Saxe, Denning: Aug. 7 Future of Urban Mobility seminar

August 7, 2019 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
MY 440, Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship
55 St George St
ON M5S 0C9
Professor Steven Farber
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Wednesday, August 7, 3-5 p.m.

Two presentations from two speakers.

“Rethinking the impacts of transport infrastructure  – a holistic life cycle approach” – Professor Shoshanna Saxe

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Professor Shoshanna Saxe

This presentation will discuss the holistic impacts of transportation infrastructure. As the skeletal structure of civil society. transportation infrastructure influences how we live, work and move; it is also a massive consumer of primary energy and materials. Transportation infrastructure have long lifetimes; its impacts are durable and persistent, adding complexity to impact assessment. The presentation will discuss how a holistic conceptualization of transport infrastructure can change our perceptions of value, about what should and shouldn’t be built, and the power of transport infrastructure to shape the future of mobility.


“Economics Focus within the Sustainability Triad” – William Denning, Walmer Consulting, Toronto

The presentation will discuss how partial equilibrium microeconomic analysis (economic cost-benefit analysis, ECBA) is used to assist in designing, evaluating, and deciding on transport investments and policies.  Distinctions will be made between ECBA and macroeconomic approaches (such as GDP impacts), or financial approaches (financial cost-benefit analysis), or multi-criteria approaches.  The relevance of partial equilibrium methods will be compared to full equilibrium and the necessity for analysis of true alternatives (alternatives in route, technology, and service).   The importance of robust, network-based, travel demand estimates is emphasized.  Topics such as the role of land use scenarios in preparing demand estimates and land value capture will be mentioned.

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William Denning

William Denning is a qualified and knowledgeable transport economist and human geographer with over 30 years of professional experience. He has a strong background in all aspects of transport and spatial policy formulation, advisory and strategy development, economics, and project evaluation.  He recently completed the draft Efficiency Companion Report for the Sustainable Mobility for All Consortium’s Global Roadmap of Action.  He managed the Transportation Economics Office for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation before retiring from the government earlier this year.  William worked for several years on international transport economics assignments for the World Bank and Canadian Pacific Consulting Services.  He supervised the Market Research and Planning unit of GO Transit and was posted to Malaysia as a Canadian Trade Commissioner.  William has a BA (Honours) in Geography and Economics from the University of Toronto and an MA in Regional Science (spatial economics) from the University of Pennsylvania.

About The Future of Urban Mobility Seminar Series

For the first time in history, the majority of people live in urban settings. Cities are the engines of economic growth, but are plagued with challenges relating to resource allocation, constrained government spending, ecosystem protection, creating migrant and youth opportunities, social inequities, labour market changes and infrastructure aging. Thrown into this arena, emerging technologies such as automated and connected vehicles, ride-hailing services, Mobility-as-a-Service platforms, and micro-transit are threatening rapid changes to our mobility systems. The academic and policy debates are rife with visions of new mobility utopias, where technology drives improvements in efficiency, CO2 emissions, and social inclusion. Also prominent are visions of mobility dystopias, where private vehicles control more of the public realm, mobility benefits are concentrated among the wealthy, and labour standards are eroded. Cities now face the massive challenge of evaluating the potential benefits, costs, and unintended consequences of integrating a heterogeneous mix of promising technologies with existing transportation infrastructure and mobility services. In light of this uncertainty, it is imperative that we conduct evidence-based research to guide transportation policy to achieve the many positive promises of emerging technologies, while ameliorating the inherent risks in technology-induced disruption.  The Future of Urban Mobility seminar series will provide the U of T community a space to engage on these topics and explore research opportunities with the Mobilities Cluster at the School of Cities.

The Future of Urban Mobility seminar series is presented by UTTRI and the University of Toronto School of Cities in partnership.

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