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Modeling Growth for the Nation's Capital: A Work in Transit
March 27, 2007

An RFF Workshop on Land Use, Transportation, and Economic Activity in the
Washington, D.C., Region

This one-day workshop explores the potential use of LUSTRE, a new, integrated model developed at Resources for the Future that simulates land use, transportation, and economic activity in the Washington, D.C., region.

For workers and consumers, LUSTRE utilizes real-world decisions on employment, residential location, and discretionary travel, such as shopping trips. For local producers and employers, it includes production, employment, and location decisions. For developers, it includes decisions about residential, industrial, or commercial development.

Embedded in LUSTRE is a fully behaviorally integrated urban transportation model representing motorists' choices over a wide variety of options - including destinations, routes, travel modes, and times of day - that make the model highly realistic. As a result, LUSTRE is an ideal tool for examining the long-run trade-offs of such public interventions as transport investments and land-use regulations for development, traffic congestion, air quality, and overall welfare.

This workshop demonstrated the model's flexibility and versatility by using it to examine two policies of longstanding local interest: the proposed Intercounty Connector and the use of "infill" development to curb both traffic congestion and urban sprawl. We also discussed what other important policy questions can be addressed using LUSTRE.

Video and Audio

To view video presentations, you will need Real Player installed.

  • Listen to all of session 1: Link to Audio
  • Listen to all of session 2: Link to Audio

Welcome and Setting the Stage


Alan Krupnick, RFF Senior Fellow

Alan Krupnick is a senior fellow and director of the Quality of the Environment Division at RFF. His research focuses on analyzing environmental issues, in particular, the benefits, costs, and design of air pollution policies, both in the United States and in developing countries.

Alan Krupnick

He has served as a senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and co-chaired an advisory committee that counseled EPA on new ozone and particulate standards.

Elena Safirova, RFF Fellow

Elena Safirova is a fellow at RFF and is the principal architect of the LUSTRE model. In her current research, she focuses on economic modeling and policy analysis related to transportation and urban land use.She is also interested in the impacts of technological change on urban spatial structure, labor markets, industrial organization, and the environment.

One of her specialties is research on telecommuting and its effects on transportation and the economy.

Elena Safirova

Presentation Slides

Ken Small, University of California, Irvine

Ken Small is research professor and professor emeritus of economics at the University of California, Irvine, where he specializes in urban, transportation, and environmental economics.

Ken Small

He has served for five years as co-editor of the international journal Urban Studies and is now associate editor of Transportation Research Part B. He has served on several study committees of the National Research Council, most recently one that examined a federal program on congestion management and air quality.


I. Evaluating Alternative Strategies to Promote Infill Development

Tim Wheeler, Moderator, The Baltimore Sun

Tim Wheeler reports on urban and regional growth issues for The Baltimore Sun, where he has been a reporter and editor for 22 years, covering the environment, local and state government, higher education, transportation, and science and medicine.

Tim Wheeler


His coverage of growth issues was honored last year by the Maryland chapter of the American Planning Association.

Winston Harrington
Presenter, RFF Senior Fellow


Winston Harrington is a senior fellow at RFF. His research interests include urban trans- portation, motor vehicles and air quality, and problems of estimating the costs of environmental policy.


Presentation Slides

He has worked extensively on the economics of enforcing environmental regulations, health benefits derived from improved air quality, the costs of waterborne disease outbreaks, endangered species policy, and the economics of outdoor recreation. He is also on the adjunct faculty at Georgetown University.

Sam Zimmerman-Bergman, Respondent, Reconnecting America

Sam Zimmerman-Bergman is project director with Reconnecting America, where he is an urban designer with a background in transit-oriented development planning and pedestrian-oriented design projects.

Sam Zimmerman-Bergman

Prior to that, he spent 5 years managing regional and site-specific planning and design projects in the San Francisco Bay Area and western United States, including development of a TOD policy framework and the inception of a Joint Development program for the planned Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) system north of San Francisco.

Stephen Fuller, Respondent, George Mason University

Stephen Fuller is director of the Center for Regional Analysis at the George Mason University School of Public Policy, which develops information on economic, housing, and employment trends in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

Steve Fuller

He is also Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor at George Mason. His research focuses on the changing structure of metropolitan-area economies and measuring of their current and near-term performance. He was appointed by Governor Kane to the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economists.

Q and A

Questions & Answers


II. Channeling Growth in the Nation's Capital: Attaining the Attributes of a Globally Competitive City

Harriet Tregoning
DC Department of Planning


Harriet Tregoning is a newly appointed director of the Washington, DC, Department of Planning. She formerly was secretary for planning and cabinet secretary for smart growth for the state of Maryland, and was director of development, community, and environment at EPA.

Harriet Tregoning

Presentation Slides

At EPA, Tregoning helped to found and coordinate the National Smart Growth Network, a national partnership program designed to inform and accelerate innovative smart growth policies and practices.


III. Modeling the ICC for Better or Worse

Robert Thomson
Moderator, The Washington Post

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post's "Dr. Gridlock." He took over the twice-weekly column in July from its founder, Ron Shaffer, who began it 20 years ago, when the concept of a "Dear Abby" for commuters was relatively unknown in American newspapers.

Robert Thomson

Thomson has been a reporter and editor for 30 years in New York and Washington. He joined the Post in 1988 and has worked on the city, Maryland, and Virginia desks. Thomson had edited Dr. Gridlock since 1999 from the Post's downtown newsroom and jumped at the chance to get out of the office after Shaffer retired. He now enjoys answering travelers' questions, listening to their complaints, and sharing their pain on the roads, trains, and buses in the Washington region.

Elena Safirova, RFF Fellow

Elena Safirova is a fellow at RFF and is the principal architect of the LUSTRE model. In her current research, she focuses on economic modeling and policy analysis related to transportation and urban land use. She is also interested in the impacts of technological change on urban spatial structure, labor markets, industrial organization, and the environment. One of her specialties is research on telecommuting and its effects on transportation and the economy.

Elena Safirova

Presentation Slides

Michael Replogle
Respondent, Environmental Defense


Michael Replogle is transportation director at Environmental Defense, where he manages initiatives to link transportation, land use, and natural resource programs to enhance public health, equity, and environmental quality.

Michael Replogle

Presentation Slides

He is an expert on federal transportation law and policy, transportation impact analysis, and strategies to reduce traffic and pollution through incentives, smart growth, marketing, and improved accountability. He has worked extensively in metropolitan Washington/Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Portland, and other regions.

Robert T. Grow
Greater Washington Board of Trade

Robert T. Grow is director of government relations for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the largest network of business and nonprofit leaders. He also serves as executive director of the Business Transportation Action Coalition that focuses on securing dedicated long-term funding for Metro.

Bob Grow

Presentation Slides

He is a regular contributor to news stories and opinion articles in The Washington Post and other print, broadcast, and electronic media and on a lighter note appeared on Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart regarding disappearing cars on the Capital Beltway.

Q and A

Questions and Answers



IV. The Road Ahead: What Use Are Models to Local Planners?

Tom Downs, Moderator, Eno Transportation Foundation

Tom Downs is president and chief executive officer of the Eno Transportation Foundation. A nationally recognized leader in transportation policy, he is former chairman and CEO of Amtrak and served as commissioner of transportation for the State of New Jersey and chairman of the New Jersey Transit Corporation.

Tom Downs

In the 1980s, he was city administrator and director of transportation for the District of Columbia, and was associate administrator for planning and budget at the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.
Robert Puentes, Participant, Brookings Institute

Robert Puentes is a fellow with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. He currently directs the program's Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, which was recently established to address the pressing transportation and infrastructure challenges facing cities and suburbs in the United States and abroad.

Robert Puentes

He frequently speaks before business, civic, and political leaders. Prior to joining Brookings, he was the director of infrastructure programs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.


Marsha Kaiser, Participant, PB Placemaking

Marsha Kaiser is an urban planning and public policy practice leader at PB PlaceMaking, a division of Parsons Brinckerhoff. She was formerly director of the Office of Planning and Capital Programming with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Marsha Kaiser

In that capacity, she was responsible for the development of the Consolidated Transportation Program, the Maryland Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan, multi-modal planning activities, and oversight of the department's $9.8 billion six-year capital program.

Stewart Schwartz, Participant, Coalition for Smarter Growth

Stewart Schwartz has served as executive director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth since its creation in the spring of 1997. Schwartz is responsible for the strategic direction of the organization and the regional coalition.

Stewart Schwartz

His leadership has taken the Coalition from a one-person coordinating office to a seven-person staff and the lead regional organization on smart growth issues. The Washington Business Journal recognized him as one of six Business persons of 2002, and he serves as one of only a few nonprofit members on their advisory board.

Q and A

Questions and Answers

Closing Remarks


Phil Sharp, President, RFF

Phil Sharp is president of RFF. His career in public service includes 10 terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana and a lengthy tenure on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University.

Phil Sharp

He served as director of the IOP from 1995 to 1998 and again from 2004 until August 2005. Sharp serves on the board of directors of the Energy Foundation, is co-chair of the Energy Board of the Keystone Center, and is a member of the National Research Council's Board of Energy and Environmental Systems. He received his Ph.D. in government from Georgetown University.


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