: Adaptive Optimization Methods in System-Level Bridge Management

Halsted bridge

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar features ITS Berkeley PhD candidate Haotian Liu presenting Adaptive Optimization Methods in System-Level Bridge Management.

An adaptive optimization approach, known as Open-Loop Feedback Control (OLFC), is presented for Maintenance, Repair and Replacement planning of systems of bridge components. The proposed implementation of OLFC in Bridge Management Systems is intended to improve bridge management decision-making and deterioration model learning. The OLFC approach is capable of providing more accurate models than the state-of-the-art methods and yielding system cost-savings over any planning horizon when condition survey data are used to update the bridge component deterioration models. OLFC also enables agencies to consider different model classes when learning deterioration models. To illustrate the desirability of this approach, a planning agency is considered to manage a system of facilities with limited prior knowledge of the deterioration models over a designated planning horizon. OLFC is shown to improve model accuracy and reduce system costs, with a demonstration of how to incorporate system budget constraints when the system is heterogeneous. The discussion is confined to bridge decks, the component of bridge structures that undergoes the fastest deterioration, but the methodology presented in this paper is applicable to all bridge components.

The seminar will take place on Friday November 22, 2013 from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis. Cookie Hour will be taking place as usual in the library at 3:30 PM. 

Book of the Week: ReThinking A Lot


This week's Book of the Week is about parking. Parking lots to be precise. ReThinking A Lot by MIT's Eran Ben-Joseph

There are an estimated 600,000,000 passenger cars in the world, and that number is increasing every day. So too is Earth’s supply of parking spaces. In some cities, parking lots cover more than one-third of the metropolitan footprint. It’s official: we have paved paradise and put up a parking lot. In ReThinking a Lot, Eran Ben-Joseph shares a different vision for parking’s future. Parking lots, he writes, are ripe for transformation. After all, as he points out, their design and function has not been rethought since the 1950s. With this book, Ben-Joseph pushes the parking lot into the twenty-first century.

Parking lots are something everybody has an opinion on. Here's an interview with Ben-Joseph on Marketplace where he discusses the book.  

And of course, you can check out the book from the library

Library Closed for Veterans Day

british cyclists

We'll be closed Monday, November 11 for observance of Veterans Day. We will reopen as regular on Tuesday, November 12 at 1:00 PM. 

Veterans Day commemorates those who have served and began as Armistace Day from World War I. Horses and bicycles were lesser recognized modes of transport during the war. For more stories of bicycles in war, check out this Grist article

Friday Seminar: A statistical process control framework to support health-monitoring

Overseas (Old) Highway Bridge, Missouri & Ohio  Key Channel

This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is all about infrastructure! Pablo L. Durango-Cohen from Northwestern University will talk about structural health-monitoring. 

In this talk, we describe development and field application of a process control framework to support structural health-monitoring and management of transportation infrastructure. The work is motivated by technological advances that allow for continuous, long-term, simultaneous collection of various response measurements, as well as the factors that contribute deterioration. The framework provides an integrated, generally-applicable (to various types of structural response data) statistical approach that links performance modeling and structural health monitoring. The framework consists of two parts: The first, estimation of statistical models to explain, predict, and control for common-cause variation, i.e., changes, including serial dependence that can be attributed to usual operating conditions. The ensuing standardized innovation series are analyzed in the second part of the framework, where we use single and multivariate control charts to detect special-cause or unusual events. We illustrate the proposed framework with analysis of strain and displacement data from the monitoring system on the Hurley Bridge (Wisconsin Structure B-26-7).

The seminar takes place Friday, November 8, 2013 in 534 Davis from 4:00-5:00 PM. Cookie Hour (of course) precedes in the library at 3:30. 

The California Greenhouse Gas Inventory Spreadsheet (GHGIS) Model


A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab was issued last month that presents a new model for California's greenhouse gas emissions. Estimating Policy-Driven Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trajectories in California: The California Greenhouse Gas Inventory Spreadsheet (GHGIS) Model  by Jeffery Greenblatt presents and describes the model which was developed for the California Air Resources Board

A California Greenhouse Gas Inventory Spreadsheet (GHGIS) model was developed to explore the impact of combinations of state policies on state greenhouse gas (GHG) and regional criteria pollutant emissions. Starting from basic drivers such as population, numbers of households, gross state product, numbers of vehicles, etc., the model calculated energy demands by type (various types of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuels, electricity and hydrogen), and finally calculated emissions of GHGs and three criteria pollutants: reactive organic gases (ROG), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and fine (2.5 µm) particulate matter (PM2.5). Calculations were generally statewide, but in some sectors, criteria pollutants were also calculated for two regional air basins: the South Coast Air Basin (SCAB) and the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Three scenarios were developed that attempt to model: (1) all committed policies, (2) additional, uncommitted policy targets and (3) potential technology and market futures. Each scenario received extensive input from state energy planning agencies, in particular the California Air Resources Board. Results indicate that all three scenarios are able to meet the 2020 statewide GHG targets, and by 2030, statewide GHG emissions range from between 208 and 396 MtCO2/yr. However, none of the scenarios are able to meet the 2050 GHG target of 85 MtCO2/yr, with emissions ranging from 188 to 444 MtCO2/yr, so additional policies will need to be developed for California to meet this stringent future target. A full sensitivity study of major scenario assumptions was also performed. In terms of criteria pollutants, targets were less well-defined, but while all three scenarios were able to make significant reductions in ROG, NOx and PM2.5 both statewide and in the two regional air basins, they may nonetheless fall short of what will be required by future federal standards. Specifically, in Scenario 1, regional NOx emissions are approximately three times the estimated targets for both 2023 and 2032, and in Scenarios 2 and 3, NOx emissions are approximately twice the estimated targets. Further work is required in this area, including detailed regional air quality modeling, in order to determine likely pathways for attaining these stringent targets.

The full report can be found here


Friday Seminar: Transportation modeling: A practitioner’s perspective

View from the 33rd

Today's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is all about modeling. SFCTA's Deputy Director for Technological Services, Elizabeth Sall will present, "Transportation modeling: A practitioner’s perspective".  She will speak about the types of models commonly used in long-range transportation planning in the county of San Francisco and their role in the decision-making process, as well as give an overview of some research projects that have recently been conducted at the SFCTA.

The seminar will take place today! November 1, 2013 in 534 Davis from 4:00-5:00 PM. Don't forget about Cookie Hour at 3:30 in the library. See you then!

Mini-Bikes Safety Fact Sheet

Speeed Shriners

We have several obscure items in our collection. One we stumbled across today was the Consumer Product Safety Commision's 1978 Fact Sheet on Mini-Bikes. They cite that at the time of writing, 31,000 people a year require hospital treatment for mini-bike incidents. Their exmaple accident is described:


Safety tipes include:

  • Look for a mini-bike with large wheels. Typically, mini-bikes with small wheels are unstable.
  • The rider should be able to conveniently reach all controls without exerting himself.
  • After buying a bike, don't modify its design.

They also warn riders of impromper use and rider error:


The whole document, with several more tips on how to enjoy mini-bikes without a trip to the hospital, can be found here



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