Urban Transport Policy Week 2 Reading Notes

As a useful introduction to some of the issues in this module please take a look at an on-line educational video about urban transport problems in Asian cities (there are visuals from various places in the region). It can be viewed at: part 1, part 2, part 3

Cities on the Move, Executive Summary Page 3 of 5

Selected highlights:
  1. Structural change
    1. stop incenting huge cities by providing free roads and undertaxed land
    2. plan within cities better, although planning to provide more road capacity may be self-defeating
    3. plan for a mix of private autos and other road users
  2. improve efficiency
    1. better road management with technology
    2. road maintenance
  3. non-motorized transport (walking, cycling)
    1. NMT is underrecognized
    2. A comprehensive vision and action plan. Joel's paraphrase/expansion: cyclists need a complete system, which includes a complete route network (it only takes one gap in a bike lane/path/safe-road trip to make a trip too unsafe or unpleasant to ride daily) plus connectivity to other modes, such as bike storage on buses and trains (bicycles are not allowed on Singapore's trains; they are banned during rush hour on LA's trains), and employer facilities. An investment in only a portion of this will be wasted, and will be taken as evidence that there is no demand. But if roads were built in one-mile segments with cliffs at each end, and no cars were seen on the roads, would that be proof that nobody wants to drive on roads?
    3. traffic management should focus on moving people, not vehicles
  4. Public passenger transport
    1. Public transport is for all. Joel's note: Even in Los Angeles, I have seen well-dressed people take the freeway commuter bus from Santa Monica to downtown.
    2. most urban public transport is based on roads
    3. Pricing and financing are the key
    4. There are a lot of good pro-poor, pro-growth transit policies to use
    5. competition is pro-poor
    6. Cities should exploit the informal sector
  5. Mass transit: rail for very large cities only
  6. the private sector
    1. private financing is possible
    2. planning and regulatory arrangements are fundamental to private participation
  7. Transport can be part of a social safety net
  8. Road accidents are a global pandemic
  9. separation of infrastructure from operations
    1. charging for road infrastructure is efficient and effective financing
    2. fuel taxes are a proxy for direct charging
    3. parking charges should be part of infrastructure pricing strategy
    4. direct charging for roads requires political preparation
    5. "However, the value of having an integrated urban transport fund does not depend on any specific tax source being earmarked for transport." Joel's note: the Seattle monorail project failed after its sole funding source, a car tax, underperformed.
  10. "Decentralized democratic process must be complemented by high technical competence."

Vuchic, V.R. (1999) Transportation for Livable Cities, New Brunswick: Center for Urban Policy Research. (Chapter 2: The City-Transportation Relationship). pp. 23-39 are most relevant for this section.

Litman, Todd (2003) Measuring Transportation: Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility, ITE Journal, 73, 10, 28-32

Turton, B. and Knowles, R. (1998) Ch. 7. Urban Transport Problems and Solutions, in Hoyle, B. and Knowles, R. (eds.) (1998) Modern Transport Geography. Wiley, Chichester. (pp. 135-148 only)

Vasconcellos, E.A. (2001) Urban Transport, Environment and Equity: The case for developing countries, London and Sterling, VA: Earthscan. (Chapter 9. The Technical Issue: Traditional Transport Planning, pp. 96-110)