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Michael Alexander, the chair of Simon Fraser University’s City Conversations sends this link which promises to change how the U.S. Department of Transportation analyzes car travel. As reported on the T4 America website, At long last, USDOT has finalized new requirements for how states and metro areas will have to measure traffic congestion and in the final rule — responding to the outpouring of comments they received — they backed away from most of the outdated measures of congestion that were proposed.”

There are four main changes:

  1. Vehicular delay paints an incredibly one-dimensional picture of congestion. Focusing on average delay by simply measuring the difference between rush hour speeds compared to free-flow 3 a.m. traffic fails to count everyone else commuting by other modes, rewards places with fast travel speeds at the expense of places with shorter commutes and less time spent behind the wheel overall, and completely ignores how many people are actually moving through the corridor.”

This indicator will no longer be used, and the Canadian Automobile Association and the B.C Government should take note.

2. The addition of  “person-hours” measure of delay, which will consider how many people are using the road instead of just how many vehicles are delayed… If one corridor moves three times the amount of people as another corridor because of a carpool requirement or a lane dedicated to high-capacity transit, it shouldn’t score the same for congestion just because the travel speed or average delay is the same.”

3. Tracking carbon dioxide emissions and the change in CO2 emissions generated by on-road mobile sources on most bigger roadways.

4.  A new multimodal measurethe portion of non-single occupant vehicle travel.” Because transportation in urbanized areas is inherently multimodal, it is important to account as much as possible for the options that are available to travelers in those urbanized areas.”

Michael Alexander asks:

Q: Does Canada follow U.S. statistical models? Do we have our own standards? If so, how do they compare to the new U.S?

And he also notes: Under these new guidelines Vancouver is no longer “the most congested city in Canada.” 

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