Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California
White papers by ITS researchers.
Cover page of Making Bicycling Equitable: Lessons from Sociocultural Research

Making Bicycling Equitable: Lessons from Sociocultural Research

(2019)

This white paper provides guidance for how planning, policy, and advocacy may better account for complex sociocultural forces, including gender, class, and race. The authors reviewed a large body of sociocultural research on bicycling with complex models capable of addressing an intersectional understanding of identity, the innerworkings of power in society, and the nature of inequity. These findings coalesced into four recommendations for those promoting bicycling as a mode of everyday transportation: (1) Extend what it means to embrace difference; (2) Recognize that the streets are not equally safe for all; (3) Engage in a meaningful way with marginalized communities and share decision-making power; and (4) Understand how local and national histories of injustice influence and relate to current bicycling planning processes. Integrating these recommendations into advocacy, policy, and planning can lead to greater equity in representation, distribution of resources, and decision-making in promoting bicycling. System-wide implementation of these recommendations will create the greatest impact on improving issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in bicycling. This requires broad-scale interventions, including but not limited to, training, changes to funding and decision-making structures, valuing long-term community engagement and community knowledge, broadening measures to street safety, and considering historic inequality.

Cover page of California Climate Change Target Setting: A Workshop Report and Recommendations to the State of California Based on the Third California Climate Policy Modeling Dialogue and Workshop

California Climate Change Target Setting: A Workshop Report and Recommendations to the State of California Based on the Third California Climate Policy Modeling Dialogue and Workshop

(2019)

California has a range of existing and proposed targets toward a low carbon future. This paper summarizes an analytical review, focused on modeling approaches and what is known about their feasibility and cost. The findings in this paper are based on the Climate Change Policy Modeling (CCPM) forum, which included modelers, policy makers and stakeholders evaluating targets and pathways to low-carbon futures and identifying required policies to achieve goals. The third forum, CCPM-3, was on May 14th, 2018, at the University of California, Davis and provided critical discussion and a gathering of the key experts in this topic area This report builds on the findings of CCPM and integrates with other literature where possible. It includes a review of the CO2-relevant targets, discussion of studies and modeling efforts to assess meeting such targets, including feasibility and cost. This includes analysis in the transportation and energy sectors, as well as land use and carbon sequestration.

Cover page of Framework for Urban Metabolism and Life Cycle Assessment of Hardscape

Framework for Urban Metabolism and Life Cycle Assessment of Hardscape

(2018)

Urban hardscapes can be defined as human-altered surfaces in contact with the earth in urban areas other than alterations for horticulture. Hardscape covers large portions of the urban surface area, and has potentially large influence on air emissions, truck traffic and its associated problems, and the potential for flooding. Modeling the inflows of hardscape materials and the outflows of demolished hardscape and other rock-based products from buildings and other civil infrastructure is expected to provide a means to find solutions for reducing these flows and their impacts. Modeling of urban hydrology with respect to the effects of hardscape on surface and groundwater flows from precipitation is expected to provide a means to find solutions that will reduce the risk of flooding and improve groundwater recharge.

The goal of this white paper is to advocate that researchers and policy-makers use the analytical approach of combining urban (UM), material flow analysis (MFA) and elements of life cycle assessment (LCA) to measure and improve the efficiency of urban hardscape in large urbanized areas with respect to environmental impacts affecting global warming, safety and quality of life through use of alternative hardscape structure and materials and more permeable hardscape. The white paper provides details on the proposed UM-LCA framework. Additionally, several data sources and modeling tools were identified that can be used in the UM-LCA framework to quantify material and energy flows and environmental impacts including water flows. An effort was also made to identify data for a few of the cities in California in order to demonstrate parts of the data collection and presentation process. The framework developed is not limited to a single U.S. state, rather it can be used in any geographic region of the U.S.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Sustainable Transportation Implications of On-Demand Ride Services

Sustainable Transportation Implications of On-Demand Ride Services

(2018)

The motivations for this study stem from an uncertainty about whether on-demand ridehailing services such as Uber, Lyft and others, will exacerbate existing transportation issues, or help alleviate them. To that end, the goals of the project were to learn about the perspectives of stakeholders from a variety of sectors, on their reactions to policies and other actions that might enable on-demand services to help alleviate existing transportation issues including congestion, emissions and inequality of access and mobility.

This study aims to address the following three questions: How well do stakeholders in different sectors and regions, agree about the potential outcomes related to on-demand ridehailing and sustainable transportation goals? What are stakeholder perspectives on the policies and strategies that might facilitate emerging on-demand transportation services to most effectively enhance sustainability and mobility outcomes? What decision making venues and approaches are supported by different stakeholders in the process, and how can these approaches be pursued in order to realize policy goals related to sustainability of on-demand ridehailing? I.e., what venues, and at what level can most effective policies be introduced to facilitate sustainability improvements in transportation by embracing on-demand ridehailing services.

To answer these questions, a series of interviews were completed with stakeholders from California Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs), from state agencies, the ridehailing industry, and local planning agencies or transportation divisions of cities. The results of this study indicate that policy makers must consider the varied systems and contexts throughout the state; and likely throughout the US. Further, there is an existing dialogue on these topics among transportation professionals, public interest groups, academics and policy makers. In this study, the researchers took a systematic approach to documenting this dialogue and identifying meaningful messages and policy guidance that is not possible without a rigorous scientific approach.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Travel Effects and Associated Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Automated Vehicles

Travel Effects and Associated Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Automated Vehicles

(2018)

In much the same way that the automobile disrupted horse and cart transportation in the 20th century, automated vehicles (AVs) hold the potential to disrupt our current system of transportation and the fabric of our built environment in the 21st century. Experts predict that vehicles could be fully automated by as early as 2025 or as late as 2035. The public sector is just beginning to understand AV technology and to grapple with how to accommodate it in our current transportation system.

Research on AVs is extremely important because AVs may significantly disrupt our transportation system with potentially profound effects, both positive and negative, on our society and our environment. However, this research is very hard to do because fully AVs have yet to travel on our roads. As a result, AV research is largely conducted by extrapolating effects from current observed behavior and drawing on theory and models. Both the magnitude of the mechanism of change and secondary effects are often uncertain. Moreover, the potential for improved safety in AVs drive the mechanisms by which vehicle miles traveled (VMT), energy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may change. We really don’t know whether AVs will achieve the level of safety that will allow for completely driverless cars, very short headways, smaller vehicles, lower fuel use, and/or reduce insurance cost. We don’t know whether AV fleets will be harmonized to reduce energy and GHG emissions.

In this white paper, the available evidence on the travel and environmental effects of AVs is critically reviewed to understand the potential magnitude and likelihood of estimated effects. The author outlines the mechanisms by which AVs may change travel demand and review the available evidence on their significance and size. These mechanisms include increased roadway capacity, reduced travel time burden, change in monetary costs, parking and relocation travel, induced travel demand, new traveler groups, and energy effects. They then describe the results of scenario modeling studies. Scenarios commonly include fleets of personal AVs and automated taxis with and without sharing. Travel and/or land use models are used to simulate the cumulative effects of scenarios. These models typically use travel activity data and detailed transportation networks to replicate current and predict future land use, traffic behavior, and/or vehicle activity in a real or hypothetical city or region.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of A Framework for Projecting the Potential Statewide Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Reduction from State-Level Strategies in California

A Framework for Projecting the Potential Statewide Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Reduction from State-Level Strategies in California

(2017)

In this paper, the authors consider the evidence available and assumptions needed for projecting statewide VMT reductions for each category of strategies. The authors goal is to provide a framework for projecting the magnitude of reductions that the state might expect for the different strategies. This framework helps to illuminate the sequence of events that would produce VMT reductions and highlights important gaps in knowledge that increase the uncertainty of the projections. Despite uncertainties, the evidence justifies state action on these strategies: the available evidence shows that the strategies considered in this paper are likely to reduce VMT if promoted by state policy.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions Is Only the Beginning: A Literature Review of the Co-Benefits of Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions Is Only the Beginning: A Literature Review of the Co-Benefits of Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled

(2017)

Traditional evaluation of the transportation system focuses on automobile traffic flow and congestion reduction. However, this paradigm is shifting. In an effort to combat global warming and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a number of cities, regions, and states across the United States have begun to deemphasize vehicle delay metrics such as automobile Level of Service (LOS). In their place, policymakers are considering alternative transportation impact metrics that more closely approximate the true environmental impacts of driving. One metric increasingly coming into use is the total amount of driving or Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). While state goals for reducing GHG emissions have been one motivation for the shift to VMT measures, reductions in VMT produce many other potential benefits, referred to as “cobenefits,” such as reductions in other air pollutant emissions, water pollution, wildlife mortality, and traffic congestion, as well as improvements in safety and health, and savings in public and private costs. Such benefits may provide additional justification for reducing VMT. In this paper, the authors review the literature to explore the presence and magnitude of potential co-benefits of reducing VMT, providing California-specific examples where available.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Local Government Pavement Research, Development, and Implementation Organization in Several States

Local Government Pavement Research, Development, and Implementation Organization in Several States

(2017)

This white paper presents the results of a survey administered by the University of California Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) exploring the successes, challenges, funding, and organizational structure of six centers in other states that share a similar mission to support the improvement of city and county pavement practices. Five of the six centers that participated in the survey are statewide centers located in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. The sixth is a regional center located in Washoe County, Nevada, the Regional Transportation Commission. These centers were selected as being the nation’s most advanced based on an extensive internet search and discussions with key pavement professionals across the country.

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of We Can Get There From Here: New Perspectives on Transportation Equity

We Can Get There From Here: New Perspectives on Transportation Equity

(2016)

Achieving transportation equity is a transportation system goal that is becoming increasingly important in both the public sector and academia. An equitable transportation system would ensure that the benefits and burdens created by transportation projects, policies, and plans are shared fairly such that no groups would be unduly burdened by a lack of access to adequate transportation nor by the negative effects of proximity to transportation infrastructure. Such a system would also ensure that public participation in the transportation decision making process is meaningful and effective and that participants would have a reasonable expectation that their voices would be heard and decisions changed in response. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview, synthesis, and critical assessment of academic research and transportation planning practice in order to provide a shared foundation for the many parties working toward equitable transportation systems. Throughout, the authors highlight key dimensions of transportation equity to provide a common language and to facilitate collaboration among transportation decision makers, planners, policymakers, advocates, and the general public. These groups will also be able to use the white paper to identify key research needs and promising strategies for advancing transportation equity goals. The authors hope that this shared understanding of the definitions, challenges, and opportunities in this field will enable often conflicting parties to collaborate in achieving the common goal of transportation equity: in other words, to “get there from here.”

View the NCST Project Webpage

Cover page of Strategies to Maximize Asset Utilization in the California Freight System: General Recommendations and Potential Improvement Strategies

Strategies to Maximize Asset Utilization in the California Freight System: General Recommendations and Potential Improvement Strategies

(2016)

A number of stakeholders met with the ultimate goal of identifying inefficiencies faced by the freight system and putting forward a set of strategies to achieve a more efficient freight system. In doing so, a key first step was to provide insight as to the possible root cause(s) of major inefficiencies affecting the system. In addition to assessing inefficiencies, this research describes some of the aspects and necessary conditions that need to be considered when defining or identifying remediating strategies. Moreover, the research discusses a number of efficiency improvement strategies. These include:

• Voluntary Off-Hour Delivery Programs.

• Receiver-led Consolidation.

• Development of a Chassis Pool of Pools Fully Integrated System.

• Improvement of Traffic Mitigation Fee Programs.

• Implement Advanced Appointment/ Reservation Systems.

• Developing an Integrated System for Dray Operations and Services.

• Load Matching and Maximizing Capacity.

In light of the Governor’s Executive Order, it is imperative that the various public agencies in the State initiate, continue or reinforce efforts to address some of these issues.

View the NCST Project Webpage