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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WEBINAR TOMORROW: A Google Street View on the World

Online spatial tools and data offer powerful opportunities for social science and health research on neighborhood conditions. Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, April 22 at noon, to learn how Google Street View has been used to measure the walkability and physical disorder of neighborhoods across the country.

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Education, Infrastructure and Affordable Housing Key to Maryland’s Economic Growth

A new report released by the National Center for Smart Growth states that while Maryland boasts a strong economic foundation, it must respond to 21st century challenges—like aging infrastructure, a diverse population and regional economic disparities—if it wants to ensure long-term economic success.

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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. 

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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.

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Reclassification of Sustainable Neighborhoods: An Opportunity Indicator Analysis in Baltimore Metropolitan Area

The “Sustainable neighborhoods” has become widely proposed objective of urban planners, scholars, and local government agencies. However, after decades of discussion, there is still no consensus on the definition of sustainable neighborhoods (Sawicki and Flynn, 1996; Dluhy and Swartz 2006; Song and Knaap,2007; Galster 2010). To gain new information on this issue, this paper develops a quantitative method for classifying neighborhood types. It starts by measuring a set of more than 100 neighborhood sustainable indicators. The initial set of indicators includes education, housing, neighborhood quality and social capital, neighborhood environment and health, employment and transportation. Data are gathered from various sources, including the National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) data inventory, U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many government agencies and private vendors. GIS mapping is used to visualize and identify variations in neighborhood attributes at the most detailed level (e.g census tracts). Factor analysis is then used to reduce the number of indicators to a small set of dimensions that capture essential differences in neighborhood types in terms of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. These factors loadings are used as inputs to a cluster analysis to identify unique neighborhood types. Finally, different types of neighborhoods are visualized using a GIS tool for further evaluation.

The proposed quantitative analysis will help illustrate variations in neighborhood types and their spatial patterns in the Baltimore metropolitan region.  This framework offers new insights on what is a sustainable neighborhood.

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Fixed Effects Panel Data Analysis of Gasoline Prices, Fare, Service Supply and Service Frequency on Transit Ridership in Ten U.S. Urbanized Areas

Gasoline price increases since 1999 have generated substantial discussion about their effect on
travel behavior. Using panel data for ten selected U.S. urbanized areas between 2002 and 2011,
this study analyzes the effects of gasoline prices and three factors that are internal to transit
agencies—fare, service supply, and service frequency—on ridership of bus, light rail, heavy rail,
and commuter rail, as well as their aggregate ridership. Improving upon past studies on the
subject, this study accounts for the simultaneity relationship between service supply and
ridership, and controls for factors that are external to transit agencies’ control but may potentially
influence ridership.
The analysis results found the possibility of the simultaneity is low, using fixed effects
models that examine temporal changes within each urbanized area. The results of estimated
coefficients show that the short-term increase in ridership due to gasoline price increases is
relatively small for bus and aggregate transit and marginal for rails—certainly smaller than the
effects of the three internal factors. The total influence of the three internal factors was found
more substantial than that of external factors, indicating better possibility to increase ridership by
transit agencies’ efforts when resources are available. In addition, transit agencies are
recommended to prepare for a ridership increase more for bus than for rails due to gasoline
prices, considering that even a small increase could require a substantial service increase to
accommodate travelers’ needs during peak periods.

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Smart Growth Facts

Adjacency to transportation facilities appears to encourage firm births, although results vary by sector and facility.

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