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Guide to Calculating Mobility Management Benefits Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Expand Road

Increase Fuel

Mobility

Capacity

Efficiency

Management

Increased

Increased

Reduced

9

9

9

8

9

8

8

9

8

8

9

8

9/8

9

8

8

9

8

8

9

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8

9

Comprehensive Evaluation Current planning tends to be reductionist; assigning individual problems to a particular profession or agency with narrowly defined responsibilities (Litman, 1999). For example, reducing traffic congestion is the responsibility of transportation agencies while reducing pollution is the mandate of environmental agencies. This can result in organizations choosing solutions to problems within their mandate that exacerbate other problems facing society, and tends to undervalue strategies that provide multiple, modest benefits. For example, transport agencies may implement roadway capacity expansion to reduce congestion although this induces additional vehicle travel which increases other transport problems. Environmental agencies may increase fuel efficiency standards to reduce energy consumption, with similar negative effects (Table 2). Only by considering multiple objectives can the full value of mobility management be recognized.

Table 2

Impacts of Various Policy Changes (Litman 2009)

Planning Objective Vehicle Travel Impacts

User convenience and comfort

Congestion reduction Roadway cost savings Parking cost savings Consumer cost savings Transport diversity Improved traffic safety Energy conservation Reduced pollution Efficient land use

Improved fitness & health

(9 = helps achieve that objective. 8 = Contradicts that objective.) Roadway expansion and increased vehicle fuel efficiency help achieve specific objectives but stimulate vehicle travel and so exacerbate other transport problems. Mobility management helps achieve many objectives.

To their credit, planners often recognize cobenefits of a particular strategy, such as the pollution reduction benefits of a congestion-reduction program, but this reflects a particular planner’s knowledge and interests. There is no standard method that considers all significant impacts during evaluation.

Overvaluing roadway expansion and undervaluing mobility management can have large impacts due to leverage effects. For example, a million dollars spent to expand roadways may stimulate vehicle travel and sprawl that adds tens of millions of dollars in direct travel costs and hundreds of million of dollars in indirect costs. Spending the same amount on mobility management programs can provide millions of dollars in direct savings and much greater total economic, social and environmental benefits.

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