Blog Archives

Moving from mobility to accessibility

Road winding through the landscape of a city, including businesses, homes, and trees.For several generations, transportation policymakers and practitioners have favored a “mobility” approach, aimed at moving people and vehicles as fast as possible by reducing congestion. However, the limits of this approach have become more apparent over time, as residents struggle to reach workplaces, schools, hospitals, shopping, and numerous other destinations in an equitable and sustainable manner.

Researchers have been able to define this challenge more precisely and elevate the importance of “accessibility” over the past few decades, but the adoption of new policies, tools, and investments by practitioners remains slow and uneven across most regions. During CTS’s 2017 Spring Luncheon presentation, Brookings Institution fellow Adie Tomer offered highlights from the institution’s Moving to Access Initiative, which visualizes challenges of the current mobility model, impediments to adopting an accessibility-focused approach, and a vision for where metro areas can go from here.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Events, Land use, Planning

New light-rail transit leads to sizable increase in nearby housing values

A house for sale near the Green Line light rail Light-rail transit (LRT) is commonly thought to stimulate economic development and boost property values. However, knowledge gaps have made it difficult to gauge exactly how much property values increase and when the increase happens.

In a new study, U of M researchers Jason Cao and Shengnan Lou help fill those gaps. Using tax parcel data and modeling techniques, they assessed the impacts of the Green Line LRT on sale prices of single-family houses near station areas in Saint Paul. They also examined when the value uplift occurred, focusing on two key time points—before and after the Federal Transit Administration’s announcement of the full funding grant agreement (FFGA) in April 2011, and before and after the start of Green Line operation in June 2014.

Posted in Economics, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation

New podcast explores commuting in the Twin Cities

A new 10-episode podcast is exploring what commuting in the Twin Cities is like—and what it could be.

Here to There, developed by Apparatus and Transit for Livable Communities & St. Paul Smart Trips, examines the inextricable link between the ways we commute and the ways we live.

Each episode focuses on a different “destination”—defined not as a place but as a goal for the Twin Cities mobility system. Episode destinations include accessibility, equity, cohesion, and flexibility.

Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Bicycling, Pedestrian, Planning, Public transit, Travel Behavior, Urban transportation

Report estimates magnitude of bicycling in Minnesota

Bicyclists riding in a bike laneHow often do Minnesotans ride bicycles? How far do they ride? A report from University of Minnesota researchers provides some estimates.

The research, funded by MnDOT, is part of a larger study that provides a comprehensive understanding of the economic impact and health effects of bicycling in Minnesota. This part of the project systematically estimated the use of trails, roads, and other bicycling infrastructure.

Posted in Bicycling, Planning, Traffic data, Transportation research

Commute by bike: job accessibility and bicycles

jackson street bikepathIn conjunction with Bike to Work Week, Brendan Murphy gives an update on the Accessibility Observatory’s work measuring access to jobs by bicycle in this guest post.

People are steadily increasing the rates at which they choose to bike to where they need to go, and with that comes the need to focus more intently on whether our road, trail, and path systems do a good job (or not) of getting people on bikes to destinations safely and efficiently.

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Posted in Accessibility (access to destinations), Bicycling, Planning, Transportation research, Urban transportation

New manual helps agencies count bike, pedestrian traffic

Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Collection Manual coverAs part of an ongoing effort to institutionalize bicycle and pedestrian counting in Minnesota, MnDOT has published a new manual designed to help city, county, state, and other transportation practitioners in their counting efforts.

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Data Collection Manual, developed by University of Minnesota researchers and SRF Consulting Group, provides guidance and methods for collecting bicycle and pedestrian traffic data in Minnesota. The manual is an introductory guide to nonmotorized traffic monitoring designed to help local jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations, and consultants design their own programs.

Posted in Bicycling, Planning, Traffic data, Transportation research

Research shows Green Line spurred economic activity

35234Researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs have found a definite link between the construction of the Green Line and economic development activity along its route.

In a CTS-funded study, CTS Scholar Jason Cao and researcher Dean Porter-Nelson looked at real estate development plans along the Green Line in the years before it began operating.

They found that as soon as final funding plans came together in 2011, applications for building permits along the Green line increased significantly, compared to permit applications for new construction and remodeling along existing transit routes.

Posted in Economics, Planning, Public transit, Transportation research
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