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S E C T I O N 2 Resources
83 This chapter consists of four case studies of bus network redesigns in various stages of plan- ning and implementation, chosen to emphasize different aspects of the bus network redesign process. â¢ Capital Metro, which implemented its bus network redesign in 2018. This case study focuses on stakeholder and public engagement and education, incorporation of new mobility, and the planning and implementation process. â¢ Houston METRO, which implemented its bus network redesign in 2015. This case study includes information on the impetus to conduct the bus network redesign, the public out- reach program, and the implementation process. â¢ IndyGo, which has planned its bus network redesign but has delayed implementation due to COVID-19. This case study describes how the bus network redesign stemmed from long- range planning efforts, public engagement, trade-offs made during the planning process, coordination with capital elements, and the role of external partner support. â¢ LA Metro, which was finalizing its bus network redesign planning process as of spring 2020. This case study covers the coordination with microtransit efforts, inter- and intra-agency coordination, equity, using travel flow analysis for planning, and related capital elements. Capital Metro Overview Capital Metro is the regional transit service provider for Austin, Texas. After a failed referen- dum for urban rail, the transit agency completed a 10-year service plan called Connections 2025 in February 2017. This planning effort was viewed as a âhigh-levelâ vision plan, because at that time Capital Metro was not in a position to significantly change service; however, the Connec- tions 2025 process identified enough issues within the Capital Metro bus system that suggested a more holistic planning process was necessary. This project, branded Cap Remap, was approved in November 2017 and implemented in June 2018. Service Modification versus Blank Slate Bus Network Redesign Cap Remap was not a blank slate bus network redesign; rather, it was more targeted at remov- ing duplicative services and increasing frequency on key corridors. Capital Metro prepares a 10-year service plan approximately every 5 years; Austin is a growing city, so the service needs to be as dynamic as the city in terms of population and infrastructure. Typically, these plans are implemented in either their entirety or a significant part. C H A P T E R 7 Case Studies
84 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Cap Remap was not started as a redesign, but rather as part of the 10-year planning process, Connections 2025. That process highlighted the need for a more holistic redesign of the system, though the goal of Cap Remap was not a 100% redesign. Previous plans developed by Capital Metro had called for a frequent network, and four routes had been implemented before this planning process started. Those four routes had seen a 30% growth in ridership while system- wide ridership declined by 6% per year. To build on the success of the existing high-frequency routes yet adhere to financial constraints, a larger frequent network developed during Cap Remap could only be provided by removing duplicative and unproductive services. The project used specific metrics to describe costs and benefits of the bus network redesign, primarily productivity and subsidy per passenger. The plan tried to achieve a productivity guideline of 15 passengers per hour at the corridor segment, not route, level. The subsidy per passenger guideline was $4.00 per boarding; through the analysis, it was determined that unproductive segments had a very high subsidy per passenger, and these areas became can- didates for the Mobility Innovation Zones for on-demand transit service. Stakeholder and Public Engagement The stakeholder involvement and public engagement process was robust throughout the Cap Remap process. The stakeholders involved throughout the Connections 2025 process were retained when the Connections 2025 study became the Cap Remap bus network redesign. Stakeholders included representatives of the city, state, University of Texas, school districts, health care providers, disability community stakeholders, neighborhood groups, transit advo- cates, and refugee community representatives. The stakeholders also included some student groups from the University of Texas, because Capital Metro provides university shuttle service, and many frequent routes serve the university. The Connections 2025/Cap Remap planners also consulted with bus operators, went to safety meetings, and conducted driver briefings. Throughout the planning process, only a few groups gave negative feedback to the Capital Metro Boardâmost groups were happy. Several representatives of the stakeholder groups were in favor of and spoke positively about the plan. In addition to stakeholders, there was also significant public outreach that led to changes to some aspects of the plan before its approval in November 2017. Capital Metro staff indicated that convincing the general public that Cap Remap was âa real thing, not just a conceptual study,â was difficult. For example, people started speaking out only after changes were being implemented. Capital Metro staff noted that many of the challenges to the changes had more to do with the vast scope of the changes Cap Remap was proposing, not the proposed changes themselves, although members of the public also raised concerns with specific changes through- out the planning process as well. Public Education Public engagement efforts were undertaken to educate riders and the community about the upcoming bus network redesign immediately prior to implementation. Outreach in June 2017 was mostly of a âtravel trainingâ type; this process helped âshine lightâ on the final items that would need more attention. One month prior to implementation, Capital Metro had the new GTFS feed ready, and that helped immensely in communicating the new options and trip patterns. Every bus stop also received a temporary sign explaining what would happen at that stop. Capital Metro hired temporary employees as âbrand ambassadorsâ to go out and spread the word on the changes; many of these temporary employees were also regular users of the system. Capital Metro kept outreach going for 2 weeks after the implementation. The customer service center was overstaffed (i.e., they typically had 20 operators, but always had 22 on hand
Case Studies 85 during this period) and also worked overtime to be sure they had enough people answering the phones for about a month. Implementation The Cap Remap implementation process was managed by Bus Operations with help from Capital Projects, which had experience in managing a large and complex implementation. In retrospect, Capital Metro staff believe that this was not enough time to implement the system modifications and that a full year would have been more appropriate. Normally, Capital Metro allows approximately 3 months between the approval of changes and their âmark-upâ (the Capi- tal Metro term for the bid selection process where drivers select their work assignments). Even with the additional 4 months, the planners felt it was insufficient for implementing changes of this magnitude. New Mobility The Cap Remap planning effort also developed âMobility Innovation Zonesâ to provide on- demand service. The intent was to âmatch the right type of service to the right marketâ and provide an alternative for areas that would lose access to transit. The âpickupâ service began as a year-long pilot project using a microtransit provider, but after receiving complaints from areas that had lost fixed route service, Capital Metro also partnered with the local non-profit TNC Ride Austin to connect people to frequent routes. That service was later modified to be directly operated by Capital Metro to make it easier to provide accessible services. As of April 2020, rider- ship on the microtransit in the âMobility Innovation Zonesâ is low; with fewer than 20 boardings per week, it is not recapturing lost fixed route ridership. Houston METRO Overview Houston METRO initiated a Transit System Reimagining Project and System Reimagining 5-Year Service Plan in 2013, following on the communityâs request for improvements during the 2011 Long Range planning process. Some of the key changes made as part of the bus network redesign included reducing service duplication, straightening out routes, and increasing week- end serviceâSaturday by 30% and doubling Sunday service. After the first year of implementa- tion ridership had increased by 7%, with most ridership gains seen on Saturdays and Sundays. The process was managed by a core project management team as well as a working group that included senior leadership whose areas of responsibility were directly involved in implementa- tion. These actively involved groups were crucial in ensuring a smooth implementation, and in August 2015, Houston METRO implemented its aptly branded New Bus Network. Implementa- tion was preceded by a lengthy engagement and approval process that spanned nearly 2 years. Much can be learned from Houston METROâs bus network redesign effort, especially regarding the redesign teamâs ability to articulate the need for change, devotion to public outreach, and well-structured implementation process. Impetus The impetus for Houston METROâs bus network redesign can be summarized by the five points the transit agency used to make its case for change: â¢ Ridership had declined on the local bus system. â¢ The transit system had not evolved with the growing Houston region.
86 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future â¢ New light rail lines created a need to better integrate the bus and rail networks. â¢ A strong foundation for future growth was needed. â¢ The community asked for improvements to the local bus system. The concise language of these points provided a call to action that would be echoed by board members and elected officials for the duration of the project. A strong board champion and a supportive mayor were key to the successful implementation of the new bus network. The details regarding declining bus ridership amidst a growing region are worth noting. Despite the rapid growth experienced by the region in the early 2000s, fewer people were using Houston METROâs transit service. The situation was exacerbated following the Great Reces- sion of the late 2000s when system ridership failed to return to pre-recession levels. Despite declining ridership, Houston METRO was committed to improving public transportation in the region. In 2004, after system ridership had already begun to decline, Houston METRO opened a new light rail line, the Red Line. The 2013 Red Line expansion and the debut of two new lines (Purple and Green) in 2015 further confirmed the regionâs commitment to investing in public transportation. Public Outreach Two lessons learned regarding public outreach emerged from Houston METROâs bus net- work redesign efforts: (1) the importance of engaging diverse stakeholders at many levels, and (2) the need to educate as well as listen. To develop a transit network that would better serve the region, Houston METRO conducted a robust engagement and outreach effort. This is evidenced by the fact that the project timeline was extended by an additional year to allow time for more thorough engagement and feedback to be incorporated. Houston METROâs bus network redesign team understood that successful implementation would be contingent on support from stakeholders, boards, and the public. Their outreach method involved engaging diverse stakeholders at many levels and tailoring their approach to each group. At each project stage, the team determined how they should inform, involve, or consult each group. For instance, at a particular project stage elected officials needed to be informed, but members of the public needed to be involved and provide input. Part of Houston METROâs engagement effort included establishing and consulting a 120-member stakeholder task force through a series of meetings and workshops. The task force included a diverse cross- section of representatives from government agencies, social service providers, schools and col- leges, developers, bus riders, Houston METRO bus drivers, community advocates, and others with an interest in transit. Through the outreach process, the team took steps to educate as well as listen to stakehold- ers, boards, and the public. During the goal-setting phase of the project, the team invited its stakeholder task force to an all-day workshop where they participated in an exercise designed to provide them with an understanding of the challenges involved in making trade-offs when planning transit service with fixed resources. Input from stakeholders regarding how resources should be allocated gave the team grounds to recommend service changes and face political pushback from reallocated services. Part of the general publicâs involvement in the bus network redesign included public surveys. An initial survey asked the general public to answer questions regarding project goals and their preferences on trade-offs that must be made when redesigning the network with a fixed budget and multiple goals. The survey asked respondents to weigh which aspects of service were most significant. For example, was it more important that the network provide improved peak service
Case Studies 87 or all-day service? The publicâs response toward these issues helped the redesign team determine how to structure service and devote resources. Implementation The core project management team and working group worked together to develop and revise a Master Schedule for implementation that both guided the staff and provided the board with confidence in the process. Another key element of project management for implementation was the establishment of a working group that included senior leadership from finance and admin- istration; government and public affairs; press office; operations, public safety, and customer ridership services; and planning, engineering, and construction. Houston METROâs implemen- tation phase spanned from February to August 2015 and involved five key elements: Board Approval, Field and Facilities Activities, Developing and Delivering the Message, Finalizing the Details and Managing Change, and Unveiling. Board approval was made possible thanks to a well-structured project management team that included project leaders, project managers, and a single executive leader who championed the project. Within this structure, duties were divided, with select members working on field coor- dination and others focused on project messaging. The Master Schedule proved especially useful in coordinating field and facilities efforts across departments and ensuring that critical path items were accomplished. Critical path items included hiring and training activities as well as testing and verifying routes. The latter required input from many departments, including planning, public safety, operations, and Houston METRO police. Houston METRO devoted a considerable amount of effort to developing and delivering messaging. The team went so far as to develop individualized material for each public official (city council members, U.S. representatives and senators) that included information regarding their specific geography. The materials gave officials an understanding of how the bus network redesign would impact their constituents, thus preparing them to respond to potential com- plaints. The team also used educational meetings, emails, newsletters, and luncheons to edu- cate public-facing groups about the redesign. These groups included local housing authorities, chambers of commerce, and civic and community groups. Following the public hearing and board approval, the team devoted its effort to finalizing details and managing change. The Master Schedule played an essential role in coordinating activities that required effort from multiple departments. Time spent assembling and refining the Master Schedule was attributed to the teamâs ability to navigate change during implementation. The operations team assisted riders during the system unveiling. Significant resources were devoted to help ease the transition for operators and orient riders with the new system. Dur- ing the transition, implementation staff was stationed at transit centers to field concerns from customers and operators alike. Alternate service vehicles provided hourly service along discon- tinued route segments, and yellow cabs were made available to transport lost or stranded pas- sengers. A command field center staffed with members of the service planning team was set up to coordinate the unveiling effort. Following final implementation, the core project management team was able to identify strengths and lessons learned concerning each of these areas. While there were certainly bumps in the road, Houston METROâs deliberate and comprehensive approach to implementation resulted in a smooth transition and increased public support of public transit, which led to a successful voter referendum in November 2019 for a significant increase in transit funding that will help support many future efforts.
88 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future IndyGo Overview The IndyGo is the transit agency that provides service in the city of Indianapolis and Marion County. After passing an income tax to support the Marion County Transit Plan in 2016, the transit agency has dedicated several years to creating implementation-ready plans for BRT and a supporting bus network redesign. The first BRT line, the Red Line, opened in September 2019, and additional BRT lines are planned. Originally, the entire bus network redesign was supposed to be implemented in 2019, but IndyGo ultimately decided to hold on major local route changes and instead began slowing adding more service to routes in need of frequency increase. When the Red Line opened for service, IndyGo also began operating every local route every day of the week (Figure 16). As a result of a driver shortage, IndyGo decided to postpone the rest of the bus network redesign changesâthose that were not directly impacted by the Red Lineâuntil June 2020; these changes have been postponed as of April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-Term Planning The bus network redesign initiatives that IndyGo is rolling out are part of a long, sustained planning process going back more than a decade, which shows how persistent, diverse groups working together can develop a vision for change. As far back as 2009, a group of government and business leaders formed as the Central Indiana Transit Task Force (CITTF) and identified improving transit as a key goal to making the region economically competitive. This, along with IndyGoâs self-assessment that the transit agency had an aging fleet and declining ridership, spurred a decade of thinking big about transit improvements (Indy Connect 2016). Indy Connect, formed in 2010, is an intergovernmental planning initiative to develop forward- looking transit planning for the entire central Indiana region. This year also saw the first of several planning efforts building on CITTF planning efforts, including bringing in public engagement. During this time, Indy Connect started developing plans for several BRT corridors that would shape future bus network redesign plans (Indy Connect 2016). By 2014, there was a broader political consensus to complete a more forward-thinking pro- cess and conducted the IndyGo Forward Comprehensive Operations Analysis and alternatives Source: IndyGo. Figure 16. Red Line service, opening day.
Case Studies 89 analysis (IndyGo 2015), which sought to move beyond looking at individual routes and instead prompt the community to think about transit more holistically (Indy Connect 2016). In parallel to these planning efforts, proponents were investigating how to finance transit improvements. The business leaders involved in CITTF spearheaded the development of state enabling legislation. This included conversations with high-ranking state officials, such as the State Senate Finance Committee Chair, and looking at every possibility to raise funding. While a sales tax was investigated, an income tax increase ended up being the avenue state and local officials got behind. In 2014, the state passed legislation allowing countywide non-binding ref- erenda to fund transit (Indy Connect 2016). In 2016, in support of these referenda, IndyGo, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Orga- nization (MPO), and the Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), partner- ing with officials from area counties, developed the Central Indiana Transit Plan. This effort, which benefited from the previous 7 years of thinking about transit, laid out an ambitious set of initiatives to improve local transit, including fully electric rapid transit proposals and improving local transit in Marion and Hamilton Counties (Indy Connect 2016). Later in 2016, over 59% of Marion County voters approved a non-binding proposal for an income tax increase of not more than 0.25%. This approval rate proved key in encouraging City-County Councilmembers to approve the income tax increase in 2017, leading to the implementation-oriented planning of the bus network redesign and introduction of BRT (Indy Connect n.d.). Public Engagement IndyGo and its Indy Connect partners pride themselves on the extensive public engage- ment involved in developing the Central Indiana Transit Plan in the run up to the 2016 transit referendum. Between IndyGo, the MPO, and other agencies, there were over 75 public meet- ings hosting over 2,500 individuals; over 250 stakeholder group presentations; 150,000 engage- ments with local residents through festivals and fairs; and over 110,000 webpage visits and 300,000 webpage views (Indy Connect 2016). IndyGo staff reported that although they still had people who were against the referendum and/or the bus network redesign as well as people who did not get engaged until construction work started, public sentiment overall viewed the outreach as robust. IndyGo staff were particularly pleased to see that their messaging was effective; people from the community frequently mentioned that spending was lower than peer systems, which was an IndyGo talking point. This broad-based community support was crucial to bridging the gap between two mayoral administrations in demonstrating the importance of transit investment. Trade-offs There are many trade-offs that a transit agency and community weigh when considering their transit and transportation system. Three that were highlighted by IndyGo were how to pay for transit, weighing the needs of high- and low-density areas, and transfers versus frequency. IndyGo and the Indy Connect initiative, along with a diverse set of local stakeholders, needed to find a way to finance their ambitious transportation goals. The Central Indiana Transit Plan was a key exercise in developing the case for a tax increase to pay for improved transit. It included sections on funding, for example, âI doubt Iâll ever use transit â why should I help pay for it?â, which lays out reasons, such as that people who do not use transit still interact and depend on
90 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future people who do, and there was forecast to be an economic payback from every dollar spent on transit. These sections and conversations in public meetings and in the halls of governance were key in weighing the trade-offs of investing in transit (Indy Connect 2016). Transit planning in central Indiana also weighed the needs of high- and low-density areas. IndyGo generally adhered to the strategy of maintaining serviceâanything new would go into ridership-oriented service, but existing coverage-oriented service would generally stay in place if it serves an important need. The transit agency looked at this through the lens of âwhat can we achieve without causing a whole lot of pain.â IndyGo acknowledged that not every transit agency may have this option, but that, in Indianapolis, the planning was conducted with the anticipation of increased funding; this limited the degree to which difficult trade-offs were necessary. Nevertheless, the bus network redesign is centered on the provision of BRT. There are some trips that will no longer be one-seat rides, but the most used corridors will be more frequent. Some passengers will have to transfer, and some may have a longer walk to their stop, but the frequency on those routes will increase and therefore negate some of the downsides of having to transfer. Coordination with Capital Elements IndyGoâs BRT investments have involved significant capital investments, including the design and construction of large, comfortable stations; level-boarding platforms; physically separated dedicated bus lanes; and the purchasing of some ROW, while other aspects of IndyGoâs bus network redesign did not involve any additional purchasing of ROW. As part of the bus network redesign, IndyGo also has budget for several âmobility hubs,â areas that would bring together several transportation modes and/or service providers, such as bike- share, rideshare, dockless scooters, and on-demand transit services, although the transit agency is still considering how to best develop these. Role of External Partner Support External partners are key to developing and winning support for BRT and bus network rede- signs. In Indianapolis, many local interest groupsâincluding the AARP, faith-based community groups, transit advocates, public health advocates, and development and real estate groupsâ were involved and supportive, successfully working with the City-County Council to place the transit referendum on the ballot. IndyGo, an otherwise independent municipal corporation, has to work closely with city government, which can sometimes lead to blurred lines between various roles and responsi- bilities. Many people outside city government do not realize that IndyGo is separate from, but also reliant on, city government. The Mayor of the City of Indianapolis-Marion County and City-County Council appoint members of the IndyGo Board of Directors, and the IndyGo Board of Directors hires the CEO/President of the transit agency. The sometimes unclear roles between the transit agency and the City-County led to many conversations and negotiations to set the bus network redesign and BRT up for success. While the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed some of IndyGoâs bus network redesign work, the years of planning and goodwill developed through their comprehensive public and stake- holder engagement, extensive planning, and internal buy-in leave the transit agency confident in rolling out an improved transit system.
Case Studies 91 LA Metro Overview The LA Metro is the regional transit service provider for Los Angeles County. In recent years, the transit agency has explored a number of ways to improve transit service for riders. In 2018, the transit agencyâs board adopted its strategic plan, Metro Vision 2028, of which the first goal is to provide high-quality mobility options that enable people to spend less time traveling. To meet this goal, the transit agency is undergoing a bus network redesign titled NextGen. Within LA Metro, NextGen is being led by the Service Development and Scheduling depart- ment. LA Metroâs Transit Service Policy, which is updated annually, establishes criteria and guidelines for evaluating, designing, and implementing service changes (LA Metro 2020b). The NextGen planning effort began in winter 2018; the service plan was intended to go through public hearings in June 2020 with the first phase implemented in December 2020, but that schedule was put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As of spring 2020, the revised schedule has the plan going through a virtual public hearing in August 2020. NextGen is being planned alongside two pilots: a first-mile/last-mile partnership with a microtransit company to link riders to transit stations, and a microtransit pilot to provide point- to-point service in underserved communities. About one-third of transit service in Los Angeles County is provided by municipal operators and Metrolink, the regional commuter rail service, so any service changes require the transit agency to coordinate not only within its own depart- ments but also with neighboring jurisdictions. Coordination with Microtransit As of April 2020, LA Metro had two pilots underway for on-demand services, both of which have potential implications for service planning. Funded through the FTA MOD Sandbox Program, the first pilot was a partnership with a TNC to provide shared first-mile/last-mile service to select transit stations near disadvantaged communities. The private company pro- vided turnkey solutions, including drivers, vehicles, a mobile app, and consulting services for this pilot. Service operation began in January 2019 and was extended for a second year in January 2020 (Grossman and Lewis 2019). In 2017, the LA Metro announced plans for a different microtransit service pilot. This pilot would make use of a mixed vehicle fleet to provide shared, on-demand point-to-point service up to 20 minutes in length in underserved communities and areas of Los Angeles County with less frequent or no fixed route transit. This microtransit pilot was intended to be a companion rather than a duplication of its existing fixed route services. The pilot would allow the transit agency to test the feasibility of microtransit to complement fixed route services in different parts of the county before deploying microtransit more widely throughout the system. In April 2018, the LA Metro awarded contracts to several microtransit operators to plan and design the transit agencyâs microtransit pilot, with a focus on mobile technology, user experience/user interface design, and using big data and analytics to make decisions (Narula- Woods 2018). One company was awarded the ultimate operations contract, which totaled $29 million, to partner with LA Metro to operate the service. In addition, the LA Metro Board approved of $8 million for additional operating expenses associated with the pilot, including the addition of 80 new LA Metro employees to operate the vehicles (LA Metro 2020a). These operators will receive special safety training, such as incident prevention (LA Metro 2019b).
92 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future As of spring 2020, the transit agency completed planning for the microtransit pilot. While they began with a list of 30 potential zones, the list was narrowed down to six zones in the Los Angeles County region where fixed route transit is not the most effective option for many riders, but where there is still a mobility need. The six zones represent a range of destinations, such as major employment centers, educational institutions, medical centers, and the airport. Some of the zones also represent areas where existing LA Metro service is in high demand (LA Metro 2019b). Three zones were selected as candidates for replacing fixed route services entirely, though fixed route services will likely remain in place during implementation of the pilot. If the pilot is deemed successful, the transit agency will then consider phasing out those less used fixed route services; depending on timing, these decisions may be incorporated into the NextGen system redesign planning. The pilot is expected to launch in fall 2020 but may be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Inter- and Intra-Agency Coordination In addition to partnering with the private sector to pilot new services, LA Metro has coordi- nated with other regional transit operators and within its own departments to support its system redesign. Changes in service for any of the regionâs public transit providers, including LA Metro and the 17 municipal operators in the region, present opportunities to provide coordinated services to customers (LA Metro 2020b). For example, while conducting its NextGen study, LA Metro, which does not operate bus service in Culver City or Santa Monica, coordinated closely with the municipal operators in those cities to develop transfer locations and eliminate service duplication. As of February 2020, the Culver City transit operator had plans underway to test microtransit. Focus on Equity Based on the guidance of LA Metroâs Equity Platform Framework, the 2020 Transit Service Policy stated that service improvements should be prioritized for equity-focused areas. The Equity Platform Framework builds on the standard Title VI Equity Analysis by going beyond minority status and income to improve service in communities with the greatest mobility needs, as determined by market research, surveys, and public opinion (Figure 17). According to the NextGen project website, zero-car households, the population aged 10 to 19 and 55+, single mothers, and people with disabilities were considered to be communities with the greatest mobility needs (LA Metro 2020c). These criteria were averaged to create an equity score, with low-income households and zero-car households weighted twice as important to achieve consistency with the LA Metro Long Range Transportation Planâs definition of equity-focused communities. This equity analysis was used as an important input to the planning conducted as part of NextGen. Bus Service Planning: Travel Flow Analysis One approach the NextGen planning team took to support their service plans was the use of travel flow data to identify common travel patterns. The transit agency used purchased location-based cell phone data and Transit Access Pass (TAP) fare card usage information to determine high-volume origin-destination pairs for all modes. The planners also compared transit time with drive time for these high-volume pairs and used this information to better plan transit service that aimed for no more than 2.5 times longer via transit to maximize transit mode share.
Case Studies 93 Bus Network Redesign Priorities and Capital Elements A three-phased approach to achieve what LA Metro refers to as a âworld class bus systemâ was presented to the transit agencyâs board: a. Reconnect: improve bus levels of serviceâwithin the current operating budgetâby redesigning routes and schedules to attract trips where there is the greatest market potential; b. Transit First: invest in a large capital program to support the service plan developed in the âReconnectâ phase; and c. Future Funding: once existing levels of service are performing better through a redesigned network and investments in priority, determine the amount and locations of additional service to meet demand. As stated in the transit agencyâs 2020 Transit Service Policy, additional services could poten- tially be funded by future congestion pricing, for which a feasibility study is underway as of spring 2020 (LA Metro 2020b). Transit First is directly related to capital improvements in support of the bus network redesign. LA Metro could spend up to $1 billion over the entire course of implementation by making the following improvements: â¢ Invest in speed and reliability infrastructure, including strategies such as optimizing stop spacing, all-door boarding, and headway-based service management. Other strategies, including some of the more impactful onesâsuch as implementing transit priority treat- ments, bus bulb outs, and bus-only lanesâmust be achieved through collaboration with other jurisdictions. â¢ Create safe and comfortable waiting environments for passengers by investing to imple- ment the recommendations from the 2018 Transfer Design Guideline, including making the information available to riders more clear and easy to find, making it easier and safer Source: LA Metro. Figure 17. NextGen ADA-focused workshop.
94 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future for riders to move around at and near transfer stations, and improving safety, comfort, and convenience at rider waiting areas (LA Metro 2018). â¢ Improve the boarding and riding experience through strategies like level boarding at key stops and improved onboard information. â¢ Establish facilities to improve layovers by investing in off-street layover terminals. This is expected to save the transit agency several million dollars each year, which is currently spent extending routes to layover locations because of limited curb space. As of spring 2020, LA Metro has identified the specific capital needs and corridors slated for improvement, but the fieldwork needed to create the speed and reliability programs for each corridor had not yet been completed.
95 Toolkit #1: Bus Network Redesign This toolkit describes in detail the key topic areas that transit agencies should consider when conducting a bus network redesign. A phasing timeline has been developed to help transit agencies understand how key topic areas fit into each phase of the planning and implementa- tion process. Overview When to Consider a Bus Network Redesign Transit agencies are motivated to conduct bus network redesigns for a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from specific operational and route alignment difficulties to larger-scale problems involving the transit systemâs relationship to the built environment. The impetus cited for conducting a redesign generally fell into one of four categories: 1. Systemwide bus service analysis and planning have long been put on the back burner. 2. The transit system has changed, such as with the introduction or expansion of fixed guide- way transit. 3. Ridership has decreased and operating costs are high. 4. The economic or demographic makeup has been changing. Checklist: Whether to Conduct a Bus Network Redesign When determining whether to conduct a bus network redesign, transit agencies should consider the following questions, answering yes to at least one in any category as a reason to potentially conduct a redesign. C H A P T E R 8 Toolkits Systemwide bus service analysis and planning have long been put on the back burner. Do you view âbus network redesignâ efforts as a form of âsystem maintenanceâ that should be undertaken regularly? Has it been many years since you have looked holistically at your system? Has it been more than 5 years since you have completed a âComprehensive Operational Analysisâ or âTransit Development Planâ? Changes to the transit system, such as introduction of or expansion of fixed guideway transit. Have fixed guideway services recently been expanded? Is there a desire to better align the transit network with this new infrastructure addition?
96 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Key Components of a Bus Network Redesign The following bus network redesign components will be covered as sections of this toolkit: 1. Developing goals and objectives. Goals and objectives guide the planning process and influence the final result of a bus network redesign. The role internal and external stakeholders play in determining goals, as well as considerations that should be made in order to balance potentially contradictory goals, should also be noted. 2. Identifying performance metrics and their relation to goals. When attached to specific goals, performance metrics can be used to evaluate a transit agencyâs progress. To this end, metrics can also be used to help a transit agency understand existing conditions and establish bus network redesign goals. 3. Framing trade-offs, plan parameters, and service types. To determine where a particular service should exist, trade-offs need to be understood to frame the parameters of the bus network redesign in terms of changes to operating costs, focusing service on frequency versus coverage, and the overall planned route structure. Special considerations also need to be made for additional factors that impact service, including budget constraints, neighboring transit agencies, and coordination between multiple operators. Finally, service types being considered in the plan need to be identified and defined. 4. Involving boards and elected officials. It is important to engage the transit agency board and elected officials in the bus net- work redesign process. These leaders can be advocates for a redesign; strategically involving them in the service planning process can contribute to a smoother redesign. 5. Coordinating and managing within the transit agency. Best practices should be used to ensure internal coordination and project management of a bus network redesign. This is particularly important for larger transit agencies with numerous internal departments involved in a redesign process. 6. Planning transit service. At the heart of a bus network redesign, the service planning process is paramount to a redesignâs success. The redesign team must consider many factors, such as equity; trade- offs in how service is allocated; non-financial limitations (such as facility capacity); bus service integration with fixed guideway transit; urban morphology of the areas being served; travel patterns of current riders and travelers in general; performance of the current transit system; population and employment densities; walkability and pedestrian infra- structure; and the transit-supportive nature (or lack thereof) of their overall urban form and built environment. Based on all these considerations, the redesign team can plan the appropriate types of service for different areas and needs, including both fixed route and new mobility. 7. Determining fare policies and fare interoperability between modes. Bus network redesigns need to incorporate limitations imposed by a systemâs current fare structure, policies, and fare collection system. In addition, when rethinking fares, transit agencies need to consider how new mobility options and transfers will be accommodated. Decreasing ridership and high operating costs. Do you hope to reallocate resources to those services that would provide the best value for the money? For example, you may be suffering from financial, labor, or facility constraints. Changing economic or demographic makeup. Have your activity and employment centers changed significantly? This might include new activity and employment centers, changing residential areas, or the decline of older generators. Have changing demographics impacted paratransit demand?
Toolkits 97 8. Conducting public and stakeholder engagement. Public engagement is an integral part of the bus network redesign process. Feedback is needed from a range of stakeholders and demographic groups. When and how engage- ment activities are conducted impact the feedback the transit agency receives and the level of support from the community. 9. Addressing the capital elements of a bus network redesign. Capital elements required as part of a bus network redesign will warrant special con- siderations during the planning process. Such elements include buses for service expan- sion; new bus types (e.g., size, new propulsion systems); bus-priority treatments (e.g., bus lanes, TSP, and queue jumps); bus stop facilities; transfer facilities; and bus maintenance/ storage facilities (if needed to accommodate a larger or different fleet or different vehicles and propulsion types). 10. Planning for Implementation. Staging and implementing new and modified services require determining a timeframe for new services and service types (e.g., all at once versus phased) and coordinating opera- tional details (e.g., scheduling, bus stop signage, marketing, maps, GTFS creation, and public education). In addition, project elements that are dependent on prior alternations (i.e., critical path elements) need to be identified and given special considerations. Subsequent sections of this toolkit include briefs covering these key components of planning for a bus network redesign. The purpose of these sections is not to provide a comprehensive review of all materials on each component, but rather to summarize the topic and explain its role in redesign; the stage(s) of the redesign at which the considerations are best addressed; key questions for the transit agency to consider during that component; and references to places in the report or other resources where more detailed information the topic can be found. Bus Network Redesign Phases and Timeline The components of bus network redesigns covered in this toolkit fit within the following seven phases of planning and implementation. Figure 18 illustrates where each of the compo- nent areas fit into each phase of the planning process. The phases are as follows: A. Initiate Study B. Market and Service Assessment C. Preliminary Engagement D. Regional Service Concepts E. Iterative Engagement and Service Planning F. Implementation G. Evaluation Developing Goals and Objectives Goals and objectives are crucial aspects of bus network redesigns; they influence both the planning process and the outcome of the redesigned bus network. While goals are generally broad, more specific and measurable objectives can be associated with particular goals, as shown in the example in Figure 19. Transit agencies sometimes develop their goals and objectives in house (sometimes with board involvement and sometimes without), and sometimes seek input from other local policy- makers, stakeholders, and the public. While the interests of external groups are expected to vary, the potential for divergent inter- ests among internal departments should not be overlooked. For example, a transit agencyâs civil rights office may prioritize system coverage to adequately serve low-income and minority communities, the planning office may want to maximize ridership and overall accessibility,
Figure 18. Bus network redesign project phasing timeline.
Toolkits 99 and the bus operations department may be most interested in ensuring that routes are spread across parallel roadways to avoid too many buses competing for roadway and curb space. When intra-departmental goals conflict during the goal-setting process, trade-offs should be acknowl- edged and discussed internally so that the transit agency develops shared, clearly defined goals to help navigate the bus network redesign process. Transit agencies often seek to achieve one or more overarching goals through a bus network redesign. Examples of such goals include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Improving transit service for current and potential riders â¢ Better matching the bus network with current and potential future ridership demand â¢ Increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness and/or reducing overall operating cost â¢ Reducing dependency on personal cars and promote environmental sustainability Checklist: Goals and Objectives When establishing goals and objectives for the bus network redesign, the redesign team should consider the following: Goal: Service Quality Enhance the desirability and utility of the transit service for Gwinnett residents and workers. Objective: Coverage and Connectivity Expand the number of communtities and destinations served to increase accessibility. Objective: Travel Time Reduction Make the transit network competitive and effective for its users through capital and operating investments. Objective: Reliability Increase the reliability of the transit network through investiment in priority treatments, technologies, safety, and operations. Source: Based on the Connect Gwinnett Transit Plan. Figure 19. Connect Gwinnett goals and priorities. Internal Goal Setting Have all department representatives been brought to the table to establish goals? Do goals vary across the organization? External Goal Setting How will local policymakers play a role in determining the goals and objectives of a bus network redesign? How will stakeholders play a role in determining the goals and objectives of a bus network redesign? How will the public play a role in determining the goals and objectives of a bus network redesign? Finalizing Goals Have all the goals been clearly defined? Are any citied goals contradictory to each other?
100 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Goals and Objectives â¢ Byala L., Filardo, K. Hirsch, O., Walk, M., Cardenas, J., and J. Hwang. 2019. TCRP Synthesis 140: Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns. Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC. Identifying Performance Metrics and their Relation to Goals Various performance metrics are used by transit agencies to compare the planned system with the current system. These metrics are distinct from the metrics used by transit agencies to evaluate bus service on an ongoing basis. Performance metrics used to evaluate the planned and current systems include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Number of planned revenue hours and miles and ratio of revenue to non-revenue miles. â¢ Number of routes in the current and proposed networks that provide high-frequency service, as defined by the transit agency. â¢ Number of people, jobs, and current riders with access to transit and high-frequency transit, as defined by the transit agency, potentially defining high frequency based on combined frequencies of multiple routes along the same corridor. â¢ Proportion of the population with access to transit and the proportion of the population with access to frequent service, as defined by the transit agency. This is often measured by people living within one-quarter mile of a transit stop. â¢ Coverage provided to particular demographic groups, such as transit access for low-income and zero-car households. â¢ Modeled changes to ridership changes, travel time changes, and transfer rates. When bus network redesign performance metrics are paired with redesign goals, they explain how the new system will be able to achieve redesign goals. Table 4 in Chapter 3 provides an example of goals and associated performance metrics from Baltimoreâs redesign. Checklist: Metrics To establish metrics, the transit agency needs to have a means of collecting relevant data. The following checklist includes considerations intended to make the process easy to conduct. Which objectives does each of the metrics measure? Does the transit agency have good data to support each of the suggested metrics? Does the transit agency have the capability to easily measure the metrics over potentially several service scenarios or iterations, such as through automated calculators/scripts and/or GIS-based tools? Are there duplicative metrics that seem different but are essentially measuring the same thing? Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Metrics â¢ National Association of City Transportation Officials. 2017. City Data Sharing Principles: Integrating New Technology into City Streets. National Association of City Transportation Officials, New York, NY.
Toolkits 101 â¢ Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Urbitran, Inc., LKC Consulting Services, Inc., Morpace Inter- national, Queensland University of Technology, and Y. Nakanishi. 2003. TCRP Report 88: A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, DC. Framing Trade-offs, Plan Parameters, and Service Types Evaluating the balance of different types of service is inherent in any bus network redesign effort. This process requires considering redesign goals, weighing trade-offs, and determining the parameters of the plan. Trade-offs faced by transit agencies conducting redesigns include, for example, whether to provide coverage over more area versus concentrating frequency on high-demand routes; whether to provide direct connections between many origin and destination pairs or to require more transfers; and whether to provide more routes and stops or whether to provide faster and frequent service but require longer walks to access it. The parameters of a bus network redesign include not only decisions about the plan approach based on how the transit agency chooses to weigh different trade-offs but also budget limitations (e.g., cost-neutral planning), the types of service to include (e.g., whether to include DRT, BRT service, etc.), and whether and how to incorporate service being provided by neighboring or overlapping transit agencies. Understanding Trade-offs Determining how much area the service covers and how frequent the buses are on high- demand routes is a trade-off of âcoverage versus frequency.â Should service be provided to maximize the geographic coverage of the service area, or should the focus be on improving service along high ridership routes? With a fixed budget, transit agencies must choose where to invest their resources to maximize achievement of the bus network redesign goals and objectives, which may be in conflict with one another. For example, a transit agency may have an objec- tive of increasing accessibility while also improving service effectiveness, two objectives that, if planned for separately, would yield different results. Deciding not to provide direct connections between many origin-destination pairs and instead require transfers can result in improved frequency on high ridership routes and the elimination of longer and more circuitous routes. More transfers can also be a natural pro- gression for transit agencies that are multimodal and are seeking to maximize return on their capital investments in fixed guideway service, or that are restructuring their bus networks to respond to new fixed guideway services, which, by design, require more transfers (i.e., multi- seat rides). In these cases, some customers are either forced to walk longer distances to reach a transit stop or are required to transfer routesâsometimes between modesâto complete their journey. While this approach can increase overall accessibility by providing service that can get people to more places within a given amount of time as well as result in more cost-effective service, this approach can be problematic for seniors and people with disabilities who may have difficulty walking or navigating transfers. These user groups may require additional accom- modations, such as revised paratransit services or additional bus stops at key-trip generators. When to provide more service and when to reduce service is not exclusively a question of ridership demand. The amount of service that can be offered is also limited by the size of the fleet; transit agencies may not be able to add service during peak periods due to limits in funding to purchase expansion buses and expand bus operating and maintenance facilities. Additionally, given a fixed operating budget, transit agencies may decide, based on need, that service hours should be shifted from the weekday to weekend or to midday; as job days and hours are no longer traditional â9 to 5,â transit agencies are using their bus network redesigns to better match service to the current or projected travel demand by the time of day and day of week.
102 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Budget Constraints One-third of transit agency respondents to the survey conducted as part of TCRP Synthesis 140 plan their bus network redesign to be operating cost neutral, with most of the remainder increas- ing the bus network operating costs (just a couple of transit agencies were seeking to reduce operating costs through their redesign process). The service proposed by the redesign must be reflective of the operating budget the transit agency can provideâeven for transit agencies increasing their operating costs, there is certainly a limit placed on that increase. If cost neutrality, or just minor costs increases, is an objective of the redesign, the transit agency needs to be more willing to make drastic changes to reallocate existing resources. Since transit agencies rely on operating funding from local and state jurisdictions within their service area to some extent, what those jurisdictions are willing to provide can impact the level of service planned for each of those jurisdictions during a redesign. Service Types and Design Standards Another key element of bus network redesigns is the reexamination or creation of updated service standards for different types of service, such as high-frequency, local, circulator, and coverage service. Before a transit agency plans the new service, it can reexamine these definitions in terms of the design parameters, including frequency, span, directness, stop spacing, route spacing, and levels of density and ridership for each service type, if applicable. By setting these guidelines up front, the transit agency can better design service to appropriately meet customer needs as well as have a ready explanation for why certain types of services were placed where they were. This gives the transit agency backup for explaining why a certain route is recommended at a given frequency, or why the route cannot deviate into a neighborhood. Neighboring and Overlapping Transit Agencies and Operators When multiple transit agencies and operators serve the same metro- politan area, there may be opportunities for integration. Such integra- tion could vary from coordinated schedules at transfer locations to interlining route alignments. Although bus network redesign efforts are often focused on a single transit agency, efforts to include neighboring entities in the redesign can capitalize on regional transit opportunities. Most transit agencies that have conducted bus network redesigns to date do not operate in a multi-operator environment. Still, the redesign should consider neighboring jurisdictions and transit agencies by evaluating transit market needs not only within the transit agencyâs service area but to and from nearby areas. This information will provide the transit agency with an understanding of needs that the bus network redesign could address by offering service to loca- tions just outside the service area or to a transfer point that connects to another transit providerâs service. Where several transit agencies operate within the same region, considerations for more consistency across these transit agencies can be incorporated into redesign planning, such as integrated fare payment and/or transfer policies, that could improve ridership and mobility between parts of the region. LA Metro is one of only a few transit agencies that have conducted bus network redesigns and operate in an environment with overlapping bus providers. Los Angeles County includes 17 major municipal transit operators, and nearly one-third of bus service is municipally operated. This structure required the redesign team from LA Metro to work closely with municipal In the Washington, DC, region, in addition to regional bus operator the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), there are eight local bus operators in WMATAâs service area. As the transit agency prepared to initiate a bus network redesign, it initially spearheaded a regional bus strategic plan, the Bus Transformation Project, that offers recommendations for coordinated planning between the many transit agencies and operators. These include establishing regional standards, collecting and sharing standardized bus operations and performance data, and obtaining regional commitments for bus priority.
Toolkits 103 operators to coordinate transfer locations and prevent service duplication. Since each entity receives operating assistance, coordinating service also had budgetary implications; if more routes were allocated to a municipal operator, that operator would be allocated more operating assistance. Transit funding is transferred to LA Metro before being allocated to other transit agencies using a âmiles and fare unit-drivenâ formula. One concern raised by municipal transit operators during the redesign process was that increasing LA Metroâs bus speeds would result in more money being allocated to LA Metro (the assumption being that increased speeds would translate to an increase in miles driven). Checklist: Services and Service Area When considering the services and defining the service area, the bus network redesign team should consider the following: Understanding Trade-offs What areas can support fixed route service and at what levels? Will changes to service (such as an increase in necessary transfers) impact transit access for seniors and people with disabilities? Should additional accommodations be made? How will these changes impact paratransit coverage and eligibility? Beyond population density and equity considerations, are there any other reasons the transit agency might opt not to provide fixed route service in certain areas? Budget Constraints Is the bus network redesign intended to be a cost-neutral planning effort? Do municipalities contribute different levels of funding and will this impact the coverage they are afforded? Neighboring Transit Agencies and Multiple Operators What services are provided by neighboring transit agencies? Do any of the neighboring transit agencies serve locations also served by your transit agency's existing service? Within the transit agencyâs jurisdiction, which services are being provided by which operator? How should the bus network redesign plan account for planning service from different transit agencies? Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Trade-offs â¢ Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Parsons Brinkerhoff, KFH Group, Inc., Texas A&M Trans- portation Institute, and Arup. 2013. TCRP Report 165: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, Third Edition. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, DC. Involving Boards and Elected Officials Through the bus network redesign process, the redesign team will, to a varying degree, be required to interact with boards and elected officials (Figure 20). When and how the redesign
104 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Figure 20. Board involvement. team engages these groups can impact the success of the planning process and implementation. Many transit agencies also benefit from their boards and other elected officials serving as advo- cates for the redesign. Boards and Elected Officials Most transit agencies are presided over by a board of directors, state parent agency, or similar oversight body; board support and involvement in bus network redesigns is considered common practice (Byala et al. 2019, 129). Survey data suggests that among transit agencies that have completed or are currently undergoing a redesign, boards were most often included in âfinal approval for route recommendations,â âpolicy guidance for bus network redesign visions,â and âfinal approval for operating budgetsâ (Byala et al. 2019, 149). Boards and elected officials play a key role in bus network redesign visioning and decision- making (Byala et al. 2019, 79). Managing this relationship can afford the redesign team a smoother planning and implementation process. When working with their board, the redesign team should consider the interests of particular board members; the level of connection between the board and its constituents (i.e., whether the board members can remain impartial or whether they are apt to react to relatively minor constituent complaints); and board turnover. Under- standing these factors can optimize efforts made by the redesign team and contribute to successful outcomes. For board members to be convinced that the redesign will have a positive outcome, they need to be âbrought alongâ throughout the process. This requires communication during various phases of the process, including study initiation, public and stakeholder engagement, finalizing the plan, and final implementation. Buy-in from political leaders can also make it easier to gain support from the general public, allowing for a smoother bus network redesign process. One transit agency explained how the mayor and president of council look to their business community for support. Data and visu- alizations prepared by the redesign team can be useful for political leaders. If officials are educated and armed with supporting informa- tion including visualizations, they will have an easier time explaining project benefits to the business community and other key stakeholders. Checklist: Boards and Elected Officials When working with boards and elected officials, the bus network redesign team should con- sider the following at various stages of the planning process: Houston METRO One board member was integrally involved in the planning efforts and led advocacy for the bus network redesign there, providing legitimacy and support to the effort. Study Initiation What are the interests and motivations of particular board members? How objective are the board members?
Toolkits 105 Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 4: Support and Collaboration, Boards and Elected Officials â¢ Ballam-Schwan, J, K. Hovenkotter, and H. Richardson, 2017. Untangling Transit: Bus Net- work Redesign Workshop Proceedings. TransitCenter, New York, NY. Coordination and Project Management within the Transit Agency Bus network redesigns by their nature involve numerous transit agency departments, which requires effective internal coordination and project management. Transit agencies that have successfully planned and implemented redesigns appoint a strong project manager (or multiple managers) to oversee the process and proactively coordinate with other departments. Navigat- ing the redesign process can be helped by internal champions who strongly believe in the positive impact of a redesign and can play a key role in rallying internal support and creating change. Since service planning is the core of a bus network redesign project, intra-transit agency collaboration needs to revolve around this process, which typically is conducted with signifi- cant consultant support. One transit agency interviewee explained that although the redesign was a transit agencywide initiative, it mostly impacted planning, operations, and finance staff. While transit agencies differ in their departmental structure and roles, Figure 21 provides an example of how the redesign planning and implementation might be structured. If transit agency departments are not used to working together, the level of collaboration required for a redesign can be a challenging. Departments may have differing goals for service; for example, while one department may be focused on improving operational efficiency, another may be focused on improving system equity. Involving Operators and Unions Bus operators and street supervisors as well as the organized labor groups that represent them should be included early in the bus network redesign process. Operators have valuable real-world insight to contribute to planning implementation; depending on how the project is structured, there are various ways they can be included in the redesign process. In one instance, the transit Will the board experience any personnel turnover during the bus network redesign process? If so, what are the potential consequences? How will the redesign team collect policy guidance on bus network redesign visioning, including budget parameters? Preliminary Engagement How can board membersâ community connections be leveraged to develop strong community and stakeholder connections? Iterative Engagement Can board members assist with public outreach, messaging, or other aspects of public and stakeholder engagement? Service Planning How will the bus network redesign team obtain final approval for route recommendations and operating budget? Implementation How can the board and elected officials support the education process? How can the board and elected officials support capital facilities changes, such as associated bus stop optimization and bus-priority treatments?
106 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future agencyâs operations team that led the redesign process was in contact with supervisors and drivers to coordinate on scheduling. In another transit agency, the consultants leading the redesign met with operators in the divisions (i.e., the bus garages) monthly for nearly a year, followed an organized syllabus, and sought input on various facets of the redesign. Additionally, each division nominated one operator to attend the service planning workshops during all phases of the planning process; this input proved invaluable in terms of providing insight on route safety issues and travel patterns not apparent in the data. Having bus operators onboard with the plans is also crucial from a public perspectiveâcustomers need to know that the opera- tors support the plan, and operators that have been brought along respectfully along the way can be the strongest advocates and educators of the new system with the riding public. As one transit agency planner explained, there is an opportunity for operators to be ambassadors for the redesigned system. Union leadership, representing the operators and supervisors, must be separately engaged. Buy-in from union leadership is absolutely crucial to the successful implementation of a bus network redesign. If the transit agency is planning a cost-neutral redesign or one that will result in additional service, the union leadership needs to understand this to avoid concerns that the redesign will result in less work for its members. One transit agency sent staff to the union hall to listen to the concerns of union leadership. This particular transit agency also involved the union in testing and piloting aspects of the redesigned system. Especially in larger transit agencies, it can be difficult to schedule meetings with busy union leadership, but it is worth the effort to ensure that the union is onboard. One transit agency that struggled to gain the Service Planning Operations â¢ Route trials for runtime â¢ Operator engagement â¢ Fleet availability and planning Communications â¢ Public input â¢ Stakeholder input â¢ Public education Government Relations â¢ Elected official briefings â¢ Coordination with partner jurisdictions Treasury â¢ Fare and transfer policy Capital Projects â¢ Bus stop optimization and signage â¢ Transfer facility improvements â¢ Bus priority implementation Civil Rights â¢ Equity and Title VI analysis Figure 21. Example department functions for network redesign service planning.
Toolkits 107 attention of the union leadership during the planning process was able to obtain needed input by going through the unionâs outside legal counsel, who arranged a meeting between the two parties with their participation. Checklist: Internal Coordination and Project Management When considering internal coordination and project management, the bus network redesign team should consider the following: Project Management Has a strong project manager(s) been identified to lead the transit agencyâs bus network redesign effort? Is there an internal champion who has broad respect throughout the organization to advocate for the project internally (and externally)? Operators and Unions How will bus operators be involved in the bus network redesign? Have you considered ways to involve them in all phases of the process, from input on planning to public education? How will union leadership be involved in the bus network redesign? Have you involved them from the beginning as the project was being initiated? Initially, how do you plan to connect with union leadership? Further Reading The following are places in the report where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 4: Support and Collaboration, Internal Agency Collaboration Planning Transit Service The service planning process is at the heart of a bus network redesign. Regardless of a redesignâs scale (e.g., systemwide or just a part of a larger system), the basic principles and considerations remain the same. As with any transit service planning effort, planning transit service for a redesign must include an analysis of current system performance, travel patterns, densities, demographics, and the built environment. Based on all these considerations, the redesign team can plan the appropriate types of service for different areas and needs, including both fixed route and new mobility. While there is much more to planning transit service in a bus network redesign, the consid- erations outlined in this section are areas that are most different than those traditional service planning. These considerations include but are not limited to equity, financial and non-financial limitations, integration with fixed guideway transit, and integration of new mobility. Equity Beyond meeting Title VI requirements, the bus network redesign team should consider the needs of low-income and minority communities, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and seniors. For instance, if the redesign includes limiting stops along high-density corridors, customers may need to walk farther to reach transit stops. This may be problematic for groups with limited mobility, and additional transit stops may be warranted to serve locations frequented by people with disabilities or seniors. Likewise, reduction in service coverage requiring longer walks to bus routes can be more efficient and allow the transit
108 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future agency to provide better service in high-demand areas, but the transit agency may need to provide alternative service delivery models for seniors and people with disabilities who cannot walk farther distances. Consideration of low-income communities should extend beyond Title VI requirements. First, the planning process should account for the needs of low-income, minority, and limited English proficient populations because of their higher propensity to use transit. Second, for many transit agencies, the low-income threshold in their Title VI Program is very low, and many households above that threshold are still highly reliant on public transit to meet their mobility needs. A best practice followed by transit agencies that have conducted bus network redesigns is to conduct a draft Title VI Service Equity Analysis to accompany each iteration of the draft network plan. This ensures that changes resulting in a potential disparate impact or dispro- portionate burden are addressed throughout the planning process. This avoids the need to make last-minute changes and conduct further public participation required by Title VI regulations should potential disparate impacts or disproportionate burdens be found in the final redesign plan, because this may ultimately impact the ability to implement the redesign on schedule. Non-Financial Limitations A bus network redesign may be limited by factors that include but are not limited to the following: â¢ Union Contracts. The presence of unions may bring additional complexities to operations. One transit agency interview explained how their unionized labor force raised issue with the scale of runtime changes and changes in recovery time. In some transit agencies, different unions operate different bus divisions, resulting in limitations on moving routes between garages. Union rules related to shift length and split shifts, among others, should also be accounted for in the planning processâat a high levelâso that the plans can be scheduled without having to make significant changes to the planned service. â¢ Capacity. The size of existing maintenance and storage facilities will impact the size of fleet and types of vehicles able to be accommodated. This could impact the ability to increase peak period service even if capital funds for vehicles and operating budgets are sufficient. Capac- ity at a given garage can also impact costs once the routes are scheduled; routes may have to operate out of a non-optimal garage because of space constraints, causing increased deadhead time and higher costs. â¢ Operators. Transit agencies are struggling to fill the positions they have open, and many transit agencies have large extraboards that they rely on to put service on the streetâand even then, transit agencies across the country still struggle to avoid missed trips. Even a great bus network redesign plan will not work without buses operating as planned. â¢ Transit Centers. Bus network redesigns often result in big changes in the number of buses converging on a transfer location. Some transit agencies plan without regard for location and capacity of existing transfer locations, while some will plan to tie in with their exist- ing transfer locations, especially if there is no capital funding associated with the plan. The location and size of current transfer centers can impact bus routing decisions and the need for new or expanded transfer facilities. Integration with Fixed Guideway Transit The opening or expansion of fixed guideway transit can be the impetus for a bus network redesign, or in some cases part of the redesign planning process. Some transit agencies have
Toolkits 109 planned redesigns around future or recently implemented fixed guideway transit, including BRT and rail. For example, one transit agency used a bus-rail interface plan to provide adequate service during rail construction and scaled back bus service over time once the rail opened. Other transit agency interviewees stated have stated that redesigns serve as an impetus to future BRT service by planning for high-frequency corridors that would be best suited to additional bus-priority treatments that would eventually become BRT. Regardless of the order in which the planning occurs, transit agencies should consider how the bus network feeds into and leverages fixed guideway transit, regardless of mode. Incorporation of New Mobility Several approaches to incorporating new mobility in the context of bus network redesigns have been identified, including using new mobility to maintain or enhance coverage and service quality and leveraging new mobility to enhance system access. Transit agencies that have directly or indirectly incorporated new mobility into their redesigns have done so by defining zones that can be served by new mobility to either replace fixed route service that would be removed in the redesign or to enhance coverage over what it was before. Transit agencies have also been planning new mobility around not just coverage for point-to-point service but as a new means of accessing fixed route service, particularly high-frequency fixed route service that is often the outcome of bus network redesigns. Microtransit zones or potential stops can be identified based on a combination of current transit performance and demonstrated desire or propensity for the use of transit service in areas that cannot necessarily support effective fixed route bus service. Transit agencies have planned these zones by looking at data on travel patterns, demographics, and densitiesâoften alongside assistance from new mobility providers to account for operating realitiesâas part of redesigning the fixed route bus network. Checklist: Service Planning In addition to the typical service planning considerations when conducting service planning, the bus network redesign team should also account for the following: Equity Where are low-income and minority populations located? What are destinations that attract people with disabilities and senior riders that need to be served? Non-Financial Limitations: Union Contracts If unions are involved with operations and maintenance, what work rules must be accounted for in planning? Do different unions operate out of different garages? Non-Financial Limitations: Garage and Transit Center Capacity If you are planning to add to the fleet, can the current operations and maintenance facilities accommodate more vehicles? Do the garages near areas of increased service have sufficient capacity? If not, have you accounted for the potential of increased operating costs? Are there new locations that will need transfer centers, or current transfer centers that will need to be expanded? Is there sufficient space to accommodate these needs? Non-Financial Limitations: Operators Are you able to operate the scheduled service now? If not, do you have plans to improve upon this? Will the bus network redesign call for more operators? If so, will you be able to provide the staff to fully operate the schedule?
110 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Equity â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Incorporation of Fixed Guideway Services Determining Fare Policies and Fare Interoperability Between Modes Bus network redesigns should consider existing fare policies and collection systems as well as limitations imposed by the systemâs current fare structure. Fare policies dictate fares and pass products for each mode as well as transfers between modes or routes, while fare collection systems support fare policy. Ideally, fare policy and the fare collection technology facilitate seamless travel for transit users. The redesign team needs to consider how fare policy will integrate modes and transfers, because bus network redesigns often result in changes to transfer patterns. For instance, when transit networks are designed around high-frequency corridors, as is common in redesigns, many riders may require a transfer to feeder bus service or another mode to reach their final destination. If riders are charged for transfers, this can have equity implications. To support the high-frequency, grid network implemented by one transit agency as part of its redesign, the transit agency began offering free transfers to all smart card users (Figure 22); free smart cards were widely distributed to support this change. The presence of multiple transit agencies in the service area can present additional complex- ities, including considering the impact of transfer fees or lack of fare integration between transit agencies in customersâ travel choices between multiple transit options or even if the complexity of multiple payments is just too much of a barrier to entry. As transit agencies begin to include new mobility and on-demand solutions as part of their bus network redesigns, future fare policy and collection should consider how new mobility can effectively complement fixed route transit networks. Some transit agencies aspire to have a single web-based platform that allows riders to plan and pay for their entire trip (i.e., MaaS). For example, a user could purchase a transit pass and then book a shared bike to complete their last-mile connection through one app. Fixed Guideway How will you consider current and planned fixed guideway services in the bus network redesign process? Will bus service be planned to feed the fixed guideway or might there be parallel high-capacity bus service? New Mobility Are you open to considering new mobility as a âservice typeâ in the planning process? If so, how will you determine where this service makes sense and what guidelines might it follow? A small percentage of fares paid with smart cards Before Free transfers offered to all smart card users Redesign Majority of fares paid with smart cards After Figure 22. Example fare policy change in conjunction with bus network redesign.
Toolkits 111 Checklist: Fare Policy and Interoperability As transit agencies consider how and whether to adjust fare policy and/or fare interoperability, the following should be considered: Fare Policies Will the bus network redesign require fare policy or collection to be modified? Does the fare policy consider integration with social services and universities? Fare Collection Will the bus network redesign encourage the use of smart cards and account-based fare collection? Have locations for cash fare payments been considered? Transfers Will free or discounted transfers be offered between transit modes? Will free or discounted transfers be offered for first-mile/last-mile connections completed via micromobility (e.g., bikeshare and scooters)? New Mobility Providers How will the fixed route fare collection system integrate with new mobility providers? Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Fares â¢ Canadian Urban Transit Association. 2017. Integrated Mobility Implementation Toolkit, Toronto, Canada. Conducting Public and Stakeholder Engagement To gain public input and support, public and stakeholder engagement should happen early and often, a variety of strategies should be employed, and an effective feedback loop should be generated. Throughout the engagement process, the bus network redesign team should be mindful of the fact that traditional meetings tend to have less participation and particularly low representation by low-income and minority groups; people need to be met in spaces they frequent. Transit agencies should refer to their Title VI Public Participation Plans for guidance on how to reach these communities. People with disabilities and organizations representing them should also be involved in the bus network redesign process. One transit agency explained how they included these repre- sentatives in working groups, conducted individual briefs, and held outreach events at senior independent living centers. Paratransit providers that operate in the transit agencyâs coverage area should also be included in the engagement process, because they have direct insights into the needs of these communities. Bus network redesigns involve at least two rounds of public engagement, in addition to ongoing maintenance of communications through website updates and other means. â¢ Visioning stage. The objective of the first round is to identify issues, establish goals, and set priorities.
112 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future â¢ Planning stage. The objective of the second round (and perhaps subsequent rounds) is to present the public and stakeholders possible service alternatives. The engagement conducted during the planning phase should be used to identify whether further modifications to the plans are desired, to educate the public and stakeholders on how the improvements will benefit them, and to obtain stakeholder buy-in (see Figure 9 in Chapter 3). Some transit agencies also opt to engage the public after the final plan is released, typically as part of the public education process. While there are certainly discrete outreach phases where the transit agency makes large efforts to reach the public and stakeholder groups, it is key that the transit agency have an ongoing outreach program to keep interested parties engaged and up to date on the process. This can be done through website updates, social media, earned and paid media, onboard advertisements, and continued meetings with key stakeholder groups. In addition to public engagement, stakeholder engagement crucial to obtaining input and also reaching the general public. For example, reaching out to community groups, advo- cacy groups, senior centers, healthcare providers, and faith-based groups provides the transit agency with access to a broader group of riders and potential riders through a single point of contact. For transit agencies that move to implement their bus network redesign, the public needs to be educated on the new network so that people are prepared for how to get around once the changes are implemented. These outreach efforts do not replace public hearings, which will most likely also be required for implementation. The need for an extensive public education processâusing every tool at a transit agencyâs disposalâcannot be understated. Online resources, earned and paid media, information at every bus stop, information onboard buses and other modes, and opportunities to engage with transit agency staff or representatives for personalized assistance are just a few of the tactics that transit agencies take to inform as many people as possible about the upcoming changes. Checklist: Public and Stakeholder Engagement When planning the public engagement for the bus network redesign process, the redesign team should consider the following: Visioning Engage the public at the visioning stage to identifyâ¦ Issues and Needs Priorities Goals What methods of engagement will be used during implementation? Public Meetings Stakeholder Meetings Social Media Onboard and Bus Stop Announcements Online Comment Forum/Survey Project Website Updates Other______________ Where will outreach efforts be conducted? Transfer Centers Community Events Retail Centers Houses of Worship Community Centers Senior Centers/Independent Living Other______________
Toolkits 113 Final Plan/ Implementation Education What methods of engagement will be used during implementation? Public Meetings Stakeholder Meetings Social Media Onboard and Bus Stop Announcements Project Website Updates Other______________ Where will implementation outreach efforts be conducted? Transfer Centers Community Events Retail Centers Houses of Worship Community Centers Senior Centers/Independent Living Other______________ How will the impact of system improvements be relayed to the public? Published documents (e.g., impact report) Project website Trip planner to compare current with proposed future trips Personalized trip planning in person and virtually Other______________ Which stakeholders will be solicited? Groups should represent a variety of perspectives and follow the transit agencyâs Title VI Public Participation Plan requirements. Transit bus operators and supervisors Transit agency staff (all other departments) Transit agency board members Paratransit operators Riders Non-riders Elected officials Funding partner agencies/MPO/DOT People with disabilities/organizations representing them Social/human service agencies Faith-based organizations School district, colleges, universities Chamber of commerce/business community Major employers Hospitals Civic/homeowner organizations Local advocacy organizations Other______________ Draft Plans Engage the public at the planning stage(s) to identifyâ¦ Desired plan modifications How stakeholder buy-in can be achieved What methods of engagement will be used during implementation? Public Meetings Stakeholder Meetings Social Media Onboard and Bus Stop Announcements Online Comment Forum/Survey Project Website Updates Other______________ Where will outreach efforts be conducted? Transfer Centers Community Events Retail Centers Houses of Worship Community Centers Senior Centers/Independent Living Other______________
114 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Public and Stakeholder Involvement â¢ Ballam-Schwan, J, K. Hovenkotter, and H. Richardson, 2017. Untangling Transit: Bus Network Redesign Workshop Proceedings. TransitCenter, New York, NY. Addressing the Capital Elements of a Bus Network Redesign Capital elements (Figure 23) may be requiredâor desiredâto support a bus network rede- sign and should be worked into the planning process at the outset. Such elements include new buses and new bus types (i.e., size, new propulsion systems) as well as capital items related to speed and reliability, such as bus-priority treatments (e.g., bus lanes, queue jumps, TSP); capital items to improve the attractiveness of the service (e.g., real-time information, safe waiting envi- ronments, and improved transfer facilities); and capital investments to improve operating efficiencies (e.g., new or expanded maintenance and storage facilities and layover locations). Capital improvements need to support the service plan. First, improvements need to be coor- dinated with route planning. Along potential routes, turn locations, roads not previously served by transit, and layover locations need to be examined for safety and accessibility. For instance, a potential routing may require a vehicle to serve a stop and then merge lanes to make a left- hand turn a short distance up the road, which can be a safety concern; a layover location may also require the availability of operator relief facilities or charging facilities for electric buses; and accessibility checks include confirming whether sidewalks exist along roadways that will have transit service that did not previously have it. Coordination between the transit agency and the jurisdictions in which it operates is required to construct physical infrastructure that will enhance service quality. Transit agencies have worked with their jurisdictions on several aspects of bus network redesigns, including changing Capital Elements Vehicles Expansion Buses Electric Vehicles/ New Propulsion Systems New Vehicle Types, (e.g., microtransit, articulated, different sizes) Bus Priority Dedicated Bus Lanes Queue Jumps Transit Signal Priority Bus Stops Updated Signage Shelters and Other Amenities New and Relocated Bus Stops Transfer Centers Expansion of Bays Additional Layover Space New Transfer Centers Maintence and Storage Facilities Expansion of Facilities for More Buses Accommo- dations for Different Sizes/Types of Vehicles New Facilities Layover Locations Operator Facilities Vehicle Charging Stations Figure 23. Sample capital elements of bus network redesigns.
Toolkits 115 bus stop locations and implementing bus priority. Any bus priority that a transit agency wants to implement to support service speed and reliability will need support and likely funding from the jurisdiction. Involving staff and leaders from the jurisdictions in the redesignânot just planners but also engineers and capital planning and programmingâis a best practice to ensure that long-lead capital items can be started early. Checklist: Capital Elements As the bus network redesign team considers capital investments, they should consult the following checklist. Vehicles Have electric vehicles been considered? If soâ¦ Have charging facility locations been considered? Has the battery duration (in different weather/elevation grades) and re- charge time been considered? Will smaller buses or vehicles be needed to expand microtransit service? Bus Priority Where should bus lanes be added? Have locations for queue jumps been identified? Have locations for TSP been identified? Bus Stops Will new stops be added as part of the bus network redesign? What infrastructure will be required at these locations (e.g., shelters, benches, etc.)? Will existing stops be servable by new patterns (e.g., the bus might still operate along the same roadway segment, but because it now needs to make a left-turn ahead, it can no longer serve the current bus stop)? Transfer Centers Are there enough bays to accommodate the bus network redesign service serving the location? Is there adequate space to accommodate all the redesigned service vehicles? Maintenance and Storage Facilities Will the new or modified fleet be able to be accommodated? Layover Locations Have you evaluated each route's layover facilities? Will any layovers need to occur outside of transfer stations and maintenance storage facilities? Do all layover facilities have a safe space for the bus to park (e.g., out of traffic, in a well-lit area)? Will you need to build a loop or add a traffic signal for the bus to turn around? Do all layover facilities have restroom facilities for the operators? Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 3: Components of Bus Network Redesign Planning, Capital Elements to Support Redesigned Bus Service â¢ TransitCenter. 2018. The Path to Partnership: How Cities and Transit Systems Can Stop Worrying and Join Forces. TransitCenter, New York, NY. â¢ National Association of City Transportation Officials. n.d. Transit Street Design Guide. Planning for Implementation Staging and implementing new and modified servicesâespecially at the scale of a bus network redesignâcan be a challenge. Approaches to implementing a redesign vary, with some transit agencies opting to make changes all at once and others taking a phased approach, implementing changes over a period of time. Among transit agencies surveyed in TCRP Synthesis 140, some
116 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future that took a phased approach structured phasing by geographic service area and others service type (Byala et al. 2019, 140). Figure 24 can be used to determine whether the redesign team should take a phased approach to implementation. Alongside service changes, many operational details need to be coordinated and online and print materials developed during implementation, including but not limited to schedules, bus stop signage, print timetables and maps, GTFS creation, and operations and frontline staff training (e.g., customer service representatives). The public-facing materials ensure that transit riders have the resources they need to navigate upcoming service changes. During planning for implementation, transit agencies also need to determine critical path items and stage modifications that are dependent on prior alterations. Figure 25 outlines activities Should implementation be phased? Funding & Resources Do you have the funding and resources to implement all services changes at once? Yes Logistics Are service changes able to be grouped without negatively impacting coverage and vulnerable populations? Yes Redesign team may opt for phased implementation or all at once implementation. No All at once implementation required. No Phased implementation required. Figure 24. Phasing considerations for bus network redesigns. Figure 25. Detailed components of bus network redesign implementation.
Toolkits 117 involved in the implementation process. One transit agency noted driver training as a critical path item, and another stated the importance of holistic training so that the operators know enough to serve as ambassadors to the public, who will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. The role of operators in the implementation process should not be understated. Transit agencies expressed difficulty in hiring and maintaining the number of operators needed to staff the redesigned system; one transit agency even had to delay implementation of their bus network redesign because of their inability to hire enough drivers. Once the new system has been launched, transit agencies can monitor and continue to make improvements to the system. Using performance metrics developed earlier in the processâ such as ridership, schedule adherence, and crowdingâtransit agencies can set up more formal performance monitoring programs to ensure that all the effort that went into planning and implementing the bus network redesign is followed up on. Despite the best planning efforts, bus transit is dynamic and ongoing performance monitoring, using easily collected data, is key to keeping the service at peak performance. Checklist: Bus Network Redesign Implementation This checklist will help transit agencies plan the details of implementing their bus network redesign. Bus Stops Evaluate the bus stop sequencing for new and modified routes for safe operations and transfer convenience Determine which stops and infrastructure are critical paths for operations, and which can be built or installed incrementally after implementation Follow internal policies and procedures for public notice and comment on bus stop removal Fabricate and install new bus stop signage where applicable Scheduling Develop route naming/numbering conventions along with timepoint naming conventions Create timetable spacing standards and identify timepoints for new/modified routes Estimate segment runtimes for all new/modified routes based on existing data or other methods Build route timetables and perform quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) Block, cut, and roster timetables Identify and vet new operator field relief points, if applicable Gather operator and/or union feedback on proposed schedules as well as new timepoints, layovers, and relief locations ITS Data Preparation Review bus stop location data for accuracy and completeness Determine bus stop sequencing for new/modified routes and identify stops that will need to be moved, discontinued, or added for service changes Work with ITS vendors to prepare for data updates to software and hardware, such as AVL, APCs, and automated fare collection (AFC) systems, onboard annunciator systems, headsigns, real-time feeds, and dispatch systems Publish GTFS feeds for third-party applications Print and Online Materials Prepare new print- and web-ready timetables and maps Update system maps Identify locations for the dissemination of print material such as shelters, bus stop info stations, transit centers, rail stations, and local resource centers that may regularly stock print timetables or system maps
118 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Further Reading The following are places in the report or other resources where detailed information on the topic can be found: â¢ Chapter 5: Bus Network Redesign Implementation â¢ Karlin-Resnick, J., R.R. Weinberger, and B. Whitaker. 2014. Putting the Horse Before the Cart: How Planning and Implementation Affect the Success of Transit System Redesign. Presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washing- ton, DC. Toolkit #2: Leveraging Partnerships for a Better Bus System This toolkit provides brief profiles highlighting how, as part of bus network redesigns, transit agencies have effectively engaged with and leveraged intra-agency, inter-agency, and private sector partnerships to successfully adopt new strategies or implement infrastructure and other projects that increase the attractiveness of riding the bus. Working with internal and external partners can help generate the cross-institutional and political support needed to overcome barriers and implement strategies and projects, or may be a necessity due to the limits of the transit agencyâs role in operating transit service while other agencies control ROW or have juris- diction over other elements required to bring a new strategy to fruition. These partners may Ongoing Monitoring Review metrics developed earlier in the planning process, determine what data and information can easily be collected and processed on a regular (weekly/monthly/quarterly) basis, and finalize ongoing metrics for analysis Set targets for each metric for evaluation (e.g., riders per hour by service type) Develop replicable data processing and route/system rating program and review results on ongoing basis Develop and follow procedures for updating service at set intervals based on results of monitoring program and continued service planning Staffing and Training Evaluate existing staffing levels for operators, street supervisors, dispatch, and maintenance staff Estimate staffing needs based on planned changes If plan requires additional staff, develop a hiring and training plan to meet needs prior to launch Develop a training program to train operators, dispatch, street supervisors, customer service representatives, and other frontline staff on new/modified routes and new policies Educational Outreach Develop a comprehensive public education plan designed to reach current and potential riders to communicate coming changes. Education plan should include events, pop-ups, speaking engagements, and other efforts to disseminate information Develop a comprehensive marketing plan to raise awareness of service changes through paid and earned media, print and online marketing, and through existing alert systems, such as transit vehicle onboard announcement and service alert systems Develop a comprehensive website that covers important information about service changes Deploy âTransit Ambassadorsâ to transit centers leading up to launch and during first few days of initial operations to answer questions and provide print materials Develop a mechanism for public to ask questions and receive answers on service changes
Toolkits 119 include other groups within the transit agency, individuals from other government agencies or institutions, and political leaders. Strategies for Making the Bus the Mode of Choice Strategies that improve transit operations and service delivery necessitate working closely with a variety of internal and external partners. Table 6 outlines strategies, highlights key partners, and lists the transit agencies profiled in this toolkit. It should be noted that some of the transit agency experiences profiled have occurred as part of a bus network redesign, and some as a separate but contemporaneous or follow-on effort. Information in this table reflects the status of each transit agencyâs implementation through May 2020. Strategy Description Key Partners Transit Agency Highlighted Bus Priority Transit agencies have employed various strategies to prioritize bus travel, including dedicated bus lanes (peak-only or all-day), TSP, queue jumps, and all-door boarding policies. Reducing travel time and increasing travel time reliability contribute to enhancing the passenger experience. ROW Owners, Law Enforcement, Elected Officials, Public Health Community COTA (Columbus, OH) Microtransit Microtransit, also known as DRT or flex service, enables real-time, on-demand transit trip scheduling using an app or over the phone. Vehicles pick up passengers at individual addresses or central pickup locations, typically operating within a designated zone. Microtransit is often used to provide greater coverage of a service area and to connect otherwise underserved or unserved communities to the broader transit system. Vehicle Operators, Mobility Companies Gwinnett County Transit Division (suburban Atlanta, GA) Account- Based Fare Systems and App- Based Transit Platforms Implementing account-based fare systems and smartphone or web- based platforms that facilitate integration among multiple service providers can facilitate transit agencies becoming leaders in the transition to a MaaS environment. Services represented on the platform might include transit, bikeshare, carshare, and new mobility options, and ideally could integrate both fare payment and trip planning. New Mobility Providers, Transit Agency Customer Service, Technology, and Budget/Financial Staff IndyGo (Indianapolis, IN) Real-time Passenger Information Real-time passenger information provides riders with accurate arrival and departure times for an individual bus. This information may be delivered via passenger information screens at stops or stations, via smartphone or web applications, or via telephone. Transit Agency Operations, Customer Service, Technology Departments, and New Mobility Providers LANTA (Allentown, PA) Table 6. Transit agency experiences highlighted for making bus the mode of choice.
120 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future The following sections provide an overview of how each of these transit agencies implemented the strategy outlined in Table 6. These examples and the identified benefits of each provide guidance on each strategy in terms of why the transit agency implemented it along with how it specifically played out at the transit agency profiled. Bus Priority (Dedicated Bus Lanes): COTA Transit agencies have employed various strategies to prioritize bus travel, including dedicated bus lanes, TSP, queue jumps, and all-door boarding policies. Reducing travel time and increasing travel time reliability contribute to enhancing the passenger experience. In 2017, COTA implemented its transit system redesign. The CMAX Cleveland Avenue bus BRT, planned as a part of the transit system redesign, launched in 2018. High Street, one of the main corridors served by CMAX, has peak hour dedicated bus lanes. The dedicated bus lanes along this corridor, which pre-date the 2017 bus network redesign, provided the right infra- structure for BRT service, preventing vehicles from piling up and keeping buses moving during peak hours. Results from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commissionâs 2050 Corridor Concepts study, in conjunction with feedback received from community members at the Purple Aisle Transpor- tation Innovation Weekend in November 2018, led the city to subsequently consider additional dedicated bus lanes. In 2019, the authority conducted two tests for new mobility lanes. These lanes are dedicated to buses but also allow bike and scooter traffic. Selected Benefits Buses no longer need to merge into traffic or contend with congestion, allowing for improved travel speeds and increased travel time reliability. Provides a premium bus service experience, including limited stops and all new CMAX bus stations that are adorned with public artwork. The Cleveland Avenue corridor was selected to enhance access to specific healthcare facilities, thereby reducing health access disparities and enhancing access to downtown employment centers. Source: https://www.cota.com/ (as of May 20, 2020). Figure 26. Central Ohioâs first BRT line. Working with Key Partners, Lessons Learned from COTA â¢ City of Columbus (Roadway ROW Owner). COTA began working with the City of Columbus on their desire to implement BRT in downtown in 2015 (see Figure 26). These discussions led to broader coordination with the City of Columbus about the role of transit on specific corridors and the location of on-street parking.
Toolkits 121 â¢ Developers and the Business Community. Engagement and support from both the business community at large and private sector property owners along the CMAX was crucial to the projectâs success. Several private property owners along the CMAX route provided new bus stops, enhanced access from their site to the stops, and were active in discussions around stop locations. â¢ Downtown Improvement District. The Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, which champions development and economic vitality in downtown Columbus, helped to champion the bus lanes within the civic and business communities. â¢ Elected Officials. The Mayor of Columbus and the President of Council were essential cham- pions of implementing dedicated bus lanes. The broad support from community members, including the businesses and downtown improvement district, demonstrated to elected officials the value that dedicated bus lanes provide to the community. â¢ MPO. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission was supportive of the bus lane imple- mentation and actively convened key stakeholders to build support for the project across the community. â¢ Law Enforcement. More parking meters were added along High Street following the bus network redesign to improve bus lane enforcement. The transit agencies also hire off-duty police officers to provide additional enforcement for the bus lane. Ohio law requires that law enforcement officials be viewing a live feed at the time of the incident to issue a ticket. â¢ Public Health Community. The CMAX Cleveland Avenue BRT connects socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods to key health care facilities. One of the goals of the CMAX BRT was to reduce high infant mortality in neighborhoods served by the BRT by enabling time- efficient and convenient access to health care. When and Why COTA Implemented Bus Priority Congested roadways inhibited efficient bus operations The transit agency had developed a bus-priority plan in close coordination with the city and key partners A coalescence of support from key stakeholders, including the business community, the MPO, and public health community Account-Based Fare Systems and App-Based Transit Platforms: IndyGo Implementing account-based fare systems and smartphone or web-based platforms that facilitate integration among multiple service providers can facilitate transit agencies becoming leaders in the transition to a MaaS environment. Services represented on the platform might include transit, bike- share, carshare, and new mobility options, and ideally could integrate both fare payment and trip planning. IndyGo will soon be implementing an account-based fare system called âMyKey.â A new BRT network with off-board fare payment based on the honor system was planned as part of the transit agencyâs bus network redesign and was the impetus for the new fare system, which includes a mobile application and reloadable fare cards (Figure 27). Since MyKey provides a framework for financial integration, it is also viewed by the transit agency as a steppingstone toward the development of an app-based transit platform that could be implemented in the future. This would be a single application that would enable the purchase of multimodal, multi-provider trip planning or booking, and fare value purchases. With the IndyGo bus network as the backbone, the platform could integrate a larger network of mobility providers.
122 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Working with Key Partners, Lessons Learned from IndyGo â¢ Other Transit Agencies. Depending on the provider, various political or legal considerations impact the ability or desire of individual providers to participate in a future app-based transit platform. As a result, IndyGo has started the process of working to implement an app-based transit platform by working with public transit providers in the central Indiana region. â¢ Transit Agency Staff. â Customer Service. Staff are responsible for educating current and prospective transit riders about changes to the fare payment system. They also market new applications and services as they become available. â Technology. Staff worked with external vendors to develop applications per their speci- fications. The team confronted a number of novel challenges during development. Tech- nical specifications for the transit app deliverable evolved throughout the project as transit agency staff gained a greater understanding of the technical complexities that had not been anticipated during the scoping of the project. â Financial and Budget Team. During beta-testing of the app, the finance and budget team identified issues related to accounting that required time-consuming changes to the app. IndyGo staff believe that involving the finance and budget team at an earlier point in select conversations could have avoided these late changes. Selected Benefits The implementation of account-based fare systems provides a framework for future integration with new mobility providers and/or other service providers. By leading on the development of an app-based transit platform, IndyGo hopes to position the transit agencyâs services as the backbone of a larger network of mobility options available through one app. Source: IndyGo. Figure 27. IndyGoâs payment system accepts payment from reloadable cards or smartphones.
Toolkits 123 Microtransit: Gwinnett County Transit Division Microtransit, also known as DRT or flex service, enables real-time, on-demand transit trip sched- uling using an app or over the phone. Vehicles pick up passengers at individual addresses or central pickup locations, typically operating within a designated zone. Microtransit is often used to provide greater coverage of a service area and to connect otherwise underserved or unserved communities to the broader transit system. From September 2018 to April 2019, Gwinnett County Transit Division in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, piloted a door-to-door on-demand bus service. The pilot, which operated over a 6-month period, was conducted as part of a Comprehensive Operational Analysis and Transit Development Plan that functioned as a bus network redesign called Connect Gwinnett. For the pilot, seven 12-passenger buses were used to serve a 16-square-mile area of the county that had a low-population density and no existing fixed route service (Figure 28). Customers used an app to request rides that were offered free of charge during the pilot. The service operated weekdays (6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and Saturdays (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) with a 20- to 25-minute average wait time. The Gwinnett County Transit Division credits the pilot with starting a conversation about alternate transportation in the community. In 2020, the division hopes to expand and renew the on-demand service. The success of the pilot led to the transit agency to the realization that microtransit should be part of the transit solution in their county. When and Why IndyGo Implemented Account-Based Fare Systems There was internal buy-in for the project among transit agency staff. A new BRT network with off-board fare payment based on the honor system was impetus for rethinking fare collection. The transit agency wanted to ensure seamless transfers between new and existing services. Combining multiple modes into one place for payment made sense. Fare collection system was antiquated and ready to be replaced. Selected Benefits Serve low-density areas that cannot support fixed route service. Serve key-trip generators in low-density areas. Provide first-mile/last-mile connections, anchoring zones to fixed route service. Source: https://www.gwinnettcounty.com/ (as of May 20, 2020). Figure 28. One of the 12-passenger buses used for the on-demand service. Working with Key Partners, Lessons Learned from Gwinnett County Transit Division â¢ Vehicle Operators. There are various models for how vehicles and labor can be provided. Gwinnett County Transit Division owned the vehicles used for on-demand service but had
124 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future a third-party contractor provide drivers. The division already had a contractor running its paratransit service and was able to utilize the same provider for the pilot. â¢ Mobility Companies. Transit Division staff work with mobility companies to deliver service. Gwinnett County partnered with a third party that provided their app and training for the operators. Moving forward, the Transit Division hopes the private company will run the app alongside a private operator. Conducting a pilot prior to installing permanent service allowed the Division to become comfortable with the technology. When and Why Gwinnett County Implemented Microtransit Trip generators exist in the zone but cannot support fixed route service. In Gwinnett County, this included three Walmarts, a hospital, a senior center, a library, an extended stay hotel, a high school, and a junior high school. The built environment lacks sidewalk connectivity. Real-Time Passenger Information: LANTA Real-time passenger information provides riders with accurate arrival and departure times for an individual bus. This information may be delivered via passenger information screens at stops or stations, via smartphone or web applications, or via telephone. LANTA, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, integrated real-time passenger information for fixed route service into their smartphone and web applications. The push for real-time infor- mation was separate from the transit agencyâs 2009 and 2011 comprehensive service planning studies but was requested during the outreach for these projects. The transit agencyâs applica- tion, which was implemented in 2012, allows riders to track the location and arrival status of buses in real-time using a computer-aided dispatch (CAD)/AVL(CAD/AVL) system. Figure 29 shows how the real-time vehicle tracker appears on LANTAâs app. Selected Benefits Real-time information provides riders with information to enhance their transit experience and make informed travel choices. Working with Key Partners, Lessons Learned from LANTA â¢ Transit Agency Staff. â Bus Operators. The operators received a basic tutorial about the real-time platform. This was limited to content such as where and how to download the app. â Technology. The app began as a text message based platform. Customers texted their bus stop to receive time information. When the app interface was first deployed, customers were checking on their computer prior to leaving the house. Later, there was an uptick in mobile usage. â Customer Service. The app was originally only web-based. It was initially used by the transit agencyâs customer service department when people called to ask for bus arrival time status. When and Why LANTA Implemented Real-Time Passenger Information To meet peopleâs expectations of modern transit service. The addition of real-time information was not seen as a ridership driver To enhance rider experience on LANTAâs low-frequency routes
Toolkits 125 Toolkit #3: Working with the Private Sector Bus network redesigns may involve planning for and deploying services operated by third- party private sector partners. These partnerships can take many forms, including leveraging private vendors for operations or maintenance of traditional fixed route transit services, having partners provide on-demand first-mile/last-mile services that link to the transit agencyâs routes, and using a private companyâs software or technical expertise to operate traditional or new forms of transit service. This toolkit focuses on partnerships in the new mobility context, a model that is unprec- edented at many transit agencies and thus requires extra consideration. Lessons from contract- ing for fixed route traditional bus services can inform contracting for new mobility services. Several resources already exist to guide transit agencies in implementing more traditional partner ships for fixed route service, and many of those lessons have informed the development of this toolkit. Working with the private sector can involve financial relationships where transit agencies procure services; part of this relationship can include setting performance-based incentives for the private sector company to ensure that the private provider is working to meet public sector goals. It also means non-financial relationships where transit agencies give space, curb access, advertising, or other public benefit to a private operator for a mutually beneficial outcome. Partnerships may also entail sharing of data and integration with publicly sponsored tools or initiatives. This toolkit will cover a variety of topics that transit agencies should consider when planning for partnerships with the private sector. It should be noted that this toolkit is not intended to cover an exhaustive list of all aspects of private sector partnerships but to cover key topics for Source: Screenshot of LANTAâs app (as of May 20, 2020). Figure 29. LANTAâs real-time vehicle tracker.
126 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future consideration, particularly in the context of private sector partnerships occurring or interacting with bus network redesigns. While some partnerships may be conceived of as part of a redesign (e.g., introducing new types of service to meet specific gaps identified in the redesign process), transit agencies with contracted service may also need to consider how existing private sector partners or contracts integrate with the redesign process. The following topics are addressed in this toolkit: â¢ Motivations for Working with the Private Sector â¢ Regulatory and Legal Considerations â¢ Identifying Potential Risks in Partnerships Motivations for Working with the Private Sector There are many motivations that may lead a transit agency to pursue or continue a partner- ship with an external partner. In some cases, transit agencies are required to partner, as in the case of the FTA MOD Sandbox Program, which provides grants to project teams to integrate transit and new technology solutions. In other cases, the decision to partner is driven by inter- nal limitations or a desire to explore new approaches to service delivery. It is key to identify the motivations for partnering at the outset of the development of any potential partnership to guide the type of partnership and define the goals and desired outcomes for the partnership. The flow chart in Figure 30 will help transit agencies determine whether to partner with a private sector new mobility partner. Sample Motivation 1: The transit agency does not have or decides not to develop in-house capacity to provide a portion or all of its service. Transit agencies may be limited in their capacity in terms of budget, personnel, or facility space to employ and train the staff needed to carry out services. For example, many transit agencies do not have the technical capacity to implement app-based flexible service or fare pay- ment. This is especially relevant in the new mobility context, in which transit agencies decide to partner with services like TNCs. Transit agencies may also partner to leverage routing and dispatch technologies developed in the private sector while maintaining direct operations and asset ownership. Example The FTA MOD Sandbox Program provides a platform for transit agencies to experiment with new technologies via partnerships. LA Metro and the Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) together entered a first-mile/last-mile partnership with Via. This is an example of transit agencies exploring dynamic routing and DRT to transit stations. Another example from the FTA MOD Sandbox Program is the DART integration of its GoPass ticketing app into TNC apps to provide access to multiple transportation options as first-mile/last-mile options. This program used the payment application programming interfaces and software development kits from these partners (FTA 2018). Sample Motivation 2: Enhance ability to achieve accountability and performance standards. Partnering can help transit agencies meet pre-defined performance targets that they use to hit benchmarks for funding. Public sector operators have imperatives to meet public interest goals, including service that is high quality, affordable, equitable, sustainable, and safe. If structured correctly, competition between private sector bidders compels these companies to meet perfor- mance targets with more direct incentives (profit) than public sector operators. Clearly estab- lishing these metrics in a contract can improve a transit agencyâs operations while potentially leading to cost savings if coupled with competitive contract tendering (Lotshaw et al. 2017).
Toolkits 127 Regulatory and Legal Considerations Transit agencies need to comply with FTA regulations as well as other relevant state, local, or grant-providing agency regulations whether or not they directly operate the service or use private sector partners to deliver services. With respect to partnerships between transit orga- nizations and new mobility private sector partners, the legal aspects are still largely unknown. Further, regulations for these partnerships are much less clear and have not been established as they have for more traditional contracts with a third party for traditional bus services (Waite 2018, 111). Do you currently contract the existing new mobility service? Yes Do you plan to develop expertise to bring service in house? Yes There is no need to continue partnership. No Keep partner involved in network redesign process and implementation. No Do you want to contract an existing service currently provided by in-house employees? Yes Federal law will make contracting in-house service nearly impossible. Do not contract or find a way not to affect existing workforce. No Are you planning to add new service (either by expanding reach or by offering new types or service)? Yes Do you plan to pay the private sector for this service? Yes A private partner makes sense. Carefully plan service goals, prepare competitive bid process, and engage with contract. No Form an agreement and set aside infrastructure (e.g. scooter parking). No There is no reason to partner. Figure 30. Flow chart to help transit agencies determine whether to partner with the private sector. Example Transport for London uses a quality-incentive contract model in which private sector partners receive financial bonuses for exceeding performance targets and penalties for failing to hit targets. This model has improved reliability, thus boosting ridership on the bus network 69% since 2000 (Lotshaw et al. 2017, 33). While this model is specific to fixed route transit, the notion of performance targets can be adapted to a new mobility context.
128 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future As new mobility partnerships evolve, transit agencies should pay attention to how the federal government adapts to accommodate these services. For example, the FTA is in the process of categorizing TNCs to determine whether they must follow the same regulations as traditional mass transit. Currently, TNCs do not have to report data to the NTD. If new mobility providers are found to be âmass transitâ in this sense, they will be required to report, for example, total boardings, vehicle miles, vehicle hours, passenger miles, asset inventory, and revenue sources (Curtis et al. 2019, 5-8, 5-9). However, this would not necessarily meet a transit operatorâs need for more detailed data sharing for planning purposes, nor would it necessarily comply with local data-sharing mandates. ADA and Shared Mobility For services that are under contract, Part 37 of the ADA requires transit agencies to ensure that private sector partners comply with the same requirements that the transit agencies would be required to follow if they were directly operating the service, sometimes referred to as âstand- in-the-shoesâ requirements. These requirements do not apply, however, in two cases: when private entities are simply regulated by public entities or receive a permit to operate from public entities; and when public entities provide subsidies to private companies for the services they already operate (FTA C 4710.1). Private sector partners, however, typically do not have the same capability to provide equivalent service for customers with disabilities (Tsay et al. 2016, 33). For example, partnerships with TNCs or microtransit providers may face difficulties ensuring that the services are wheelchair accessible, because they do not typically have wheelchair-accessible vehicles and will engage third-party contractors to provide such vehicles for pilots (Curtis et al. 2019, S-2). Audible stop announcements are another benefit of fixed route service that is neither required by FTA nor typically provided in shared mobility. TNCs. FTA guidance on shared mobility states the following about the ADA regulations that apply to TNC services: â¢ âThe service, though not necessarily the ridesourcing [TNC] vehicles themselves, would have to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, including those who use wheel- chairs. . . . A transit system partnering with a ridesourcing entity to provide service to and from a commuter rail station, for example, could dispatch accessible vehicles from its own paratransit fleet via the ridesourcing entityâs smartphone app to accommodate wheelchair usersâ (FTA 2016). â¢ In the case of partnerships with TNCs, the transit agency is obligated to meet the equivalent service standard and can do so by using accessible vehicles provided by the TNC operator, another third-party operator, or transit agency vehicles (Graves 2019). Microtransit. FTA guidance states that providers of demand-responsive service to a new service area ensure that wheelchair-accessible vehicles be available, that fares for riders using wheelchair-accessible vehicles be the same as a rider using a vehicle that is not wheelchair- accessible for a similar trip, and that wait times for wheelchair-accessible and non-wheelchair- accessible vehicles be the same (FTA 2016). Often, heavy-duty shuttle vehicles are used to meet ADA paratransit needs for microtransit services a transit agency offers (Shared-Use Mobility Center n.d.). Checklist: ADA Compliance The purpose of this checklist is to help transit agencies design contracts for services that comply with ADA laws. It is intended as a guide to help transit agencies ensure the provision of equivalent service but may not be an exhaustive list of all considerations an individual transit agency may need to review.
Toolkits 129 Further Reading â¢ FTA. November 4, 2015. Circular 4710.1 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Guidance, pp. 1-5, 1-6. â¢ Simon, R.M. 1998. TCRP Synthesis 31: Paratransit Contracting and Service Delivery Methods. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, DC. â¢ FTA. 2016. Shared Mobility FAQs: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin for programs receiving federal funds. FTA Circular 4702.1B describes specific requirements for analyses that must be performed by providers of fixed route transit operating 50 or more vehicles in peak period service that must be addressed when making service or fare changes. All transit agencies should consult their Title VI Officer and the FTA Region Title VI Officer at the outset of planning for any private sector partnership to understand how the requirements of FTA C 4702.1B need to be addressed in their planning process. â¢ If partnerships with ridesourcing providers (TNCs) are replacing fixed route service for a transit agency that operates 50 or more vehicles in peak period service, then the transit agency may be required to conduct a service equity analysis that documents the potential findings of dis- parate impact to minority communities and disproportionate burden to low-income comments because of the fixed route service changes. Transit agencies could consult the major service change policy in their Title VI Program to determine if a service equity analysis is required. â¢ Microtransit is not specifically addressed as a mode in FTA C 4702.1B. Given that micro- transit often has characteristics of both fixed route and DRT, the specific characteristics of the service design may impact guidance from your Title VI Officer and FTA Region Title VI Officer on how to analyze the effects of introducing microtransit. â¢ If microtransit service is classified as DRT, no Title VI Service Equity Analysis is required. 1. When negotiating contracts, does the contract or transit agency policy address the seven metrics? (All must be checked.) Response time Fares Geographic area of service Hours and delay of service Restrictions or priorities based on trip purpose Availability of information and reservation capability Constraints on capacity or service availability 2. What methods are used to ensure private sector partner compliance with contract terms? (Check all that apply, but at least one must be checked.) Audits of private sector partner Unannounced on-site visits to observe operations Customer surveys Vehicle/maintenance records inspection Monthly management performance reports Other________________________________ 3. What operational model are you using to provide equivalent service? (Any of these can be chosen.) All private sector partner vehicles comply Private sector partner has subcontract with ADA- compliant provider Transit agency has two contracts to comply 4. Have you coordinated with the city department responsible for issuing dockless permits with respect to sidewalk accessibility? Yes No
130 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future â¢ If a transit agency that operates 50 or more vehicles in peak period service is modifying exist- ing fixed route transit service in concert with the introduction of microtransit service, then the transit agency may be required to conduct a service equity analysis that documents the potential findings of disparate impact to minority communities and disproportionate burden to low-income comments because of the fixed route service changes. Transit agencies could consult the major service change policy in their Title VI Program to determine if a service equity analysis is required. â¢ If the microtransit service is classified as fixed route, you may or may not need to conduct a Title VI Service Equity Analysis. Transit agencies could consult the major service change policy in their Title VI Program to determine if a service equity analysis is required. Checklist: Title VI Compliance The purpose of this checklist is to help transit agencies design contracts for services that comply with Title VI laws. It is intended as a guide to help transit agencies provide access for underserved communities but may not be an exhaustive list of all considerations an individual transit agency may need to review. Have you consulted with your Title VI Officer and FTA Region Title VI Officer to inquire about the applicability of conducting a Title VI Service Equity Analysis for your specific shared-mobility-related service change? Yes No Further Reading â¢ FTA. October 1, 2012. Circular 4702.1B: Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients. â¢ Oregon Department of Transportation. 2018. Handbook: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. â¢ Transportation for America. 2018. Shared Micromobility Playbook. Equity Considerations Among the most pressing issues with respect to new mobility partnerships is ensuring equi- table service. Transit agencies should set clear objectives and assess equity broadly to achieve the best outcomes for a partnership (Peterson et al. 2019, 2). Transit agencies should consider the spatial, temporal, economic, physiological, and social barriers to achieving equity (Peterson et al. 2019, 10). Spatial analyses of demographics, access to jobs and crucial services, and trans- portation service should be used to establish baselines of the transportation network, and this analysis can inform performance metrics tied to specific community-driven goals to improve equity in service (Accuardi 2018, 39). Unbanked Populations In general, TNC and micromobility riders must have a debit or credit card, a mobile device, and access to mobile data. This can exclude some people from using these services (Westervelt et al. 2017, 108). Providers typically address this by engaging a third party (e.g., taxi service) that accommodates dispatching over the phone, or by utilizing a dispatch platform that allows a call center to make bookings and manage reservations on behalf of the customer (Curtis et al. 2019, S-2, S-3). Requiring private sector partners to use a cash-based system is one way to ensure that service is available to those who are unbanked. Low-Income Populations New mobility services may be less affordable to the user than traditional public transpor- tation services. Service providers should first assess whether the new options are affordable
Toolkits 131 for low-income individuals to regularly use those services or, if bus services are to be cut and replaced by new mobility services, that there are mechanisms in place to ensure that costs do not increase for low-income riders (Cohen and Cabansagan 2017, 8). Equitable Access Many cities include a requirement for equity plans in their permitting processes whereby operators must demonstrate how their services increase access for all with a specific emphasis on communities with fewer public transit options. Transit agencies can work with the depart- ment in charge of micromobility permits to determine whether equity plans are in place (Transportation for America 2020; National Association of City Transportation Officials 2019). Checklist: Equity Considerations This checklist will help transit agencies determine what they should do to ensure they are achieving equitable service when partnering during a bus network redesign. 1. What analyses will be conducted to assess baseline public transit equity? (The following are examples of analyses, not an exhaustive list.) a. Spatial analyses to identify traditionally disadvantaged populations. b. Project-level planning analyses that assess both quantitative and qualitative community data to identify how a partnership may affect a specific route or program. c. System-level planning analyses that assess both quantitative and qualitative community data to identify how a partnership may affect the entire transit system. d. Mobility equity analysis that assesses whether projects increase access to mobility, reduce air pollution, and enhance economic opportunities for affected communities. e. Accessibility-driven performance analysis that measures access to critical destinations like jobs, cultural spaces, healthcare facilities, schools, and groceries. f. Community outreach that is inclusive and accessible to all who may be affected by a change in service. 2. How will the selected service performance goals impact baseline equity in terms of the proportion of traditionally disadvantaged populations served and the quality of the service experienced by these populations versus the general population? 3. What strategies will be used to ensure access for the traditionally disadvantaged populations traveling in the selected service area? How will the populations that these strategies are intended to serve be involved in their development or review? 4. If conducting public outreach for the partnership activity, will public outreach be conducted in an equitable fashion and in accordance with your transit agencyâs Title VI Public Participation Plan? Further Reading â¢ Accuardi, Z. 2018. Inclusive Transit: Advancing Equity Through Improved Access and Opportunity. TransitCenter, New York, NY. â¢ City of Oakland. Equity Dashboard. http://oakbec.s3.amazonaws.com/MapLanding/maps/ Equity_Dashboard_2.html (as of February 18, 2020). â¢ Creger, H., J. Espino, and A.S. Sanchez. 2018. Mobility Equity Framework: How to Make Transportation Work for People. The Greenlining Institute. â¢ Peterson, S.J., B. Holland, E. Evenhouse, and P. Lauer. 2019. Equity and Shared Mobility Services: Working with the Private Sector to Meet Equity Objectives. Shared-Use Mobility Center, Chicago, IL. Data Sharing Data shared by private new mobility providers, including TNCs and microtransit companies, could prove useful for transit agency planners seeking to determine travel patterns and how people are using these services in areas with varying levels of transit service.
132 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future Existing research has identified the inability to reach agreements on data sharing as one of the biggest barriers to pursuing partnerships with the private sector, even though a transit agencyâs access to data will affect its ability to assess service performance and secure public funding (Curtis et al. 2019, 3-3). TNCs are hesitant to share data due to privacy concerns, and most transit agencies are required to make data available and open to the public under âsunshine lawsâ or federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws (Curtis et al. 2019, ES-2). Specific data collection and sharing requirements can be listed in agreements between the organization and the partnering companies (New York Public Transit Association n.d., 10). Regulated compulsory data sharing has been effective for organizations, but many munici- palities are not permitted by state law to require this information from private partners. Most transit providers that have set up voluntary data-sharing agreements have not found them par- ticularly effective. For example, Boston started a voluntary data-sharing agreement with a TNC in 2015. The city has found that the data is aggregated at a ZIP code level, which does not provide enough detail for meaningful analysis. Furthermore, there are strong data protection agreements that prevent the City of Boston from responding to FOIA requests on the data (though the TNC has agreed to be liable for any penalties for violating FOIA) or sharing it with any third parties, including using cloud-based systems (which could be considered third party) to analyze the data (Tsay et al. 2016, 38). Another option is to have the private company share through a third party, such as a non-profit or a university, which has potential benefits in terms of data security and privacy (Tsay et al. 2016, 75). Data-sharing agreements with private companies tend to be most beneficial for public entities with leverage, either through the size of their market or through regulations. New York City has both the market size and the state-granted regulatory power to require data sharing. New York City has also long required data from providers that are not new mobility, such as taxis and black cars, which provided more political justification for requiring that new mobility providers share date (Tsay et al. 2016, 35-36). The Cityâs data requirements result in information on origins for all trips taken on TNCs. This data is available to the public and utilized for third- party research and analysis (Tsay et al. 2016, 35-36). While New York City has significantly more leverage to negotiate agreements because of its size, other cities like Seattle have also instituted data-sharing requirements. An alternative to negotiating data-sharing requirements at the municipal level is to create statewide requirements (Tsay et al. 2016, 35). Before negotiating a contract, a transit agency should define service performance goals and what data it would need to assess progress toward those goals. This can then be written into the contract via a term sheet or reporting requirements for the private entity that provides that data (Tsay et al. 2016, 8). Checklist: Data Sharing This checklist will help transit agencies understand how to use data in service of achieving performance goals and design a contract that clearly delineates data requirements to private sector partners. 1. List any existing or pending state, local, or transit agency legal constraints regarding data collection or sharing (e.g., public records request laws). 2. Do you currently collect data to measure your service performance goals? If so, what additional data would you need to achieve those goals? Yes No
Toolkits 133 Further Reading â¢ Grossman, A., and P. Lewis. 2020. Data on Demand: A Case Study in the Los Angeles and Puget Sound Regions. Eno Center for Transportation, Washington, DC. â¢ Tsay, S., Z. Accuardi, and B. Schaller. September 2016. Private Mobility, Public Interest: How Public Agencies Can Work with Emerging Mobility Providers. TransitCenter, New York, NY. â¢ Gururaja, P., R. Faust, and S. Feigon. 2019. Objective-Driven Data Sharing for Transit Agen- cies in Mobility Partnerships. Shared-Use Mobility Center, Chicago, IL. Labor and Safety Considerations Among the considerations when implementing a new mobility partnership or contracting for service delivery is how proposed changes will affect labor relations and safety of both operators and passengers. Table 7 lists several labor laws that relate to new mobility providers. Labor laws guide how transit agencies interact with their existing and potential workforces. For new mobility providers, particularly TNCs, workers are not salaried but rather paid per task, resulting in a lack of clarity in some cases as to how these workers fit into the existing legal context; the employment status and worker protections for these and other gig economy workers is a topic of consideration by legislative bodies across the country, such as the New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California legislatures (Rosenberg 2020). Given that workplace protec- tions for gig economy workers is increasingly a focus at the state level, transit agencies should make clear in contracts how the service partner should support their workforce. 3. Did you create a term sheet early in the process to determine the data points requested? Yes No 4. Who will have access to the data? (Check all that apply.) Transit agency Private sector partner Third party (e.g., non-profit or university) Others 5. Who will own the data? Transit agency Private sector partner 6. What measures do you take to ensure data privacy? Removing unique identifiers Aggregating data Maintaining secure server and computer access 7. List any existing or pending state, local, or transit agency legal constraints regarding data collection or sharing (e.g., public records request laws). Applicable Law Description National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 151 â 169) Stipulates that workers classified as employees, but not independent contractors, have the right to form or join unions or participate in collective bargaining. Federal Transit Act, Section 13(c) Protects the benefits, collective bargaining rights, and working conditions of incumbent workers both at transit agencies and private companies operating transit service as purchased transportation. California Assembly Bill 5 (2019) California is one state among several that now require TNCs and microtransit providers to hire workers as employees, rather than as independent contractors. Table 7. Selected relevant labor force laws.
134 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future With regard to safety, the differing legal and regulatory requirements for private compa- nies compared with transit agencies may pose risks to drivers and passengers. Public transit drivers undergo extensive background checking and specific training to create a safe environ- ment for passengers, and private sector drivers are not held to the same training standards. Table 8 lists some labor and safety challenges experienced by transit agencies and how they responded. Checklist: Labor As the bus network redesign team considers working with private providers, they should consult the following checklist to consider labor implications. 1. Does the service you are trying to contract out represent any loss of in- house workers? Yes [Agencies wishing to contract out transit services are not prohibited from doing so under federal law, but they must do so in compliance with 13(c)] No 2. Are there any current or pending laws in your jurisdiction about worker protections for independent contractors? Yes No 3. Does your transit agency have any of the following policies that support contracted worker protections? If no to any, will you evaluate how to incorporate these policies into your existing contracts? Compensation parity Defined benefit retirement plan Benefits similar or equal to city employees New Mobility Partner Labor or Safety Characteristic Challenge for a Transit Agency Example Transit Agency Response Employees are independent contractors To provide federally funded services, such as paratransit, the FTA requires drivers to undergo drug and alcohol testing (Shared-Use Mobility Center 2016a, 26). There is a âtaxicabâ exception, in which these rules do not apply if the customer can choose which company to use. This exception does not apply, however, if the transit provider makes this choice, for example, if the transit company provides vouchers for a single operator (Graves 2019). The KCATA partnered with its transit union to provide new mobility services, using unionized labor to operate the vehicles. Transit provider and union conversations about the implications of new mobility began early in the development of their contract with a private new mobility partner to provide the service (Tsay et al. 2016, 30; Westervelt et al. 2017, 110). Low level of driver training and vetting The lack of training and vetting required specifically of TNC drivers compared with other professional drivers poses safety and liability concerns (Waite 2018). Unlike many commercial drivers, TNC drivers are not always required to undergo fingerprinting, drug tests, or sensitivity training (Curtis et al. 2019, 3-2). The California Public Utilities Commission, while not a transit agency, requires TNCs to provide driver training programs and report on the number of drivers completing the program. However, there is no public data on this program and its effectiveness (San Francisco Transportation Authority 2017, 4). Concerns that a partnership will result in loss of unionized positions Many transit agency respondents to one survey indicated that concerns about the impact or perceived impact to union labor was a key challenge (Curtis et al. 2019, 121). Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA). Prior to piloting on-demand services with two TNC companies and a local cab company, labor unions with LAVTA expressed concern that the partnerships would replace the unionized workforce. However, the unionâs concerned were allayed after learning that the pilot would not reduce the amount of fixed route service provided or impact the number of union operators (Curtis et al. 2019, 38-39). Table 8. Common new mobility partner labor or safety characteristics and transit agencies.
Toolkits 135 Further Reading â¢ Lotshaw, S., P. Lewis, D. Bragdon, and Z. Accuardi. 2017. A Bid for Better Transit: Improv- ing Service with Contracted Operations. TransitCenter and Eno Center for Transportation, Washington, DC. Identifying Risks in Partnerships Contracting or partnering with the private sector always involves a level of risk. The partner that is chosenâand the service contract agreed uponâcan have an impact on the transit agency workforce and the riding publicâs daily lives. Laws and regulations are constantly changing, implicating labor protections, data sharing, and how, where, and for what cost the systems operate. Understanding and mitigating risks like these are particularly important as transit agencies implement bus network redesigns that include elements of new mobility in their long-term operational plans. This section will cover the types of risk that contracting or part- nering with the private sector entails, including how to anticipate and mitigate these risks with an effective contract. As shown in Figure 31, there are four major elements of risk to which transit agencies may be susceptible when partnering during a bus network redesign. â¢ Financial risk. A transit agency is at financial risk when it funds services provided by an external partner. â¢ Operational risk. Relying on a partner for service puts a transit agency at operational risk, because if those services are no longer offered, the transit agency must find another way to provide service. Financial Risk Risk that service delivery costs go up for the transit agency Operational Risk Risk that service is interrupted Regulatory Risk Risk that external mandates shape service in an unhelpful way Reputational Risk Risk that positive regard of the agency is damaged Figure 31. Four major elements of risk in partnerships between transit agencies and the private sector.
136 Redesigning Transit Networks for the New Mobility Future â¢ Regulatory risk. Government actions put a transit agency at regulatory risk because any new mandates or laws may interrupt the transit agencyâs ability to proceed with a partnership or may impact existing partnerships. â¢ Reputational risk. Partnering can put a transit agency at reputational risk if the partner fails to provide service to the standard or precedent set by the transit agency itself. These risks are interrelated. Exposure to one type of risk can introduce another type of risk to the transit agency. For example, if the service provision costs increase (i.e., financial risk), the transit agency may initially increase fares to deliver the service, damaging its reputation (i.e., rep- utational risk), and may eventually cease to provide the service altogether (i.e., operational risk). Financial Risk Contracting presents an opportunity to transfer risks related to financial costs to the private sector. In some cases, such as when the private sector partner provides assets, they take on capital risks associated with these assets (Reich and Davis 2011, 58). In other cases, such as fare revenue as it relates to ridership, the transit agency maintains the risk and would thus be impacted finan- cially in a way that the private sector would not necessarily be in the event of ridership declines (Lotshaw et al. 2017, 130). A private sector partner will often price risk and uncertainty into their bids, which is something that a transit agency should learn to identify before entering the contracting phase (Lotshaw et al. 2017, 130-131). Potential Strategies to Anticipate and Mitigate Financial Risk â¢ Gather information on pilot programs being conducted at other transit agencies â¢ Monitor the financial trends at new mobility companies â¢ Identify where a private sector partner has built uncertainty into their bidding price â¢ Conduct a pilot with a new partner before engaging in full-scale operations â¢ Create a contingency plan for situations, such as if a private sector partnerâs prices increase dramatically after a pilot â¢ Link financial risks to positive incentives for the private sector partner Operational Risk If a private sector partner ceases to exist or changes their operational model in any significant way, this can put transit agencies at risk of losing a service that augments their networks and brings users to the system. If a transit agency relies completely on a private companyâs service without the ability to step in and continue service in the event of a service interruption, it may lose riders over the long term. Private companies must achieve financial viability (with revenues meeting or exceeding costs) or they will go out of business. In recent years, TNCs, which were initially backed by venture capital, have reported considerable financial losses (King and Newcomer 2018). Many private micromobility providers also report considerable financial losses, and in the late 2010s, large- scale layoffs at both TNCs and micromobility providers have occurred in an effort to decrease costs at these firms (Wilson 2020). Partnering with firms that have not achieved financial via- bility can pose a risk for a transit agency, because they may not be able to operate indefinitely without raising the cost of their services or scaling back their operations, including potentially ceasing operations in a transit agencyâs service area. Potential Strategies to Anticipate and Mitigate Operational Risk â¢ Evaluate financial performance of private companies. â¢ Incorporate contingency plans for continued service in the event that a private company can no longer provide service.
Toolkits 137 Regulatory Risk Regulation in a new mobility market tends to happen outside of the transit agencyâs juris- diction and affects a transit agencyâs decision to pursue partnerships as well as the ultimate shape of those partnerships. Following their experience with the arrival of TNCs in markets with little regulation, cities and states are increasingly apt to regulate new services. Strict permitting requirements or regulations like data-sharing requirements may discourage companies from seeking to operate in a given place, but it can also pose new challenges to a transit agency that may not have the capacity to oversee that companies comply with new regulations in the context of a contracted partnership. Determining the appropriate amount of consideration to give to each of these factors when establishing a contract is important. A transit agency should weight the importance of these and any additional factors in relation to one another, then consider how these factors map on to various governance arrangements before determining which is most appropriate. Insurance is another consideration that plays out differently depending on the partnership type. For new mobility services, transit agencies approach liability requirements in different ways. In a recent survey, 53% of transit agency respondents indicated that partners or collabora- tors are not required to obtain additional liability insurance as part of a partnership, while 29% stated that partners must obtain additional coverage (Curtis et al. 2019, 125). A recent report on the legal considerations of partnerships between transit organizations and TNCs provided guidance on best practices regarding risk management. With respect to insurance, insurance coverage should apply to vehicles that are hired and vehicles that are owned by drivers. The report also suggests that agreements use broad language regarding compensation for harm or loss, especially because TNC drivers are not full-time employees of the companies for which they drive (Waite 2018, 108-109). Potential Strategies to Anticipate and Mitigate Regulatory and Governance Risk â¢ Create a decision matrix to compare various governance models against decision factors. â¢ Stay informed of state and local regulations with respect to new mobility. â¢ Maintain close contact with officials from your state and local jurisdictionsâ legislative affairs offices to stay informed about potential legislative changes that may impact your partnerships. Reputational Risk Choosing to partner means that a transit agency is entrusting its services to a private com- pany. If that company underperforms or in some way violates public trust, both the company and the transit agency may be blamed. An unsuccessful pilot with a new mobility company may also reflect poorly on a transit agency and hinder the potential to introduce and scale the pilot for full service. Vehicle branding for new mobility provider partnersâwhich may be the transit agencyâs, the private companyâs, or a combination of those twoâis one factor that may influence the assignment of blame in the event of inadequate or unsafe service. Transit agencies should think critically about the public-facing aspects of service operation and how to mitigate or manage any public-relations-related to service issues. Potential Strategies to Anticipate and Mitigate Reputational Risk â¢ Anticipate the types of challenges that may affect your service when in the hands of a private sector partner. â¢ When piloting a service and providing full-scale service with a new private sector partner, conduct longitudinal assessments of rider opinions of both that operator and your transit agency. â¢ Develop standards and procedures for responding to significant events for both the private sector partner and your transit agency.