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…
The Fairfax County, VA, Planning Commission TOD Committee, established in May 2006, was a special committee of the Planning Commission which sponsored an open and visible process to gather input on a consensus vision and guidance on Fairfax County Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The Committee's goal was to recommend language to the Board of Supervisors and County staff for use in a Policy Plan Amendment (STO7-CW-ICP) that provided a standardized definition and set of guiding principles for Transit-Oriented Development in Fairfax County.
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…
There is a growing body of evidence, including earlier Mineta Transportation Institute-sponsored research, showing that multi-destination transit systems are far more effective in attracting passengers and more efficient in use of resources to carry each passenger than central business district (CBD)-focused systems. At the same time, however, evidence is beginning to show that multi-destination transit systems appeal largely to transit-dependent riders (also called captive riders), whose demand for transit service appears to be highly elastic with respect to the shortening of transit travel time between origin and destination. Given the interest in using transit investments to lure people from their automobiles in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion, it is imperative that the appeal of such systems to choice riders (also called discretionary riders) also be understood. However, this issue remains as yet relatively unexplored.
It is broadly accepted that fairly dense urban development is an essential feature of a successful public transit system. However going beyond this generality to specific guidelines on where, when, and by how much to increase urban densities is never easy. This paper investigates the relationship between transit and urban densities in the United States from multiple perspectives. While empirical evidence suggests that recent-generation rail investments in the U.S. have in many instances conferred net social benefits, considerable skepticism remains, particularly among the more vocal critics of American transit policy. All sides agree that increasing urban densities will place public transit on firmer financial footing. Our analysis suggests that light-rail systems need around 30 people per gross acre around stations and heavy rail systems need 50 percent higher densities than this to place them in the top one-quarter of cost-effective rail investments in the U.S. The…
One-half mile has become the accepted distance for gauging a transit station’s catchment area in the U.S. It is the de facto standard for planning TODs (transit oriented developments) in America. Planners and researchers use transit catchment areas not only to make predictions about transit ridership and the land use and socioeconomic impacts of transit, but also to prescribe regulations, such as the relaxation of restrictive zoning, or carve out TOD financial plans. This radius is loosely based on the distance that people are willing to walk to transit, but this same reasoning has been used to justify other transit catchment areas. Using station-level variables from 1,449 high-capacity American transit stations in 21 cities, we aim to identify whether there is clear benchmark between distance and ridership that provides a norm for station-area planning and prediction. For the purposes of predicting station-level transit ridership, we find that different catchment areas…
Carsharing in North America is changing the transportation landscape of metropolitan regions across the continent. Carsharing systems give members access to an automobile for short-term use. The shared cars are distributed across a network of locations within a metropolitan area. Members can access the vehicles at any time with a reservation and are charged by time or by mile. Carsharing thus provides some of the benefits of personal automobility without the costs of owning a private vehicle.
This paper outlines a methodology that assesses urbanity in three dimensions (density, diversity, and design) and creates a combined scorecard that weights each dimension according to its influence on transit usage and walkability. Using no proprietary methods, this approach can be repeated by any individual or local government with GIS software and basic internet access. The resulting measurements can be used by communities to assess what types of investments and regulatory changes are necessary to create more transit and pedestrian-friendly communities.
A central tenet of urban economics is that households, businesses, and industries compete for urban sites that enjoy accessibility advantages – whether to jobs, labor markets, raw materials, or distributions centers. Transportation investments trigger economic growth by enhancing accessibility, particularly in fast-growing, congested cities. Scholarly work suggests the impacts are more redistributive than generative – that is, new highways, rail investments, and busways shift growth that would have happened regardless from particular corridors and subareas of a region to others as opposed to prompting firm relocations and new business investments in a region. Factors other than transportation, such as “quality of life”, are increasingly influencing location choices of middle-income households and firms that are footloose. Of course, transportation and quality of life are not unrelated – public opinion polls reveal that being stuck in traffic is often first on the list among…
This paper examines how various land use factors such as density, regional accessibility, mix and roadway connectivity affect travel behavior, including per capita vehicle travel, mode split and nonmotorized travel. This information is useful for evaluating the ability of land use policies such as Smart Growth, New Urbanism and Access Management to help achieve transport planning objectives.