Transportation headlines, Friday, Jan. 21

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Growing without driving: gap between VMT and GDP continues to widen (The New York Times)

Sometime in the 1990s, the growth rate in America’s total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) began to diverge from the growth rate for U.S. economy’s GDP. This gap widened in the 2000s despite the economic downturn. What gives? The Center for Clean Air Policy suggests that divergence in VMT and GDP growth has something to do with the type of industries that boomed in the 1990s and 2000s (they generated fewer VMT) and the potential saturation in travel.

2010 UMR remains a flawed and misleading guide to urban transportation (CEOs for Cities)

CEOs for Cities has major problems with the Urban Mobility Report released by the Texas Transportation Institute yesterday – namely that the study ignores the effects of longer distance travel on commute times. In other words, it misses the importance of land use when it comes to ranking cities. One example cited is Portland, which is ranked as having worse traffic than Nashville, despite the fact that commuters in Portland actually travel 75 fewer hours a year than those in Nashville due to shorter commuting distances. The congestion may be worse, but the time wasted in a car is less.

Los Angeles transit projects pitched to new Congress by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (L.A. Times)

The Mayor of L.A. visited the new Congress this week to continue efforts to sell the 30/10 Initiative to the Feds. Overall the feedback was positive, with Republican leaders agreeing on the need to expedite projects but expressing skepticism on some specifics.