This paper outlines a methodology that assesses urbanity in three dimensions (density, diversity, and design) and creates a combined scorecard that weights each dimension according to its influence on transit usage and walkability. Using no proprietary methods, this approach can be repeated by any individual or local government with GIS software and basic internet access. The resulting measurements can be used by communities to assess what types of investments and regulatory changes are necessary to create more transit and pedestrian-friendly communities.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained attention as a potentially cost-effective form of highcapacity public transportation. This is particularly the case in small to medium-size cities that do not have high enough densities or serious enough peak-period traffic congestion to justify fairly expensive fixed-guideway transit investments. BRT is widely embraced for providing potential rail-like services at a fraction of the cost (Wright, 2011). This study explores possibilities for advancing BRT systems and associated higher density land development in the Central Valley of California. It uses photo-simulations and stakeholder reactions to visual images to gauge public attitudes toward what would be a fairly radical transformation of urban environments in traditionally car-oriented settings. Due to the comparatively low development densities found in the Central Valley relative to California’s larger metropolitan areas, the kinds of transformations that would be needed to…
Historically, many regional transit systems were designed in a “hub and spoke” pattern, focusing on moving residents from relatively low-density residential communities to a single high-density employment center – typically the region’s historic central business district (CBD). In general, these systems have worked well for those workers with jobs in central cities. The effectiveness of this kind of system hinges directly on the density of the jobs co-located in close proximity to each other and within a short distance of transit stations.
Although CBDs and downtowns remain important regional employment locations, American cities have experienced significant decentralization over the last 60 years, as job centers have shifted from urban downtowns to suburban communities. This “employment sprawl” has helped to generate much of the traffic congestion experienced across regions today, contributing to over 100 billion dollars in lost time and fuel every…
This paper examines how various land use factors such as density, regional accessibility, mix and roadway connectivity affect travel behavior, including per capita vehicle travel, mode split and nonmotorized travel. This information is useful for evaluating the ability of land use policies such as Smart Growth, New Urbanism and Access Management to help achieve transport planning objectives.
The Hampton Roads Regional Transit Vision Plan (HRRTVP or the “Vision Plan”) looks into the future – 2025 and beyond – to visualize what may be possible for the region’s transit services. It provides a concept for a regional rapid transit network that connects major employment and population centers in Hampton Roads. It envisions thoughtful and coordinated land use planning combined with specific transit modes that improve mobility options for the public. The purpose of HRRTVP is to provide a long-term framework for transit development, not a definite set of approved projects. As the region selects projects for further study, planners, elected officials, and the public will collaborate to define the specific requirements, alignments and transit modes in accordance with local land use planning, alternatives analysis, environmental considerations and available funding.
This thesis analyzes an on-board transit survey conducted by the Atlanta Regional Commission in order to determine how far urban density, mixed land-uses, and street network connectivity are related to different walking behaviors, namely transit walk-mode shares and walking distances to/from stations. The data are drawn from all the stations of Atlanta’s rapid transit network (MARTA).
Allowing for quite a bit of noise in the data, some of the findings confirm for the case of Atlanta what a review of existing literature would lead one to expect: mixed land-use and denser street networks are associated with higher proportion of riders traveling to/from the station “walking” (noise in the data does not allow to fully distinguish with certainty walking as the sole mode of access to/from the station from walking combined with the use of bus services).
The thesis also explores questions that have not been previously covered systematically in the literature. First, does urban…
Boulder has a residential population density greater than Denver – and is 40% more dense than peer cities like Palo Alto, California and Madison, Wisconsin. Still, there are calls by some for much greater density in Boulder. The public debate about increasing Boulder’s density has been emotional and rife with misinformation. A comprehensive analysis of the facts surrounding density and growth in Boulder is desperately needed. This PLAN-Boulder County report examines density and growth from four important aspects: regional transportation, greenhouse gas generation, adequate public services, and affordable housing.
The consensus of the scientific community is that human activity has contributed substantially to climate change through increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given the potential impacts of a continuation of these trends, this conclusion suggests that significant action is warranted to reduce GHG emissions to avoid the worst possible consequences. One proposed course of action is to increase residential density, primarily on the grounds that it will reduce vehicle miles traveled, a measure that is closely related to the GHG emissions from driving.
Much of the vast volume of research conducted on the topic of residential density and its relationship to travel shows that there is a link between residential density and the number of vehicle miles traveled. However, the relationship is complex and characterized by inter-relationships that researchers are still in the process of disentangling. On the surface, there is a clear correlation between residential density…
The development of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems is relatively recent in the United States, but several systems are in operation and more are advancing. There is a need for a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between land use and BRT system development, particularly in comparison to other fixed-guideway modes such as heavy and light rail. While recognizing that existing land uses have an important and complex influence on the development costs and benefits of fixed-guideway projects, this research focuses primarily on the impact such projects have had on existing and future land uses and economic development, as well as the policies and practices that have been used by local governments that have the potential to affect development. Finally, additional note has been taken as to whether the benefits and incentives offered along transit corridors between Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) are equitable in cities where both modes…
The proposed research addresses the impacts of urban form on transit ridership, in general, and the relationship between public transportation and walking, in particular. Urban form is defined in terms of three core dimensions: densities, land use patterns, and street networks. Existing literature suggests that population, employment and development densities (Holtzclaw 1994; Quade and Douglas Inc. 1996b; Cervero 1996); number of non-residential destinations and the mix of land uses (Cervero 2002; Kockelman 1997); density of street networks (Moudon et al. 2006; Handy 1996); and attitudinal factors (Kitamura et al. 1997; Krizek 2000) support walking and contribute to transit ridership.