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New ULTRANS Report: Updating the PECAS Modeling Framework to Include Energy Use Data for Buildings

Building operations account for an important portion of total energy consumption. This study investigated the consumption of electricity and natural gas for building operations across several categories of residential and non-residential buildings. The purpose of the study was to update the Production Exchange Consumption Allocation System (PECAS) land use modeling framework to include energy use components. The approach served as part of an urban metabolism framework, creating a methodology to account for environmental and energy balances of cities and complex regions.

Mike McCoy named Executive Director of California's Strategic Growth Council

Transportation expert McCoy will take the helm on October 15th...

SACRAMENTOThe Strategic Growth Council (SGC) today announced the appointment of Mike McCoy as its new executive director. McCoy joins the SGC from the University of California at Davis where he serves as director of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center within the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), responsible for research teams working on issues in the fields of land use, transportation, conservation, economics, and equity studies.

New Research Helps Planners Address California's Air Quality and Urban Sprawl Controls

The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a peer-reviewed research report, Economic and Life Cycle Analysis of Regional Land Use and Transportation Plans study is the third in a series that applies a new form of spatial economic model to examine the economic effects, the distribution of those effects, and their implications for California's Assembly Bill (AB) 32 and Senate Bill (SB) 375 implementation. These bills are intended to significantly reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and urban sprawl by 2050. Taken as a whole, the three reports provide new and expanded policy insights to help transportation and land use planners meet those stringent controls. The free 72-page report is available for download at transweb.sjsu.edu/project/1008.html

Principal investigators were Caroline Rodier, PhD, and Elliot Martin, PhD, with Margot Spiller, MS MCP, John Abraham, PhD, and Doug Hunt, PhD.

"When measuring GHG, the accepted practice has been to evaluate the effects only from vehicle emissions," said Dr. Rodier. "However, this work uses newer models that evaluate GHG effects not only from transportation, but also from the broader economic system. It gives a much more holistic view of what outcomes to expect."

UCD Researchers Publish Paper on Assessing Impacts of Residential Growth Patterns on Vehicle Travel and Pollutant Emissions

Professor Deb Niemeier, Song Bai, and Professor Susan L. Handy at the University of California Davis have authored a paper, The impact of residential growth patterns on vehicle travel and pollutant emissions, focusing on assessing the impacts of different long-term primarily residential growth patterns on vehicle travel and pollutant emissions in the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley region in central California. The authors use an integrated simulation approach coupled with long-term land development scenarios to conduct their analysis.

This paper is available on the Journal of Transportation and Land Use website.

In light of the increasing reliance on compact growth as a fundamental strategy for reducing vehicle emissions, it is important to better understand how land use-transportation interactions influence the production of mobile source emissions. To date, research findings have produced mixed conclusions as to whether compact development as a strategy for accommodating urban growth significantly reduces vehicle travel and, by extension, mitigates environmental impacts, particularly in the area of air quality.

Dr. Caroline Rodier Authors Mineta Transportation Institute Report: Motivating Conformance with Land Use and Transportation Plans

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) has released a report that offers insights into the potential economic and equity consequences to jurisdictions that do and do not implement California's Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) land use plans in a given region. Potential Economic Consequences of Local Nonconformity to Regional Land Use and Transportation Plans Using a Spatial Economic Model was authored by principal investigator Caroline Rodier, Ph.D, Associate Director of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center at ITS-Davis. The report can provide understanding of jurisdictions' motivations for compliance and thus, strategies for more effective implementation of SCS. It also offers four specific recommendations.

California's global warming legislation requires a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. To reach those targets, the state has determined that recent growth trends in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) must be curtailed. Therefore, Senate Bill 375 requires regional governments to develop land use and transportation plans, or SCSs, that will achieve regional GHG targets largely through reduced VMT.

The full report is available for free download from the Mineta Transportation Institute at www.transweb.sjsu.edu/project/2902.html.

ULTRANS - Aligning Land Use and Transportation Policy and Practice

The Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) is playing a central role in tackling the linked challenges of urban sprawl, vehicle travel, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ULTRANS is building the forecasting models and advancing the underlying behavioral research needed to design public policies that increase economic viability and improve quality of life. ULTRANS research and outreach enhance land use and transportation policies and decisions by enabling full consideration of environmental, economic, and social equity impacts.

Following on the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), in 2008 California adopted the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions connected with sprawl and vehicle use. Under SB 375, major California cities are required to reduce emissions associated with vehicle use by about 7% per capita in 2020 and 15% in 2035. Other states and the U.S. Congress are exploring similar laws and programs, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has embraced “livability” as a top priority.

ULTRANS researchers are developing the knowledge, policy expertise and tools to support these initiatives, and partnering with government to help create more sustainable communities. ULTRANS is playing a central role in informing the GHG reduction target-setting process and strengthening the modeling capacity of local and state governments.

For more information about the Center, please view the ULTRANS Brochure .

ULTRANS Partners with UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability - Awarded $1 million from the California Energy Commission

California Energy Commission awards $1 million for Institute of the Environment and Sustainability initiated research project

Inefficient patterns of land use, travel, building construction, and development have led to high energy use, environmental and human health degradation and economic inefficiencies at the individual, regional and state level. Assessing the sustainability of communities is important for cities and regions as they develop and implement land use and transportation policies designed to cut energy consumption and its negative impacts. The California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program is funding the University of California to develop a comprehensive tool that evaluates and analyzes regional energy use and its environmental and socioeconomic impacts. UC Davis ULTRANS will play a significant role in computing the effects fo variables leading to volumes of energy use in the built environment.

Professor Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, Director of UCLA’s Urban Center for People and the Environment, will lead a team of researchers in the development of this tool that includes:

• Dr. Paul Bunje, Director, UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions

• Dr. Deepak Rajagopal, Assistant Professor, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

• Mike McCoy, Director, Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis

• Dr. Mikhail Chester, Post-doctoral Researcher, UC Berkeley

ULTRANS Modeling Team hits the "Home Stretch" on the largest travel model ever built for California

The 24 staff, scholars, faculty, students and consultants comprising the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center's (ULTRANS) California Statewide Travel Demand Modeling Team are three weeks away from being able to forecast how 12 million California households with 33 million members take 150 million trips every weekday across the State.

For fourteen months this team has assembled all the road, transit, bus, heavy rail and air systems in the State. They have studied the volumes of personal and commercial travel on every one of over 235,000 links. Car ownership was identified for all households and the demographic and employment characteristics of all households were derived from a variety of cross cutting data sets. The location of all employment in the State was specified in a zonal geography with over 5,100 travel analysis zones.

All of this comes together to assign persons and goods to travel modes, times and network elements in a dynamic system that considers the capacity of all systems and the effects of congestion in those systems on the choice of movements. Once the dynamic system reaches equilibrium with all trips assigned we will validate the model to known targets at over 200 crucial test points at the edges of regions around the State.

ULTRANS is on target to deliver this validated picture of a day in the life of California’s travel activity to Caltrans on September 30. This model of the status quo will be available to test alternative transportation investments and policies to determine how they would change the characteristics of travel in California. Tests of heavy rail and transit improvement, greenhouse gas policy options, toll charges and a near endless set of alternatives are being considered for testing. Caltrans has generously funded this effort but plans to share the model with all of California’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations to assist them in understanding the interaction of long distance trips and all other trips on the State highway system. The Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation provided additional support for this model to ensure its timely delivery.

Urban Land Use and Transportation Center Convenes Founding Advisory Board Meeting

Members of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) Advisory Board including Jim Ghielmetti, James Boyd, Chuck Kooshian, Larry Greene, Gregg Albright, Jerry Walters, Maren Outwater, Gary Gallegos, Randy Iwasaki, Dale Bonner, Marlon Boarnet, and Pike Oliver met on May 13th at the Hyatt Place on the UC Davis campus. ULTRANS Director, Mike McCoy, welcomed the board and provided some background about the establishment of the Center. Specifically how the groundwork for the center began nearly thirty years ago with the Land Use and Natural Resources program at University Extension and continued through the work at the Information Center for the Environment. The Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) was created 20 years ago with a focus on fuel and vehicle technology while the topic of land use and travel behavior received carefully study. Combining these efforts to understand land use policy and travel behavior marked the formation of ULTRANS.

CalSIIM Peer Consulting Team Meets in San Francisco

Members of the CalSIIM Peer Consulting Team convened in downtown San Francisco today to review the latest updates to the Statewide Interregional Integrated Land Use, Transportation and Economic model being developed at the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS), part of UC Davis’ Institute of Transportation Studies. Team members represent modelers from Metropolitan Policy Organizations throughout the state, as well as representatives from the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, Caltrans and Oregon’s Department of Transportation.

Meeting participants were briefed on the road networks and socio economic data that will be used in the refined travel model; as well as improvements in the general plan data sets, local effects data sets, floor space targets and construction costs that will be used in the statewide PECAS model.

Funding for this model is provided by the California Department of Transportation, along with generous development support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Additional information and presentations from this meeting can be found at the ULTRANS Website, http://ultrans.ucdavis.edu

CalSIIM Peer Consulting Team Meets in Los Angeles

Members of the CalSIIM Peer Consulting Team convened in Los Angeles on November 18th to review the latest updates to the California Statewide Integrated Land Use, Transportation and Economic model being developed at the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center in the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Team members include Metropolitan Policy Organization modelers from throughout the state, as well as representatives from the California Energy Commission and Oregon’s Department of Transportation.

Meeting participants were briefed on the refined travel model, updates to the land use zones (LUZ) and transportation analysis zones (TAZ) systems, modified highway networks, software for the Space Development (SD) module, and the introduction of a new modeling design diagram.

The California Statewide Integrated Land Use, Transportation and Economic model is funded by the California Department of Transportation along with generous development support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Additional information and presentations from this meeting can be found at the California Statewide PECAS Model website's library, http://pecas.ultrans.ucdavis.edu/library.

Caltrans Transportation Planning Chief Joan Sollenberger Appointed Deputy Director of ULTRANS

Continuing the UC/State of California tradition of exchanging key personnel and scholars for the sake of better integration of theory and practice, Caltrans Division of Transportation Planning Chief Joan Sollenberger has accepted a one-year appointment as Deputy Director of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) beginning November 2, 2009.

Sollenberger, a trained planner with over 25 years of public sector experience, has served as Statewide Manager and Division Chief for Transportation Planning at Caltrans since 1996. During that time, she has led the overall development and implementation of policies and programs for statewide transportation planning to improve mobility across California. Under her guidance, the division developed and implemented programs and policies to enhance community livability through better coordination of transportation and land use. Division initiatives such as the California Regional Blueprint Planning Program illustrate Sollenberger’s commitment to promoting economy, environment and equity, and to raising and Native American government-to-government relations.

ULTRANS Director Mike McCoy said, "We are thrilled to have a well known and well respected leader in transportation and land use planning practice join our researchers as we work to apply the most recent breakthroughs in contemporary modeling to real world decisions."

ULTRANS’ CalPECAS Production Model Development Team Kick-Off Meeting

ULTRANS hosted a July 13 kickoff meeting for the development team creating the production version of CalPECAS, an integrated statewide model of interregional transportation, land use, and economic factors. When completed, CalPECAS will be one of the largest and most comprehensive models available to examine the effects of policy, law, and investment on a myriad of variables across California’s complex landscape of local communities and regional governments.

CalPECAS will answer questions about how different policies affect greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from the land use and transportation sectors. It will also measure the impact of GHG reduction strategies on 523 regional California economies, considering 58 industry types producing 42 commodities, with labor from 14 household income types.

The CalPECAS development team is dedicated to the idea of reducing GHG production while sustaining the economy, protecting the environment, and providing equitable economic benefits to people of all income classes.

Generous support for this early kickoff meeting was provided by the Surdna Foundation.

IMAGE: Team members include (left to right) Deborah Salon, Debasis Basu, Giovanni Circelli, Mike McCoy, Doug Hunt, Dimantha DeSilva, Chad Baker, Eric Lehmer, Shenyi Gao, Kevin Shafer, Alan Brownlee, Yang Wang, and Nathaniel Roth.

Preparing for the New Paradigm: Implementing California's Climate Change Goals

The UC Davis Sustainable Transportation Center (STC) and student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) invite students to join us for a unique event on Wednesday, May 20th from 5:45pm-8pm at the UC Davis Buehler Alumni Center. The purpose of this event is to engage students entering careers in climate change – via the fields of transportation, planning, economics, land use, landscape architecture, political science, geography, engineering, law, geology, community development, or environmental policy – to the new climate change framework that is in development at the state level. With the growing demand for academic research and professional careers in this area, the forum seeks to expose students to both people in the field and information regarding current developments in various State agencies.

Dr. Susan Handy and Mike McCoy will discuss highlights from the Sustainable Transportation Center (STC) and the new Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS) – both housed under the Institute of Transportation Studies. The evening will include mingling with leaders in the planning and policy profession as it pertains to climate change, FREE catered appetizers, and an interesting discussion with experts on the topic. The expert panelists will be discussing their agency’s perspective on meeting the requirements of new climate change and planning laws, such as AB 32, SB 375, and SB 97.

Our expert panelists include:

New Tools for California’s and its Region’s Transportation Planning: Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Great Communities

We need to reshape California communities into sustainable places with alternative transportation options and increased quality of life. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) and the state’s groundbreaking new law that establishes a framework for regional planning (SB 375) are leading California and the nation in positive new directions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate climate change. These strong measures require sophisticated tools to gauge the effects of policy choices and infrastructure investments that can change land use patterns, reduce vehicle travel and increase economic viability.

Mike McCoy, Director of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS), will show how a modeling tool he and his U.C.-Davis team are developing will work. He will also describe how the new models support for AB 32 and SB 375, with examples from the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Planning process, and hypothetical interregional options comparing roads versus rails.

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