Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ex-ante evaluation of the accessibility impacts of transport policy scenarios: equity assessment of BRT expansion

About a month ago, I submitted the 4th paper of my PhD research for publication. The preprint of the paper is available at Open Science Framework (OSF), and you can download it here. Please feel free to read and cite share the manuscript. Suggestions and  criticisms  nice comments are always welcome.

Pereira, R. H. (2018). Ex-ante evaluation of the accessibility impacts of transport policy scenarios: equity and sensitivity to travel time thresholds for Bus Rapid Transit expansion in Rio de Janeiro. OSF Preprints

The accessibility impacts of transport projects ex-post implementation are generally evaluated using cumulative opportunity measures based on a single travel time threshold. Fewer studies have explored how ex-ante accessibility appraisal of transport plans can be used to evaluate policy scenarios and their impacts for different social groups or examined whether the results of project appraisals are sensitive to the time threshold of choice. This paper analyzes how different scenarios of full and partial implementation of the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will likely impact the number of jobs accessible to the population of different income levels under various travel time thresholds of 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes. Compared to a partial operation scenario, the full implementation of TransBrasil that extends this corridor into the city center would lead to higher accessibility gains due to network effects of connecting this BRT to other transport modes. Nonetheless, the size of the accessibility impacts of the proposed BRT as well as its distribution across income classes would significantly change depending on the time threshold chosen for the accessibility analysis. Considering cut-off times of 30 or 60 minutes, both scenarios of TransBrasil would lead to higher accessibility impacts in general and particularly for low-income groups, moving Rio towards a more equitable transportation system. However, under longer thresholds of 90 and 120 minutes, an evaluation of this project would find much smaller accessibility gains more evenly distributed by income levels. The paper highlights how time threshold choice in cumulative opportunity measures can have important but overlooked implications for policy evaluation.

Some of the core findings of the paper mentioned in the abstract are illustrated in the figure below. The figure brings box plots that show the distribution of gains in job accessibility via public transport by income groups under partial and full operation scenarios of the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio de Janeiro. The results are shown separately given different choices of travel time thresholds in the accessibility analysis.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Assorted links

  1. Automation and AI will increase spatial/regional inequalities. Paper by Morgan Frank and colleagues

  2. Explore, select and download data of the global population projections by age, sex and education, a great collaborative work of researchers from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital

  3. Greyhound: a powerful platform to interactively explore and analyze massive point clouds with Trillions of points in the browser, via Howard Butler

  4. The dynamical structure of political corruption networks. A paper by Haroldo RibeiroLuis Alves et al., analyzing 27 years of political corruption scandals in Brazil

  5. Citywide effects of high-occupancy vehicle restrictions: Evidence from “three-in-one” in Jakarta, by Rema Hanna et al.

  6. Want to find statistically significant hierarchical modules in weighted networks? paper here and code here, by Tiago Peixoto, who is the author of the graph-tool Python library

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Urban Picture

Petare, Venezuela

credit: via Ricardo Hurtubia‏. I couldn't find who is the author of the photo, though

Monday, March 26, 2018

Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations

Good news! The 2nd paper of my thesis is coming out of the oven \o/ . The paper has not been assigned to a journal issue yet, but here you go (pdf).

The paper engages with the literature on mega-events and urban development to understand the particularities of transport planning in Rio de Janeiro, conducted for almost two decades under a context of mega-events planning. It is argued in the study that evaluations of the impacts of mega-events on urban infrastructure should take into account the distributional effects of the transport legacies created by those events, looking particularly at how such transport developments reshape social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

This is the first empirical paper of my thesis. Two other empirical papers are currently under review, but you can read their preprints here and hereMy theoretical paper is available herein case you are interested  or have sleeping problems .

Pereira, R. H. M. (2018). Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations. Cities. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2018.03.013

Local governments increasingly justify the hosting of mega-events because of their legacy value, assuming that all local residents benefit from those events. Yet, little attention has been paid to the distributive question of who benefits from the transport legacy left by those events. This paper reflects on the delimitation of transport legacies and its social impacts in terms of how such developments can reshape urban accessibility to opportunities. It analyses the transformation in the transport system of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. That transformation involved substantial expansion in public transport infrastructure, followed by cuts in service levels and a reorganization of many bus lines to streamline the transport system. The paper examines whether those recent changes have increased the number of people from different income levels who could access Olympic sports venues and healthcare facilities by public transport within 15, 30, 60 and 90 min. The analysis uses a before-and-after comparison of Rio's transport network (2014–2017) and a quasi-counterfactual scenario to separate the effects of newly added infrastructure from the reorganization and cuts of transport services. The results show that the infrastructure expansion alone would have increased the number of people who could access the Olympic sports venues, but it would have only marginally improved people's access to healthcare facilities. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that the streamlined bus system have offset the benefits of infrastructure investments in a way that particularly penalizes the poor. The analysis of both the implemented changes to the public transport network and the counterfactual scenario show that the accessibility benefits from the recent cycle of investments and disinvestments in Rio generally accrued to middle- and higher-income groups, reinforcing existing patterns of urban inequality.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Urban Picture

Morro da Providência favela, the first favela in Brazil, reflected on a new corporate building in the old port area of Rio de Janeiro.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation, Bogotá

I will be in Bogotá (Colombia) speaking at the 8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation on the first week of April (conference program here). I was kindly invited by TRANSMILENIO S.A, the company that runs the renowned Transmilenio BRT system. The event will gather policy makers, private operators, start ups and academics to discuss some of the main issues and challenges in urban transportation in Latin America.

 To my supervisors, if the ever read this  I know this will be a little distraction from writing by thesis, but it will be a unique opportunity to share my research with experts in the region and to meet some great people. Also, I'm excited that I'll share the floor with Robert Cervero on a panel about the impacts of public transport on cities.

I will be presenting part of my doctoral research, looking at how major transport policies implemented in Rio de Janeiro have impacted people's access to schools and jobs and increased social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities (preprint of this paper). I will also talk a bit about a new paper where I analyze the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio and estimate its likely future impacts on accessibility inequalities in the city (preprint here). I'll post more info about this paper soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

"Even wealthy families, good neighborhoods and two parents can’t protect black boys from racism"

The title is this blog post comes from Emily Badger (Twitter), who has written a great piece for the NYT, covering the latest study of Raj Chetty and colleagues. Using a unique dataset, the study shows that black men consistently earn less than white men, regardless of whether they're raised poor or rich. The full paper is here.

The study is part of The Equality of opportunity Project, an ambitious and groundbreaking project led by Chetty. I've posted about the project in this blog a few years ago.