Puget Sound Regional Council

Town and Country, WA, United States

Puget Sound Regional Council

Town and Country, WA, United States
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Kolodinsky J.M.,University of Vermont | Battista G.,McGill University | Roche E.,University of Vermont | Lee B.H.Y.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Johnson R.K.,25B Marsh Life science Building
Journal of Transport Geography | Year: 2017

The literature suggests that energy balance is shaped by where food is accessed, mobility behaviors, beliefs, preferences, socioeconomic characteristics, and attributes of the built environment. However, the relationship of these factors with energy balance has not been simultaneously considered on a regional scale. Utilizing a social-ecological framework, this study incorporated individual level and geospatial data to estimate a structural equation model (SEM) to examine the complex association of these variables with being overweight or obese. Results indicate that food choice, mobility, demographic characteristics, and normative beliefs are related to energy imbalance. Further, accounting for the endogeneity of food access and mobility changes both the significance and magnitude of factors associated with obesity as compared to treating them as exogenous. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

McCormack E.,University of Washington | Bassok A.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Bassok A.,University of Washington
ITE Journal (Institute of Transportation Engineers) | Year: 2011

A study that was conducted to examine two relatively low-cost methods of collecting trip generation data using grocery stores in the Greater Seattle, Wa, US area is presented. Jessup, Casavant, and Lawson profiled four travel diary surveys to collect truck data - the telephone interview; mail-out! mail-back survey combined telephone and mail-out/mail-back survey, and roadside intercept/personal interview. The guiding idea behind this effort was that once a suitable approach was developed for collecting truck trip-rate data for one specific land use, the methods could potentially be applied to other common regional land uses, contributing toward more accurate truck trip rates for use in a planned regional freight model. An important discovery was that interview conversations provided sometimes unanticipated but valuable information that was relevant to understanding grocery store operation and truck trip generation rates.

Samberg S.,RK and K Engineers | Bassok A.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Holman S.,Parametrix
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2011

A crucial element of sustainability is the optimization of system efficiency by the maximization of existing resources and the limitation of the necessity of infrastructure expansion. Although the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is an internationally recognized standard for determining sustainable architecture, no officially accepted method exists for evaluating sustainable transportation. The development of a performance evaluation method for sustainable transportation is necessary, with a focus on multimodal mobility rather than on automobility. It is crucial that current transportation projects not preclude the provision of multimodal mobility options in the future. This paper reviews the literature on operational and proposed evaluation strategies for transportation projects and proposes a sustainable transportation evaluation method. The sustainable transportation evaluation method builds on the observed beneficial qualities of the existing evaluation systems and attempts to address their shortcomings. Implementation of the sustainable transportation evaluation method relies on established multicriterion techniques that allow for quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the sustainability of transportation projects during the planning, design, and construction phases. The evaluation method proposed can augment traditional environmental analysis performed for transportation project selection. The method is designed to be flexible so that it can be easily implemented by a wide range of stakeholders who are considering diverse issues.

Nichols B.G.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Kockelman K.M.,University of Texas at Austin
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

The built environment can be used to influence travel demand, but very few studies consider the relative energy savings of such policies in context of a complex urban system. This analysis quantifies the day-to-day and embodied energy consumption of four different neighborhoods in Austin, Texas, to examine how built environment variations influence various sources of urban energy consumption. A microsimulation combines models for petroleum use (from driving) and residential and commercial power and natural gas use with rigorously measured building stock and infrastructure materials quantities (to arrive at embodied energy). Results indicate that the more suburban neighborhoods, with mostly detached single-family homes, consume up to 320% more embodied energy, 150% more operational energy, and about 160% more total life-cycle energy (per capita) than a densely developed neighborhood with mostly low-rise-apartments and duplexes. Across all neighborhoods, operational energy use comprised 83 to 92% of total energy use, and transportation sources (including personal vehicles and transit, plus street, parking structure, and sidewalk infrastructure) made up 44 to 47% of the life-cycle energy demands tallied. Energy elasticity calculations across the neighborhoods suggest that increased population density and reduced residential unit size offer greatest life-cycle energy savings per capita, by reducing both operational demands from driving and home energy use, and from less embodied energy from construction. These results provide measurable metrics for comparing different neighborhood styles and develop a framework to anticipate energy-savings from changes in the built environment versus household energy efficiency. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Nichols B.G.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Kockelman K.M.,University of Texas at Austin
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2014

Vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) can greatly affect crash risk and, therefore, insurance costs, but accurately assessing VMT has been challenging for insurance agencies. Affordable technology now allows insurance companies to track VMT better and has prompted pilot programs and further research of mileage-based, or pay-as-you-drive (PAYD), insurance. Research shows that PAYD programs can discourage extraneous driving and thereby save drivers money (but reduce consumer welfare by less than consumer cost savings) and reduce crash risks, insurers' costs, and externalities. Studies consider aggregate, national, and statewide effects of PAYD policies, with some focus on equity effects, but much heterogeneity is ignored. This study bolsters existing work by predicting PAYD effects with the use of National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) data. These data are used to model driver response to driving cost changes and an insurance pricing model (per vehicle) according to actual loss data and risk factors by vehicle type. This study anticipates PAYD impact variations across a sample of NHTS households and vehicle types and finds that on average households save enough on reduced insurance and travel costs to cover lost welfare from VMT reductions. Results suggest that the average (light-duty) vehicle will be driven 2.7% less (237 fewer annual miles per year), with average consumer benefits of only $2.00 per vehicle with a premium that is partially fixed and partially mileage based. Drivers with the lowest annual VMT needs are expected to receive the largest welfare benefits, thanks to a convex relationship between VMT and crash losses. This analysis provides support to existing literature that PAYD policies can reduce VMT and insurance pricing equity without harming driver welfare.

Nichols B.G.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Kockelman K.M.,University of Texas at Austin | Reiter M.,University of Texas at Austin
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment | Year: 2015

Widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) may substantially reduce emissions of greenhouse gases while improving regional air quality and increasing energy security. However, outcomes depend heavily on the electricity generation process, power plant locations, and vehicle use decisions. This paper provides a clear methodology for predicting PEV emissions impacts by anticipating battery-charging decisions and power plant energy sources across Texas. Life-cycle impacts of vehicle production and use and Texans' exposure to emissions are also computed and monetized. This study reveals to what extent PEVs are more environmentally friendly, for most pollutant species, than conventional passenger cars in Texas, after recognizing the emissions and energy impacts of battery provision and other manufacturing processes. Results indicate that PEVs on today's grid can reduce GHGs, NOx, PM10, and CO in urban areas, but generate significantly higher emissions of SO2 than existing light-duty vehicles. Use of coal for electricity production is a primary concern for PEV growth, but the energy security benefits of electrified vehicle-miles endure. As conventional vehicle emissions rates improve, it appears that power grids must follow suit (by improving emissions technologies and/or shifting toward cleaner generation sources) to compete on an emissions-monetized basis with conventional vehicles in many locations. Moreover, while PEV pollution impacts may shift to more remote (power plant) locations, dense urban populations remain most strongly affected by local power plant emissions in many Texas locations. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Kitchen M.,Puget Sound Regional Council
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2012

The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) in Washington State has developed a set of procedures and methods for project and program evaluation that generally fall into the category of transportation benefit-cost analysis. The purpose of these methods is to be able to produce information about project or program performance relative to performance under a baseline set of conditions in which the project or program has not been implemented. PSRC used these benefit-cost analysis methods to develop and evaluate regional transportation planning alternatives during its most recent planning process. The creation of alternative regional transportation plans for analysis is not entirely unlike the development of investment portfolios. Acceptance of the findings of a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis as the appropriate analytical framework solves many, but not all, of the problems of practical implementation of a framework for evaluation of a scenario. Performance of a truly comprehensive benefit-cost analysis in a complex practical setting, however, introduces some empirical and policy challenges. PSRC has taken practical steps toward a more systematic approach to an alternative method of analysis. Incorporation of user benefit analysis into the process of evaluation of a scenario produces a natural shift toward consideration of development and selection of a scenario as an investment optimization problem. The paper explores additional approaches that might further advance the state of the practice in regional transportation planning.

Outwater M.,Resource Systems Group | Adler T.,Resource Systems Group | Dumont J.,Resource Systems Group | Kitchen M.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Bassok A.,Puget Sound Regional Council
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2012

Transportation projects in major metropolitan regions can vary widely in the types of benefits that they provide and in the scales of those benefits. Travel forecasting models and related procedures can provide reasonable estimates of those benefits, and many benefits can be distilled into equivalent monetary benefits by the use of consumer surplus or other valuation approaches. In theory, those methods could also be used to prioritize projects for funding consideration. However, an approach that simply chooses projects that provide the greatest net economic benefits may not result in a mix of projects that most effectively accomplishes broad regional goals. This paper describes an approach to project prioritization that was developed to support stakeholder-based weighting of multiple goals and, for each goal, multiple measures. The approach uses the analytic hierarchy approach to develop weights for each goal and a conjoint-based method to estimate stakeholder weights for each measure. The approach was applied as part of Washington State's Puget Sound Regional Council's Transportation 2040 process and achieved the goals in VISION 2040, the long-range land use plan. Weighting exercises were conducted with two stakeholder groups, and the results were applied to a set of proposed ferry, rail, highway, and local road projects. This paper describes the details of this case study and provides observations and conclusions from the work. The principal findings of the experiments were that statistically robust modeling conducted in real time during planning committee meetings can improve the transparency, equity, and collaboration of the project prioritization process.

Childress S.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Nichols B.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Charlton B.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Coe S.,Puget Sound Regional Council
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2015

Automated vehicles (AVs) may enter the consumer market with various stages of automation in 10 years or even sooner. Meanwhile, regional planning agencies are envisioning plans for time horizons out to 2040 and beyond. To help decision makers understand the effect of AV technology on regional plans, modeling tools should anticipate its impact on transportation networks and traveler choices. This research uses the Seattle, Washington, region's activity-based travel model to test a range of travel behavior impacts from AV technology development. The existing model was not originally designed with AVs in mind, so some modifications to the model assumptions are described in areas of roadway capacity, user values of time, and parking costs. Larger structural model changes were not yet considered. Results of four scenario tests show that improvements in roadway capacity and in the quality of the driving trip may lead to large increases in vehicle miles traveled, while a shift to per mile usage charges may counteract that trend. Travel models will need to have major improvements in the coming years, especially with regard to shared ride, taxi modes, and the effect of multitasking opportunities, to better anticipate the arrival of this technology.

Hepinstall-Cymerman J.,University of Georgia | Coe S.,Puget Sound Regional Council | Hutyra L.R.,Boston University
Urban Ecosystems | Year: 2013

Many regions of the globe are experiencing rapid urban growth, the location and intensity of which can have negative effects on ecological and social systems. In some locales, planners and policy makers have used urban growth boundaries to direct the location and intensity of development; however the empirical evidence for the efficacy of such policies is mixed. Monitoring the location of urban growth is an essential first step in understanding how the system has changed over time. In addition, if regulations purporting to direct urban growth to specific locales are present, it is important to evaluate if the desired pattern (or change in pattern) has been observed. In this paper, we document land cover and change across six dates (1986, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2002, and 2007) for six counties in the Central Puget Sound, Washington State, USA. We explore patterns of change by three different spatial partitions (the region, each county, 2000 U. S. Census Tracks), and with respect to urban growth boundaries implemented in the late 1990's as part of the state's Growth Management Act. Urban land cover increased from 8 to 19% of the study area between 1986 and 2007, while lowland deciduous and mixed forests decreased from 21 to 13% and grass and agriculture decreased from 11 to 8%. Land in urban classes outside of the urban growth boundaries increased more rapidly (by area and percentage of new urban land cover) than land within the urban growth boundaries, suggesting that the intended effect of the Growth Management Act to direct growth to within the urban growth boundaries may not have been accomplished by 2007. Urban sprawl, as estimated by the area of land per capita, increased overall within the region, with the more rural counties within commuting distance to cities having the highest rate of increase observed. Land cover data is increasingly available and can be used to rapidly evaluate urban development patterns over large areas. Such data are important inputs for policy makers, urban planners, and modelers alike to manage and plan for future population, land use, and land cover changes. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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