Transportation Study Documents

Below is an annotated  list of transportation studies, resources and documents

Why do we care about transportation?

Roughly 30% of Newton’s green house gas emissions are related to transportation. For details, see chapter 5 of the 2004 Energy Action Plan

Transportation accounts for 30% of Newton’s energy use and emissions, and if the current trends in car ownership and driving habits continue, these emissions will grow significantly over the next decade. The statistics are telling. Thirty years ago, the sight of children walking and biking to school was common—66% of all children did so. Now, only 13% walk to school.

Improving the environment through transportation

  • Have we reached Peak Car?
  • Why language matters
  • Safety in Numbers: more cyclists & pedestrians = more safety for all.
  • Why the US Lags the World in Road Safety (for drivers, too).
  • The Cost of Commuting–and how US residents do it
  • The cost of unreliable trip times–and what it costs in dollars and carbon
  • What happens to traffic when you add bike lanes? A DC study of cycle tracks (very buffered bike lanes) concludes–not much. Cycling traffic increases geometrically, but car traffic? Not. See the study.
  • What happens when you add traffic lanes? Some suggest urban decay. US cities with the most highway miles are also not vibrant. Coincidence? See Streetsblog. When highways are removed? See Better! Cities & Towns
  • What happens to cities that remove car lanes? Janette Sadik-Khan’s TED talk
  • Our Streets are Making us Fat (AtlanticCities)

Pedestrian Resources:

  • Study on fatal pedestrian crashes and the factors involved — starts on p. 4:
    • “With every small increase in speed,pedestrian deaths go up even faster. The authors cite research concluding that about 5 percent of pedestrians hit by a vehicle traveling 20 mph will die. The fatality rate jumps to 40 percent for cars traveling 30 mph,80 percent for cars going 40 mph, and 100 percent for cars going 50 mph or faster.”
  • Making Americans Happier and Healthier (Everybody Walk)
  • Guide to creating walkable and bikeable cities (PBIC)
  • Steps to a walkable community
  • Why don’t Americans Walk More (Slate)
  • Rate your neighborhood for walkability at walkscore
  • Creating Walkable Cities
  • TED talk on walkability and its connection to economic and physical health

 Bicycle Resources:

Transportation Concepts:

“Analyzes the complex social, physical, psychological, and technical factors that dictate how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving reveals about us, discussing the unintended consequences of attempts to engineer safety.”

What about Driving?


  • Parking video
  • Shoup, Donald, The High Cost of Free Parking  (book, available through the Virtual Library, and in paperback for $22) Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems, including that up to 90% of traffic in some neighborhoods is people cruising to find free parking. Shoup shows how charging the right price for parking according to local demand can get rid of this problem. Bus service benefits, too, because the buses don’t have to sit in traffic jams and can arrive at their stops on time.

Shoup NYT op-ed, Gone Parkin

Parking with Dr. Shoup–video

Planning Information:


The National Association of City Transportation Officials has a site for sharing ideas, best practices and insights between major cities. They have just released an Urban Bikeway Design Guide to share what can be done to improve bike safety and attractiveness in large cities.


The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has an entire transportation division that has been working on the specifics of plans for better movement in Eastern Massachusetts. This page includes a useful overview of that work.

The MAPC has done studies on Rt. 128 and Rt. 9 that speak to some of the issues Newton faces:
  • Route 128 (report) “The portion of Route 128 reviewed for this corridor plan is a 12.6 mile segment between I-90 and Route 3 North, through the communities of Weston, Waltham, Lincoln, Lexington, and Burlington.”
  • Route 9 (report) “A June 2010 summary prepared by MAPC describes the potential for commercial, industrial and office growth in the Route 9 Corridor between Route 128 and I-495.”

And their recommendations for pedestrian planning, here.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization–which is affiliated and encompasses the areas immediately around Boston, has a long-range (to 2030) plan for transportation in our region, here.

They also have several transportation studies, including a study of Newton Corner’s traffic circle

Newton-specific information:

  • The Transportation Advisory Committee draft recommendations, agendas, etc. are here:
  • The Comprehensive Plan–see particularly the chapter on  transportation (pdf takes a long time to load)
  • Stephanie Pollack, a professor at Northeastern University and chair of Newton’s Transportation Advisory Committee, gave several presentation on transportation funding in the state: Pollack120110

LWVN Forums


Jason Schrieber’s power point presentation


(mentioned at the Forum 11/29)

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