Blog

Ridesharing: Then and Now

Patrick Sullivan | September 4, 2014

Uber. Lyft. Sidecar. Ridejoy. Hitch. RidesScout. Carma. These are the ridesharing apps that I can think of off the top of my head. Ridesharing (or Transportation Network) apps have become a hot (and controversial) technology that are helping to drive the explosive growth of the sharing economy. Entrepreneurs on both coasts are looking for innovative new ways to disrupt the traditional ways in which we commute. From UberX, which turns anyone’s car into a taxi, to CarmaHop, a modern take on hitchhiking, new technology is pushing us to rethinking the relationship between a car, a driver, and a passenger. For some commuters, ridesharing…
Will We Ever Have a VMT Tax in Massachusetts?

Patrick Sullivan | July 17, 2014

For as long as we have had roads, we have been trying to figure out the best way to pay for them. Over the years, a per-gallon gasoline tax has been widely adopted on both a state and federal level as the primary method in which revenue is generated to pay for highway construction and maintenance. This system worked relatively well for many decades, but improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency have significantly reduced fuel consumption. A study by the Rand Corporation found that gas consumption has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1980, yet vehicle miles traveled have doubled, creating conditions where…
Are we Incentivizing Driving to Work Alone?

Patrick Sullivan | February 25, 2014

It’s likely that some people might be unfamiliar with the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit, a commuter tax benefit that has been part of the Federal Tax Code since 1993.  The Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit provides commuters between $20-$250 dollars per month (depending upon the commute mode they use) to cover costs associated with commuting to and from work. Developed in order to promote the use of mass transit and to improve air quality, this fringe benefit was created in response to tax programs in the 1970s and 1980s that provided tax relief only for commuters that had to pay for…
The Traffic Tipping Point

Patrick Sullivan | February 5, 2014

If you really want to understand how traffic works, then familiarize yourself with the “Traffic Tipping Point” – the exponential relationship between roadway capacity and traffic congestion. Simply put, when the number of vehicles on a congested roadway grows by 1 percent over the roadway’s maximum capacity, vehicle speeds are likely to slow down by 5 percent. This means that a relatively small number of additional vehicles can have a major impact on traffic congestion and delays. Conversely, a relatively small number of cars taken off the road can provide significant congestion relief. A body of research has emerged in the past…
TDM, Explained

Patrick Sullivan | January 21, 2014

What is transportation demand management, or TDM? Well, it’s what I do every day. TDM is the practice of developing programs and policies aimed at providing commuters with travel options other than single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs). From carpooling to cycling to commuter shuttle buses to ITS, TDM programs are designed to reduce traffic and congestion, particularly during peak commuting hours. The definition of TDM can vary a bit among different practitioners within the transportation world. Defined simply, TDM programs exist to reduce traffic and air pollution while making daily commutes more pleasurable (hopefully) for commuters. TDM programs are typically developed and…