New Report Generating a Buzz

New study with Urban Institute and Institute of Transportation Studies looks at links between transportation, housing and economic opportunity for voucher recipients.

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Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS)

PALS is a new, campus-wide initiative designed to provide high-quality, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating valuable real-world problem solving experience for UMD students. 

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Purple Line Corridor Coalition

The NCSG has formed a coalition to stimulate sustainable and equitable economic development throughout the Purple Line corridor without displacing affordable housing or small businesses.

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Makeover Montgomery 2

Along with the Montgomery County Planning Department and the UMD Planning Program, the NCSG hosted Makeover Montgomery 2 on May 8-10, 2014.

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New Studies: To Boost Jobs, Target Job Hubs

To stimulate economic development and job creation, the State of Maryland should target incentives to a few dozen urban and rural “employment centers” with the most economic potential and transportation infrastructure, recommends a pair of studies by the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG).

A Green Infrastructure Approach to Leveraging Local Priorities

The Environmental Finance Center’s Monica Billig and Jennifer Cotting led a webinar on December 3, in which they highlighted Warrington, Pennsylvania and its green infrastructure approach to leveraging local priorities. Watch the webinar recording after the jump.

New Report: Impact Analysis of a Beverage Container Deposit Program

The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, with support from the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, Inc. and the Abell Foundation, recently completed a study on a prospective beverage container deposit program in Maryland. The study looked at potential impacts on recycling rates, employment, beverage sales, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

New Program to Improve Air Quality at Port of Baltimore

The Maryland Port Administration (MPA)/Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced today that it is providing funding to enhance the Mid-Atlantic Dray Truck Replacement Program, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association (MARAMA) and the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center.

Empirical Analysis of Pricing Structure of Toll Facilities Based on Social Costs of Driving by Vehicle Class and Its Effects on Traffic, Toll Revenue,

This study develops an analytical method to obtain toll rates for thirteen vehicle classes for seven
toll facilities in Maryland, taking into account various social costs of driving automobiles. The
model is comprised of two parts: (1) an equilibrium model to obtain non-peak period tolls that
incorporates capital and maintenance costs of toll facilities, vehicle emission costs, and
operating/maintenance costs incurred to vehicles due to uneven road surface, and (2) a model to
estimate optimal congestion tolls for three facilities that currently experience congestion. The
models are not a simple forward-moving model, but instead take into account the feedback
effects of revised toll rates on traffic volume and social costs of driving.
The analysis results show some expected results in the estimated tolls and their effects on
vehicle traffic, toll revenue, emission, and ESAL. While congestion tolls clearly show positive
effects across three facilities, results related to estimated non-peak period tolls and their effects
are not consistent across all facilities, depending on the relative magnitude of each social cost
factor as well as the relative levels of current tolls. Results from the sensitivity analysis
generally support the main results. These results reveal a lack of clear pattern in the current toll
structure in relation to vehicle classes among facilities, and indicate possible cross-subsidies
among facilities as well as among vehicle classes. Further research is warranted in order to
achieve road pricing schemes that are more efficient and equitable.

Polycentrism as a Sustainable Development Strategy

We present in this paper an analysis of economic centers and their role in shaping employment development patterns and travel behavior in the state of Maryland. We begin by identifying 23 economic centers in the Baltimore-Washington region. We then examine these centers first in their role as centers of economic activity then in their role as nodes in the state’s transportation system. Finally, we identify the commute sheds of each center, for multiple modes of travel and travel times, and examine jobs-housing balance within these various commute sheds. We find that Maryland’s economic centers not only promote agglomerative economies and thus facilitate economic growth; they also generate a disproportionate number of trips and promote transit ridership. These results provide empirical support for policies that promote polycentric urban development, and especially policies that promote polycentric employment development. Further, they suggest that polycentrism as a sustainable development strategy requires careful coordination of regional transportation systems designed to balance jobs and housing within a center’s transit commute shed. Based on these findings we recommend that the Maryland state development plan and regional sustainable communities’ plans across the nation should encourage the concentration of employment within economic centers and encourage housing development within the transit commute sheds of those centers.

Smart Growth Facts

There are 77 bus lines serving Baltimore’s public transportation needs.