There is an increasing interest in community walkability, as reflected in the growing number of state and federal initiatives on Safe Routes to School, the new concern over a national obesity epidemic (especially in children), and a wide range of policy initiatives designed to convince travelers to switch from auto trips to more environmentally sustainable bicycle and walking trips. In each of these cases, policy makers recognize walking as a key mode of travel and believe that increasing the number of walk trips is a key goal.
The intent of this document is to be supplementary to TRB TCRP Report 57, Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, and it is therefore focused on the important differences between “line-haul” light rail systems and Circulator light rail systems as they relate to trackway infrastructure. The guidelines, narrative, and illustrations provided in this report are intended to highlight many of the principal issues and concerns that should receive attention when designing a Light Rail Circulator System’s trackway infrastructure. Past experience of a number of transit agencies with wheel-rail incompatibilities requiring extra effort and cost to resolve have indicated that the attention to detail required to achieve the successful construction of such infrastructure is not to be underestimated.
While rail has been the focus of most planning for Transit Oriented Development (TOD), there has been recent interest in bus-related TOD with an emphasis on new bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in North and South America and Australia. This article takes a critical look at the strengths and challenges of bus-based transit systems compared to rail in relation to TOD. It includes a review of the literature and an assessment of TOD-related developments. The performance of BRT systems in relation to TOD is considered with specific reference to BRT systems in Australia. In addition, TOD related to local suburban bus service is examined. The article describes the general concept of TOD and how this relates to features of transit modes, outlines the literature relevant to bus-based TOD, and identifies the strengths and challenges of bus-based transit systems in relation to TOD. It concludes by summarizing the relative strengths and challenges of BRT and local bus services compared…
There is ongoing debate over the relative advantages of rail and bus transit investments. Rail critics assert that cities which expand their bus transit systems exhibit better performance than those that expand rail systems. This study examines those claims. It compares public transport performance in U.S. urban areas that expanded rail transit with urban areas that expanded bus transit from the mid-1990s through 2003, using Federal Transit Administration data. This analysis indicates that cities that expanded their rail systems significantly outperformed cities that only expanded bus systems in terms of transit ridership, passenger-mileage, and operating cost efficiency. This indicates that rail transit investments are often economically justified due to benefits from improved transit performance and increased transit ridership.
Not long ago, downtown Plano was the nearly forgotten commercial center of a farming community displaced by metropolitan expansion. Today, downtown Plano is reemerging as an urban center, stimulated in part by the coming of light rail transit. New development containing nearly 500,000 square feet of floor area was recently completed, adding 463 urban apartments and 40,000 square feet of non-residential development to the compact 80-acre downtown. Historic commercial and civic buildings are being restored, including the adaptive reuse of the city’s first school gymnasium (built in 1938) as a performing arts theater; and new single-family housing is contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods adjoining downtown. Plano provides insight on the use of light rail transit (LRT) and the principles of new urbanism to create an urban activity center within the context of older commercial development and as a sustainable development strategy for a maturing suburban city.
Considering the difficult experience many Houstonians had during the construction of the region’s first light rail line from Downtown to the Medical Center, the Gulf Coast Institute recently explored the experiences of six big cities engaged in building new light rail transit systems. We selected the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Portland, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City, all of which have recently built their first line or added to their light rail system. We tried to reach representatives of the transit agency, the local government, and the business community, and in many cases had to follow leads to reach individuals who had firsthand experience during construction. This paper covers one part of that ongoing effort.
As seen in Houston, construction of light rail can have a disruptive affect on businesses, just the same as utility and street development. Businesses directly abutting the roadway are especially at risk if access by customers or…
The New Jersey Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) demonstrates that the bene.ts of transit-oriented development are wide-ranging:
Large quantities of underutilized land along the rail line are being reclaimed for productive use. As a result, property values and ratables have grown exponentially.
Two areas, the Essex Street-Jersey Avenue Station corridor and the 9th Street Station in Hoboken, stand out as magnets for new residential development. Since the year 2000, nearly 4,500 units of housing within walking distance to these stations have been built or are under construction, with many more units approved.
Ridership as of April, 2006 (24,487 average weekday trips), is up almost 50% over the 2003 level. Hoboken, Pavonia-Newport, and Exchange Place (all PATH locations) are the top three stations in ridership activity.
This last statement highlights one of the most important outcomes of the HBLR: The quality of travel for Hudson County…
The Market Street Corridor Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan provides a vision and framework for redevelopment of five station areas – about a quarter-mile radius around five stations on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s (SEPTA) Market-Frankford EL located in various neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. SEPTA is currently reconstructing EL stations in West Philadelphia. Wishing to leverage these investments, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission asked the consultant team led by Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC (WRT) to develop TOD-based land use plans and redevelopment guidelines for the Market Street commercial corridor, which runs adjacent to EL.
Transit Oriented Development refers to compact, pedestrian-oriented mixed use development, characterized by moderate to high density development around transit stations. The consultant team developed land use and urban design plans for high opportunity sites to create…
Hedonic pricing methods explain the value of real estate in terms of the features of the property. This approach treats a certain property as a composite of characteristics to which value can be attached. The sum of the value of the individual characteristics makes up the value of the property as a whole. Studies on real estate prices generally categorise the value bearing features of properties into three types namely: physical, accessibly and environmental (Fujita 1989; Bowes and Ihlanfeldt 2001). Several studies have been conducted focusing on different features of interest. Accessibility as provided by different modes of transportation and railways in particular also received attention. In order to single out the effect of railway stations on property values, it is suggested in the literature that stations should be seen as nodes in a transport network and places in an area (Bertolini and Spit 1998). Based on this framework, recent empirical studies treat the node…
This is a tale of three cities—Jersey City and neighboring Hoboken in New Jersey, and Evanston, Illinois – that have experienced an enormous amount of development since the late 1980s, reversing three decades of decline brought on by the great suburban exodus of the 1950s. The result is that in 2006 all three cities are prospering, posting significant increases in property values and sales taxes and other revenues due to the building boom and resulting increases in business activity. The amount of high-density development that has occurred could never have occurred this quickly if these cities did not have rich transit networks providing very high-quality connections to the abundant jobs, culture and destinations in their big city neighbors: Manhattan is across the Hudson River from Hoboken and Jersey City; Chicago and Evanston share a border.