SPUR Talk: Dancing on the Grave of “Level of Service”

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Sarah Fine and Jeff Tumlin talked about the implications of the life and welcome death of “Level of Service.” Photo: Streetsblog.

Wednesday evening, SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, sponsored a talk entitled “Reconsidering Transportation to Create Better Urban Spaces” at their new downtown Oakland location. The talk focused on the history and damage done by the almost mindless adherence over the years to Level of Service (LOS) on urban spaces throughout California.

“We’re wearing black,” joked Jeff Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy with Nelson\Nygaard, “because we’re talking about the death of LOS.” LOS, for Streetsblog readers who might not be aware, is a way to measure traffic impacts of development projects that made its way into California environmental law. Although ostensibly designed to protect the environment, most livable streets advocates blame it for destroying urban spaces and actually making traffic and air pollution far worse.

Tumlin explained that LOS wasn’t originally part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). “It was something the courts came up with,” he said. “They fixated on this single metric that measures the average seconds of delay that a car experiences—just in the peak fifteen minutes of the peak hour.”

In other words, if an intersection is all but unused, but analysis shows that a project would cause delay during the most congested fifteen minutes of the busiest hour of the day, the project would have to do something to mitigate that delay—typically, widen the nearby intersection. The result is well known to livable streets advocates—the state is now littered with streets that are wide and unwalkable. Meanwhile, thanks to induced demand, traffic has only gotten progressively worse.

LOS metrics turned too many intersections into this. Image: Tumlin's presentation.
LOS metrics turned too many intersections into this. Image from Tumlin’s presentation.

Tumlin used a couple of colorful metaphors to illustrate the problem with focusing solely on LOS. “In economic terms, it’d be like Southwest Airlines only focusing on their 8 am flights,” said Tumlin. Imagine, he said to the audience, if instead of charging people more to fly at certain times, the airline bought nothing but 747s so that everyone could have a seat during their peak hour, and then let the planes sit idle for the rest of the day, or used the same giant planes during off-peak times with only a few seats occupied. “They’d go out of business,” he said.

“It’d be like buying a pony for every little girl in California who wanted a pony.”

Aiming for a Level of Service A is like aiming to have “an empty street,” he said. “So a street [ends up] three times wider than it ever needs to be. But now walking on the street is a miserable experience and transit will not work, so the street drags down adjacent property values.”

Of course, much of this is now corrected, at least in theory, by 2013’s Senate Bill 743, which required the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to come up with an alternate metric for measuring the environmental impacts of traffic. And that new metric, explained Sarah Fine, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Oakland, will be a measure of how many Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) a development produces. A dense housing project near a BART station, with retail on the ground floor, would have less of an effect on VMT than it would on LOS, and under new CEQA rules it would therefore not require mitigation. “It lets us think holistically, so the checklist aligns project outcome with goals for the city,” said Fine. That’s part of why Oakland created its new Transportation Department, she explained, to help reduce VMT and encourage more walkable, bikeable projects.

To get that department up and running, Oakland brought in Bloomberg and Associates: “former people from New York Mayor Bloomberg’s administration are now pro-bono consultants and help cities with all of their problems,” Fine explained. “I got to shake hands with Janette Sadik Khan!” she said of the New York Department of Transportation’s famously pro-bike leader. “They are helping us work through a strategic plan for Oakland. In this transportation department process we’re talking about what our mission and process will be.”

And that will mean more bike lanes, like the protected lanes recently installed on Telegraph, more bus lanes, and more dense, infill projects centered around mass transit.

Even bike lanes, such as this recently installed one on Telegraph in Oakland, would have triggered a study and/or a lawsuit under the old metric of LOS. Photo: Streetsblog.
Even bike lanes, such as this recently installed one on Telegraph in Oakland, would have triggered a study and/or a lawsuit under the old metric of LOS. Photo: Melanie Curry/Streetsblog.

An audience member asked why it’s taken so long to get reform, given the destructive effects of LOS. Tumlin explained that some of it is financial (road builders, clearly, loved LOS). But much of it was an educational issue. For one, because LOS was wrapped up in “environmental” law, people thought it must be good for the environment. “It takes at least thirty minutes to explain why the practice was wrong and you’re lucky if you can get fifteen seconds of someone’s time,” said Tumlin. “With our brains we are object thinkers, not system thinkers, and this is an incredibly complex process.”

But Tumlin warned that not everyone is yet on board with VMT. He singled out the Southern California Association of Governments, who have opposed OPR’s solutions.  “Municipalities are worried that any change will result in litigation and uncertainties,” he said. “Abandonment of LOS is up-ending transportation plans.”

Both Tumlin and Fine were pleased, however, with how far San Francisco and now Oakland have come in adopting the new VMT way of thinking. “It was illegal for San Francisco to install bike racks for two years under CEQA. Now roadway projects have to be analyzed for induced demand,” Tumlin said. “Roadway projects now need to be bundled with walk, bike, and transit to be sure they won’t have environment impacts. But that’s freaking out agencies.”

Freaking out agencies in a good way, of course. For more of Tumlin, check out his TedX talk.

  • thielges

    “Although ostensibly designed to protect the environment…”

    I don’t think that LOS began life as a metric to be used to measure environmental impact. Yes, later on CEQA co-opted LOS. But originally the intent of LOS was as a metric to help traffic engineers measure how well auto traffic flowed, reducing delays, and making driving more productive and pleasant. This was back in the day when the ONLY traffic that mattered was motorized. It was also the period when unwalkable suburbs were created: no sidewalks, long distances between destinations, etc.

  • The Overhead Wire

    Folks might also be interested in the podcast we did on LOS last year with Jeff and others at posted at Streetsblog USA. http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/12/talking-headways-level-of-disservice/

  • Joe Linton

    There was never a day when the only traffic that mattered was motorized… that was a lie propagated by vested interested, carried forward by engineers.

  • Joe Linton

    Great article. While there are lots of crappy rules/laws/processes/etc. that uphold excessive car-centricity (for example, most zoning, all parking requirements), I’ve come to think that LOS is among the most pernicious lies that really prop up car-centricity. The sooner we stop justifying anything via LOS the better.

  • RichLL

    Turlin appears to be contradicting himself though. He claims that a road designed in this way “is like aiming to have ‘an empty street'” but then goes on to claim that ” thanks to induced demand, traffic has only gotten progressively worse.”

    So which is it? Is traffic too much or not bad enough?

    More generally it isn’t necessarily a bad idea to design for maximum stress. Taking his example of planes, they are designed for the worst cases of turbulence, wind shear, lightning strikes and other perils, and we are generally glad that they are. Bus and train schedules are designed for peak hours. Sidewalks are often not busy – so are they are too wide?

    While the design of your local hospital should take into account peak demand if it has to deal with accidents and trauma victims. Prisons can’t be designed for a slow Tuesday but rather a bad Saturday night.

    In any event the genie is out of the bottle now. We live in a city that is 100 miles across in any direction, and where transit barely exists outside of the core. There are over 5 million vehicles registered in the nine Bay Area counties – about the same as the population.

    Being car-free, or even car-lite, might be a worthy dream but it’s not a practical reality unless a massive earthquake means that we have to start over from scratch.

  • Can’t you ‘aim to have an empty street’ yet have induced demand foil those plans and fill it up? That’s the pretty much discovering the definition of induced demand by backing into it.

  • Only traffic that mattered to the engineers…

  • RichLL

    The history of building out infrastructure in this growing country has been that, no matter how much over-capacity we build into it, eventually it proves to be inadequate. If our population stops increasing then that may cease to be true but, right now, the US is growing faster than Europe, with no sign of that changing. And the Bay Area is growing much faster than most of the US.

    So when we design roads it isn’t just a matter of designing for peak times but also designing for future growth. That is what planning and transportation departments are supposed to do, based on projections of population and economic growth.

    Is that growth in demand “induced”? Maybe, to some extent. But it’s also structural, systematic and will happen anyway. It’s just a matter of time.

    And if we stop planning and building for growth in this way, and instead just build to current demand, then what? LA-style traffic jams 24 hours a day? How does that help anyone?

  • thielges

    “So which is it? Too much traffic or not enough?”

    You really don’t need to think too hard to find the answer. Streets and roads are built incrementally. It is not like they were created all at once on Day Zero. This is a big interconnected piece of infrastructure.

    So when a project triggers LOS rules, those rules apply the limits of that project. Once the project is done there is no congestion within the project bounds. But it does induce traffic and causes congestion elsewhere in the streets network.

    Take 101 for example. Every time we throw a few hundred millions to upgrade an interchange or half mile segment, traffic is fine within that segment once the project finishes and the K-rail is removed. But has there ever been a time when no 101 segment between SJ and SF is uncongested during the rush hour?

  • RichLL

    I can see how that happens in areas where the development is new and where we can actually sprawl, widen roads etc. In fact I find it interesting how traffic often gets worse the further away from SF you go. Pleasanton and Walnut Creek are often jammed.

    And yes, if we add an extra lane to a section of 101 then another section becomes congested, and that process never ends. In LA I-5 has about 20 lanes at one point and it still gets jammed. Houston has a 24-lane freeway, I’ve heard.

    Even so, what is the alternative? Assume that more people are coming here anyway, and projections show SF at over a million by 2030 and the Bay Area to 10 million later in the century.

    Do we sprawl even more? Do we infill and build high in SF, where the roads cannot be widened, slapping down all the NIMBY’s, and build several Central Subways? It’s easy to criticize what we’ve done but, absent a better plan or putting a fence up around the Bay Area, what’s the alternative? Bearing in mind that the voters have to agree both in principle and to be taxed to pay for it all.

  • joechoj

    “How does that help anyone?”

    When it’s coupled with buildout of transporation alternatives (bike networks; improved pedestrian environment; transit improvement; car-sharing; innovation of new first/last mile ideas) or transportation reduction (development near transit).

    Granted, these improvements have to happen on a much grander scale than they are currently, and you’re right – traffic will surely get worse before it gets better. But two key realities drive the political will that has developed to make the change anyway: 1) given anticipated regional growth, cars (and their lanes) alone can’t deliver people fast enough to where they will need to go; and 2) the fact is there’s no way to build out the alternative transportation systems sufficiently quickly to avoid this pain. Partly because these modes are often fighting for the same road space as cars; partly because there’s a behavioral lag in commuting patterns (people don’t show up in new bike lanes alI at once; the numbers grow over time); partly because multiple rounds of improvements in the network are needed to maximize the payoff; and most importantly because of funding bottlenecks.
    The change to a less car-dependent solution has to happen – there’s just no other way. And worse traffic is simply a temporary side effect of the too-long transition period – a period made slower and more painful by those who oppose these projects.

    One subject that I don’t hear discussed as often as I’d like is the encouragement of various villages or town centers within a city, with all the necessary services so there’s less need to jump in a car.

    We live in interesting times…

  • jonobate

    Your problem is that you’re equating “new people” with “new vehicles”. The former is pretty much inevitable, the latter is not.

    Let’s say you have 1 million people in a metropolitan area, 80% of trips are made by private auto, and the freeways are at capacity at peak times. Now let’s say that you add 100,000 new residents, but you choose to massively invest in biking, walking, and transit, and you choose to locate those residents in dense urban areas where such modes are viable alternatives to driving. Most of the new residents and some of the existing residents choose biking, walking, and transit as the best ways to get around. The drive alone mode share drops to 73%, which means that the number of drivers on the freeways remains constant, and no increase in road capacity is needed.

    Now let’s imagine that you increased road capacity instead of biking, transit and walking, and encouraged new residents to live in the suburbs rather than the urban core. Most of the new residents and some of the existing ones will switch from transit to driving, because at least initially the new freeway capacity will make driving more attractive. You might move the mode share to 87% driving, which means that you now have 150,000 extra people driving, far more than the 100,000 you planned for. So pretty soon you need to widen the freeway again. That’s induced demand, and it continues until you can no longer keep widening the freeways because it’s too expensive or simply impractical. This is where LA got to 20 years ago, and they’ve been smart enough to to start trying to move the needle back the other direction, albeit very slowly.

  • murphstahoe

    what’s the alternative?

    Maybe San Francsiscans will stop shopping at Serramonte and start shopping in their neighborhood again. Communism, I know.

  • jonobate

    Do we sprawl even more? Do we infill and build high in SF, where the roads cannot be widened, slapping down all the NIMBY’s, and build several Central Subways?

    Those are pretty much the two alternatives, with various shades of grey in between. Which one do you choose?

  • thielges

    Yes, we’re pushing the boundaries of capacity. The most pragmatic options are to build more infill housing, retail, and commercial space. This is currently happening all over the bay area. One of the side effects of increased density is reduced distance between various endpoints for typical trips because more options are popping up within a fixed radius as the area’s density increases. That makes less glamorous but more efficient options like walking, biking, and bus transit more viable which in turn counteracts the increase congestion from increased density.

    To move more people we can cheaply allocate lane space to more efficient modes. Not glamorous or ideal, but it gets the job done. Eventually you reach a density where better transit like subways make financial sense.

    Part of the solution is a matter of residents adapting their lifestyle. For example today there are thousands of kids who commute dozens of miles daily to private schools and after school activities. That’s just plain silly and a waste of both kids and their parent’s time, especially when that daily journey passes right by closer alternatives that are just as good.

    Shopping habits can change. Delivery services and finer grained shopping alternatives will crop up to address the needs.

    Our current lifestyles have a lot of room to improve efficiency without sacrificing quality.

  • RichLL

    If the sales tax prop passes in SF in November then the sales tax rate in SF will leapfrog that in San Mateo, so I’d guess there will be more ten minute trips down 280 to Serramonte, not less.

    Or more road trips up I-5 to the malls of Medford, OR, where there is no sales tax.

    Or more non-Amazon on-line purchases, ditto.

  • RichLL

    I’d build up the east-side of SF to Manhattan/Hong Kong densities, but the voters won’t have it.

  • jonobate

    Anyone who drives ten minutes to save a half cent in sales tax, and isn’t making a huge purchase such as a new car, is not acting in their financial interest.

    Likewise, anyone who drives 400 miles to save 9.5% in sales tax, and isn’t making a huge purchase such as a new car, is not acting in their financial interest.

  • I don’t think you’re grasping the whole Induced bit. When you build out for people driving in SOV’s from their sprawling ranch homes which need 8 lanes in each direction, that’s what you’ll get. But I’m not a lecturer or book on the topic.

  • gneiss

    This is a very important point. We are seeing induced traffic demand on freeways in metro areas around Cleveland and Columbus Ohio despite the fact that there has been no net increase in population. What’s happened instead, is that housing and commercial development patterns have favored greenfield over infill and now people are driving more per capita then then used to accomplish the same tasks. When you encourage people to live in places where you need to drive 5 miles to purchase a gallon of milk from places where they could walk to the store, guess what? More people drive further. That’s induced demand.

  • RichLL

    Serramonte from my house is about a half gallon of gas round-trip. Call it 2 bucks. So if I spend $400 I am flat on the deal, and it’s not hard to spend $400 on a week-end big family shop.

    It’s also easy because you park once and it’s all there, or park twice if you go to Target just across the freeway as well.There is a huge amount of retail right outside every major route out of SF (Corte Madera, Emeryville and Serramonte) and there’s got to be a reason for that.

    Anyway watch the line of cars from SF backed up at the mall exit on a Saturday morning and it is clear that many many people in the city do it.

    Re Medford, I’d agree, that’s a 400 mile drive. But if you go to Oregon regularly, as I do, it’s kinda on the way. While the racket of buying cars in Oregon to save the sales tax is well known and we don’t need to amplify that here.

  • RichLL

    No, I get it, but I still think it is a “chicken and egg” issue. The roads induce demand but the demand induces the construction. It’s more like a vicious cycle and nobody can switch off the music.

    Look, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than live in a ranch home on a suburban sub-division. But I cannot credibly deny that a lot of people want that, and overcoming their combined electoral power and resistance to higher taxes is not trivial.

    As Galbraith said long ago, we Americans seem comfortable with private affluence and public squalor.

  • Well, the combination of electoral power (unlimited wants) and resistance to higher taxes (limited resources) is a problem that doesn’t even have much to do with highway construction.

    Just the unlimited wants part is what we’re talking about with highway construction…it demands spending, eminent domain, land, etc.

    There are many things people want. Doesn’t mean we have to give it to them, even if it is possible. Often it isn’t.

    People don’t want ‘more lanes’, they want a faster commute from where they live to where they work. They want less traffic in their way. Simply building more lanes has been shown to be self-defeating even in areas which aren’t growing: http://usa.streetsblog.org/?p=169877

  • RichLL

    “there are thousands of kids who commute dozens of miles daily to private schools and after school activities. That’s just plain silly and a waste of both kids and their parent’s time, especially when that daily journey passes right by closer alternatives that are just as good.”

    I agree, but you know who the biggest culprit is? SFUSD and their absurd school allocation system. First my kids were allocated to a school they could not walk to even though there are two decent schools within walking distance to my house.

    So then, rather than drive them across town to a less than stellar school and neighborhood, I put them in private school but, for one of them, that still meant driving.

    A perfect example of political correctness and misplaced ideology directly making traffic congestion worse.

  • As you may know, they’ve since switched to a system that gives preference to your neighborhood school. I think you’re using talking points from last decade.

  • RichLL

    I’m aware that the system has changed some since a few years ago, and that parents are now more likely to get a neighborhood school.

    But even so, I do not believe that all kids can attend their local school under the revised system. There is still an ideological imperative that drives the allocation process.

    The simplest and most traffic-friendly solution would be to define catchment areas for neighborhood schools and that is it. The city has consistently refused to do that even while busing policies have become discredited and racial quotas have been outlawed.

    The city just can’t help itself but meddle.

  • Eric W

    Thanks you Jeff! LOS is dead!

  • murphstahoe

    Have to admit you have a point. Because as you have displayed very adequately – your time is worth nothing.

  • jonobate

    https://xkcd.com/951/

    The other issue, aside from how much you value your time, is that driving costs more than just the cost of gas; 58c/mile, according to AAA. So that makes a ~20 mile trip to Serramonte and back cost about $12, which pushes your break even point up to $2,400.

  • RichLL

    On the contrary, going to a mall is very time-efficient because all the stores I need on a weekly basis are close to each other and walkable from each other. The drive is quick as well, given 280, and parking is easy.

    Compare that with visiting the same stores in SF, which would involve a number of trips, not all of which would be easy by car, but which would be time-consuming by Muni or walking.

    Throw in the fact that we’re talking about moving 2-4 people and tens of pounds of weight of shopping, and the numbers are compelling even without a sales tax saving. It saves time and effort.

  • RichLL

    Agreed that it depends how you cost driving. You’re taking the fully-loaded cost per mile, which is certainly what I would claim when using my car for work.

    But most people don’t think that way. Much of the cost of owning a car is fixed (depreciation, interest, insurance, registration) and remains about the same whether you drive 1,000 miles a year or 20,000 miles a year.

    The variable costs are mostly related to gas and maintenance, and even some of the maintenance is time-dependent rather than mileage-dependent. Metal rusts and fluids degrade whether you use the car or not. Even non-use can cause problems and IMO it’s good to give a vehicle a good blast down the freeway once a week, rather than do 100% stop-go city driving.

    So most drivers view costs in terms of gas, and it’s dirt cheap right now.

  • jonobate

    Sure, but those fixed costs still apply whether or not you think about them when going to the mall. So again, it’s not in anyone’s financial interest to drive to the mall to save a buck on sales tax. Some people might think it is, for the reasons you mention, but those people are wrong.

    Likewise, the idea that you need to take a car on a freeway once a week to keep it working has no basis in reality. It’s not a dog and it doesn’t need to go for a run, however much you try and anthropomorphise it.

  • jonobate

    Every shop I need is within a 1-2 block walking distance. How is that less time efficient than driving to the mall?

  • RichLL

    In your case, it isn’t. But there is a world of difference between, say, a single guy who buys a few things in his neighborhood on the way home from work and a family who have to do a major shop at the week-end.

    For me to duplicate my weekly Serramonte shopping run in San Francisco then, with or without a car, it would probably take me twice as long. And involve me carry heavy bags over long distances. And probably paying more for items.

    What you’re really arguing is for me and others to totally change their lifestyle. And in many cases that is either impossible or just undesirable.

  • RichLL

    I understand the fixed versus variable costs issue. For me they arise differently. If I am considering buying or replacing my car, then I take into account the fully-loaded total cost of ownership. At least in theory, I may determine that it would be cheaper to use a combination of cabs, Uber, car-share services and rental cars, along with public transport.

    But even then I have to take into account the freedom, flexibility and convenience that a car gives me, the greater independence from others, the fact that I often don’t ride alone, carry large heavy items around, and have to transport kids, elderly parents etc.

    And also take into account that I really like cars.

    But if I already own a car then it is the marginal and incremental cost of a trip that matters. If my family of four take a trip to LA, then I figure that as the price of 20-30 gallons of gas and compare that to, say, the cost of 4 air tickets and the car I’d have to rent anyway.

    “Those people are wrong”? Sorry but to win a debate you have to actually win it, and not just declare yourself the winner.

    Finally, an anecdote. My elderly father-in-law drives rarely and slowly. It’s not unusual for him to ask me to take a look at his car because he says it isn’t running well. What do I do? Take it for a 70mph run for 20-30 minutes. And usually it then runs better, and I tell him I tinkered with the timing or the injectors, when in reality all I did was give it a good clean out. Make of that what you will but there are actually reasons for it.

  • jonobate

    No, that’s not what I’m arguing. What I’m arguing is that your statement that more people will drive to Serramonte to shop if the sales tax passes is almost certainly false, because the difference in sales tax does not make enough of a cost difference that it’s worth the extra time and expense for people who don’t already drive to the mall to start doing so. If you already choose to drive to the mall to shop, then you will continue to do so after the sales tax had passed, so it won’t change your behavior one iota.

    This argument has nothing to do with anyone imposing their beliefs on you or forcing you to change your lifestyle. You simply want to believe that it is about that because it feeds into your own persecution complex.

    I’m suddenly reminded why it’s pointless to respond to your posts. The pattern is inevitably as follows: you make a bullshit statement, someone calls you on it, you fail to justify your position on a factual basis, you divert the argument somewhere else. It’s a complete waste of time to respond to you, and the only reason anyone does respond is because it’s grating to see such obvious falsehoods being posted on this forum. So, I’m done with this discussion.

  • jonobate

    No, those people are wrong if they think that they will save money on sales tax by driving to the mall. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact, easily determined by comparing the two numbers to each other and seeing which one is larger.

    Of course, some people may decide to do it anyway, because some people are irrational and would prefer to give a larger number of dollars to the auto industry than a smaller number of dollars to fund services in the city they live in. Fortunately, those people are in the minority, as most people make rational decisions based on time and cost when planning the routine aspects of their lives.

  • RichLL

    In the aggregate, tax differentials will alter behavior. Indeed, tax polices are often driven by a desire to reward some behaviors and punish others. They probably should not, but they do.

    Whether a higher sales tax drives people to buy high-value items in another county, state or on-line will vary by person or even by instance for the same person. You also need to account for the sense of principle – I like to reward jurisdictions that have lower taxes over and above the value of the saving.

    Your last paragraph and its thinly veiled personal attacks just confirms what I noted earlier. You are so totally convinced that you are right and that anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, that you quickly lose interest when someone comes up with arguments you cannot refute, and instead try and discredit them.

    And whether you agree with my reasoning or not, it’s important for you to understand these lines of thought if you ever hope to convince anyone who isn’t already in your camp.

  • RichLL

    As I explained to you earlier, the tax saving depends on the value of the shop. In one case, I saved $200 in tax on the purchase of a single item by buying it in a jurisdiction that I feel sure you’d disapprove of.

    And you’re missing the wider point – that there are other benefits in terms of time, effort, convenience and flexibility, as well as the principle of rewarding jurisdictions that are tax-friendly.

    A minority? The number of car registrations in the SF Bay Area is about equal to the population. Even in San Francisco, households who don’t have at least one car are out-numbered 3 to 1 by those who. Most use a car for shopping whether there is a tax saving or not.

    One day you might be able to claim otherwise, but not yet and not even close.

  • murphstahoe

    “So most drivers view costs in terms of gas, and it’s dirt cheap right now.”

    How do we change that? Because that mindset is inefficient and shrinks the pie

  • murphstahoe

    What happens in practice, is the presence of being in a mall drives consumption, with people buying more goods than they actually need. Which is great for stockholders, I guess.

  • RichLL

    I don’t know but if you think it’s a problem then one idea would be to lower the fixed costs of driving (depreciation, insurance, tax, registration) and load those costs onto fuel.

    If it were revenue-neutral, the voters might just go for it, pro bono publicum.

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