Intelligent Paratransit

Intelligent Paratransit

Kaufman, Sarah; Smith, Ashley; Jenny O'Connell and David Marulli

As Americans aged 65 or older increase from fifteen to twenty percent of the population by 2030, cities across the United States will face a transportation crisis. Urban residents who are physically unable to use public transportation, including the disabled and mobility-impaired elderly, are offered paratransit services. These paratransit systems, as required by an unfunded 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act mandate, are enormous, and growing annually in new applications and budget requirements.

Paratransit demand is growing nationwide and costs continually increase (now $5.2 billion nationwide); the user experience is often reported as poor. To address efficiency and user experience, this report assesses the state of paratransit, analyzes innovative solutions in three cities and recommends potential technological solutions. The Intelligent Paratransit Technological Upgrade Framework includes improvements in the areas of Onboarding, Reservations, Dispatch & Routing and User Experience. Key technological recommendations include:

  • Ride reservations should be available through multiple channels: phone, apps, SMS messaging, physical infrastructure on the street and wearable technology for riders.
  • Paratransit agencies must collaborate with taxis and app-based car services, including Uber, Lyft, Via and SilverRide, to integrate efficient services.
  • Services connecting riders to transit should feature real-time, in-vehicle data integration with transit services to optimize accessibility of trips.
  • As cities grow in language diversity, paratransit vehicles should feature on-board translation apps and call-in numbers to better service all riders.

By applying new technological systems to a 26 year-old mandate, paratransit services can be made more efficient and provide a better customer experience. In New York City, these upgrades could save the agency up to $133 million per year. Improving mobility solutions for the elderly and disabled is possible, necessary and urgent.

L Train Closure and Mitigation

L Train Closure and Mitigation

Mitchell L. Moss, Sarah M. Kaufman, Jorge Hernandez and Sam Levy

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced a timeline to repair the Canarsie Tube, the tunnel connecting the L Train between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Canarsie Tube must be repaired following the damage incurred from Superstorm Sandy; it was flooded by 7 million gallons of saltwater and closed for 11 days in 2012, reopening after short-term repairs were put in place.

The L has become synonymous with the Brooklyn brand; its surrounding communities will absorb the impact of this tunnel closure. This analysis investigates the importance of the L train by looking at the people and activities that it serves. It concludes with recommendations to mitigate the effects.

State of New York City's Housing & Neighborhoods in 2015

State of New York City's Housing & Neighborhoods in 2015
NYU Furman Center. Released May 9, 2016.

Maxwell Austensen, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Luke Herrine, Brian Karfunkel, Gita Khun Jush, Shannon Moriarty, Stephanie Rosoff, Traci Sanders, Eric Stern, Michael Suher, Mark A. Willis, and Jessica Yager

The State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report, published annually by the NYU Furman Center, provides a compendium of data and analysis about New York City’s housing, land use, demographics, and quality of life indicators for each borough and the city’s 59 community districts. The report combines timely and expert analysis of NYU Furman Center researchers with data transparency.

The 2015 report, released on May 9, 2016, is presented in three parts:

Part 1: Focus on Gentrification

Each year, the State of the City report describes, contextualizes, and provides analysis on a pressing and policy-relevant issue affecting New York City. In 2015, the report focuses on gentrification in New York City, exploring and comparing changes over time in the city's neighborhoods to better understand how rapidly rising rents affect residents.

Part 2: Citywide Analysis

The Citywide Analysis provides a broad, longitudinal analysis of the New York City's housing and neighborhoods. The chapter is divided into five parts: New Yorkers; land use and the built environment; homeowners and their homes; renters and their homes; and neighborhood services and conditions.

Part 3: City, Borough, and Community District Data

The data section provides current and historical statistics for over 50 housing, neighborhood, and socioeconomic indicators at the city, borough, and community district levels. It also includes indicator definitions and rankings; methods; and an index of New York City’s community districts and sub-borough areas.

Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City

Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City
NYU Furman Center. Published March 2016.

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Brian J. McCabe, and Eric Edward Stern

The year 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), which has the authority to designate areas as historic districts and to designate individual, interior and scenic landmark sites. The LPC aims to achieve a wide array of goals through preservation, from safeguarding historic assets to promoting tourism, enhancing property values, and furthering economic development. This fact brief does not seek to assess progress in meeting those goals, but rather to describe the extent of historic preservation in New York City and explore some of the differences between historic districts and non-regulated areas. This brief draws on our full report, Fifty Years of Historic Preservation, and focuses on historic districts as such districts include the majority of parcels regulated by the LPC.

Needed: Global Collaboration for Comparative Research on Cities and Health

Needed: Global Collaboration for Comparative Research on Cities and Health
International Journal of Health Policy and Management

Rodwin, VG. and Gusmano, MK.

Over half of the world’s population lives in cities and United Nations (UN) demographers project an increase of 2.5 billion more urban dwellers by 2050. Yet there is too little systematic comparative research on the practice of urban health policy and management (HPAM), particularly in the megacities of middle-income and developing nations. We make a case for creating a global database on cities, population health and healthcare systems. The expenses involved in data collection would be difficult to justify without some review of previous work, some agreement on indicators worth measuring, conceptual and methodological considerations to guide the construction of the global database, and a set of research questions and hypotheses to test. We, therefore, address these issues in a manner that we hope will stimulate further discussion and collaboration.

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City

Brian J. McCabe and Ingrid Gould Ellen

Problem, research strategy, and findings: A number of studies have examined the property value impacts of historic preservation, but few have considered how preservation shapes neighborhood composition. In this study, we ask whether the designation of historic districts contributes to changes in the racial composition and socioeconomic status of New York City neighborhoods. Bringing together data on historic districts with a panel of census tracts, we study how neighborhoods change after the designation of a historic district. We find little evidence of changes in the racial composition of a neighborhood, but report a significant increase in socioeconomic status following historic designation.
Takeaway for practice: Our research offers empirical evidence on changes in the racial composition and socioeconomic status of neighborhoods following the designation of a historic district. It suggests that historic preservation can contribute to economic revitalization in urban neighborhoods, but that these changes risk making neighborhoods less accessible to lower-income residents. Planners should consider ways that the city government can work to preserve the highly valued amenities of historic neighborhoods while mitigating the potential for residential displacement.


Subscribe to Cities