Who We Are

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative and practical solutions to transportation problems. We provide a variety of resources available free at this website to help improve transportation planning and policy analysis. We are funded primarily through consulting and project grants. Our research is among the most current available and has been widely applied. It can help you:


Newest Resources

Understanding Smart Growth Savings: Evaluating the Savings and Benefits of Compact Development
Smart Growth policies create compact, multimodal communities where residents consume less land, drive less and rely more on non-auto modes. This provides various economic, social and environmental benefits. Surveys indicate that many households would prefer to live in Smart Growth neighborhoods but cannot due to inadequate supply. This study indicates that Smart Growth provides larger and more diverse benefits than conventional planning recognizes, so more comprehensive analysis tends to justify more Smart Growth policies. It concludes that to be efficient and equitable, public policies should ensure that anybody, particularly physically, economically and socially disadvantaged groups, should be able to find suitable housing in Smart Growth neighborhoods.

Cool Walkability Planning: Providing Pedestrian Thermal Comfort in Hot Climate Cities, published in the Journal of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences.
Global warming and urbanization are increasing the number of people living in cities that experience extreme heat. This makes walking uncomfortable, unattractive and unhealthy, and causes travelers to drive for trips that could be made on foot. To address these problems hot-climate cities can create networks of shadeways (shaded sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate-controlled walkways). This article introduces the Cool Walkshed Index (CWI) which rates pedestrian thermal protection from A (best) to F (worst). Analysis in this study indicates that the additional costs of these facilities can be repaid many times over through road, parking, and vehicle savings, and increased local property values.

Parking Requirement Impacts on Housing Affordability
Most jurisdictions have off-street parking requirements that increase motorists' convenience but reduce housing affordability. This study investigates the benefits and costs of these requirements, and identifies ways to make them more efficient and equitable. Reforms can typically reduce the costs of basic, lower-priced housing by 10-20%, and provide additional savings and benefits by increasing affordable housing in high-opportunity multimodal neighborhoods.

Good News from the 2022 CRD Travel Survey
The Capital Regional District in British Columbia recently released a new travel survey which shows significnt progress toward community goals: less driving, more non-auto travel, and potential for more efficient and equitable transportation. This short report summarizes key trends.

Transportation Planning Principles, Distortions and Reforms: Guidance for Reducing Automobile Dependency and Sprawl
Automobile dependency and sprawl create communities where it is easy to drive but difficult to get around by other modes. This is unfair to non-drivers and increases many costs. This report investigates the roots of these problems: planning distortions that favor driving over other modes and dispersion over compact development. This study identifies common planning practices that violate these principles, evaluates their impacts, and recommends reforms for efficiency and equity. It indicates that given better options and incentives travellers would drive less, rely more on non-auto modes, save money, and be better off overall as a result.

Completing Sidewalk Networks: Benefits and Costs
This study examines the benefits and costs of completing urban sidewalk networks. Most communities have incomplete networks. This is unfair to people who want to walk, and increases various costs by suppressing non-auto travel and increasing motor vehicle traffic. Typical North American communities currently spend $30 to $60 annually per capita on sidewalks, and would need to double or triple these levels to complete their networks. This is a large increase compared with current pedestrian spending but small compared with what governments and businesses spend on roads and parking facilities, and what motorists spend on their vehicles. Sidewalk funding increases are justified to satisfy ethical and legal requirements, and to achieve various economic, social and environmental goals.

Are Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets Justified? Why and How to Reduce Excessive Automobile Travel
This study reflects the recognition that too much of a good thing is not good. To be efficient and equitable, planning should strive to optimize vehicle travel: not too little and not too much. Planning reforms are justified to create more diverse and efficient transportation systems where people can meet their needs with less driving. To guide these reforms, some jurisdictions establish vehicle travel reduction targets. These help align individual planning decisions with strategic objectives. This report investigates why and how to implement such targets.

Cool Walkability Planning
This report investigates why and how to improve urban walkability in hot climate cities. Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can can significantly improve pedestrian thermal comfort. Although these are more costly than basic sidewalks, they can greatly increase walkability and are far cheaper than motor vehicle costs. Analysis in this report indicates that pedway and shadeway networks can often repay their costs through economic savings and increased property values. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

TDM Success Stories: Examples of Effective Transportation Demand Management Policies and Programs, and Keys to Their Success
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) refers to policies and programs that increase transportation system efficiency. Some people are skeptical; they claim that TDM is difficult and costly. This report describes examples of successful TDM programs, discusses how to evaluate their full benefits, and identifies keys to their success. These examples indicate that well-designed TDM policies and programs can provide many benefits to travellers and communities. When all impacts are considered, TDM is often the most cost-effective transportation improvement strategy.

Racism and Colonialism in Geography Textbooks, 1820s to 1950s
Geography textbooks introduce children to foreign lands and people, and so leave a durable legacy on our understanding of the world. This study analyzes descriptions of race and culture from typical school geography textbooks published between 1826 and 1955. It reprints selected texts and images, analyzes how their narratives changed over time, and discusses their impacts. Early books categorized race and culture using methods modelled after biological taxonomies, giving them a veneer of scientific objectivity. They identified various races which were categorized according to various "stages of society." They were overtly racist -- they claimed that some races and cultures are superior to others -- and colonialist -- they claimed that European imperialism was benevolent and beneficial overall. These racist and colonialist narratives declined over time and later books promoted racial inclusivity and multiculturalism.

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Our goal is to make this information widely available. You are welcome to quote and copy from VTPI documents, provided you credit the authors.

Victoria Transport Policy Institute  |   1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada
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