A paper published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation suggests integrating accessibility by bicycle, equity, and project selection to tackle the isolation and segregation of low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore. Using bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) to measure both access to common non-work destinations and disparities in access across different neighborhoods, the authors suggest that projects can be prioritized to improve outcomes for residents that do not own cars and struggle to reach destinations to meet their daily needs.
Chicago was the first U.S. jurisdiction to collect a per-ride charge from ride-hailing passengers. Now, Chicago and its transit authority are earmarking a recent increase in the fee to fund transit improvements, and they have announced the specific locations of the projects. Other cities and states are also trying out these fees and taxes, but their application is not yet an exact science.
The Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment recently released its new report, Accessibility in practice: A guide for transportation and land use decision making, developed by SSTI with several partners. The guide describes ways of measuring accessibility and, more importantly, how to use those metrics in planning, project evaluation, and other transportation and land use decisions. The information is useful for any state or local agency interested or already involved in making these kinds of decisions.
Significant research and debate in recent years have surrounded the impacts of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft on transportation systems: whether they reduce the need for personal vehicles, how they contribute to or reduce congestion, and how they impact transit ridership. A recent study published in the Journal of Transport Geography may help shed further light on some of these questions by examining taxi demand and its correlation to land use patterns and access to other travel modes in the Washington D.C. region. As the researchers point out, despite the significant growth of on-demand ride-hailing service providers like Uber and Lyft, taxis remain a key asset for urban mobility that can either complement or compete with other modes.
In most large metropolitan areas, the typical worker could reach more jobs by transit in 2016 than in 2015, according to the newest Access Across America report from the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory. Accessibility increased in 36 out of 49 regions. These annual reports let individual regions track changes in accessibility over time, scan for accessibility issues within the region, and compare their own performance to other regions.
In planning and designing for pedestrians, sidewalks are often a good start but rarely make a place walkable on their own. Measuring pedestrian accessibility (the topic of a recent SSTI webinar) depends on two important pieces of information: 1) where destinations are located, and 2) the quality of the walking network connecting to those places. This second point is the focus of two studies.
In a first-of-its-kind partnership in the U.S., a city has partnered with Uber to use existing transit vehicles to provide on-demand service. Resident of Lone Tree, Colorado, can now use the Uber app to request a 12-passenger vehicle and driver provided by the city’s Link service. Other riders may be picked up along the way. The ride is free through the end of December anywhere in the city. The genesis of the partnership with Uber came about through the Smart Cities Collaborative, a collaboration of Transportation for America and Sidewalk Labs.
For several years, SSTI has worked to advance best practices in the use of two emerging technologies: accessibility metrics and trip-making data from mobile devices. Our recently completed study, Connecting Sacramento, was an essential part of that effort. This study brings together these technologies and tests their application in identifying and prioritizing first- and last-mile-connections to transit, among other uses.
Connecting Sacramento is the first study to incorporate both accessibility analysis and tripmaking data, including data from multiple sources, and assess how they can be used together to guide transportation- and land use-related decisions. This study focused specifically on opportunities to improve first- and last-mile connections to light rail transit in Sacramento, but its findings are widely applicable.
Planning agencies and transportation decision makers often talk about the importance of improving access to destinations, but they rarely have the tools or resources to measure accessibility and incorporate those metrics into decision making. This report guides agencies through that process.