NCST Induced Travel Calculator Spurs Nationwide Tool

Three non-profit organizations released a new online tool today that can trace its origins to an NCST research project.

The State Highway Induced Frequency of Travel (SHIFT) Calculator, developed by RMI (formerly Rocky Mountain Institute), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Transportation for America, allows agencies and the public to estimate the induced vehicle miles traveled and emissions impacts from large roadway capacity expansions nationwide. This “induced travel” effect, in which adding lanes to a highway to relieve congestion actually encourages more driving, is commonly ignored or underestimated by transportation agencies.

The SHIFT calculator uses the same methodology as the NCST Induced Travel Calculator. Developed by NCST Director Dr. Susan Handy and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Jamey Volker and grounded in academic literature, the NCST Induced Travel Calculator can be used in California’s urbanized counties. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) now recommends the use of the NCST Induced Travel Calculator for measuring the impacts of its roadway expansion projects.

Dr. Volker consulted with RMI, NRDC, and Transportation for America in the development of the SHIFT Calculator. The new tool will allow for a more realistic assessment of the impacts of highway expansion projects nationwide, and could ultimately inform efforts to reduce driving and transportation greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Induced Travel Calculator screenshot
A screenshot of the NCST Induced Travel Calculator

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