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Recap: Lessons from the Sharing Economy for the Autonomous Vehicle Future

Webinar featuring Susan Shaheen, UC Berkeley and Mike Manville, UCLA

Autonomous vehicles hold enormous potential – a future with self-driving cars could mean safer streets, less congestion, and increased equity. These benefits are particularly promising when autonomous vehicle technology meets shared mobility companies like Uber and Lyft. But how close are we to that future? Professor Susan Shaheen of UC Berkeley and Associate Professor Michael Manville of UCLA talked about this difficult issue during a webinar hosted by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.

We are still some time away from truly autonomous vehicles. There are five stages of automation: level 4 means you can occasionally take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel and level 5 means completely self-driving vehicles. No large-scale deployments of level 4 or 5 automation exist, but that will change soon.

“What I think we’re going to see as we move into 2017 and beyond is more of these highly automated or fully automated deployments,” explained Professor Shaheen. Companies like Uber and Tesla are already starting to scale up autonomous vehicle experiments.

When autonomous vehicles do roll out in larger numbers, it will likely be in limited scenarios. Cities like Columbus and San Francisco are working on low-speed autonomous shuttles that will offer a relatively safe way to study this technology. Pilot projects like these could pave the way for autonomous transit well-suited to areas currently underserved by public transportation.

The future of autonomous vehicles is not without issues. Professor Shaheen pointed out that self-driving cars could increase driving, especially if people own their own private autonomous vehicles. Is a world saturated with self-driving cars one in which public transit is obsolete?

Autonomous vehicles have significant potential as tools of shared […]

By |February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

UCLA Researchers Present at the 2017 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting

 

Every year UCLA students and faculty fly out to Washington DC for the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.  The conference is held every January and provides researchers, students, and transportation professionals with the opportunity to share the latest research into all things transportation.  The theme for the 96th annual conference for 2017 was Transportation Innovation: Leading the Way in an Era of Rapid Change and as usual UCLA was well represented, presenting the latest research on fourteen different sessions and panels. 

Two notable awards were presented at the event to UCLA ITS members.  Director Brian Taylor and UCLA alumn co-authors Eric Morris and Jeffrey Brown were awarded the Wootan Award for their paper Negotiating a Financial Package for Freeways:  How California’s Collier–Burns Highway Act Helped Pave the Way for the Era of the American Interstate Highway.  The award is presented annually to exceptional papers in the fields of policy and organization.  In the paper the authors use government and legislative text to point out the ways California’s 1947 Collier-Burns Highway Act provided a financial blueprint that eventually influenced transportation finance on a nationwide scale.

Recent graduate Severin Martinez, MURP ’16, was awarded the 2017 Neville Parker Award for his paper Who Wins When Streets Lose Lanes?  An Analysis of Safety on Road Diet Corridors in Los Angeles.  Recognized as the best transportation policy planning capstone project in the country, the award was bestowed by the Council of University Transportation Centers. Martinez examines the effects of “classic road diets”, or the reduction in through traffic lanes to make room for a center turn lane.  By comparing rates of collision on five Los Angeles streets receiving this cost-effective treatment, Martinez’s research reveals a significant reduction in crash and injury rates. 

The Department of Urban Planning’s distinguished professor […]

By |February 2nd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

A Multimillion-Dollar Boost to Tackle Transportation Challenges

Thanks to a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, faculty, staff researchers, and students affiliated with the UCLA Luskin Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) will be part of a new regional transportation center that will tackle some of the most important transportation issues facing America.

“Universities are at the forefront of identifying solutions, researching critical emerging issues and ensuring improved access to opportunity for all Americans,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in announcing more than $300 million in grants to 32 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) nationwide, selected from among 212 proposals submitted. “This competition supports the future transportation workforce by providing students with opportunities to take part in cutting-edge research with leading experts in the field.”

By |December 21st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Luskin Graduate Research Grant Application – up to $5,000 for student research

UCLA Students are invited to apply for a Graduate Research Grant for your research and capstone projects. This application is jointly offered by the: The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, Institute of Transportation Studies, Luskin Center for Innovation, and the Edward Hildebrand Canadian Studies Program. Below are details about the Graduate Research Grant program, the areas in which we fund, where your project best fits, and instructions to apply.

Purpose: The Graduate Research Grant program provides an opportunity for students to receive support for their theses, Applied Policy Projects (APP’s), Applied Planning Research Projects (APRP’s), or other capstone project specific to their department. The objective of the grant program is to support student projects that otherwise would not be possible without some financial or professional support. The award program offers: 1) financial support, 2) layout and design support, and 3) assistance with publicity and distribution of your project findings. Awards may include in-kind time provided by center staff (for purposes of layout and publicity assistance) to financial resources up to $5,000, or some combination.

Eligible and ineligible expenses: Graduate Research Grants may be used to cover direct costs associated with research, specifically data acquisition, software, production of final report, and undergraduate research assistance. The grants will not cover graduate student salaries, tuition remission, meals, or gift cards. The centers will consider requests for travel expenses only if travel is absolutely necessary for primary data collection purposes and if this need is well described in the application. Stipends are available for Institute of Transportation Studies projects that meet certain thematic goals. Expenses need to be pre-approved before seeking reimbursement.

Application deadline: January 31, 2017, at 5:00 PM.

To apply, complete the online form, which requires:

1) A […]

By |December 14th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies @ TRB

Tuesday evening reception RSVP

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) 96th Annual Meeting will be held January 8–12, 2017, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C. The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.

The meeting program will cover all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in over 800 sessions and workshops, addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. A number of sessions and workshops will focus on the spotlight theme for the 2017 meeting: Transportation Innovation: Leading the Way in an Era of Rapid Change.

The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 5,000 presentations in nearly 750 sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies will be hosting a reception during the TRB Annual Meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM at Busboys & Poets at the corner of 5th St NW and K St. The reception is open to all friends and alums of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

This year UCLA will once again be sending multiple presenters to the annual meeting. The lectern and poster presentations are listed below.  We have included selected UCLA ITS alumni presenting in the same sessions. 

 

Monday, January 9, 2017 

8:00 AM- 9:45 AM Lectern Session 252: Public Transportation Planning and Development: New Perspectives

Costly Errors: Analyzing Trends in Federally Funded Transit Project Cost Estimates

Carole Voulgaris, University of California, Los Angeles

10:15AM- 12:00PM Lectern Session 347: Building Strategic Institutional Relationships at the Intersection of Health and Transportation Lectern

Setting the Stage  (an introduction)

Richard Jackson, University […]

By |December 5th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Ballot Box Transportation Finance: November 2016

Next Tuesday, voters across the county will decide on some 300+ ballot measures that will use tax increases to fund transportation improvements. With the help of our friends at the Eno Center for Transportation, we are exploring how these measures are distributed across California and the county. 

These measures could raise nearly $200 billion for transit investments, and billions more to fund improvement of roads, rail and freight. The federal gas tax, traditionally the nation’s primary source of transportation funding, has not been raised in 22 years. In 2014, only about 27 percent of transportation funding was federal, dropping from a high of 35 percent in 1980.

Simultaneously, the nation’s transportation infrastructure is in dire need of investment simply for maintenance, not to mention investment in new roads and transit infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that $170 billion in capital investment is needed annually to improve road conditions across the county, with transit, rail, and ports in similar states of disrepair.  Transportation funding needs have been a frequently visited topic of the presidential candidates.

As federal fuel tax revenues and other sources of federal funding for transportation continue to decline, financial responsibility has increasingly shifted to states, counties, and local governments. As of 2011, approximately 30 percent of total transportation funding came from local governments, largely funded by tax ballot measures. So called “self-help” counties that can provide tax funding for local transportation projects also have an advantage in the competition for scarce state and federal funding. (SGV Tribune).

These maps illustrate the widespread reliance on transportation ballot measures, and also reveal geographic differences in the popularity of ballot measures and the type of taxes used to fund transportation.

Transportation taxation ballot measures are most popular in […]

By |November 3rd, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Professor Manville Returns to UCLA

 It is with great excitement that  the  UCLA Lewis Center  welcomes Mike  Manville back to  UCLA Luskin as an  assistant  professor of Urban Planning.  Professor Manville received  both his  MA and PhD in urban  planning from  UCLA in 2003  and 2009 respectively  and  afterward served as a post-  doctoral researcher with the  Lewis  Center. Professor  Manville is coming  to UCLA  from the Department of City  and  Regional Planning at Cornell  University where he taught  courses on  traffic congestion,  urban public  finance, and  spatial economics from  2011-  2016.

 Professor Manville specializes in two main areas of research: the relationship between transportation and land use, and local public finance. On the first point, he has conducted research into the costs of parking requirements and the benefits of congestion pricing schemes. On the second point, he specifically studies the willingness of residents to finance public services as well as the tendency of local governments to increase the cost of housing through strict land-use restrictions. Professor Manville is widely published in academic journals such as the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Urban Studies, and Transport Policy as well as more popular sources such as CityLab, Atlantic Cities, the Economist, and the Washington Post. Professor Manville’s interests have also taken him outside the walls of academia; he has worked both as an advisor to government officials on transportation policy and as a consultant to the development and environmental community on land use regulations.

We warmly welcome Professor Manville back to the UCLA Department of Urban Planning.

By |August 16th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Luskin PhD Student Attends Prestigious DC Conference

PhD Student Jaimee Lederman

 Current urban planning PhD  student, Jaimee Lederman,  recently attended the Eno  Center for Transportation’s  Future Leaders Development  Conference (LDC) in  Washington, DC. The Eno  Center is a nationwide  transportation research center;  annually, they select the top 20  graduate students nationwide  studying transportation issues  to come to the center for a  weeklong conference to learn how transportation policy is made. Students attended a diverse variety of panels on issues such as transportation policy, funding, planning, and technology from federal officials, members of business, and non-profit organizations. Commenting on the experience, Ms. Lederman noted that “the caliber of panelists and other students was exceptional, and our discussions were engaging and illuminating. Overall, the program was inspiring and reinforced that the study and practice of transportation policy changes the world for the better.”

Not only was Ms. Lederman selected to attend the conference, but she also received financial support to attend from the Galen and Ruth Roush Foundation of Akron, OH, which is a charitable trust that supports education, the arts, social services, and other causes that improve the community. Being accepted to attend the conference and receiving the Galen and Ruth Roush Award are both highly competitive. We congratulate Ms. Lederman on her achievements!

By |August 8th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

Redesigning a New York City Icon

The Port Authority Bus Terminal of New York traces its roots back to the late 1930s, an era characterized by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, a skyline already filled with iconic skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, and city streets crowded with interstate bus traffic. Since its opening in 1950, and expansion in 1979, demand for the aging icon’s services has continued to grow beyond its capacity.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced the selection of eight experts who will serve as the jury for a two-phase Port Authority Bus Terminal Design and Deliverability Competition. Helping the Port Authority realize its vision of transportation needs through 2040 — nearly a century after its founding — will be Martin Wachs, professor emeritus in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs’ Department of Urban Planning and faculty fellow in the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS).

“The opportunity to play a role in the development of one of the nation’s most important transportation terminals is enormously satisfying because I have always tried to relate teaching and research to current policy challenges,” said Wachs, who will chair the design jury. “This is a complex project, the jury is composed of wise and experienced people, and the entries are creative and varied.”

Today, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, located in midtown Manhattan near Times Square, serves more than 7,000 buses daily and more than 220,000 passengers on an average weekday. That is expected to increase to 270,000 daily peak hour passengers by 2020 and approximately 337,000 by 2040. It is linked to the Lincoln Tunnel, with access to more than 90,000 peak-period weekday bus commuters; 11 subway lines; five City Transit bus lines; and pedestrian access to offices, theaters, shopping and […]

By |August 1st, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

The Spring Issue of ACCESS is Now Online!

Spring is in the air, and ACCESS is on the web. Please check out the Spring 2016 issue at accessmagazine.org. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in this issue:

Going the Extra Mile: Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth

If you were a hybrid vehicle owner and you were driving down the freeway, would you know the best time to use gas and the best time to use the battery? Probably not, and most hybrid cars don’t know either. In fact, most plug-in hybrids just deplete their battery completely before switching to gas, which is actually an inefficient use of energy.

In their article, “Going the Extra Mile: Intelligent Energy Management of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles,” Kanok Boriboonsomsin, Guoyuan Wu, and Matthew Barth explore how hybrids can better manage battery use to get an extra five to ten miles out of each gallon of gas. By incorporating real-time information on where a car is, where it’s going, traffic levels, incline, and a host of other variables, an intelligent management strategy can save fuel and reduce emissions by 10 to 12 percent.

Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity? Megan S. Ryerson and Amber Woodburn

Imagine you’re at the airport and the security checkpoint is crowded. You finally reach your gate but your flight is delayed because the runway is full. “Why don’t they build more runways?” you ask, but maybe that’s not the right question.

In “Manage Flight Demand or Build Airport Capacity?” Megan Ryerson and Amber Woodburn discuss two ways to manage air traffic congestion: adding runways or shifting flights through demand management. Often local governments and airport authorities think that airport expansion equates to economic development even though there is […]

By |May 10th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|