The federal government, through various transportation acts, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and, more recently, the Safe, Affordable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), has reinforced the need for integration of land use and transportation and the provision of public transit. Other federal programs, such as the Livable Communities Program and the New Starts Program, have provided additional impetus to public transit. At the state and regional level, the past three decades have seen increased provision of public transit. However, the public transit systems typically require significant operating and capital subsidies—75 percent of transit funding is provided by local and state governments.1 With all levels of government under significant fiscal stress, new transit funding mechanisms are welcome. Value capture (VC) is once…
A livable community has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive features and services, and adequate mobility options for people, regardless of age or ability. As communities address the general shortage of affordable housing, preserving affordable housing in transit-oriented developments (TODs) is one of the challenges that communities can address to increase their livability.
TODs are compact, walkable, mixed-use communities that are developed around high-quality public transportation. Residents often prize these places for the advantages created by the proximity to transportation and other amenities. One consequence of this desirability is that it can increase land and property values, exacerbating housing affordability challenges.
As policymakers try to extend the benefits of TODs to affordable housing locations, they must ensure that those benefits are available to people of low and moderate incomes and to those with different mobility…
Transit planning in the United States has tended toward viewing BRT as an analogue to light rail transit, with similar operating patterns. This model, referred to as “Light Rail Lite,” is compared to international best practices, which have often favored the development of a grade-separated bus infrastructure (“Quickways”) that in turn supports a varied mix of all-stops, express, and branching services. This model, dubbed the Quickway model, evolved out of the practical necessity of cities to meet ambitious ridership or mode split targets. The two models are contrasted along the key dimensions of BRT service, and significant differences are identified. Three international case studies—Ottawa, Bogotá, and Brisbane—are reviewed for their particular application of this model and of the results they have obtained. Four domestic cities are compared to these international examples: Eugene, Oregon, and Los Angeles are profiled for their adoption of the Light Rail Lite model, and…
When you shop, you may visit a mall, or go to your town’s main street. At the mall, you probably cruise past rows and rows of empty parking, the spaces filled only one day a year. Maybe you head downtown, but can only find vacant storefronts. And where things are bustling, you can’t find convenient parking near the stores you want to visit. All three of these scenarios represent a “parking problem” that has a negative impact on other community goals. At the mall, overbuilt parking consumes land and wastes money. Downtown, storefronts may sit empty because new businesses that would like to move in can’t meet high parking requirements – and too little parking makes good businesses less viable.
Bus Rapid Transit can achieve the capacity and economic development potential of rail, but at a fraction of the cost. Despite these successes, communities often view rail as superior to BRT and thus demand new rail systems. The challenge will be to ensure that BRT is evaluated on a level playing field with other technologies.