Professor Emeritus Martin Wachs; then-MURP student Shira Bergstein; Dan Chatman, Berkeley Assistant Professor; and Berkeley graduate student April Mo, recently completed a study to examine whether the process of environmental reviews and approvals for infrastructure projects has proven to be quicker where Habitat Conservation Plans exist than has been the case where they do not. Habitat Conservation Plans set aside areas of land to protect the habitats of endangered and threatened species. Over the past decade, twenty or more large Habitat Conservation areas have been established in an effort to both preserve endangered environments and to facilitate the construction of important infrastructure like highways and transit routes, by "streamlining" the environmental review process that is required under the National Environmental Protection Act. The conservation areas provide for the mitigation of the environmental impacts of the infrastructure projects.
The UCLA Complete Streets Initiative recently was selected by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to create a bicycle data clearinghouse in a partnered effort with Ryan Snyder Associates, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and Kittleson and Associates. As a part of this multi-phase $150,000 project, UCLA will collect and standardize data for municipalities in Los Angeles County, and will create a Web-based, user-friendly map interface available to policymakers and the public. Such a bicycle data set will be the first of its kind in the county. The team of Lewis Center researchers includes Madeline Brozen and Norman Wong, Professor Rui Wang, and graduate students. Their effort builds upon the UCLA Lewis Center's other Web-GIS interface projects including the California Land Opportunities Tracking System (CA-LOTS), a Web-GIS tool which allows planners and developers throughout the region to identify infill development opportunities in priority growth areas.
A new study examines travel of teens and young adults in an era of advanced communications technologies. Written by UCLA's own Evelyn Blumenberg, Brian Taylor, Michael Smart, Kelcie Ralph, Madeline Wander, and Stephen Brumbaugh, the study was funded by both the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the University of California Transportation Center. The researchers find that economic factors, first and foremost are behind the decline in solo driving among teens and young adults in recent years. Unemployment among teens and young adults is up dramatically in the Great Recession, and this has reduced access to vehicles, money to pay for driving, and the need to drive to jobs. Young people are still getting around, but more often by means other than driving. Interestingly, the researchers found that use of information and communications technologies was associated with slightly more travel, and not less. All of that talking, texting, and tweeting, in other words, is not substituting for travel.
ITS post-doctoral researcher Michael Smart has recently completed one study of travel in non-traditional households and has commenced another. In the first study, Dr. Smart and Rutgers University graduate student Nicholas Klein examined travel patterns in gay and lesbian households and found that gay men in gay neighborhoods tend to travel considerably shorter distances, on average, than any other household type studied. These findings build on Dr. Smart's dissertation research examining the role of neighborhoods in influencing travel behavior. Dr. Smart and Mr. Klein presented this work at the 2013 Transportation Research Board conference in Washington, D.C. in January. Given recent concerns with obesity, food access, and healthy eating, Dr. Smart has recently commenced a related study in collaboration with Professor Brian Taylor and graduate students Kelcie Ralph and Chelsea Richer examining time-use and travel in households headed by two-sex couples, single-sex couples, and single-parents, with a focus on how time budgets and travel affect grocery shopping, eating out, and food consumption.
ITS Associate Director Allison Yoh, ITS Director Brian Taylor, and UCLA Urban Planning alumnus John Gahbauer recently completed a multi-year study on the benefits and challenges of using variable fares to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of transit. These fares - which vary by mode, distance traveled, and/or time of day - can be set to reflect the costs of service provision, and for many decades researchers have argued for their use. The researchers find through interviews and a national survey that transit agency CEOs, deputy directors, and board members believe variable fares are a good idea, but in practice, few transit agencies offer them. Instead, simple, low, and flat fares are the norm. Rather than standing to gain more riders for some types of trips, agencies are instead motivated to keep fares low and flat across the board to avoid losing any trips to automobiles. This finding, among others in the report, suggest that transit agencies would do well to support congestion and parking pricing policies that would remove a significant barrier to implementing innovative fare policies.
Urban Planning student (and ITS fellowship recipient) Will Dominie recently won the Neville Parker Award for the best transportation and planning capstone project in the United States from the the Council of University Transportation Centers. Full story here. Eric Morris was recently named winner of the 2012 UCTC Outstanding Student of the Year award. Eric received his Ph.D. from UCLA and is currently an Assistant Professor of Planning, Design, and the Built Environment at Clemson University. Full story here. Madeline Wander (MURP '12) was selected by the Board of Regents of the Eno Center for Transportation to participate in the 20th annual Eno Leadership Development Conference in Washington, D.C. Full story here. Brian Taylor, Professor of Urban Planning and Director of ITS, has been named a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Full story here.