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How Uber affects public transit ridership is a relevant policy question facing cities worldwide. Theoretically, Uber’s effect on transit is ambiguous: while Uber is an alternative mode of travel, it can also increase the reach and flexibility of public transit’s fixed-route, fixed-schedule service. We estimate the effect of Uber on public transit ridership using a difference-in-differences design that exploits variation across U.S. metropolitan areas in both the intensity of Uber penetration and the timing of Uber entry. We find that Uber is a complement for the average transit agency, increasing ridership by five percent after two years. This average effect masks considerable heterogeneity, with Uber increasing ridership more in larger cities and for smaller transit agencies.
The impacts of ride-hailing services on the transportation system have been immediate and major. Yet, public agencies are only beginning to understand their magnitude because the private ride-hailing industry has provided limited amounts of meaningful data. Consequently, public agencies responsible for managing congestion and providing transit services are unable to clearly determine who uses ride-hailing services and how their adoption influences established travel modes, or forecast the potential growth of this emergent mode in the future. To address these pressing questions, an intercept survey of ride-hailing passengers was conducted in the Greater Boston region in fall 2017. The responses, which enabled a robust description of ride-hailing passengers for the region, were used to analyze how new on-demand mobility services such as Uber and Lyft may be substituting travel by other modes.
Transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, have been hypothesized to both complement and compete with public transit. Existing research on the topic is limited by a lack of detailed data on the timing and location of TNC trips. This study overcomes that limitation by using data scraped from the Application Programming Interfaces of two TNCs, combined with Automated Passenger Count data on transit use and other supporting data. Using a panel data model of the change in bus ridership in San Francisco between 2010 and 2015, and confirming the result with a separate time-series model, we find that TNCs are responsible for a net ridership decline of about 10%, offsetting net gains from other factors such as service increases and population growth. We do not find a statistically significant effect on light rail ridership. Cities and transit agencies should recognize the transit-competitive nature of TNCs as they plan, regulate and operate their transportation systems.
In 2020, the microtransit company. “Via” partnered with Jersey City to provide on-demand car rides to underserved communities whose mass public transit routes had been canceled due to low ridership during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The company aims to complement existing transit which operates comprehensively and frequently in the central areas of Jersey City. Via offers rides outside of this well-served district but not within to minimize competition with public transit. The same company launched in Arlington, Texas in 2017. Arlington, which was the largest city in America without a public transit system, opted to contract Via to provide an alternative transportation mode to driving in a personal vehicle. The on-demand service offers point-to-point rides within Arlington and connections to intercity train stations to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Microtransit—shared transportation that offers dynamic routing and scheduling to efficiently match demand—is emerging as an ally to fixed-route services. However, its positive impacts are too often constrained by the politics and economics imposed by existing transit infrastructure. This paper proposes a solution that ‘‘flips transit on its head.’’ By rapidly prototyping microtransit services across cities and analyzing supply-demand mismatches, it is possible to launch truly data-driven transit services. To illustrate the framework, a unique dataset generated from a year of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s GoLink service, one of the largest ondemand microtransit services in North America, is used. Mapping and machine learning are combined to empower planners to ‘‘join the dots’’ when (re)designing fixed-route transit lines. It is shown that microtransit should not simply fill in the gaps left by inefficiently scheduled bus routes: by incorporating it fully into their planning processes, cities and transit agencies could dramatically reverse the fortunes of public transit.
COVID Mobility Works is an independent platform dedicated to collecting, synthesizing and sharing mobility initiatives that are keeping the world moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this platform is to help policymakers, innovators, researchers and advocates rise to the challenge of creating more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable transportation systems for all.
From June to October 2019, researchers at Urbanism Next identified 249 new mobility and AV delivery pilot projects, completed and in-progress, in the United States and Canada. Relevant information about all 249 pilot projects, including sponsoring organizations, key dates, and geographic area, are recorded in this file. This data set provided the foundation of the report Perfecting Policy with Pilots. Ultimately, Urbanism Next used information from 220 of the pilots in the report. The new mobility modes included in this data set include shared micromobility devices such as e-scooters and bikes, transportation network company partnerships, microtransit, autonomous passenger vehicle pilots, autonomous delivery pilots, and non-autonomous goods delivery pilots. The information collected by Urbanism Next researchers is limited to publicly available information collected from online resources, such as reports, government websites, public and private press releases, and news articles as well as a limited number of follow-up phone calls requesting information.
"Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) has adopted a groundbreaking micromobility strategy to address the “first mile/last mile problem.” The agency has partnered with JUMP, an electric micromobility provider, to offer on-demand access to and from light rail stations."
This paper explores the impacts of AVs on car trips using a case study of Victoria, Australia, specifically studying the potential increase in new trips and trip diversions from other modes such as public transport.
This report explores how smart mobility technologies can address the current and future needs of transportation disadvantaged communities. It looks at the barriers different communities experience regarding access to smart mobility technologies, and potential solutions to overcoming these barriers.
"Transit agencies are forming partnerships with TNCs in order to make their services more available to a wider audience, to leverage new technology, and to improve mobility choices for their customers."
Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are changing the way that people move around cities, affecting transit use, active transportation and congestion. Due to the rapid rise in popularity and lack of available data, city and transportation planners have been limited in their ability to make long-term decisions about transportation infrastructure.
This paper seeks to understand the potential causes of a decline in transit ridership by examining data from seven major U.S. cities – Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angles.
This portfolio describes the Unsolicited Proposal process developed by Metro, and describes the range of pilot projects that have been developed through this process. It also highlights key lessons learned from each pilot.
"Sacramento Regional Transit will offer free light rail rides starting December 9 — but only for JUMP bike users."
The town of Innisfil in Ontario, Canada has partnered with Uber in place of public transit. Low density development drove the town to choose subsidizing Uber over creating a public transit system due to the perceived cost of both. However, the amount Innisfil spent subsidizing Uber rides has already exceeded the amount they estimated it would cost to create a public transit system. Experts question the partnership, citing environmental and economic problems.
In an effort to reduce personal vehicle usage and its carbon footprint Minneapolis has launched new “mobility hubs” where multiple modes of low- or no-carbon transportation are available in one convenient place.
Automation of personal and transit vehicles will change the vehicles themselves, but also the right-of-way that governs their use. These changes bring an opportunity to improve transit systems. High capacity transit must become a more attractive mode of transit in order to remain competitive with personal and shared vehicles.
Portland announced an expansion of its Transportation wallet, now offering the pass to people who live or work in the NW parking district. The pass is intended to encourage walking, taking transit, and bicycling, and to address parking demand and congestion in dense areas of Portland.
This paper provides a review of recent studies of rail transit's impact on property values and discusses the types of impacts rail transit can have on properties. It also outlines the reasons for contradictions between results of different studies.
Despite national averages of shrinking transit ridership, seven United States cities have seen increased ridership. These cities have seen growth because of their efforts to improve or expand their bus services.
The relationship between transit success and density is one that should be considered when planning transportation. Transit lines need to consider cost per passenger-mile in order to ensure financial feasibility. Some scholars suggest minimum density thresholds for successful transit of different types, but these rules do not always represent accurate ridership numbers. However, higher density in cities generally makes transit more feasible.
Sustainable, inclusive, prosperous, and resilient cities depend on transportation that facilitates the safe, efficient, and pollution-free flow of people and goods, while also providing affordable, healthy, and integrated mobility for all people. The pace of technology-driven innovation from the private sector in shared transportation services, vehicles, and networks is rapid, accelerating, and filled with opportunity. At the same time, city streets are a finite and scarce resource.These principles, produced by a working group of international NGOs, are designed to guide urban decision-makers and stakeholders toward the best outcomes for all.
The purpose of this report is to analyze potential impacts and offer recommendations for the cities of Gresham and Eugene, OR, to understand the potential impacts of new mobility technologies – with an emphasis on autonomous vehicles (AVs) – and prepare a policy and programmatic response. While Gresham and Eugene are case studies, it provides mid-sized communities information on how new mobility services could impact their communities and what they can do about it, from broad strategies to specific policy responses. While this work focuses on the various new mobility and goods delivery services that currently exist, the framework that is discussed here is also applicable to emerging technologies that haven’t yet been introduced, such as autonomous vehicles (AVs).
"Private Transit: Existing Services and Emerging Directions provides an overview and taxonomy of private transit services in the United States, reviews their present scope and operating characteristics, presents three case studies, and discusses ways private transit services may affect the communities in which they operate. This report is intended to help inform public transit agencies, local governments, potential service operators and sponsors, and other stakeholders about private transit services and ways these services address transportation needs in a variety of operating environments."
"Private Mobility, Public Interest is a report for public-sector leaders committed to making it easy for their citizens to get where they want to go. We identify actionable short-term opportunities for today’s transit agencies and municipalities to work with emerging mobility providers. This report is an independent analysis built on a foundation of more than 100 interviews with industry representatives from the public and private sectors."
This purpose of this report is to help the cities of Gresham, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon understand the potential impacts of new mobility technologies – with an emphasis on autonomous vehicles (AVs) – and prepare a policy response. While Gresham and Eugene are case studies, it provides communities of all sizes information on how new mobility services could impact their communities and what they can do about it, from broad strategies to specific policy responses. While this work focuses on the various new mobility and goods delivery services that currently exist, the framework that is discussed here is also applicable to emerging technologies that haven’t yet been introduced, such as AVs.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are a near future reality and the implications of AVs on city development and urban form, while potentially widespread and dramatic, are not well understood. This report describes the first order impacts, or the broad ways that the form and function of cities are already being impacted by forces of change including—but not limited to—AVs and related technologies.
The purpose of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide (part of the Cities for Cycling initiative) is to provide cities with state-of-the-practice solutions that can help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists.
The Transit Street Design Guide provides design guidance for the development of transit facilities on city streets, and for the design and engineering of city streets to prioritize transit, improve transit service quality, and support other goals related to transit.
CoAXs uses open data and free software to enable users to test new transportation scenarios in real time. Users can activate and deactivate selected hypothetical and existing transit routes; examine effects of changes such as in bus speeds or frequencies; and explore the impact of these changes on different locations in a region. Great example of work done in Boston.
Guidelines for cities to implement sustainable and environmental mobility strategies for people and goods.
"The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), in Pinellas County, FL, was the first transit agency in the US to sign a service provision agreement with a transportation network company (TNC) to offer joint first/last-mile service subsidized by public dollars. PSTA’s “Direct Connect” pilot allows riders to get to and from bus stops in a taxi, wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV), or Uber TNC vehicle at a subsidized rate. PSTA’s overall experience developing, managing, and adapting the Direct Connect pilot provides insight into what transit agencies can expect when working with on-demand service providers. While operating on a larger scale, in a denser environment, or with a different ridership base may have offered different lessons in implementation, the Direct Connect pilot’s service design shows what is necessary for a successful launch of a pilot program: good data and transparency from all parties, as well as concrete plans for outreach and evaluation."
"This research explored how these new options could be synergistic with public transit models and detailed the experiences of two transit operators that entered into service delivery partnerships with a transportation network company and a micro- transit operator. Based on a series of interviews and the experiences of these two public agencies, this research provides a set of key takeaways and recommendations for transit operators exploring the potential of partnering with new mobility services such as transportation network companies (e.g., Uber or Lyft) and microtransit (e.g., Bridj or Via)."
"This report represents an important contribution to the emerging understanding of the connections between transportation and public health. It contains 8 chapters entitled: Health effects of transportation policy; Transportation authorization 101: a backgrounder; Public transportation and health; Walking, bicycling, and health; Roadways and health: making the case for collaboration; Breaking down silos: transportation, economic development and health; Sustainable food systems: perspectives on transportation policy; Traffic injury prevention: A 21st-century approach. This report was written for community leaders, policymakers, funders, practitioners, and advocates interested in an overarching strategy to promote active living and to build healthy communities of opportunity."
The New Mobility Playbook is a set of plays, policies, and strategies that will position Seattle to foster new mobility options while prioritizing safety, equity, affordability, and sustainability in the transportation system.
This Blueprint outlines a vision for cities in a future where automated transportation is both accepted and widespread as part of the built environment. It is a human oriented vision for the potential of city streets, intersections, and networks-one in which automation can serve the goals of safety, equity, public health, and sustainability.
"Transit ridership fell in 31 of 35 major metropolitan areas in the United States last year, including the seven cities that serve the majority of riders, with losses largely stemming from buses but punctuated by reliability issues on systems such as Metro, according to an annual overview of public transit usage."
"This paper assesses alternative fuel options for transit buses. We find that all alternative fuel options lead to higher life cycle ownership and external costs than conventional diesel. When external funding is available to pay for 80% of vehicle purchase expenditures (which is usually the case for U.S. transit agencies), BEBs yield large reductions (17–23%) in terms of ownership and external costs compared to diesel."
Uber has partnered with transit agencies in various cities all over the world to bring users options to buy train tickets on their app as well. This article gives us the run-down on the newly launched program and how its working.
This paper introduces Metrolinx’s recently released Mobility Hub Guidelines and highlights two key aspects of the document: the importance of classifying the current and planned urban context and transportation function at a mobility hub, and methods to overcome challenges in achieving both transport and placemaking roles.
This document provides guidance to transit agencies for quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions, including both emissions generated by transit and the potential reduction of emissions through efficiency and displacement. It lays out a standard methodology for transit agencies to report their greenhouse gas emissions in a transparent, consistent and cost-effective manner. It ensures that agencies can provide an accurate public record of their emissions; may help them comply with future state and federal legal requirements; and may help them gain credit for their―early actions to reduce emissions.
It is no secret that transit systems are chronically short in funding and increases to their budgets are tough to nail down. This article describes the common way that this funding is being sourced and why it may not be the best way.
A study was done to see how location to transit impacts the amount you spend on transportation in a year - this article explains the findings.
This article briefly outline the success of upgrades made to a bus line in the Twin Cities. So far ridership has increased 30%.
"This paper presents a comprehensive discussion of the value capture mechanisms that cities can and do use to help finance their public transport systems. It highlights the most important findings from the literature and adds to it with new insights gained through case studies of public transit finance in six European and American cities. The objective is to inform a lively and productive dialogue on non-fare sources of public transport finance, and ultimately to find the best ways to finance the maintenance and extension of transit service in cities around the world."
Transit bus automation could deliver many potential benefits, but transit agencies need additional research and policy guidance to make informed deployment decisions. Although funding and policy constraints may play a role, there is also a reasonable unwillingness to risk public funding or to undertake new operational models without a full understanding of the approach or without federal leadership and guidance. The purpose of this report is to define a five-year Strategic Transit Automation Research Plan that will establish a research and demonstration framework to move the transit industry forward. Key components of the Plan include conducting enabling research, identifying and resolving barriers to deployment, leveraging technologies from other sectors, demonstrating market-ready technologies, and transferring knowledge to the transit stakeholder community.
"This report’s findings, draw on a thorough investigation of active and inactive partnerships between transit agencies and TNCs, designed to enhance understanding of project development and structure and how those were achieved. While partnerships between transit agencies and private mobility providers are not new, partnerships with TNCs create unique opportunities and challenges as both parties work toward mutually beneficial program models. This research is informed by dozens of transit agency surveys and follow-up interviews, past literature, and interviews with TNC policy staff and industry experts as well as FTA representatives, and provides a Partnership Playbook so that the transit industry can be more deliberate in its approach to working with TNCs."
This article examines the burgeoning future of electric buses and the possible impacts it may have on society.
CityLab is launching Bus to the Future that puts public coaches at the center of the transportation future. It also plan to look at how technology can improve bus fundamentals. Automation (combined TNCs) could also transform surface transit.
This publication profiles some of Copenhagen's best sustainable solutions. In the spirit of sharing, Copenhagen reaches out to cities worldwide with our solutions, but is also on the lookout for new ideas to improve Copenhagen and hope to be inspired by the lessons learnt by others.
"This paper identifies three promising applications of new mobility services by public transit agencies, and presents economic, social, and environmental modeling that illustrate the value of such partnerships to mass transit systems."
Technology is transforming transportation. The ability to conveniently request, track, and pay for trips via mobile devices is changing the way people get around and interact with cities. This report examines the relationship of public transportation to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, and ridesourcing services provided by companies such as Uber and Lyft. The research included participation by seven cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. The objective of this research analysis is to examine these issues and explore opportunities and challenges for public transportation as they relate to technology-enabled mobility services, including suggesting ways that public transit can learn from, build upon, and interface with these new modes.
As public transit stagnates in most U.S. cities, central Seattle continued its rapid growth by adding roughly 10,000 morning transit commuters last year, new local data show.
"This Mobility Hub Features Catalog is a resource for regional agencies, local jurisdictions, transit operators, and private service providers as they collaborate to design and implement mobility hubs around the region. It describes the kinds of services, amenities, and technologies that can work together to make it easier for people to connect to transit, while also providing them with more transportation options overall. These mobility hub features may include various transit station improvements such as enhanced waiting areas with landscaping and lighting, complimentary WiFi and real-time travel information; wider sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and trees for shade; bike paths, designated bike lanes, and bike parking options; dedicated bus lanes and supporting signal improvements; service facilities for shared cars, scooters, and electric vehicles; smart parking technology; and more. Each feature can be tailored to the unique needs of an individual community."
In the United States, public transportation agencies are experimenting with on-demand, shared, and dynamic models to augment traditional fixed-route bus and train services. These services—referred to as microtransit— are enabled by technology similar to the mobile smartphone applications pioneered by privately operated transportation network companies. As interest in this technology grows, it is critical for public transportation agencies and departments of transportation to understand the benefits and challenges of incorporating components of these innovations into publicly funded services. This research is informed by limited literature to date as well as a series of interviews with the project teams working on the pilots. It concludes with a set of recommendations intended to inform the design and implementation of future public microtransit pilots and service delivery models.
The Chicago metropolitan area has one of the most extensive public transit systems in the United States, yet there are many places in the region where people do not have convenient access to transit service. To address that deficiency, this paper identifies practical ways to give more travel options to people in areas that are underserved by transit, including people who are unable to own or rent a car or have physical limitations that prevent them from driving.
In this study, we present exploratory evidence of how “ridesourcing” services (app-based, on-demand ride services like Uber and Lyft) are used in San Francisco. We explore who uses ridesourcing and for what reasons, how the ridesourcing market compares to that of traditional taxis, and how ridesourcing impacts the use of public transit and overall vehicle travel. In spring 2014, 380 completed intercept surveys were collected from three ridesourcing “hot spots” in San Francisco. We compare survey results with matched-pair taxi trip data and results of a previous taxi user survey. We also compare travel times for ridesourcing and taxis with those for public transit.
This paper presents an analysis of the data and frames it in a broader context. It concludes with a description of FTA actions that address climate change.
A new analysis tracking the relationship between transit access and apartment rent seeks to put some numbers behind the dramatic shifts in urban mobility. The new study by RCLCO, a real estate consultancy, and TransitScreen, a company that provides real-time arrival and departure info, analyzed 40,000 apartment developments nationwide, which contained roughly 9 million units, to determine how access impacts costs in different cities and neighborhoods. Results found that improvements in access to bike-sharing and ride-hailing made a more significant difference nationally than access to traditional transit or carshare services.
"This report attempts to address these questions by further exploring evidence of how TNCs are affecting the use of public transit and personal automobiles in several regions."
According to the latest statistics from the American Public Transit Association, the region has experienced a 5.7 per cent increase in the number of boardings year-over-year. Only three other urban areas with a population of more than one million saw transit ridership growth last year.
"The aim of this paper is to show how TNCs could replace public transportation in the United States if subsidized at the same level of transit agencies."
"This paper advances understanding of modal shifts caused by bikesharing through a geographic evaluation of survey data collected through recently completed research. Working with surveys in two of the cities surveyed in the United States, the authors analyze the attributes of individuals who increased and decreased their rail and bus usage in a geospatial context along with the population density of respondent home and work locations. The results inform the nuances of bikesharing impacts on the modal shift of urban residents with respect to public transportation."
Cities that turn to technology companies to save their transit systems are bound to be disappointed by the outcome. This article looks at Pinellas County, Fla., whose transit authority was the first in the country to supplement its bus service with taxpayer-subsidized rides from Uber in February, 2016.
In 2013, advocates, planners, and policymakers were abuzz with the 10.7 billion rides taken on transit, an all-time U.S. record. Yet the discussion focused too much on the sheer number of rides, without a deep look at the riders themselves, and particularly the changing attitudes that are propelling recent ridership increases. TransitCenter commissioned a survey to take that deeper look. We now have a snapshot into perceptions of transit and neighborhoods in 2014. As Millennials take center stage in American life and the Baby Boom generation confronts retirement, both the transit and real estate industries will have to adjust.
This report draws on results from six focus groups in New York, Raleigh and Denver as well as a survey of 3,000 people in 17 U.S. metropolitan areas with varying levels of transit development and ridership. It builds on the findings from TransitCenter’s first Who’s On Board report released in 2014.
With so much transportation funding going toward highways, it’s tempting to support any transit investment as a step in the right direction. But not all transit investments will produce service that helps people get where they need to go. To make transit a useful travel option that people want to ride, says TransitCenter, there are three basic goals that officials and advocates should strive for: speed, frequency and reliability, walkability and accessibility.
Public transit accounts for only 1% of U.S. passenger miles traveled but nevertheless attracts strong public support. Using a simple choice model, we predict that transit riders are likely to be individuals who commute along routes with the most severe roadway delays. These individuals’ choices thus have very high marginal impacts on congestion. We test this prediction with data from a sudden strike in 2003 by Los Angeles transit workers. Estimating a regression discontinuity design, we find that average highway delay increases 47% when transit service ceases. This effect is consistent with our model’s predictions and many times larger than earlier estimates, which have generally concluded that public transit provides minimal congestion relief. We find that the net benefits of transit systems appear to be much larger than previously believed.
This paper provides examples of how cities have successfully changed curb use to support transit. It is focused on the types of busy, store-lined streets where high-ridership transit lines often struggle with reliability. These key curbside management strategies support reliable transit and safer streets in one of two ways: either by directly making room for transit, or supporting transit projects by better managing the many demands on the urban curb.
This book provides a complete overview of microtransit, siting research publications, surveys, and case studies from current pilot programs happening throughout the country.
"This report addresses the need for knowledge by providing practical considerations of essential pilot program elements. To assist transit agencies, this report illustrates previously executed autonomous shuttle pilot programs, identifies the core elements of a pilot program, and discusses the relationship between elements. To accomplish these tasks, this report reviews nine European autonomous shuttle pilot programs, literature surrounding the topic, and interviews key personnel associated with the pilot programs. The results of this research help transit agencies make informed decisions about approaching autonomous shuttle pilot programs in public transportation."
On Thursday, five years after launching and two and half years after being acquired by Ford for a reported $65 million, the app-based shuttle service announced it is rolling to a permanent stop. Transportation technology companies have never been sexier than in the past decade, but this stumble is a potent reminder that creating a profitable transportation business can be far harder than it seems.
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