The concept of sustainable transportation is now a significant factor shaping the development of transportation systems worldwide. This session presents three papers that explore various aspects of the human and organizational considerations relevant to transportation sustainability.
One paper presents a cost-oriented national transportation sustainability index (NTSI) to compare the performance of transportation systems in the EU and US, and explores the relationship between human capital metrics and transportation sustainability. The second paper reconceptualizes sustainable transport as an ecology of modes, and looks at trip purposes as they express people’s needs and aspirations. The third paper describes how sustainability achievements and the processes to measure them are being implemented across various divisions of a large transportation agency.
Relationship Between Human Capital and Transportation Sustainability for the United States and Selected European Countries
Hamed Ahangari, District Department of TransportationShow Abstract
Carol Atkinson-Palombo, University of Connecticut
Norman Garrick, University of Connecticut
There is a growing interest in developing reliable and meaningful composite indices of transportation sustainability. A number of such indices have already been developed but none have been used for comparing countries. In this paper we introduce a cost-oriented national transportation sustainability index (NTSI) and use it to compare the performance of the US with 27 selected European countries for 2005 and 2011. We then employed a series of panel data models to investigate the relationship between human capital, macroeconomic and social factors, and transportation sustainability. Our results showed that Switzerland was the best performing country in terms of NTSI in 2005 but was displaced at the top by the UK in 2011. Other countries that performed quite well were the Nordic countries and some of the older EU member nations. On the other hand, the US was by far the worst performing country in terms of transportation sustainability in 2005 and 2011. One interesting finding was the split in the performance of the non-Nordic European Union countries. In general, in 2005, the newer EU member nations had by far the best performance on the environmental sub-index of the NTSI. But by 2011, this advantage had almost entirely eroded. The numbers suggests that this was due to a rapid rate of increase in motorization in these countries that was not necessarily paralleled by corresponding changes in their economic performance. Overall we found that factors associated with a high level of human capital such as high health index, high educational attainment, and low poverty level were also associated with high levels of transportation sustainability. Conversely, high levels of motorization were associated with lower levels of transportation sustainability.
Keywords: Transportation Sustainability, National Index, Composite Index, Human Capital, Motorization Level, Human well-being, Panel Data Modeling
Testing a New Approach to Planning Sustainable Transport Using Data from Metropolitan Santiago de Chile and the San Francisco Bay Area
Alex Karner, University of Texas, AustinShow Abstract
Lake Sagaris, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Despite a three-tiered definition of sustainability, including environmental, economic, and social outcomes, sustainable transport definitions primarily respond to the automobile’s profligate energy consumption, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, rather than its effects on social cohesion, urban form, or accessibility. This has led to a focus on public transport as the “monomode” best suited to responding — sustainably — to automobility. More recently, planners have begun to consider the importance of cycling and walking, as complementary modes, within policy- and planning-oriented approaches to implementing more sustainable transport systems. In this study, we reconceptualize “sustainable” transport from a social perspective, looking at trip purposes as they express people’s needs and aspirations. Because public transport alone is ineffective for responding to many needs, we consider how integrating more walking and cycling possibilities could resolve these challenges. This perspective suggests that rather than a single mode, sustainable transport could more aptly be defined as an “ecology” of modes, depending mainly on the quality of intermodal interactions. We then consider a relatively simple planning tool to calculate modal share and shift targets, according to the complementary roles of different modes. We demonstrate the use of this tool in two very different metropolitan areas: Santiago de Chile and the San Francisco Bay Area, a comparison that allows us to consider the tool’s usefulness for defining targets in diverse planning contexts. We close with some implications for transportation planning practice.
Implementing Sustainability Within a Transportation Agency: Illinois Tollway Experience
Steven Gillen, Illinois TollwayShow Abstract
William Vavrik, Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA)
This paper uses the Illinois Tollway as a case study to describe how sustainability achievements and the processes to measure them can be implemented within a large transportation agency. By first demonstrating the economic benefits of sustainability through applicable research on Tollway construction projects, greater emphasis could be placed on all three major benefits of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – and work to implement and improve sustainability efforts accelerated.
Research was performed on various roadway materials having more recycled or byproduct content to improve sustainability. The output that was applied to construction standards resulted in distinct material price reductions without compromising the durability of the roadways. The Planning and Maintenance/Operations divisions of the Tollway also implemented greener practices and procedures that resulted in additional sustainability improvements.
This paper also provides examples of sustainability measurement tools like the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool (INVEST) rating system program and life cycle assessment (LCA) tools adopted by the Illinois Tollway. Using these tools, a transportation agency can validate sustainability improvements and measure continual improvements over time. The Tollway initiated the use of these sustainability measurement processes in June 2013 and, while further development of these measurements tools continues, some of the preliminary outcomes are included herein.
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