Research and journal articles

Transit Equity Resources

Photo courtesy of ZaksSnaps on

Policy Link’s Executive Director, Angela Glover Blackwell, puts it best, “Transportation policy is, in effect, health policy – and environmental policy, food policy, employment policy and metropolitan development policy.” (The Transportation Prescription) Read more >

Using bikes for serious emissions reduction

Bicycles in a square - CC licensed by flickr user R Stanek


According to the European Cycling Federation, if the whole of the EU cycled like the Danes, they could achieve significant emissions cuts.

If the EU cycling rate was the same as it is in Denmark, where the average person cycles almost 600 miles (965km) each year, then the bloc would attain anything from 12% to 26% of its targeted transport emissions reduction, depending on what forms of transport the cycling replaced, according to the report by the Brussels-based European Cycling Federation (ECF).

This figure is likely to be a significant underestimate as it deliberately excludes the environmental impact of building road infrastructure and parking, or maintaining and disposing of cars.

These figures are for the EU’s 2050 emissions reduction target.  The figures are even greater for 2020 targets.

Bikes are not a new technology that would require long adoption periods and high initial capital costs.  Almost everyone knows how to use them, and they are cheap.  They also have myriad co-benefits, not least of which is increased physical activity.  To get serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we should take a close look at the bike as a potential solution.

Using ECF’s study as a model and making some estimates, the Twin Cities metro could see some significant emissions reductions if we biked like the Danes, but getting there would be tough.  I’ll get to that, but first some initial thoughts on the Europeans.

  Read more >

New Study on Cycletracks

A cycletrack in Montreal

A much anticipated study on cycletracks in Montreal was just released.  Thanks to the authors for making it an open access article.  Read more >

New report challenges existing methodology and clarifies role of land use in automobile congestion

From the CEOs for Cities report.

A new report from CEOs for Cities unveils the real reason US drivers spend so much time in traffic and offers a dramatic critique of the 25 year old industry standard created by the Texas Transportation Institute’s Urban Mobility Report (UMR) - often used to justify billions of dollars in expenditures to build new roads and highways.  The surprising analysis by Joseph Cortright, senior policy advisor for CEOs for Cities, says the solution to this problem has much more to do with how we build our cities than how we build our roads. Read more >

An Urban Ecovillage in St. Paul?

Earthsong - an ecovillage in Waitakere City, New Zealand

Can an urban ecovillage model be a possibility in St. Paul? This report done by Elizabeth Turner makes a compelling case for one. Here is the executive summary:

This paper explores types of development that would be most sustainable for Sparc’s Willow Reserve property, in the full economic, environmental, and social definition of the word. The concept of the Urban Ecovillage is explored in depth, and successful examples in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis are profiled.

An Urban Ecovillage is defined as a community of residents with a common fervor for ecological living working towards existing in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. This philosophy can take a wide variety of forms, although there are many commonalities. Ecovillages usually employ techniques of permaculture and co‐housing and often have a gardening component. While the first ecovillages were in rural areas, a growing number can be found in cities, where they can serve as a catalyst for sustainable development in their urban surroundings.

How to Report a Accident or Crash or Collision

Crash in Chicago, 1955. (Img. via. Tom Sutpen.)

This post from Across the Great Divide made me think about how people report car crashes, particularly when a pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver dies in the crash. Do reporters call it an "accident" or a "crash"? Do they say that the person "was killed" or that the person "died"?

I remember reading recently about an attorney general in Florida who made headlines by trying to get drivers tried for murder instead of for vehicular homocide, in the interest of reducing inattentive driving. But it poses the question: if you are texting and speeding while driving a car, and hit and kill someone on a bicycle, are you guilty of murder? Or was it just an accident? Read more >

Planning communities as if people eat.

Photo: via flickr by ecstaticist

“Planners have traditionally focused on issues like housing, transportation all the things that make our lives easier, better and more comfortable.  But for some reason for the last several decades have stopped thinking about access to food.”  Samina Raja Read more >

Planning for Cars in Cities: Planners, Engineers, and Freeways in the 20th Century

Dan Ryan Freeway in Chicago

When the First National Conference on City Planning took place in Washington, DC, 100 ago, the delegates failed to foresee the consequences of automobility and suburbanization, but in other ways they were remarkably prescient. They stressed the importance of the linkage between transportation and land use, understood that transportation facilities must be harmoniously embedded in the urban fabric, and viewed transportation investment as a way to direct growth, revitalize flagging areas, and link jobs and housing. Since transportation planners in subsequent decades kept this vision alive, envisioning a network of context-sensitive urban freeways fully integrated into the urban milieu, why is this not what was built?

LGC: The economic benefits of walkable communities

LGC - the economic benefits of walkable communites ... Read more >