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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley has supported transportation research at the University of California since 1948. About 50 faculty members, 50 staff researchers and more than 100 graduate students take part in this multidisciplinary program, which receives roughly $40 million in research funding on average each year. Alexandre Bayen, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is its director.

Cover page of The Producer Surplus Associated with Gasolne Fuel Use in the United States

The Producer Surplus Associated with Gasolne Fuel Use in the United States


Estimating the producer surplus – the revenue above the average long-run cost – is an important part of social cost-benefit analyses of changes in petroleum use. This paper estimates the producer surplus associated with changes in gasoline fuel use in the United States, and then applies the estimates of producer surplus to two kinds of social cost-benefit analyses related to petroleum use: (1) estimating the wealth transfer from consumers to producers as a result of policies that affect oil use and oil imports to the US, and (2) comparing the actual average cost of gasoline with the average cost of environmentally superior alternatives to gasoline, such as hydrogen. Our results show that a 50% reduction in gasoline use in the US in 2004 would have saved the US $72 billion in producer surplus payments to foreign oil producers. Applying our estimates to the comparison of the social lifetime cost of hydrogen vehicles versus gasoline vehicles, we find that inconsistently counting producer surplus from a US national perspective while counting climate change damages from a global perspective can overstate the present value lifetime costs of gasoline vehicles by $2,200 to $9,800 per vehicle.

Cover page of Intelligent Transportation Systems and Infrastructure A Series of Briefs for Smart Investments

Intelligent Transportation Systems and Infrastructure A Series of Briefs for Smart Investments


The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented convergence of communication, control, and sensing that can potentially transform transportation infrastructure and delivery. At the most basic level, efficient operation and maintenance of our nation’s transportation infrastructure requires real time data exchange provided by intelligent transportation system technology. When implemented, these technologies have the potential to revolutionize the nation’s economic vitality by moving people and goods more quickly, efficiently, safely, and at lower cost to consumers.

Cover page of Network Effects in Bus Transit: Evidence from Barcelona’s Nova Xarxa

Network Effects in Bus Transit: Evidence from Barcelona’s Nova Xarxa


This paper shows that improving the structure of a bus transit network to facilitate transfers can boost and shape its demand. The idea is illustrated with data from the Nova Xarxa in Barcelona. Deployed in phases, the Nova Xarxa is shown to be attracting more demand than the network it replaces. The paper further shows that this growth is underpinned by transfers -- at the end of 2015, the percentage of trips that involved a transfer was approximately 26%, and it reached a maximum of 57% for line V7. The paper shows these numbers should increase considerably (to 44% and 66%, respectively) once the Nova Xarxa is completed in 2018. This should be compared with the percent of transfers in other existing bus systems, which ranges from 1.3% to 16%.

Cover page of Dynamic Control of Complex Transit Systems

Dynamic Control of Complex Transit Systems


This paper proposes a dynamic control method to overcome bunching and improve the regularity of fixed-route transit systems. The method uses a combination of dynamic holding and en-route driver guidance to achieve its objectives. It applies to systems with a mix of headway-based and schedule-based lines but it is evaluated for scheduled systems as this is the more challenging application. Improved schedule adherence is the goal. The method’s calculation complexity per piece of advice does not increase with system size. As a result, the method is scalable and can be used with large multiline systems, no matter how complex. When controled, each vehicle is mostly affected by exogenous disturbances (e.g. traffic) and very little by other vehicles. As a result, disruptions to a vehicle or group of vehicles caused by inattentive drivers or control equipment failures remain confined to the vehicles experiencing the problems. The control method effectively quarantines “disease”. The method is evaluated analytically and with simulations over a broad range of conditions, including schedules with zero slack. The method was also evaluated by observing the performance of a real world multi-line system that uses inexpensive on-board tablets to apply the control. The evaluation addresses driver compliance and equipment malfunction issues. It is found that the method is resilient and improves reliability considerably even under challenging conditions.

Cover page of Inclusionary Zoning in a Monocentric City

Inclusionary Zoning in a Monocentric City


To show how inclusionary zoning alters development, the author finds the most profitable housing design to build on vacant lots at each location in a monocentric city under different regulatory regimes. Section 1 sets up the model by specifying renter's preferences, geography and building parameters. Section 2 solves the developer's profit-maximization problem at each location under each regime. Finally, in Section 3, a numerical simulation confirms the effects predicted by theory and gives a picture of their magnitude.

Singularities in kinematic wave and variational theories: supershocks, solution properties and some exact solution methods


According to the duality theory of traffic flow any well-posed kinematic wave (KW) and/or variational theory (VT) problem can be solved with the same methods either on the time-space plane or the time vs vehicle number plane. To achieve this symmetry, the model parameters and the boundary data need to be expressed in a form appropriate for each plane. It turns out, however, that when boundary data that are bounded in one plane are transformed for the other, singular points with infinite density (jumps in vehicle number) sometimes arise. These singularities require a new form of weak solution to the PDE's that we call an extended solution. Duality theory indicates that these e-solutions must exist and be unique. The paper characterizes these solutions. It shows that their only added feature is a new type of shock that can contain mass and we call a supershock. Nothing else is required. The evolution laws of these shocks are described. An exact solution method for e-problems with piecewise linear fundamental diagrams (FDs), not necessarily concave, is given. The paper also addresses the special case where the FD is concave so that VT applies. It is shown that if the FD is piecewise linear then sufficient networks used to solve VT problems with the least cost path method continue to be sufficient in the extended case. Thus, the same solution procedure produces exact results in both the conventional and extended cases.

Cover page of Riding First Class: Impacts of Silicon Valley Shuttles on Commute & Residential Location Choice

Riding First Class: Impacts of Silicon Valley Shuttles on Commute & Residential Location Choice


Employer-provided private shuttles have become a prominent part of the transportation network between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. As the Bay Area plans for transportation investments to meet sustainability goals and accommodate future population and employment growth, an understanding of the role of regional commuter shuttles becomes increasingly important. This study investigates the impacts of private shuttles on commute mode and residential location choice by conducting a travel time comparison and surveying shuttle riders. The authors find that the provision of shuttles and knowledge of shuttle stops influences both commute mode and residential location choice. Shuttles are an attractive option due to their time and cost savings compared to other modes. However, shuttles exacerbate the jobs-housing imbalance by enabling individuals to live farther from work. The extent to which location of shuttle stops influences residential location choice varies from person to person, though the vast majority of shuttle riders live within a short walk from the nearest shuttle stop. Policies should strike a balance between improved sustainability with existing land use patterns and better long-term regional transportation and land use planning.

Cover page of Achieving a Higher Capacity National Airspace System: An Analysis of the Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Project

Achieving a Higher Capacity National Airspace System: An Analysis of the Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Project


The Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation (VAMS) project developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) presents a detailed plan for increasing National Airspace System capacity. Interviews with aviation experts regarding the VAMS project led to lessons learned which can inform current modernization plans and processes, as the current system prepares for modernization. According to experts consulted, development should include a small number of project developers who provide periodic opportunities for wide stakeholder feedback; roadmaps should incorporate uncertainly and provide project guidance on a high level; and simulation tools are valuable to modernization efforts, yet assumptions should be documented and their sensitivity understood.