Bus ridership in Philadelphia is down according to a recent article on Philly.com. This decline is correlated with the rise of Uber and other ridesharing apps in the city that provide some riders with an alternative to taking the bus. Transit agencies around the country are struggling with the Uber effect, where some riders are turning away from buses and using transportation network companies instead.
Bikes shares, which now offer expanded transportation options in cities around the nation, have also tested those cities’ abilities to serve their communities equitably. The placement and pricing of these systems are often barriers for low-income communities. Philadelphia’s new system, however, while not a perfect example, improves upon its predecessors and offers important lessons in equitable transportation provision.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently announced it will reassume its authority to regulate billboards along National Highway System (NHS) routes in Philadelphia. PennDOT, which had allowed the City of Philadelphia to regulate billboards along NHS routes since 1974, was concerned that a lack of effective control of outdoor advertising along the routes as mandated by the Highway Beautification Act, would result in a 10 percent reduction in the amount of federal highway aid that the state receives.
SEPTA’s new fare collection system, New Pavement Technologies, transitions SEPTA from being the last large transit agency in the U.S. using tokens to the agency with the most broad-reaching contactless fare system.
At the first national conference of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), city transportation and elected officials expressed dismay that cities may be on their own in moving forward with innovative plans and policies. Attendees were frsutrated that neither cities nor transportation overall got much attention during the recent campaign season.