Matute on the Rise of Electric Scooters in L.A.

Juan Matute, deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, spoke to PBS News Hour about electric scooters in the Los Angeles region. While Santa Monica has been more lenient toward electric scooters, cities such as Milwaukee have prohibited them completely, Matute said. Bird bypassed licensing in Santa Monica, he said, explaining, “They wouldn’t have been able to get a license because there wasn’t a category for what they were doing. They wanted to demonstrate something, show that it worked and then attract additional rounds of financing.” When Lime, another electric scooter company, entered the market, Matute said it saturated the market to make it more convenient for people to try them. Electric scooters are intended to solve mobility issues in the city, Matute said. “It kind of remains to be seen what types of trips the scooters are displacing,” he concluded.


 

Matute Says Idea of Underground Route to Dodger Stadium May Have Merit

Juan Matute, lecturer in urban planning and deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation, commented in a Los Angeles Times story about a proposed 3.6-mile tunnel to ferry baseball fans between Dodger Stadium and a nearby Metro subway station. Elon Musk, above, and his Boring Company proposed to whisk riders in zero-emission, high-speed pods, following another company’s proposal to build an above-ground gondola connection between L.A.’s Union Station and the stadium. “It doesn’t seem like Dodger Stadium’s traffic problems have been solved as a result of the bus-only lanes,” Matute said. “It seems like people have a different available option to get there, and this could be another different viable option.”


 

Matute Comments on State Debate Over Driving Limits and Climate Change

Juan Matute, deputy director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, commented in a story on the California Air Resources Board’s efforts to reduce daily driving, or vehicle miles traveled (VMT), as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the state. “As electricity becomes cleaner, the proportion of total statewide [greenhouse gas] emissions from transportation is increasing,” Matute said in a story that originated with the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Cars have a long turn-over cycle, and our urban and regional design has an even longer time horizon for change.”


 

The Problems and Possibilities of Parking Highlights of the latest issue of the Lewis Center’s ACCESS magazine

By John A. Mathews

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs brings you a special edition of ACCESS dedicated to the most controversial topic in transportation: parking. Parking invokes immediate emotional responses. We experience joy when a stranger gives us his or her parking spot and rage when someone steals a space we waited 20 minutes for. And what better thrill is there than running to your car to feed the meter just in time to avoid a ticket?

The issues surrounding parking, however, go beyond our immediate reactions. Parking takes up valuable space that could go to better use. It can cause congestion and inflict additional costs on people who can’t even afford to own cars. But parking can also bring social benefits to a community. In this issue, ACCESS explores the good, the bad and the ugly of parking.

Parking as far as the eye can see

Whether you’re building a bar, a hair salon, or a zoo, you will have to build parking spaces to go with it. Now, after decades of development under excessive minimum parking requirements, parking dominates our cities. But how much parking is there really?

In their article, “Do Cities Have Too Much Parking?” Andrew Fraser, Mikhail Chester, Juan Matute and Ram Pendyala explore the distribution of parking in Los Angeles County and how the county’s parking infrastructure evolved over time. The authors found that, as of 2010, Los Angeles County had 18.6 million parking spaces. This amounts to more than 200 square miles of parking, or 14 percent of the county’s incorporated land area. So now the question is: Do we really need all of this parking?

Fraser is a postdoctoral researcher in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University. Chester is associate professor in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University. Matute is associate director of the Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Pendyala is a professor of Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University.

Keeping people from cruising

One possible solution to cruising for parking comes in the form of performance-based pricing, where the rate at the parking meter changes based on demand. The theory is that, with the right price, there will always be one or two empty spaces for drivers to park. Drivers can then park sooner instead of cruising for parking over longer distances, causing additional congestion. But do performance-based pricing programs actually help reduce cruising?

In “Cruising for Parking: Lessons from San Francisco,” Adam Millard-Ball, Rachel Weinberger and Robert Hampshire evaluate whether SFpark, San Francisco’s performance-based pricing initiative, actually reduced cruising. By simulating parking occupancy using parking sensor data, block length, and the probability that a block is full, the authors were able to conclude that SFpark did indeed work. The average cruising distance fell by 50 percent, but people don’t cruise as far as they think.

Millard-Ball is assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz. Weinberger is a transportation consultant based in New York City. Hampshire is assistant research professor in the Transportation Research Group at the University of Michigan.

Parking theories versus parking practice

The idea is simple: Charge more for parking and you should get more open parking spaces. Charge less for parking and parking spaces should fill up. But does this theory play out in the real world?

In their article, “Market-Priced Parking in Theory and Practice,” Michael Manville and Daniel Chatman evaluate how San Francisco’s market-priced parking program affected parking occupancy and cruising. They found that, when parking prices rose on a block, the block’s “average occupancy rate” for parking fell. The problem, however, is that drivers look for vacant parking spaces, not average occupancy rates. The longer the time included in average parking occupancy rates, the more misleading they can be.

Manville is assistant professor in the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Chatman is associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the UC Berkeley.

Making do with less

When you’re in a crowded parking lot trying to get in some holiday shopping, you might think there’s not enough parking. But if you drive around that same parking lot after hours, you can see the vast waste of space that occurs daily.

In his latest article, “Parking Management for Smart Growth,” Rick Willson asks how we can transition from too much parking to a more efficient use of a smaller parking supply. He argues that transportation demand management can reduce parking demand by encouraging drivers to carpool, walk, bike, or take public transit. Parking management strategies can further reduce the number of parking spaces needed through increased space efficiency. The use of sensors and sophisticated pricing meters can ensure open parking spots and help drivers find them.

Willson is professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona, and a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

London changes its parking requirements

Do we build so much parking because it’s needed or because it’s required? Parking theorists say that the market would provide fewer parking spaces if parking requirements did not exist. The evidence of this has been inconclusive, however, until now.

In his article, “From Parking Minimums to Parking Maximums in London,” Zhan Guo evaluates what happened after London reversed its parking requirements in 2004. The city removed the previous minimum parking requirements and instead adopted new maximum requirements for all metropolitan developments. What’s interesting is that the new maximum parking limits were often lower than the previous minimum requirements. What’s even more interesting is that most developments provided far less than the maximum limit allowed. This means that, with the previous minimum parking requirements, London was requiring far more parking than the market demanded.

Guo is associate professor of Urban Planning and Transportation Policy at the Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.

Parking: the new beachfront property

Many commercial areas have implemented Parking Benefit Districts that spend meter revenue for public services in the metered areas. But can Parking Benefit Districts work in purely residential neighborhoods as well?

In his article, “Parking Benefit Districts,” Donald Shoup argues that a residential Parking Benefit District can manage on-street parking and provide a neighborhood with revenue to clean and repair sidewalks, plant trees, and remove grime from subway stations. He also argues that residential Parking Benefit Districts can help unbundle the cost of parking from the cost of housing to create more affordable housing. If cities manage their curb parking as valuable real estate, they can stop subsidizing cars, congestion, pollution, and carbon emissions, and instead provide better public services and more affordable housing.

Shoup is editor of ACCESS and Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning in UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Accepting a Grand Challenge UCLA Luskin Researchers Awarded First LA Grand Challenge Grants to Support Efficient Transportation and Local Sustainable Water Research

By Stan Paul

Innovative and sustainable use of water and energy in Los Angeles is at the heart of UCLA’s Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, and three UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs researchers are at the forefront of this campuswide initiative.

Brian Taylor, Juan Matute and J.R. DeShazo are among 11 winners of the $1.2 million in competitive research grants awarded through the Challenge’s Five-Year Work Plan, which envisions a 100-percent renewable energy and local water scenario for the greater Los Angeles area by 2050. In addition, Jaimee Lederman, an Urban Planning doctoral candidate at Luskin, was recently named an LA Grand Challenge Powell Policy Fellow for a research/scholarly project that will directly contribute to advancing the goals of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.

Taylor and Matute said that their project will specifically study the viability of shared zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) and transportation network companies (TNCs) “to and from major transit stops to promote both ZEV and transit for commute-related traffic.” They believe the “meteoric rise” in use of TNCs, like Uber and Lyft, may address so-called “first-mile, last-mile” problems of daily transportation and encourage “mix-mode” travel that includes the use of expanding rail and bus rapid transit networks in Los Angeles.

“The TNC business model enables high daily vehicle utilization rates and high occupancy rates (percentage of seats filled) compared with personal vehicle ownership and operation,” said Taylor and Matute in their winning proposal. In addition, they indicated that the high rate of utilization rates will help zero-emission vehicle owners to “amortize the higher initial cost over a greater number of annual operating hours,” thus providing quicker returns on their investment.

Taylor, a professor of Urban Planning, is director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) at Luskin. Matute serves as associate director of the Lewis Center and ITS. DeShazo’s winning proposal will assess whether creating a unified water market, or “OneWater,” as he calls it, out of the current fragmented system of more than 200 community water systems in Los Angeles, is a real possibility. DeShazo is director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and is a professor of Public Policy, Urban Planning, and Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA.

“A regional water market could enable those systems with underutilized water resources to develop and supply water to systems facing higher costs, poor quality and unreliable supplies,” said DeShazo. “This opportunity to trade water expands the lower-costs supply options available to higher-costs systems, thus reducing regional inequality,” he said.

DeShazo pointed out that each system in the county’s fragmented market varies in numerous ways such as access to groundwater and aquifer storage, storm water capture, direct and indirect water re-use as well each of the current system’s potential for conservation. The proposal also calls for the creation of an advisory panel for a joint powers authority that would manage the OneWater market.

“The only way that all water systems in L.A. County can achieve 100 percent local water is if a system that enables the trading of water among systems is created,” noted DeShazo. “Trading would create a revenue stream that attracts new investment in blue infrastructure.”

Lederman’s proposed project is titled, “From Great Idea to Sustainable Outcomes: traversing political roadblocks of local participation in regional environmental initiatives.” Serving as her faculty mentor is Martin Wachs, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning. The fellowship award was made possible through a generous gift from Norman J. Powell.

The Sustainable LA Grand Challenge is currently engaged with more than 150 UCLA faculty and researchers from more than 70 campus departments who are seeking ways to improve the quality of life as population growth and climate change affect the Los Angeles area.

Read the complete story on the UCLA Newsroom website.

Planning a City, At Your Fingertips A new web application created by UCLA Lewis Center provides an array of powerful resources to help anyone — from city planners to community members — track neighborhood changes, with just a few clicks

Juan Matute, associate director of the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies

Juan Matute, associate director of the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies

By George Foulsham

You’ve lived in your community for about 20 years. You care about what’s going on in your neighborhood, and you’ve noticed it’s changing — but you’re not sure why. More importantly, you’d like to have a voice in the process of change, but you need more facts to participate with an informed voice.

Or, you’re a city planner who is contemplating adding a new neighborhood, or an in-fill commercial development. You have many factors to consider, including

reducing greenhouse gas emissions, access to employment, bringing people out of poverty.

Now, thanks to REVISION, a new web application created by the UCLA Lewis Center, part of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, anyone can aggregate data from various public and private sources to create a complete picture of neighborhood change. And they can do it with just a few clicks.

“We’ve built a tool that allows a great number of people, way more than just the professional planners who already have access to this data, the ability to go in and answer questions that they might have about this regional growth phenomenon,” said Juan Matute, associate director of the UCLA Lewis Center and the Institute of Transportation Studies. “To answer these questions before REVISION, it would have taken someone months of technical training and at least a day to gather the relevant information. Now, even people without technical expertise can get a great deal of insight in less than 20 minutes. So, REVISION makes big data on regional growth readily available at people’s fingertips.”

REVISION, created with the assistance of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), is dedicated to understanding community change in Southern California. With a range of metrics related to accessibility, livability, employment and health, REVISION helps both professional planners and stakeholders without a technical background monitor the progress of the region’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, a plan to improve environmental sustainability, social equity and public health. Users can use the site to answer hundreds of questions about regional and neighborhood change.

“We have created a web application that anybody can access with their web browser, to, with just a couple of clicks and in a couple of minutes, figure out if poverty is getting better or worse in this neighborhood,” Matute said. “Are people from this neighborhood using mass transit or bicycles to commute to work? Are we building new housing where there are a lot of bike lanes and frequent transit service or are we adding a lot of housing out in Lancaster or far-flung suburbs where people have longer distance commutes to access jobs? Or maybe there’s substantial job growth in Palmdale or Lancaster and their commutes are getting shorter.  With a few clicks someone can answer these and other questions.”

The UCLA Lewis Center and SCAG worked together to launch the REVISION application with funding from California’s Strategic Growth Council. Four integrated tools comprise the application:

Users can visualize differences between neighborhoods using the Map Tool.

The Trends Tool helps users identify statistically significant change over time.

The Area Report presents location-specific details from multiple sources: the just-released 2014 American Community Survey, CalEnviroScreen, planning data, Zillow real estate values and Walkscore.com.

The Property Report provides information from the County Assessor and other sources.

REVISION’s area reports have downloadable charts for many sustainability and livability metrics for over 10,000 census block groups in Southern California. The application combines metrics and data from over a dozen private and public sources to provide a dashboard view of community and regional sustainability planning information.

“You can do over a hundred different things with the application,” Matute said. “Somebody could go to the map, go to the various views on neighborhoods and use it to understand neighborhood change that’s associated with gentrification. Maybe people can educate themselves on the issues and come to their own conclusions.”

The REVISION application is currently available for Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, though Matute says that the site could be rolled out to a wider area in the future. It can be found on the web at http://revision.lewis.ucla.edu.

“At UCLA, we typically produce research findings” Matute said. “REVISION is more of a public education tool in the spirit of the University’s service mission. It’s making the ability to answer questions about neighborhoods and the region a lot easier for a lot more people.”

ITS Partners with Caltrans to Deliver California Transportation Planning Conference 200 attendees meet in Downtown Los Angeles to discuss the future of transportation planning in California

 

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The last time Caltrans hosted a statewide transportation planning conference, in 2008, transportation in California was very different. Fastforwarding a short seven years later, California is hosting the first cap-and-trade system in the U.S., all of the state’s regions have Sustainable Communities Strategies linking transportation and land use, and public health at the center of the conversation. These changes, among others, are what bring together over 200 transportation professionals to the 2015 California Transportation Planning Conference hosted in Downtown Los Angeles December 2 through 4.

The conference covers various topics. Wednesday begins with a discussion on how transportation planning must evolve in order to maintain an effective transportation system for everyone. Questions of funding and aging infrastructure are on the agenda, including a discussion of system preservation featuring speakers from the Federal Highway Administration, the City of Los Angeles, Southern California Association of Governments and Caltrans. A complete list of panels and topics can be found here.

“At the conference, transportation stakeholders and decision-makers will exchange ideas and learn about the latest developments in transportation planning from a national, state, and local perspective,” said UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) Associate Director Juan Matute. “We are grateful to have partnerships between research centers like UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and state and local agencies. These are essential opportunities for knowledge transfer.”

Matute will be moderating the session titled “Planning for Accelerating Transportation Change” on Thursday morning. UCLA ITS Director Brian Taylor will present during the Friday morning panel about the future of transportation. Director Taylor is joined by LADOT General Manager and UCLA ITS advisory board member, Seleta Reynolds, as well as Daniel Witt, Manager at Tesla Motors and two notable consultants, Jeffrey Tumlin of Nelson/Nygaard and Alan Clelland of Iteris.

UCLA ITS would like to thank the event co-presenters and sponsors: Caltrans, Southern California Association of Governments, Lyft, SoCalGas, Metro, Green Dot Transportation Solutions and Cambridge Systematics.

For live coverage of the event, follow tweets with the #2015ctpc hashtag.