Skip to main content
eScholarship
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 Public Transit and Shared Mobility COVID-19 Recovery: Policy Options and Research Needs

Public Transit and Shared Mobility COVID-19 Recovery: Policy Options and Research Needs

(2020)

While the COVID-19 crisis has devastated many public transit and shared mobility services, it has also exposed underlying issues in how these services are provided to society. As ridership drops and revenues decline, many public and private providers may respond by cutting service or reducing vehicle maintenance to save costs. As a result, those who depend on public transit and shared mobility services, particularly those without access to private automobiles, will experience further loss of their mobility. These transportation shifts will be further influenced by changing work-from-home policies (e.g., telework). While uncertainty remains, work-from-home will likely alter public transit and shared mobility needs and patterns, necessitating different services, operation plans, and business structures.

Cover page of COVID-19 has Significantly Impacted the Mobility and Activities of the Senior Population in Contra Costa County

COVID-19 has Significantly Impacted the Mobility and Activities of the Senior Population in Contra Costa County

(2020)

Meeting the mobility needs of an aging population is one of the most substantial challenges facing California in the coming decades. The number of residents age 60 and above will grow to 13.9 million by 2050, representing over 25% of the state population. Meanwhile, the number of residents age 85 and above is expected to increase by over 70% between 2010 and 2030. In 2018, the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at UC Berkeley conducted a survey on transportation mobility issues among older adults in Contra Costa County in California. Results indicated, among other findings, that a majority of seniors are car dependent, that some older adults miss important activities due to mobility limitations, and that most older adults want to “age in place.” A follow-up survey of 302 Contra Costa County seniors ages 60 and above was conducted in June 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for all residents. The follow-up survey assessed the mobility needs and changes during the Shelter-in-Place order as well as how COVID-19 was impacting other areas of their lives, such as their economic situation, views of government regulatory efforts, feelings of social isolation, and work/employment status. This brief presents findings from the follow-up survey.

Cover page of The Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Uber and Lyft in Subsidized Ride Programs that Serve Vulnerable Populations

The Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Uber and Lyft in Subsidized Ride Programs that Serve Vulnerable Populations

(2020)

Cities, transit agencies, and social service providers across the U.S. have implemented programs that provide taxi subsidies for people who have difficulty driving a car or using the regular transit system. These programs usually serve older residents and people with disabilities, though a few also serve low income users. Taxi subsidy programs provide curb-to-curb or door-to-door transportation at a fraction of the cost of paratransit.1 However, as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, have entered markets around the country, taxi availability has declined, resulting in lower levels of service. In response, many public agencies are considering the addition of TNCs to subsidized ride programs; however, the inclusion of TNCs in these programs is not straightforward. For example, agencies must evaluate the extent to which their clients need wheelchair accessible vehicles or other personal assistance. In addition, TNC platforms require users to request rides through a smartphone and use debit or credit cards for payment, which is problematic for unbanked customers and those who do not own or have access to a smartphone.

Cover page of UC Berkeley Develops New User-Friendly Tool to Expedite the Evaluation of Connected Automated Vehicle Technologies

UC Berkeley Develops New User-Friendly Tool to Expedite the Evaluation of Connected Automated Vehicle Technologies

(2020)

Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) are similar to other automated vehicles with the distinguishing difference being that CAVs obtain information about road conditionsdirectly from other vehicles and infrastructure (e.g., traffic signals, road sensors) rather than relying solely on onboard sensors. Different CAV technologies are currently being tested and evaluated to assess the prospects for future implementation. These tests involve moving CAV-equipped vehicles on a physical test track and recording how the vehicles operate under different traffic conditions (Figure 1). Since it is difficult and expensive to recreate multiple real-world driving conditions on a single test track, virtual environments are typically used to simulate different traffic conditions, such as traffic signal operation, actions by other vehicles on the road, and other scenarios. These virtual hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests can expedite CAV performance evaluation and inform future system implementation; however, existing HIL test systems often lack the ability to manage large amounts of test data, which limits the value and use of these tests.

Cover page of The General Transit Feed Specification Makes Trip-Planning Easier — Especially During a Pandemic — Yet its Use by California Agencies is Uneven

The General Transit Feed Specification Makes Trip-Planning Easier — Especially During a Pandemic — Yet its Use by California Agencies is Uneven

(2020)

Developed in 2005, the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) is making transit trip planning easier by allowing public transportation agencies to share transit schedules in an electronic format that can be used by a variety of trip-planning applications, such as Google Maps. The GTFS can be used to share static transit schedules (GTFS-s) or provide real-time information on transit vehicle arrivals and departures (GTFS-r). Providing real-time updates has proven to be exceptionally valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, between January 13th and April 25th of this year Apple estimates that transit use in the United States decreased by 75%1 , which caused many public transit providers to modify their services. The California Integrated Travel Project (CITP) recently called for widespread adoption of GTFS-s and GTFS-r2 ; however, little is known about GTFS use across agencies and, in turn, the barriers to widespread adoption.

Cover page of Policy Brief: Social Equity Impacts of Congestion Management Strategies

Policy Brief: Social Equity Impacts of Congestion Management Strategies

(2019)

To better understand the equity implications of a variety of congestion management strategies, researchers at the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) at University of California, Berkeley analyzed existing literature on congestion management strategies and findings from 12 expert interviews. The literature review applies the Spatial – Temporal – Economic – Physiological – Social (STEPS) Equity Framework1 to identify impacts and classify whether social equity barriers are reduced, exacerbated, or both by a particular strategy. The congestion management strategies of interest were categorized into six broader categories: 1) pricing, 2) parking and curb policies, 3) operational strategies, 4) infrastructure changes, 5) transportation services and strategies, and 6) conventional taxation.