The discussion highlighted how transportation providers were able to find innovative solutions to implement BRT under the unique context of the New York City metropolitan region, where street widths, curbside usage, land use characteristics, and competing transit options often pose challenges for developing a BRT system similar to those built in Latin America and Asia. The panel’s speakers highlighted how implementation of Select Bus Service in New York City and bus rapid transit in high-volume, medium-density, and suburban settings in New Jersey have succeed in reducing travel times, improving level-of-service, and attracting new riders by adapting BRT characteristics to better fit the context of the corridors and communities they serve.
Due to a number of last-minute scheduling conflicts, the April 10 NYU Rudin Center symposium on ”Climate-Proofing Connectivity: The Future of New York’s Links to the Northeast Corridor” will be postponed to a new date later this year. We will update you when a new schedule is confirmed.
Thanks for your interest in this important issue.
Please join us at one of our other two events for next week on BRT and Innovation.
POSTPONED UNTIL FALL April 10th: Climate-Proofing Connectivity: The Future of New York’s Links to the Northeast Corridor – This symposium will convene experts on climate change, next-generation aviation, and high-speed rail planning to explore how New York’s external transportation connections can adapt to climate change in the coming decades to provide secure, resilient and sustainable economic lifelines in the face of an uncertain future.
April 20th: Rethinking Regulation Design Challenge – This challenge is about bringing stakeholders to the table to develop innovative, realistic, and implementable solutions to help address the problems government regulators face when monitoring illegal apartment conversions in NYC, and non-compliant “Chinatown” motorcoach companies. (with NYU Wagner and OpenPlans)
All events are free and open to the public. Click on the event titles to register. See you in April!
Polly Trottenberg, Under Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, visited with the NYU Rudin Center and Wagner students, faculty, transportation professionals, and representatives of the media last week to discuss timely issues in federal transportation policy. Her talk focused on financing transportation, the successes of the TIGER grant program, and the increasing role of technology and data in government.
She also addressed how the Sequester will impact USDOT. Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) composes about 75% of the USDOT’s budget, they will bear the burden of the spending cuts. Airports with less traffic may lose their funding. There will also likely be impacts to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) budget, but about half of USDOT will be unaffected.
Ms. Trottenberg also highlighted the increasing difficulty of financing transportation as the gas tax no longer covers the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. She pointed to tools such as gas sales taxes and Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT) taxes, and emphasized tolling of highways as a potential significant revenue source. She acknowledged that while federal transportation law prevents the tolling of existing road capacity, state law and legislators have also failed to initiate policies that would change this limitation, which creates a political block on a potential new revenue source for transportation. In general, she said, she believes that state transportation policy must be pushed in a more progressive direction.
Many in the room were happy to hear Ms. Trottenberg’s support for more open data and advanced technology use at the federal government. She said that USDOT should tap into the resources of the private sector to better understand and analyze transportation issues throughout the country. She pointed to a moment when her staff was on the phone with Google employees in Stuttgart, Germany, when the USDOT staff asked about the reliability of real-time traffic data. After a pause of a few seconds, the Google employees responded, “well it’s not like it’s more than 60 seconds off,” a response met with laughter by USDOT staff considering that to be, of course, extremely reliable. The story was also received with laughter during our discussion, and the audience appreciated the example for government’s need to tap into existing technological resources.
Rudin Research Associate Sarah Kaufman spoke at yesterday’s Transportation Equity Conference in Albany to discuss the role of smart transportation in environmental sustainability. The topic is more complex than it seems: as driving becomes easier with tools like autonomous cars, traffic sensing and self-aware parking spots, how can we continue to reduce car use, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions? In the United States, commutes are growing ever-longer, as the NYU Rudin Center showed with our Super-Commuter report last year: fast-growing numbers of Americans are traveling more than 90 minutes or 90 miles each way, usually by car.
We can use technology to make transit more enticing:
- Open data lets travelers see schedules before they reach a station
- Advanced fare payment systems, like MBTA’s mobile payments, make it easy to board even when the right fare is unavailable
- Walkability measures, like those provided by Walkscore, allow us to choose our housing locations by the ability to run errands on foot or use transit for a commute, saving money and waistlines.
These are just some basic tools to make transit a more pleasurable and efficient experience (several, like augmented reality, are on the horizon, and will shift our mobility patterns even further). For environmental and economic needs, these foundational technologies must be in place to bring riders over to transit and mitigate automobile dependence.
The event also featured community announcements by NYU Wagner students promoting an upcoming design challenge surrounding Chinatown Bus regulations, Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans showcasing the IfWeKnew tool, and the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA previewing its upcoming report on data visualizations.
The group also discussed its wishlist for future data sets and projects, which will be posted on the group’s site shortly.
Hope to see you at the next event!
Sarah Kaufman welcomes attendees to the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Tina Spaic and Liz Buck of NYU Wagner announce their forthcoming Design Challenge at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Neil Freeman presents NYC DOT data at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Frank Hebbert of Open Plans presents the If We Knew tool at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Mike Frumin of MTA presents the Bus Time API at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
Ellyn Shannon of the PCAC discusses her forthcoming report at the NY Open Transportation Meetup
We’re heading to the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting next weekend in Washington, DC, and hope to see you there. Members of the NYU Rudin Center staff will participate in several sessions:
Thanks to the 100 or so attendees, and in particular, to all of our excellent presenters:
- David Mahfouda, Weeels, brought to light the concept of taxis as public transit
- Taylor Reiss, NYC Dept. of Transportation, showcased exciting plans for Select Bus Service
- Jesse Friedman, Google, proposed new ideas to make bus ridership more appealing
- Brian Langel, Dash, presented his new app Dash for personalized car data
- Susi Wunsch, Velojoy, discussed the importance of women in bicycling efforts
- Raz Schwartz, Rutgers, showed the compelling urban data that can be gleaned from social media and neighborhood connectivity
- Matt Healy, Foursquare, demonstrated the movements of New Yorkers shown through FourSquare checkins
We’ll see you in the Spring with more exciting events. If you have speaker suggestions for our next Short Talks, Big Ideas event, please get in touch!