Every January, we take a look back at the top traffic blog articles of the prior year. 2013 was an exciting year: we celebrated our 20th anniversary; we released an e-book, Unlocking Home, on affordable housing opportunities hiding in plain sight; we called out self-proclaimed “green” PR and law firms shilling for Big Coal; we started to analyze the taxi vs. rideshare debate; we launched the first comprehensive look at the burgeoning oil-by-rail industry; we decimated the financial reputation of coal companies like Ambre Energy; and so much more.

This garnered us a great deal of media attention, drew new subscribers to our newsletters and social media platforms, and translated to a lot of traffic on our blog, all of which make us feel pretty special.

But enough boasting. You came here for a countdown, and a countdown you shall have. Our top ten blog posts of 2013 were as follows (there’s a drum roll for this somewhere…):

10. Traffic Forecast Follies: Clark looked at research out of the University of Wisconsin showing that the US Department of Transportation has been making the virtually identical vehicle travel forecasts for well over a decade—forecasts that project rapid and incessant growth in vehicle travel for as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, actual traffic volumes have flattened out and may actually be falling.

9. Olympia’s Whacked Out Transportation Priorities: Catchy name, frustrating topic! Jennifer Langston compared the Washington Senate Majority Coalition’s transportation package to what the public itself reported want, as represented in a public survey by the Washington State Transportation Commission. Complete with an illustrative chart, the differences were mystifying.

Photo by This Year's Love, cc.

Photo by This Year’s Love, cc. Photo by This Year’s Love, cc.

8. Beyond the Wallet Condom: As part of the series Burning Rubber(s) on better contraceptive options beyond the condom, Valerie Tarico looked at eight promising possibilities for male contraception. That’s right, ladies—the boys can take on this responsibility, too!


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  • 7. Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Clean-up Sites?: Lisa Stiffler researched the complicated question of what happens to all the toxins that green infrastructure filters out of stormwater runoff. Do they just stay in your yard, soaking your well-intentioned rain garden with higher and higher levels of toxicity? The short answer is “nope”; the long answer takes her thoughtful article to explain.

    2 - you'll be towed tomorrow note_Brent Bigler, Los Angeles

    Image by Brent Bigler (Used with permission)

    6. Who Parked in My Spot?!: People sure enjoyed reading about other people’s inter-neighbor parking feuds! For this article, part of the Parking? Lots! series, Alan crowd-sourced some of his friends’ and other contacts’ most outrageous experiences dealing with the passive-aggressive politics of urban curb parking. Conclusion: people can get pretty insane about their parking “rights.”

    5. Ugly by Law: Alyse Nelson crowd-sourced a bit, too, for this photo essay on parking requirements and the ugly buildings they produce. It was basically an illustrated lesson in why we so desperately need to change our parking laws—or endure the ugly cities they will wreak upon us!

    4. Taxi vs. Lyft: My Commute: The kickoff of her Crimp Your Ride series, Jennifer Langston wrote up her side-by-side comparison of taking a cab to work one day and a Lyft here the next. “I’m a mom with a pokey kid, trying to get to work as quickly as possible.” Game on.

    3. Apartment Blockers: In the third Parking? Lots! article to go gangbusters, Alan examined the way that off-street parking requirements increase rent costs, especially for residents in burgeoning urban areas. It was a topic Clark would later expand upon in his report, Who Pays for Parking?, and it sparked a lively conversation in the comments thread.

    Photo from Jessica Helgerson, used with permission.

    Photo from Jessica Helgerson, used with permission.

    2. Tiny Houses with Kids: Another top hit from Jennifer: her photo essay on families with kids living in tiny houses. Need I say more?

    1. The Entire IPCC Report in 19 Illustrated Haiku: Finally—no surprises here!—scientist Greg Johnson’s watercolors and accompanying haiku, reflecting on the findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, took home the gold! By a LOT. It went wildly viral on social media and drew attention from outlets including Upworthy, The Weather Channel, Salon, Mother Jones, Seattle Times, and others. Missed it? Here’s a teaser, but be sure to check out the entire thing.

    The Future.

    The Future by Dr. Greg Johnson (Used with permission)