As light rail transit (LRT) systems mature and expand, outlying passengers are faced with increasingly longer trip times to reach the urban core. Providing service to these customers by conventional means can be disproportionately expensive for the transit carrier in terms of operating and capital expense. Innovative operational practices to expedite train movements, however, are often confounded by current LRT design and deployment methods. This is partly attributable to design methods that follow a “stovepipe” approach to individual engineering disciplines and components, rather than directing focus on optimizing railway functionality and flexibility as a comprehensive entity. It is also attributable, in part, to a failure to address the ultimate potential of a railway at the definition/developmental stage and to subsequently articulate and document the operational requirements that are necessary to support the stated mission.
In spring of 2011, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, was awarded a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to prepare the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit Sustainable Corridor Implementation Plan (Orange Line BRT Sustainable CIP). Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and SCAG retained Raimi + Associates and its consultant team of The Center for Transit-Oriented Development and Nelson\Nygaard to assist with the planning effort.
The Orange Line BRT Sustainable CIP identifies a range of improvements to the Orange Line and the fourteen station areas on its original alignment – such as land use changes, catalyst projects, streetscape improvements, and transit connections – that will increase transit use for commuters and discretionary riders, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and advance Metro’s sustainable development principles. The four main goals of the Orange…
What GAO Found
U.S. bus rapid transit (BRT) projects we reviewed include features that distinguished BRT from standard bus service and improved riders’ experience. However, few of the projects (5 of 20) used dedicated or semi-dedicated lanes— a feature commonly associated with BRT and included in international systems to reduce travel time and attract riders. Project sponsors and planners explained that decisions on which features to incorporate into BRT projects were influenced by costs, community needs, and the ability to phase in additional features. For example, one project sponsor explained that well-lighted shelters with security cameras and real-time information displays were included to increase passengers’ sense of safety in the evening. Project sponsors told us they plan to incorporate additional features such as off-board fare collection over time.
The BRT projects we reviewed generally increased ridership and improved service over the previous transit service.
An analysis of data from 371 transit providers in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas reveals that:
Over three-quarters of all jobs in the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service. Western metro areas like Los Angeles and Seattle exhibit the highest coverage rates, while rates are lowest in Southern metro areas like Atlanta and Greenville. Regardless of region, city jobs across every metro area and industry category have better access to transit than their suburban counterparts.
The typical job is accessible to only about 27 percent of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less. Labor access varies considerably from a high of 64 percent in metropolitan Salt Lake City to a low of 6 percent in metropolitan Palm Bay, reflecting differences in both transit provision, job concentration, and land use patterns. City jobs are consistently accessible to larger shares of metropolitan labor pools than suburban jobs, reinforcing…
Transit-oriented communities are places that, by their design, allow people to drive less and walk, cycle, and take transit more. In practice, this means they concentrate higher-density, mixed-use, human-scale development around frequent transit stops and stations. They also provide well-connected and well-designed networks of streets, creating walking- and cycling-friendly communities focused around frequent transit. Communities built in this way have proven to be particularly livable, sustainable, and resilient places. Transit-oriented communities also make it possible to operate efficient, cost-effective transit service. Because of these benefits, making communities more transit-oriented is one of the key goals of land use and transportation plans in Metro Vancouver.
In order to further the development of more transit-oriented communities in Metro Vancouver, this document provides guidance for community planning and design – based on best practices – in the areas…
Transit oriented development has been a large part of Boston’s growth since the earliest horse-drawn railways. In fact, we live in a uniquely transit-oriented region, where 25% of housing units and 37% of employment is within a half-mile of a rapid transit or commuter rail station. Now Metro Boston is experiencing a new wave of growth near transit, with hundreds of residential and commercial developments underway and more on the horizon. Cities and towns are creating station area plans and updated zoning to unlock development potential; the MBTA is accepting proposals for major developments on prime T-owned parcels; state agencies are using transit proximity as a criteria for prioritizing infrastructure or housing resources; and the development community is finding a strong market for residential and commercial space near the T.
There are good reasons for this burgeoning interest in Transit Oriented Development (TOD.) New growth near transit stations can help…
Why measure active Transportation?
Active transportation—generally referring to purpose-oriented trips by walking or cycling—can be an important component of one’s daily travel. Furthermore, active transportation or active travel (hereafter, AT) has important implications for personal health, livability, and environmental resources. Measuring changes in AT via well-established indicators is particularly relevant in two fields: health and transportation. Those working in the transportation field want to understand the demand for different types of facilities to support sustainable, cost-effective mobility for the entire population. They are also interested in how active transportation links to public transportation. Those in the public health field realize that to only focus on exercise misses much routine physical activity done in the course of commuting, paid work, chores, and errands. Both fields aim to measure aspects of active transportation, but…
As the Puget Sound region invests billions in a new light rail system, many stakeholders, including community leaders, workers, equity advocates and planners, are asking – who will benefit? Will the advantages of living along light rail be shared by households of all incomes and people of all races and ethnicities?
Transit oriented development (TOD), holds tremendous promise and opportunity for communities of color and low-income households. But, strong evidence of gentrification and the threat of displacement in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, accelerated by the light rail, threaten to undermine this promise. Rainier Valley represents one of the most racially diverse areas in the Puget Sound and is also one of the first communities to receive light rail.
Ensuring that TOD results in real equity outcomes requires a sharp focus on what equity means and a steady determination to achieve those outcomes. By including a racial justice framework in TOD planning and…
The federal government, through various transportation acts, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and, more recently, the Safe, Affordable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), has reinforced the need for integration of land use and transportation and the provision of public transit. Other federal programs, such as the Livable Communities Program and the New Starts Program, have provided additional impetus to public transit. At the state and regional level, the past three decades have seen increased provision of public transit. However, the public transit systems typically require significant operating and capital subsidies—75 percent of transit funding is provided by local and state governments.1 With all levels of government under significant fiscal stress, new transit funding mechanisms are welcome. Value capture (VC) is once…
Affordable housing, jobs, and transportation infrastructure are central elements of urban planning that have the potential for great synergies if considered comprehensively. Transit- accessible affordable housing can help alleviate the combined housing and transportation burden that many Atlantans face and provide better accessibility to employment opportunities.
The region’s upcoming Transportation Investment Act (TIA) vote provides an impetus to study these issues and determine how this potential infrastructure investment could influence the supply of mixed-income transit-oriented developments (MITOD) that provide affordable housing and increase connections to jobs.
The two research questions being explored are: What are the current housing and employment characteristics near MARTA rail stations and the proposed transit routes identified in the TIA? Where might opportunities exist to preserve affordable housing and develop MITOD? The analysis utilizes spatial analysis…