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Guide to Calculating Mobility Management Benefits Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Strategies that improve alternative modes, particularly grade-separated transit or HOV routes, are also particularly effective at reducing congestion (Litman, 2005). Commute, school and tourist transport management programs also tend to be particularly effective for reducing congestion. Freight transport management can reduce congestion on corridors with heavy truck traffic. Smart growth that concentrates activities tends to increase the intensity of congestion but reduce its overall costs by reducing the distance between destinations and improving alternative modes.

Table 4

Mobility Management Congestion Reduction Effectiveness

Transit & rideshare improvements

Walking & cycling improvements

HOV priority Flextime Congestion pricing

Marketing programs Distance-based fees Carsharing

Telework Parking management & pricing

Fuel tax increases Taxi service improvements

Commute trip reduction programs & incentives

Freight transport management

Most Effec


Moderate Effects

School and campus transport management

Tourist transport management

Nonmotorized promotion

Transit oriented development

Least Effective Smart growth

Location-efficient development

Carfree planning Traffic calming

Negative Impacts

Land use management strategies that concentrate activities tend to increase congestion intensity (as measured by roadway level-of-service) but

reduce per capita congestion costs by reducing travel distances and improving travel options such as walking and high quality public transit.

This table identifies how various mobility management strategies affect congestion.

Conventional transport planning gives congestion costs considerable consideration, although it often overlooks the downstream congestion induced by generous, cheap parking, highway expansions and sprawled land use. Standard methods exist for monetizing congestion costs and therefore the congestion reduction benefits of reducing vehicle travel (TTI, 2005; Litman, 2009). Typical estimates range between 5¢ and 20¢ per urban-peak vehicle-mile, with higher values under certain conditions. However, commonly-used congestion cost indicators have the following problems:

  • They measure motorist delay relative to freeflow road conditions, which represents the higher end of reasonable monetized values. Many economists consider it more accurate to measure delay relative to a moderate level of congestion or based on consumers’ willingness to pay for increased mobility, which results in lower values.

  • They only measure motorists’ delay, and therefore do not recognize the congestion reduction benefit to people who shift to alternative modes such as walking, cycling, grade-separated transit or telework, or from smart growth land use policies that reduce travel distances. They therefore undervalue many mobility management strategies.

  • They ignore congestion impacts motor vehicle traffic imposes on non-motorized travel, and so undervalue strategies that reduce conflicts between motorized and nonmotorized modes.


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