Abstract: In the United States, women bicycle at significantly lower rates than men. One method of remedying this disparity is to ensure that women are engaged in bicycle planning and policy making through, for example, participation in bicycle advisory committees (BACs). No research has been conducted on women’s representation and participation in these committees. This study attempts to fill that gap by examining women’s membership levels in and experiences serving on California bicycle advisory committees and bicycle/pedestrian advisory committees. In addition, we explore some of the barriers to participation faced by female cyclists. A survey of 42 committees revealed that women make up approximately 24% of members on an average bicycle (and pedestrian) advisory committee in California. Through focus group interviews with 24 women currently serving on BACs, several common themes emerged. Women on these committees are more likely than men to bring up women’s and children’s issues, and some aspects of the committees themselves may serve as barriers for women to become more involved. An online survey of 565 women cyclists in California provided insight regarding some of the common barriers women identify as reasons for not becoming involved with a BAC. Lack of awareness of the committees did not seem to be a barrier: 67% of respondents were aware of their local committee. Instead, barriers identified by participants included: time; perceived lack of qualifications; lack of information about the committee; family and household responsibilities; and lack of interest. Recommendations to increase women’s representation on BACs include the following strategies: education about the committee; targeted recruitment efforts; and policy and procedural changes.
Abstract: This report summarizes the results of a national random-digit-dial public opinion poll that asked 1,519 respondents if they would support various tax options for raising federal transportation revenues, with a special focus on understanding support for increasing revenues for public transit. Eleven specific tax options tested were variations on raising the federal gas tax rate and creating a new mileage tax, and creating a new federal sales tax. Other questions probed various perceptions related to public transit, including knowledge and opinions about federal taxes to support transit. In addition, the survey collected data on standard socio-demographic factors, travel behavior (public transit usage, annual miles driven, and vehicle fuel efficiency), and attitudinal data about how respondents viewed the quality of their local transportation system and their priorities for government spending on transportation in their state. All of this information was used to assess support levels for the tax options among different population subgroups. The survey results show that a majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 58 percent of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 20 percent if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system. For tax options where the revenues were to be spent for undefined transportation purposes, support levels varied considerably by what kind of tax would be imposed, with a sales tax much more popular than either a gas tax increase or a new mileage tax. With respect to public transit, the survey results from all three years show that most people want good public transit service in their state. However, the 2012 questions exploring different methods to raise new revenues found relatively low levels of support for all of them. Also, large minorities of respondents did not know that all levels of government— local, state, and federal—support transit. The federal government was the least widely recognized source of support.
Abstract: PUBLICATION Research Report 11-19 Research Report Low-Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity (PDF 2.4MB) Principal Investigator: Maaza C. Mekuria, Ph.D., P.E., PTOE ABSTRACT For a bicycling network to attract the widest possible segment of the population, its most fundamental attribute should be low-stress connectivity, that is, providing routes between people’s origins and destinations that do not require cyclists to use links that exceed their tolerance for traffic stress, and that do not involve an undue level of detour. The objective of this study is to develop measures of low-stress connectivity that can be used to evaluate and guide bicycle network planning. We propose a set of criteria by which road segments can be classified into four levels of traffic stress (LTS). LTS 1 is suitable for children; LTS 2, based on Dutch bikeway design criteria, represents the traffic stress that most adults will tolerate; LTS 3 and 4 represent greater levels of stress. As a case study, every street in San Jose, California, was classified by LTS. Maps in which only bicycle-friendly links are displayed reveal a city divided into islands within which low-stress bicycling is possible, but separated from one another by barriers that can be crossed only by using high-stress links. Two points in the network are said to be connected at a given level of traffic stress if the subnetwork of links that do not exceed the specified level of stress connects them with a path whose length does not exceed a detour criterion (25% longer than the most direct path). For the network as a whole, we demonstrate two measures of connectivity that can be applied for a given level of traffic stress. One is “percent trips connected,” defined as the fraction of trips in the regional trip table that can be made without exceeding a specified level of stress and without excessive detour. This study used the home-to-work trip table, though in principle any trip table, including all trips, could be used. The second is “percent nodes connected,” a cruder measure that does not require a regional trip table, but measures the fraction of nodes in the street network (mostly street intersections) that are connected to each other. Because traffic analysis zones (TAZs) are too coarse a geographic unit for evaluating connectivity by bicycle, we also demonstrate a method of disaggregating the trip table from the TAZ level to census blocks. For any given TAZ, origins in the home-to-work trip table are allocated in proportion to population, while destinations are allocated based on land-use data. In the base case, the fraction of work trips up to six miles long that are connected at LTS 2 is 4.7%, providing a plausible explanation for the city’s low bicycling share. We show that this figure would almost triple if a proposed slate of improvements, totaling 32 miles in length but with strategically placed segments that provide low-stress connectivity across barriers, were implemented.
Abstract: Nationwide, approximately 30% of children consume fast food on a typical day, and caloric intake from fast food has increased fivefold over the past three decades. Our analysis adds to a growing body of public health and planning research through a geospatial analysis of fast food restaurants in Santa Clara County, California. We selected 41 high schools, representing 97% of enrollment in the county, and examined proximity to fast food restaurants within 400 meters (437 yards) and 800 meters (875 yards) of the schools. Our results indicate that fast food restaurants are clustered near high schools with higher obesity rates. In addition, observation of student behavior suggests that many students patronize these establishments after school and often make poor nutritional choices, consuming from 30% to 75% of the daily recommended allowance of calories for teens in a single after-school snack. Since there appears to be a relationship, albeit complex, between the built environment and public health, there also is an opportunity to develop more effective planning policies and programs to encourage active behavior and healthy eating choices.
Abstract: This report explores consumer preferences among four different alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs): hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) vehicles, and electric vehicles (EVs). Although researchers have been interested in understanding consumer preferences for AFVs for more than three decades, it is important to update our estimates of the trade-offs people are willing to make between cost, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refuel¬ing convenience. We conducted a nationwide, Internet-based survey to assess consumer preferences for AFVs. Respondents participated in a stated-preference ranking exercise in which they ranked a series of five vehicles (four AFVs and a traditional gasoline-fueled vehicle) that differ primarily in fuel type, price, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refueling conve¬nience. Our findings indicate that, in general, gasoline-fueled vehicles are still preferred over AFVs, however there is a strong interest in AFVs. No AFV type is overwhelmingly preferred, although HEVs seem to have an edge. Using a panel rank-ordered mixed logit model, we assessed the trade-offs people make between key AFV characteristics. We found that, in order to leave a person’s utility unchanged, a $1,000 increase in AFV cost needs to be compensated by either: (1) a $300 savings in driving cost over 12,000 miles; (2) a 17.5 mile increase in vehicle range; or (3) a 7.8-minute decrease in total refueling time (e.g. finding a gas station and refueling).
Abstract: This report summarizes the results of a national random-digit-dial public opinion poll that asked 1,516 respondents if they would support various tax options for raising federal transportation revenues. The 11 specific tax options tested were variations on raising the federal gas tax rate, creating a new mileage tax, and creating a new federal sales tax. In addition, the survey collected standard socio-demographic data, some minimal travel behavior data, and attitudinal data about how respondents view the quality of their local transportation system and their priorities for government spending on transportation in their state. All of this information is used to assess support levels for the tax options among different population subgroups. The survey results show that a majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions. For example, a gas tax increase of 10¢ per gallon to improve road maintenance was supported by 62% of respondents, whereas support levels dropped to just 24% if the revenues were to be used more generally to maintain and improve the transportation system. Other variants on a gas tax that received at least 50% support were increases of 10¢ per gallon with the revenues dedicated either to projects reducing accidents and improving safety or projects to “add more modern, technologically advanced systems.” For tax options where the revenues were to be spent for undefined transportation purposes, support levels varied considerably by what kind of tax would be imposed, with a sales tax much more popular than either a gas tax increase or a new mileage tax. A central goal of the survey was to compare public support for two alternative versions of a new mileage tax and eight versions of a gas tax increase. All variations on the two taxes increased support over that for the base case of each (a flat-rate mileage tax of 1¢ per mile and a 10¢ gas tax increase proposed without any additional detail). For example, varying the mileage tax by the vehicle’s pollution level increased support by 14 percentage points. For the gas tax, most notably, dedicating the tax proceeds to maintaining streets, roads, and highways increased support by 38 percentage points.
Abstract: The European Union’s Restriction on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (Directive 2002/95/EC) targeted at electronic products took effect in 2006. In contrast, the USA has no comparable national policy on these products. To understand corporate responses to policy differences across jurisdictions, we conducted a structured-questionnaire survey of individuals in 109 companies that are representative of the US electronics industry. The results reveal that 70% of these companies have already adopted lead-free solder for electronics with 49% of the total preferring the SnAgCu formulation, despite uncertainties associated with environmental impacts of this alternative alloy. We use a modified life cycle impact assessment method based on endpoint modeling approach to derive weighting factors that represent the respondents’ value system for tradeoffs among environmental impacts. We use a modified fuzzy Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution approach to evaluate technical criteria dominance in declared preferences. A statistical model of corporate behavior is also presented. The results provide the first systematic framework that accounts for environmental impact, technological challenge, and business strategy concurrently toward formulating a comprehensive national policy for materials selection in electronic products.
Abstract: This report summarizes the results of a national random-digit-dial public opinion poll that asked 1,545 respondents if they would support various tax options for raising federal transportation revenues. The eight specific tax options tested were variations on raising the federal gas tax rate, creating a new mileage tax, and creating a new national sales tax. In addition, the survey collected standard socio-demographic data and some travel behavior data and asked a few attitudinal questions related to the quality of the transportation system and respondents´ priorities for government spending on transportation. These questions were used to assess support levels for the tax options among different population subgroups. None of the tax options achieved majority support, but three did fairly well, with support levels around 40%. These were a 0.5¢ sales tax (43% support), a 10¢ gas tax increase with revenue to be dedicated to projects that would reduce the transportation system´s impact on global warming (42% support), and a 10¢ gas tax increase spread over five years (39% support). The report also compares public support for alternative versions of the mileage and gas taxes. The base cases tested against alternatives were a flat-rate mileage tax of 1¢ per mile and a 10¢ gas tax with no additional information given about the tax. All variants of these base cases increased support levels, in most cases significantly. Varying the mileage tax by the vehicle´s pollution level increased support by 12 percentage points. For the gas tax, all four alternatives to the base case received higher support. Most notably, spreading the gas tax increase over five years increased support by 16 percentage points, and linking the increase to global warming reduction increased support by a full 19 percentage points.
Abstract: Understanding links from new highway construction or capacity expansion to regional growth patterns is crucial for transportation planners and policy makers. In this paper, we incorporate a lagged adjustment regional growth model into a quasi-experimental research design to examine the association between new highway investments and land use change in three California counties. Our study areas provide a mix of urban, small town, and exurban highway projects in order to explore the different effects across project types and geographic contexts. The central finding of this research is that while improvements in surface transportation infrastructure can have large impacts on growth patterns, the nature of the effect depends on the context of the highway investment.
Abstract: An important issue for future improvement and extensions of highways will be the ability of projects to sustain challenges to Environmental Impact Statements based upon forecasts of regional growth. A legal precedent for such challenges was established in 1997 when a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the EIS for a proposed Illinois toll road was deficient because the growth projections were the same in the build and no-build scenarios. This paper incorporates popular regional growth forecasting models into a quasi-experimental research design that directly relates new highway investments in three California counties to changes in population and employment location, while controlling for no-build historical counterfactuals. The authors model simultaneous employment and population growth from 1980 to 2000 in Merced, Orange, and Santa Clara counties, three California counties that received substantive highway improvements during the mid-1990s. The strategy permits a comparison of the before-and-after tests for effects of investments on economic growth and land use in three regions that contrast how increased highway access affects development patterns: (1) for an urban center in Santa Clara County, (2) for an exurban region in Orange County, and (3) for a small town in Merced County. We find that traditional forecast approaches, which lack explicit control selection, can lead to erroneous conclusions about an impact. Our integrated form of the lagged adjustment model confirms results from a conventional form of the model that includes all cross-sectional units as observations; in both forms of the model we estimate a statistically significant increase in employment development in the exurban region in Orange County where new toll roads were constructed. In the case of Santa Clara County, neither our quasi-experimental integrated approach nor the conventional lagged adjustment approach estimates a significant effect on population or employment growth that can be attributed to the new highways constructed in the urban center. For the small town environment in Merced County, the conventional simultaneous growth regressions produce a materially different estimate than the approach we develop and examine in this paper. Isolating effects to local spatial units where the intervention occurred and their no-build counterfactual produces estimates of a statistically significant decrease in employment growth in the small town near the newly constructed highway bypass.
Abstract: The fate of used electronic products (e-waste) is of increasing concern because of their toxicity and the growing volume of e-waste. Addressing these concerns requires developing the recycling infrastructure, but good estimates of the volume of e-waste stored by US households are still unavailable. In this context, we make two contributions based on a national random survey of 2136 US households. First, we explain how much e-waste is stored by US households using count models. Significant explanatory variables include age, marital and employment status, ethnicity, household size, previous e-waste recycling behavior, and to some extent education, home ownership, and understanding the consequences of recycling, but neither income nor knowledge of e-waste recycling laws. Second, we estimate that on average, each US household has 4.1 small (≤10 pounds) and 2.4 large e-waste items in storage. Although these numbers are likely lower bounds, they are higher than recent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates (based on narrower product categories). This suggests that the backlog of e-waste in the US is likely larger than generally believed; it calls for developing the recycling infrastructure but also for targeted recycling campaigns.
Abstract: This report explores public opinion on a new and promising concept—green transportation taxes and fees. These are taxes and fees set at variable rates, with higher rates for more polluting vehicles and lower rates for those that pollute less. This approach to transportation taxes and fees adapts the traditional transportation finance system to achieve two critical public benefits at once: encouraging drivers to choose more environmentally-friendly transportation options and raising revenue for needed transportation programs. To test public support for green transportation taxes and fees, the authors conducted a random telephone survey of 1,500 Californians that asked respondents their views on five hypothetical tax and fee options: a flat-rate and a green vehicle registration fee, a flat-rate and a green mileage fee, and a “feebate” program for new vehicle purchases under which more-polluting vehicles would be charged a tax and less-polluting vehicles would receive a rebate. The survey results show that the concept of green transportation taxes and fees strongly appeals to Californians. The survey tested this in two ways: by testing support for the three hypothetical green transportation tax and fee policies, and also by comparing support levels for flat-rate versus green versions of two taxes. Majorities of the respondents supported all three green taxes and fees tested. Another striking finding from the survey is that support for the green taxes and fees did not vary greatly by population subgroups; a diverse range of Californians supported the green taxes and fees. An analysis comparing support for the green and flat-rate vehicle registration fee and feebate proposals confirmed that in every subgroup, more people within that subgroup supported the green than the flat version of the two taxes tested.
Abstract: This paper relies on a unique dataset collected during a national survey of US households to explore how different sources of information (print, television, radio, family/friends, work/school and others) influence the decision to start recycling. Although print media are influential, it is found that face-to-face communication (through family/friends or work/school) is the most effective medium to get people to start recycling. However, it is even better to provide households with recycling information from multiple sources. The respondents in this study identify concerns about storage space, time and the safety of recycling as the main obstacles to start recycling. In addition, age and ethnicity are statistically significant but not income or education. These findings should be useful for crafting information campaigns designed to boost recycling, although to be successful these campaigns need to incorporate findings from environmental psychology and knowledge of specific communities.
Abstract: Increasing stockpiles of electronic waste (e-waste) combined with low recycling rates are threatening human and environmental health because of the hazardous materials in electronic products. To date, however, little is known about household preferences for e-waste recycling alternatives. This study starts filling this gap. Our 2004 mail survey indicates that California households prefer "drop-off recycling at regional centers," with "curbside recycling" a close second. A contingent ranking (CR) analysis shows that households are willing to pay approximately $0.13 per equivalent mile per month to increase e-waste recycling convenience. Our results show that ignoring environmental attitudes and beliefs leads to biased estimates of the trade-offs households are making between cost and recycling convenience. A good understanding of these trade-offs is necessary for a successful recycling program. Finally, this article illustrates some of the strengths and weaknesses of CR, an underused technique for analyzing preference rankings.
Abstract: Environmental studies of motor vehicles typically focus on air pollution or noise, but ignore water pollution. In this paper, we investigate the costs of reversing some of the environmental impacts of motor vehicle transportation on surface waters and groundwater. Our estimates of the cost of cleaning-up leaking underground storage tanks range from $6.5 billion to $19.6 billion, while control costs for highway runoff from major arterials in the United States are an order of magnitude larger (from $45.3 billion to $249 billion, all in 2005 $). Some causes of non-point source pollution were unintentionally created by regulations or could be addressed by changing the design of motor vehicles. Effective clean-up policies should emphasize prevention, coupled with public education, enforcement, and economic incentives. In general, preventing water pollution from motor vehicles would be much cheaper than cleaning it up.
Abstract: Concerns about rapid increases in the volume of electronic waste (e-waste) and its potential toxicity have sharpened policymakers’ interest for extended producer responsibility to encourage manufacturers of consumer electronic devices (CEDs) to “design for the environment.” This paper examines consumer willingness to pay for “green” electronics based on a 2004 mail survey of California households. Using ordered logit models, we ﬁnd that significant predictors of willingness to pay for “greener” computers and cell phones include age, income, education, beliefs about the role of government for improving environmental quality, as well as environmental attitudes and behaviors, but neither gender nor political affiliation. Although most respondents are willing to pay only a 1% premium for “greener” CEDs, innovation and E.U. directives may soon make them competitive with conventional CEDs.
Abstract: The growth of electronic waste (e-waste) is of increasing concern because of its toxic content and low recycling rates. The e-waste recycling infrastruc- ture needs to be developed, yet little is known about people’s willingness to fund its expansion. This paper examines this issue based on a 2004 mail sur- vey of California households. Using an ordered logit model, we ﬁnd that age, income, beliefs about government and business roles, proximity to existing recycling facilities, community density, education, and environmental attitudes are significant factors for explaining people’s willingness to pay an advanced recycling fee (ARF) for electronics. Most respondents are willing to support a 1% ARF. Our results suggest that policymakers should target middle-aged and older adults, improve programs in communities with existing recycling centers or in rural communities, and consider public-private partnerships for e-waste recycling programs.
Abstract: Electronic waste (e-waste) has become the main contributor of lead to landfills in the United States. Households also store large volumes of e-waste, yet little is known about their willingness to recycle e-waste. This article starts filling this gap based on a 2004 mail survey of California households. Using multivariate models, the authors find that gender, education, convenience, and environmental beliefs but not income or political affiliation are key factors explaining the willingness to drop off e-waste at recycling centers. A comparison of an ordered probit with a semi-nonparametric extended ordered probit model of the survey responses shows that the latter better predicts less frequent answers. The results suggest targeting public education programs about recycling at teenagers or younger adults and making recycling more convenient for older adults; moreover, e-waste drop-off centers should first be created in communities that already offer curbside collection programs for conventional recyclable products.
Abstract: The nature of environmental risk is often determined by the location patterns of industrial firms in a locale. We develop a methodology for analyzing the capacity of toxics-generating industries to leave toxic residuals on the landscape, in the context of long-term master planning. To understand an area's risk profile, we first characterize the location pattern of risk-generating firms and develop ways to represent the risk potentials of these shapes. To this end, we develop a geometric approach for characterizing the spatial patterns of these clusters of dirty industries, using new measures for analyzing spatial densities and compactness. We then introduce context (i.e. actual zoning patterns, transportation corridors) and explain how this relates to the spatial patterns found. We illustrate this analytical method with application to Orange County, California, USA and point out how it affords a deeper understanding of the connections between industry and environmental risk. We end the article with a discussion of how these analytical methods might be used for land use planning.
Abstract: Consumer electronic devices (CEDs) contain toxic materials including heavy metals and brominated flame retardants that can pose a threat to public and environmental health if improperly disposed. Recent legislation enacted in the European Union and introduced in California bans the sale of CEDs containing these toxics. As a result, manufacturers need to
Abstract: Materials used in handheld consumer electronic devices (CEDs), such as cell phones or personal digital assistants, create environmental risks both during procurement and disposal. The increasing global demand for CEDs and recent legislative pressure motivate our review of alternative materials that could make CEDs more environmentally friendly. Hazardous materials considered include brominated flame retardants, lead-based solders, hexavalent chromium, and copper. We survey recent research in the development of environmentally benign replacement materials, provide a brief assessment of the potential environmental, industrial, and economic consequences of their substitution, and assess progress in their industrial application. Identifying appropriate environmentally benign replacement materials provides a starting point for developing environmentally friendly CED prototypes.
Abstract: Engineering and economic considerations are typical driving forces behind the selection of specific chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer products. Only recently has post-consumer environmental impact become part of the major considerations during the initial phases of product design. Therefore, reactive, rather than proactive strategies have dominated the consideration of environmental and health issues in product design.
Abstract: We examine some consequences of dumping used oil in the environment and review some policies to foster used oil recycling. We then contrast policies adopted in the Canadian Prairie Provinces for managing used oil, used oil filters, and containers, with those put in place in the rest of Canada. Our analysis proposes that public-private partnerships relying on economic instruments and public education can be more effective for recycling used oil than public agencies relying mostly on regulations.