Mobility Management and VMT Reduction Options

Are Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets Justified? (31 page pdf, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Dec. 16, 2009)

– VMT critics assume that  roadway expansion or more fuel efficient vehicles  will reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality

– others point to the need to manage the growth of traffic volume which is directly correlated with VMT and the amount of emissions. This report assesses options to manage mobility (which includes walking, cycling, public transit) by how they reduce congestion as well as a number of other economic and environmental variables

Key Quotes:

“Mobility management (also called transportation demand management [TDM] and vehicle miles of travel [VMT] reductions) refers to policies and programs that change travel activity to increase transport system efficiency”

‘VMT reduction critics tend to assume that automobile travel is the only important factor affecting accessibility, so better accessibility requires more vehicle travel.”

“a major portion of transport funding is dedicated to roads and parking facilities and cannot be used for other modes even when they are more cost effective”

“trends that are changing travel demands, including aging population, rising future fuel prices relative to incomes, vehicle ownership saturation, increased urbanization, increasing traffic congestion, rising road expansion costs, and increased health and environmental concerns, all of which reduce the value of additional VMT and increase the value of alternative modes”

“a World Bank study found that beyond an optimal level (about 7,500 kilometers annual motor vehicle travel per capita..) vehicle travel marginal costs outweigh marginal benefits ”

“a ton of emission reductions provided by mobility management provides many times the total benefits as the same amount of emissions reduced by more efficient and alternative fuel vehicles .. while increased vehicle fuel efficiency makes driving cheaper, which stimulates more vehicle traffic that exacerbates problems such as congestion, parking costs, accidents and sprawl ”

“Mobility Management Strategies

  • Congestion pricing
  • Cost-recovery road tolls
  • Distance-based registration fees
  • Cost-recovery parking fees
  • Fuel tax increases
  • TDM marketing (information and encouragement campaigns)
  • No-drive days”
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