Yale’s Urban Dialogue of Critical Environmental Issues

On January 18, I was in New Haven and it was a privilege to contribute to the Urban Dialogue on Critical Environmental Issues at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. I have never really thought of myself as a forester. But, the school is considering ways to expand into more urban-type things (the school’s name, right now, is a bit of a misnomer) and it could be that human dimensions of transport and urban planning might be among those critical issues that might gain traction. At least we can hope so.

ACT Scholarly Workshop; Daniel Rodriguez of UNC-Chapel Hill, first scholar

photo ofJust announced: the Active Communities / Transport (ACT) Research Group will be hosting its first “Scholarly Workshop;” Daniel Rodriguez, PhD, of UNC-Chapel Hill will be the first distinguished scholar. The workshop will be held April 18-19 on the Boulder/Denver campuses, and is intended to provide insights and feedback on research currently being pursued or proposed by student and faculty members. Students will present their well-developed research proposals to ACT faculty and student members, as well as to Dr. Rodriguez, and receive feedback from the group.

The central purpose of the event is to learn from close interactions with a proven scholar, and to elevate the quality and depth of the group’s work through constructive and critical feedback. In addition, there will be opportunity to reflect on perspectives and experiences about transportation-land use research and scholarship. Please email with questions or further interest.

Active Communities / Transportation (ACT) Research Group at TRB

Members of the Active Communities / Transportation (ACT) Research Group will again be presenting papers at the Transportation Research Board next week in Washington DC.  Please see below for session number and the title of the paper. In addition, the WSTLUR and JTLU meetings are Tues at 3:45 (Hilton, Morgan). Hope to see you there.

357- Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Investments and Mode Share Changes: A 20-Year Case Study of Boulder, Colorado.

454 – Bicyclist Safety Performance Functions for a U.S. City

640 – Estimating Annual Average Daily Bicyclists: Error and Accuracy

715 – Parking at Sporting Event Stadiums in Denver, Colorado

827 – Missing Links: How Social Paths Can Improve Light-Rail Pedestrian Accessibility

349 – Who Benefits from Rail Transit Investments? Assessment of Rail Access in Denver Metropolitan Area and Implications for Social Equity and Transit Effectiveness

 

 

Vanderbilt on Capital Bikeshare

Bicycles are seen in a rack at a bike sharing station January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. Tom Vanderbilt writes in Slate about Capital Bike-Share. In response to his first question–what city would you have expected would have the best success?—it is not surprising to see that DC takes the cake. The density is right. DC is flat. There are lots of people making small business-type trips across town. There are tourists galore. Weather is usually not prohibitive. But empirically speaking, the analysis reported in the article suggests the the success of stations depend on:

-the age of its nearby population;

-the density of retail outlets (and in particular liquor licenses);

-the proximity of Metrorail stations;

-distance from the center of the system itself;

-essentially, the presence of a lot of white people.

Health tradeoffs (some of them) hitting popular press

The Atlantic Cities has a diddy exposing some of the pollution ill-effects of cycling. But, the larger question is still left open. Even considering the air pollution burden from cycling–and perhaps even the safety risks owing to crashes–is it healthy? We need to look at the larger context. The prevailing evidence, I would argue, suggests that cycling is healthy–overall–because of the physical activity benefits.

Stop being an S O V

Welcome SOV's
I am listening to the radio. The holiday advertisements are rolling. Then a new ad rolls out. It is quick, pithy, and pointed. It draws our attention to the environmental and other costs of driving. Then it jumps right to urging you not to be an SOV (single occupancy vehicle).

The tagline is edgy, no doubt. It is surprising. It catches you (or at least, me) off-guard. I thought: who really is behind paying for the creativity of such much less the air-time. As it turns out, it is sponsored by a partnership led by Denver the Regional Council of Governments.

The campaign is clearly playing to the moral suasion argument—a strategy I have suggested that, in the past, has had very little success in the past in triggering behavioral change. I guess we can keep trying. Maybe more “edgy awareness” will help.

Top planning books of 2012…including the Bikeway Design Guide?

Planetizen just announced its 11th annual list of the ten best books in urban planning, design and development published for 2012. The list selected by Planetizen’s editorial staff covers a range of urgent topics. A couple of reactions:

-Popular press and journalistic authors dominate (not academics and researchers). This is to be expected, but I did not recognize a single academic. I suppose our writing style (or our findings?) really are boring.

…but, speaking of boring:

-Of the ten books listed, the 329 page Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials is one of them. Seriously? A technical manual as a “best of”? Apparently, the editorial staff is stacked w insomniacs. It is great to see a bike reference among the list. And, it is a really useful guide, don’t get me wrong. But still.

Mixite and Development of the Hippodrome de Montreal area

Hippodrome Project Logo.I am currently in Montreal as part of a forum of experts invited by the mayor’s office to help the city determine the strongest development potential for a 100+ acre development project (the old horseracing track).

Sure, it exciting to pretend like one is going to Europe for 2 days. But one of the best things I acquired on this trip is the use of a new word from my Francophone colleagues: mixite. Wikipedia tells me, “The diversity in general, refers to the presence or the context of individuals of both genders in a group or a concept. The word specializes in specific contexts: 1. The diversity , training and education together boys and girls in mixed groups. 2. In sociology , we talk about social mix , heterogeneous nature of society .”

…and, based on its use these past two days, I am guessing it can also mean the co-mingling of different items (e.g., people of different socio economic class, different ideas, or even different travel modes). I like it.