What makes people walk more?

walk

A new article from PLoS One asks the question, "What makes people walk more?" Actually, in, Richard H. Glazer et al ask - "Density, Destinations or Both? A Comparison of Measures of Walkability in Relation to Transportation Behaviors, Obesity and Diabetes in Toronto, Canada"

The design of suburban communities encourages car dependency and discourages walking, characteristics that have been implicated in the rise of obesity. Walkability measures have been developed to capture these features of urban built environments. Our objective was to examine the individual and combined associations of residential density and the presence of walkable destinations, two of the most commonly used and potentially modifiable components of walkability measures, with transportation, overweight, obesity, and diabetes. We examined associations between a previously published walkability measure and transportation behaviors and health outcomes in Toronto, Canada, a city of 2.6 million people in 2011. Data sources included the Canada census, a transportation survey, a national health survey and a validated administrative diabetes database. We depicted interactions between residential density and the availability of walkable destinations graphically and examined them statistically using general linear modeling. Individuals living in more walkable areas were more than twice as likely to walk, bicycle or use public transit and were significantly less likely to drive or own a vehicle compared with those living in less walkable areas. Individuals in less walkable areas were up to one-third more likely to be obese or to have diabetes. Residential density and the availability of walkable destinations were each significantly associated with transportation and health outcomes. The combination of high levels of both measures was associated with the highest levels of walking or bicycling (p<0.0001) and public transit use (p<0.0026) and the lowest levels of automobile trips (p<0.0001), and diabetes prevalence (p<0.0001). We conclude that both residential density and the availability of walkable destinations are good measures of urban walkability and can be recommended for use by policy-makers, planners and public health officials. In our setting, the combination of both factors provided additional explanatory power.

You can read the full article here because PLoS One is Open Access. Hat tip to Streetsblog for posting this

Friday Seminar: Innovations in Traffic Safety Research

photoadayproject (44)

Tomorrow is Friday, which means there's another TRANSOC Friday Seminar taking place. This week features Professor Moshen A. Jafari of Rutgers University. He will present, "Innovations in Traffic Safety Research".

Traffic crashes and accidents at intersections, roundabouts and roadway segments result from many complex factors, but at a basic level, they are outcomes of the interactions among vehicles and other road users. Since few direct measurements of these interactions are available, engineers and planners instead attempt to understand them by studying crashes and accidents reports. As crashes account for a tiny fraction of safety conflicts, these reports fail to provide a full understanding of what is happening at the points of accidents. This is especially true of crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles, for which data are sparse, making it difficult to determine reliable patterns. In this talk we will present risk based traffic safety models using multiple data streams, including near miss data, systemic data, historical traffic accidents, and drivers’ naturalistic behavior data. We will also briefly discuss ongoing research at Rutgers on the development of Plan4Saefty software, which is currently being used by the State of New Jersey for traffic safety analysis and planning.

The seminar will be held Friday, February 7 2014 from 4:00-5:00 PM in 534 Davis Hall. Cookie Hour commences at 3:30 here in the library. 

USDOT moving forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication technology

 

Yesterday USDOT and NHTSA announced plans to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology (V2).  The Connected Vehicles program will eventually push research into production, establishing protocols and standards for manufacturers. Right now the aim is for 2017, so it's not going to happen overnight. Connected vehicles should increase road safety despite some security concerns. Malware for you car? The ITS-JPO has already held a public workshop to address different network security angles

Much of the research on V2 or Connected vehicles can be found in TRID. The Technological Innovations section highlights advanced technology across the board, but for just vehicles use "vehicle to vehicle communications" or "vehicle to roadside communications". 

Friday Seminar: Road Vehicle Automation History, Opportunities, and Challenges

Automated Car

It's a new year, a new semester, and a new TRANSOC Friday Seminar! This week PATH researcher Steven Shladover presents, "Road Vehicle Automation History, Opportunities, and Challenges".

Road vehicle automation has recently attracted intense interest from the media, the general public and now the transportation community. This interest is largely based on serious misconceptions about the level of automation of road vehicles that is likely to be achievable within the foreseeable future. This presentation addresses those misconceptions, beginning with a historical overview going back to 1939, and continuing with definition of multiple levels of vehicle automation. The importance of communication and cooperation among automated vehicles and between these vehicles and the roadway infrastructure is illustrated with examples from experiments conducted at the PATH Program. The technical challenges that remain to be resolved before fully automated driving can become reality are explained.

The seminar will take place Friday, January 31, 2014 from 4 - 5 p.m. in 534 Davis Hall. And of course, Cookie Hour returns preceding the Seminar at 3:30 in the Library. See you then!

Electric Vehicles: Coast to coast, but will they impact emissions?

This week was a milestone in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure in the US - a father-daughter team completed the first crosscountry roadtrip in a Tesla and it cost them $0 to recharge. What a bargain! Tesla Motors plans to expand their recharching network, so that future continental treks may take a more direct route.  

So as electric vehicles are slowly becoming more mainstream, the question is what impact will they have on greenhouse gas emissions? A paper recently presented at the TRB Annual Meeting looks at regional impacts in California.  Another recent study from NC State questions the impact electric vehicles have on emissions at all. Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, and Joseph F. DeCarolis ask, "How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?". Their answer: probably not much given the emissions produced by electricity sources.

Modeling Escalator Capacity

Escalators are an under appreciated component of many public transportation systems. Can you imagine using the Dupont Circle Metro station without them? 

A recent paper from the Transportation Research Record examines the role of escalators in public transit systems. "Modeling the Practical Capacity of Escalators: A Behavioral Approach to Pedestrian Simulation" by Peter Kauffmann and Shinya Kikuchi looks at how escalators affect pedestrian behavior and public transit. 

Escalators are an essential mode of public transportation that enable people to travel vertically within a facility at a continuous, high flow rate. Despite the importance of the role of escalators in many facilities, little systematic analysis of the capacity of escalators has been conducted within the field of transportation engineering. A method is presented to calculate the practical capacity of escalators with a simulation based on pedestrian behavioral rules. The capacity of an escalator is defined traditionally only as a function of speed with speed-capacity curves defined by manufacturers or found in empirical studies. These methods do not consider pedestrian behavioral patterns and preferences such as following distance, passing aggressiveness, and other local factors. A rule-based model provides the flexibility to analyze conditions in various public facilities and to answer hypothetical research questions. Three major findings are reported. First, the practical capacity of escalators in commercial facilities such as shopping malls is significantly lower than the maximum capacity in a commuter facility such as a transit station, at only 20% to 40% of what is generally reported by manufacturers to provide for freedom of movement and pedestrian comfort. Second, the model shows that prohibition of walking on escalators can stream-line operations in emergency scenarios because it reduces variability in the system and increases flow, particularly during peak periods. Finally, contrary to some claims in the literature, uphill flow on escalators operates at a lower capacity than does downhill flow because of the presence of a "facial ellipse," the region directly in front of a pedestrian's face.

The full paper can be found online here. 

 

Library Closed 12/23/13-1/20/14

Snow Day in Seattle

We're closing for the Winter Break from December 23, 2013 to January 20, 2014. We'll reopen on the first day of the Spring Semester - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM. Enjoy your time off and see you after the New Year and the TRB Annual Meeting

New from ITDP: The Bike-Share Planning Guide

Divvy Bike Share Station

Last week the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) dropped a new document about bike-share. The Bike-Share Planning Guide provides an overview of bike-share systems internationally and gives best practices. You can download the whole report here.

Who Pays for Parking?

My parking garage

That's the question asked by a new report from the Sightline Institute. "Who Pays for Parking?" analyses 23 recently completed Seattle-area multi-family housing develops. Some of the findings include: 

  • Apartment developers build more parking than is needed.
  • Many tenents don't own cars.
  • Car-free tenants still pay for parking.

The full report can be download here

Uber to expand into "urban logistics"?

Travis Kalanick, Co-Founder & CEO, Uber @ LeWeb Paris Day 1 2013-2555

Transportation Network Company, or as most people refer to them, rideshare company Uber is looking to expand its market. This week Chief Executive Travis Kalanick spoke a Le Web, where he described the Uber's plans to enter "urban logistics". He said, "Today, we are in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. Once you're in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, there are a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes."

Phase 2 will build upon notable promotions as delivering kittens, ice cream, and Christmas trees

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