Planning

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!

Transportation mode recognition using GPS and accelerometer data

Cyclists

One of the big problems for smartphone travel diary apps is automatic mode detection. The split between walking and not is pretty easy, as is cycling, but what about separating cars from rail? Apps like Moves just dubs it "transport", but that doesn't help much with travel behavior research. A new paper in Transportarion Researc Part C examines using accelerometers and GPS to detect mode. Tao Feng and Harry J.P. Timmermans from Eindhoven University of Technology present their research in, "Transportation mode recognition using GPS and accelerometer data"

Potential advantages of global positioning systems (GPS) in collecting travel behavior data have been discussed in several publications and evidenced in many recent studies. Most applications depend on GPS information only. However, transportation mode detection that relies only on GPS information may be erroneous due to variance in device performance and settings, and the environment in which measurements are made. Accelerometers, being used mainly for identifying peoples’ physical activities, may offer new opportunities as these devices record data independent of exterior contexts. The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the merits of employing accelerometer data in combination with GPS data in transportation mode identification. Three approaches (GPS data only, accelerometer data only and a combination of both accelerometer and GPS data) are examined. A Bayesian Belief Network model is used to infer transportation modes and activity episodes simultaneously. Results show that the use of accelerometer data can make a substantial contribution to successful imputation of transportation mode. The accelerometer only approach outperforms the GPS only approach in terms of the predictive accuracy. The approach which combines GPS and accelerometer data yields the best performance.

The full article can be found here

SafeTREC-UCTC Brown Bag Seminar: Transportation Policy in Oakland as It Is and as It Should Be

Latham square

This Friday, November 1 2013, the SafeTREC-UCTC Brown Bag Seminar features the City of Oakland's Senior Transportation Planner Jaime Parks. Parks will present, "Transportation Policy in Oakland as It Is and as It Should Be". 

Oakland has more BART stations than any other Bay Area jurisdiction, numerous mixed-use neighborhoods, and one of the highest bike-to-work mode shares in the country. Yet, the City has failed to fully take advantage of these natural advantages, partially due to the lack of a cohesive vision for the role transportation should play in the lives of Oaklanders. Oakland passed a Complete Streets Policy in 2013 that will allow the City to consider transportation decisions from a broader perspective. The presentation will share updates on several on-going complete streets initiatives, including analysis of crash trends Citywide, data management, CEQA reform, and experiments with green paint and temporary spaces. The presentation will also identify key knowledge gaps as suggested topics for future urban transportation research.

The seminar takes place from noon-1:00 PM SafeTREC 2nd Floor Conference Room, 2614 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA
or via webcast

Access Across America: How accessible are the jobs?

This week University of Minnesota's CTS issued a report about accessibility to job that includes an interactive map. Access Across America

Access Across America, a study by David Levinson, the R.P. Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation Engineering at the University of Minnesota, goes beyond congestion rankings to focus on accessibility: a measure that examines both land use and the transportation system. The study is the first systematic comparison of trends in accessibility to jobs by car within the U.S. By comparing accessibility to jobs by automobile during the morning peak period for 51 metropolitan areas, the study tells us which cities are performing well in terms of accessibility and which have seen the greatest change.

The full report can be found here. And here's the data!California is well represented with Los Angeles (1), SF-Oakland (2), and San Jose (6) all in the Top Ten.

Influence of Neighborhood Design on Travel Behaviour

United Auto Bristol RE ECW, PHN 177L

The connection between land use and travel behavior isn't a new field of transportation research, though it is definitely of much concern these days. Several researchers are looking at the current relationship of land use and travel behavior in neighborhoods. One new paper in the March 2013 issue of Transport Policy from Newcastle University focuses on the attitudes of neighborhoods in Tyne and Wear, North East England. In "The influence of neighbourhood design on travel behaviour: Empirical evidence from North East England" by Paulus Teguh Aditjandraa Corinne Mulley, and John D. Nelson find: 

This paper investigates the factors that affect travel behaviour within neighbourhoods in Tyne and Wear, North East England while accounting for differences in attitudes and perceptions. Ten different neighbourhoods have been carefully selected to characterise the two different types of traditional and suburban neighbourhood street layouts. A self-administered questionnaire has been delivered to 2200 households to capture neighbourhood design, travel patterns, travel attitudes and socio-economic characteristics. Multivariate analysis of cross-sectional data shows that some socio-economic variables as well as travel attitudes and neighbourhood design preferences can explain the differences in travel patterns between the two distinct neighbourhood designs. The results show additionally that the traditional neighbourhood group is more sensitive to factors of perception and attitudes in relation to neighbourhood design that lead to walking, cycling and public transport use travel patterns, suggesting that land-use policy designed to accommodate lower carbon-based travel together with measures to encourage active travel will have greater impact on the traditional group than the suburban group. This finding suggests that generic measures imposed by many governments, and certainly implied by current UK land-use policy, to promote sustainable mobility should be selectively targeted.

The full paper can be found here

Does distance matter? How does where you live and work affect happiness?

Divisadero Parklet - Bike Parking - San Francisco

A new article from Transportation Research A: Policy and Practice investigates travel behavior related to where people live and work (for those who can't telecommute). "Does distance matter? Exploring the links among values, motivations, home location, and satisfaction in walking trips" looks at traveler motivations and levels of satisfaction. They also suggest a new conceptional model for walking behavior. The research will help develop a more robust understanding of travel behavior and choice. You can find the whole article here

Javelins Overwhelmed at the Olympics?

Class 395 Javelin

The 2012 Olympics in London are less than two months away. The torch is well on its joureny from Athens, which you can watch live. When the Transport Plan was first published in 2006, empahsis was placed on the Javelin highspeed trains as an estimated 80% of visitors would arrive by train. 6 years later on the eve of competetition, there are now concerns that the trains may be overwhelmed:

The Javelin service has been presented as a key part of the capital's transport plans since London won the right to host the games in 2005. Although the Olympic Delivery Authority insists it has "robust plans for a smooth operation", it seems that some hoping for a fast ride on the trains – which have been named after Olympians, including Tanni Grey-Thompson and Sebastian Coe – may have to travel by bus or tube.

Network Rail, which operates St Pancras station under contract to High Speed One, the station and track owners, is building queueing zones stretching into the immigration area for the Eurostar international services, in effect moving the administrative border with France to accommodate the crowds.

But Robin Gisby, director of operations for Network Rail, told the Commons transport select committee this week that the queues may be such that they will advise passengers to take alternative routes. These routes take, according to Transport for London's calculations, five or six times longer even without factoring in Olympic queues.

To help with the transport issues, Get Ahead of the Games was launched earlier this year to help keep Olympic travellers informed of the the transport sitation.

The Evolution of Major Urban Subway Networks

Hallways, London

"A long-time limit for world subway networks" recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface investigates how subway systems in major urban areas develop over time. Written by Camille Roth, Soong Moon Kang, Michael Batty and Marc Barthelemy, the article compares the subway systems of major cities.  It looks at Barcelona, Beijing, London, Moscow, New York City, Seoul, and Tokyo, to find similarities of each system's development. The article was discussed by Scientific American, Wired, and the BBC.

This question is remiscent of another article which asks "Are motorways rational from slime mould's point of view?"

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!

GPS-Based Household Travel Survey from Cincinnati

Cincinnati

A recent TRB blurb pointed to this new study from the Ohio DOT that explores the feasibility of using small, personal GPS devices to conduct household travel surveys, and how  that data is comparable to household travel surveys conducted through questionnaires. They conclude:

The primary conclusion to be drawn from this research is that it is feasible to undertake a GPS-only household travel survey, achieving a high standard of representativeness for the sample, while imputing mode and purpose at a sufficiently accurate level to support modeling work. The high level of accuracy attained in this survey for imputing mode and purpose with 96 percent on mode and around 90 percent on activity (other than detailed breakdowns of the “other” category) is far superior to self-report surveys. The richness of the “ground-truthing” of time, location, distance, speed, and route information from this survey surpasses what can be achieved from any other form of survey.

The final report can be found here.

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