In the wake of the 2008 economic downturn, Cleveland, Ohio, along with other former industrial US cites, faced severe financial difficulties. While a tough regional economy and shrinking population forced many of the surrounding cities to cut public services and reduce jobs in the public and private sectors, Cleveland managed to transform a modest $50 million investment in bus rapid transit into $5.8 billion in new transit-oriented development. By putting bus rapid transit (BRT) along a strategic corridor and concentrating government redevelopment efforts there, Cleveland managed to leverage $114.54 dollars of new transit-oriented investment for every dollar it invested into the BRT system, adding jobs and revitalizing the city center.
A growing number of American cities are promoting transit-oriented development1 (TOD) in order to combat congestion and other problems associated with sprawling, car-dominated suburban growth. Many are planning rail-based mass transit…
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.
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…
The 2011-2012 Sacramento Regional Transit Comprehensive Operational Analysis, commonly known as “TransitRenewal”, includes a review of existing market conditions and transit service and aims to position the RT network to sustainably meet future transit demand within the service area. Sustainability is the method of using a resource without depleting or damaging it for future use. Sustainable transit planning focuses on meeting transit needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet such needs1. TransitRenewal responds to changing economic circumstances and RT’s new financial realities. In 2010, RT implemented substantial service reductions which included discontinuing several bus routes, reducing service levels, and reducing spans. TransitRenewal responds to RT’s plan to regain previous FY 2010 service levels and intends to identify core areas of the RT system where investment will have a maximum benefit, and will guide RT to…
This report includes a synopsis of the history of barriers to local coordination of housing and transportation resulting from HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, a summary of efforts to date to identify barriers within each agency’s programs, and a description of efforts underway to address these barriers. We conclude the report with a list of provisions in HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, grouped into four categories. These categories correspond to key areas where improved coordination would better support local strategies to plan and implement sustainable communities:
As more and more cities join the transit space race and see the benefits of walkability, places like Pittsburgh – which already have well established systems and walkable street patterns– need to revisit and reinforce their existing transit networks in order to stay competitive. Long thought of as a planning concept for managing growth in fast growing regions, transit-oriented development actually has great applicability when it comes to reinforcing the neighborhoods that make mature cities great. We have the opportunity to reinforce and invest in our transit network in a way that captures higher ridership, generates lasting value for our neighborhoods, enhances the economic strength of our job centers, provides enduring benefits for all of our residents, from young working families to retirees.
This report comes at a time when our region is at an ironic crossroads. The time has never been better to think about how we can improve the integration of our transit system…
This report presents the replication of an MTI study conducted in 2001 by Peter Haas and Richard Werbel.1 That research, itself a continuation of an earlier project completed in 2000,2 included an analysis of transportation tax elections in 11 urban areas across the nation and culminated in the identification of 17 community-level factors with potential impact on the success of ballot measures for sales tax increases to fund transportation packages with substantial rail components. Many of the 17 factors identified in the research were moderately to strongly associated with electoral success and failure of transit tax initiatives. Among the key findings from the original (2001) report were:
Passing transit initiatives in communities featuring transit agencies of questionable reputations, in those fielding credible opposition, or those lacking a traffic congestion “crisis” is extremely difficult;
Achieving consensus support from business community leaders, elected…
The Denver regional transit provider, RTD is involved in one of the most ambitious passenger rail expansion projects in the country. Known as FasTracks, the project will add 122 miles of rail and 18 miles of BRT to Metro Denver. Given the scrutiny RTD has faced over budget shortfalls and the likelihood of raising taxes to complete the project on time, this paper used a GIS analysis to determine just how well Metro Denver residents and employees would be served by FasTracks. GIS was also used to determine which corridors and stations would serve the most people, and which high density areas will not be served by FasTracks. Using population data from transportation analysis zones and half mile and one mile buffers around each station, it was found that 30% of residents and 69% of employees within Metro Denver will be within one mile of a FasTracks station, while only 9% of land area falls within a mile of a station. These results indicate that FasTracks will serve residents…
This paper summarizes the findings of more than 100 studies concerning the impacts transit service has on nearby property values, and the feasibility of capturing a portion of the incremental value to finance transit improvements. The results indicate that proximity to transit often increases property values enough to offset some or all of transit system capital costs.