Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Transit 2.0

Attached paper written for consideration by ATRA as a way to state the mission of the organization.

Summary: A complex set of current conditions including traffic congestion, global warming, national security, and the highway fatality rate have prompted several national strategy papers and technology roadmaps from inside and outside of government. Frequently cited points include a new wave of construction of the interstate highway system, re-inventing high speed rail, accelerated construction of urban rail, alternate fuels, and intelligent traffic management systems. … But no one offers a compelling vision of the future; all sides seem resigned to the assumption that the main options for surface passenger transport are privately owned cars and mass transit (buses and trains). That amounts to having only two blunt tools in the toolbox.

There is a third option, called lean transit or innovative transit – a collection of improved technologies that can be put together to form a high-performance, largely automated, and super-efficient ground transportation network. The thrust of the next-generation transit network – or “transit 2.0” – is to attract a large share of car trips by achieving much higher speeds, convenience, connectivity, and efficiency than can be achieved with conventional transit. Because of the efficiency potential, the cost of lean transit on a large scale should be less than the cost of transportation today.

Transit 2.0 (PDF)

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Transportation Research Board proposal for high level planning software

The following proposal to the Transportation Research Board was submitted and not funded. Briefly, it claims that transit agencies may skip high level alternatives analyses and spend a lot of money investigating details of a transit proposal, missing the big picture. The proposed research should produce software, spreadsheets and/or other analytical and simulation tools, information, and procedures that can be used by planning agencies to perform high level “reality check” analyses of a large number of alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Proposed long range transit planning bill

 

This draft bill would mandate a long range transit plan in a goal-oriented way, as laid out in www.abqtransp.org.

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Whereas

  • The threat of global climate changes requires a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector,
  • Higher transit ridership is generally correlated with lower greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Higher transit ridership is generally correlated with saving lives,
  • Higher transit ridership is consistent with the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan,
  • Some transit system concepts are more effective than others in their contribution to City goals,
  • Past City policies have led to a transit system with lower ridership than other cities of comparable size,
  • The local transportation system is largely controlled by the policies of the City of Albuquerque,
  • An opportunity exists for the City to advance its transit system to help meet City goals including climate change goals.

Therefore

The Albuquerque transit department shall develop a long range transit plan. The planning process shall have four stages.

The first stage shall be the development of goals. The department shall choose between two and eight goals from among those published by the Indicators Progress Commission, and must include among those the goal of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. Each of the goals shall be reducible to measurement or projection based on evidence. The City Council shall approve the statement of goals before proceeding to the second phase.

The second phase shall be the identification of alternatives. The department may develop alternatives internally, shall also accept alternatives from any City resident, and shall make known the opportunity to submit alternatives. The period of accepting alternatives shall be nine months. In order to be considered, alternatives must include the specific services offered, specific routes, fares, size and type of vehicles, operating hours, and any changes made to fixed infrastructure. The department may only reject alternatives based on incompleteness, but not for other reasons. In particular, the alternatives (1) need not be limited to buses, (2) need not be cost-constrained, (3) may include policies and expenses that are not normally defined as transit services, such as demand reduction or development strategies. The department shall summarize the submitted alternatives in a public City Council meeting before proceeding to the third phase.

The third phase shall be the projection of cost, revenue, ridership, and benefits of each of the alternatives. The costs shall be presented as an estimated range of capital costs plus thirty times the current-year annual operating cost. The revenue shall be presented as thirty times the annual revenue. The ridership shall be projected using a mode-split analysis that assumes current-year travel demand and current road conditions, and is based on end-to-end travel time and other disutilities of transportation. The benefits shall be stated as the numerical extent to which each of the alternatives meets each of the goals identified in the first phase. The projections may assume that the alternative system is fully built in the current year. The department shall present the projections in a public City Council meeting before proceeding to the fourth phase.

The fourth phase shall be the selection of alternatives for further study and development. The department shall hold public meetings, then recommend one alternative, a combination of alternatives, or no action. The selection shall be based on a combination of the factors: (1) cost and benefits identified in the third phase, (2) risk, (3) public input. The recommendations, justification, and summary of public meetings shall be presented to City Council.

All work, alternatives, recommendations, and analysis shall be available to the public throughout the planning process. The requirement to provide transit service to within any minimum distance from any household is no longer in effect.

 

Whereas The threat of global climate changes requires a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, Higher transit ridership is generally correlated with lower greenhouse gas emissions, Higher transit ridership is generally correlated with saving lives, Higher transit ridership is consistent with the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan, Some transit system concepts are more effective than others in their contribution to City goals, Past City policies have led to a transit system with lower ridership than other cities of comparable size, The local transportation system is largely controlled by the policies of the City of Albuquerque, An opportunity exists for the City to advance its transit system to help meet City goals including climate change goals. Therefore The Albuquerque transit department shall develop a long range transit plan. The planning process shall have four stages. The first stage shall be the development of goals. The department shall choose between two and eight goals from among those published by the Indicators Progress Commission, and must include among those the goal of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. Each of the goals shall be reducible to measurement or projection based on evidence. The City Council shall approve the statement of goals before proceeding to the second phase. The second phase shall be the identification of alternatives. The department may develop alternatives internally, shall also accept alternatives from any City resident, and shall make known the opportunity to submit alternatives. The period of accepting alternatives shall be nine months. In order to be considered, alternatives must include the specific services offered, specific routes, fares, size and type of vehicles, operating hours, and any changes made to fixed infrastructure. The department may only reject alternatives based on incompleteness, but not for other reasons. In particular, the alternatives (1) need not be limited to buses, (2) need not be cost-constrained, (3) may include policies and expenses that are not normally defined as transit services, such as demand reduction or development strategies. The department shall summarize the submitted alternatives in a public City Council meeting before proceeding to the third phase. The third phase shall be the projection of cost, revenue, ridership, and benefits of each of the alternatives. The costs shall be presented as an estimated range of capital costs plus thirty times the current-year annual operating cost. The revenue shall be presented as thirty times the annual revenue. The ridership shall be projected using a mode-split analysis that assumes current-year travel demand and current road conditions, and is based on end-to-end travel time and other disutilities of transportation. The benefits shall be stated as the numerical extent to which each of the alternatives meets each of the goals identified in the first phase. The projections may assume that the alternative system is fully built in the current year. The department shall present the projections in a public City Council meeting before proceeding to the fourth phase. The fourth phase shall be the selection of alternatives for further study and development. The department shall hold public meetings, then recommend one alternative, a combination of alternatives, or no action. The selection shall be based on a combination of the factors: (1) cost and benefits identified in the third phase, (2) risk, (3) public input. The recommendations, justification, and summary of public meetings shall be presented to City Council. All work, alternatives, recommendations, and analysis shall be available to the public throughout the planning process. The requirement to provide transit service to within any minimum distance from any household is no longer in effect.

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