Cities

Mind the Map! The Impact of Transit Maps on Path Choice in Public Transit

Mind the Map! The Impact of Transit Maps on Path Choice in Public Transit
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 45, 7, 625–639

Guo, Zhan
04/01/2011

This paper investigates the impact of schematic transit maps on passengers' travel decisions. It does two things: First, it proposes an analysis framework that defines four types of information delivered from a transit map: distortion, restoration, codification, and cognition. It then considers the potential impact of this information on three types of travel decisions: location, mode, and path choices.1 Second, it conducts an empirical analysis to explore the impact of the famous London tube map on passengers' path choice in the London Underground (LUL). Using data collected by LUL from 1998 to 2005, the paper develops a path choice model and compares the influence between the distorted tube map (map distance) and reality (travel time) on passengers' path choice behavior. Results show that the elasticity of the map distance is twice that of the travel time, which suggests that passengers often trust the tube map more than their own travel experience on deciding the ‘‘best'' travel path. This is true even for the most experienced passengers using the system. The codification of transfer connections on the tube map, either as a simple dot or as an extended link, could affect passengers' transfer decisions. The implications to transit operation and planning, such as trip assignments, overcrowding mitigation, and the deployment of Advanced Transit Information System (ATIS), are also discussed.

Developing coastal adaptation to climate change in the New York City infrastructure-shed: process, approach, tools, and strategies

Developing coastal adaptation to climate change in the New York City infrastructure-shed: process, approach, tools, and strategies

C. Rosenzweig, W. D. Solecki, R. Blake, M. Bowman, C. Faris, V. Gornitz, R. Horton, K. Jacob, A. LeBlanc, R. Leichenko, M. Linkin, D. Major, M. O’Grady, L. Patrick, E. Sussman, G. Yohe, R. Zimmerman.
02/26/2011

While current rates of sea level rise and associated coastal flooding in the New York City region appear to be manageable by stakeholders responsible for communications, energy, transportation, and water infrastructure, projections for sea level rise and associated flooding in the future, especially those associated with rapid icemelt of the Greenland and West Antarctic Icesheets, may be outside the range of current capacity because extreme events might cause flooding beyond today's planning and preparedness regimes. This paper describes the comprehensive process, approach, and tools for adaptation developed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) in conjunction with the region's stakeholders who manage its critical infrastructure, much of which lies near the coast. It presents the adaptation framework and the sea-level rise and storm projections related to coastal risks developed through the stakeholder process. Climate change adaptation planning in New York City is characterized by a multi-jurisdictional stakeholder-scientist process, state-of-the-art scientific projections and mapping, and development of adaptation strategies based on a risk-management approach.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in North American Cities

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in North American Cities
Available on line January 7, 2011, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 3, 2011, pp. 181-187 doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2010.12.004

R. Zimmerman and C. Faris.
01/07/2011

Climate change mitigation and adaptation action plans are developing at a rapid pace, being driven by both local initiatives and emerging alliances and support organizations that cut across multiple jurisdictions. These plans include a broad range of approaches, many of which are evolving into best or leading practices and which will be increasingly used as a model for the plans of other locales. This paper draws attention to several best practices in both mitigation and adaptation for North American cities, and also highlights many of the supporting alliances and groups that disseminate key practices and drive potential synergies. Additionally, it is noted that despite the increasing rate of plan development, a continuing need exists for increased attention to adaptation at the local level.

Assessing the cost of transfer inconvenience in public transport systems: A case study of the London Underground

Assessing the cost of transfer inconvenience in public transport systems: A case study of the London Underground
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 45, 2, 91-104

Guo, Zhan and Nigel H.M. Wilson
01/03/2011

Few studies have adequately assessed the cost of transfers in public transport systems, or provided useful guidance on transfer improvements, such as where to invest (which facility), how to invest (which aspect), and how much to invest (quantitative justification of the investment). This paper proposes a new method based on path choice,3 taking into account both the operator's service supply and the customers' subjective perceptions to assess transfer cost and to identify ways to reduce it. This method evaluates different transfer components (e.g., transfer walking, waiting, and penalty) with distinct policy solutions and differentiates between transfer stations and movements.

The method is applied to one of the largest and most complex public transport systems in the world, the London Underground (LUL), with a focus on 17 major transfer stations and 303 transfer movements. This study confirms that transfers pose a significant cost to LUL, and that cost is distributed unevenly across stations and across platforms at a station.

Transfer stations are perceived very differently by passengers in terms of their overall cost and composition. The case study suggests that a better understanding of transfer behavior and improvements to the transfer experience could significantly benefit public transport systems.

 

Does Municipally Subsidized Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City

Does Municipally Subsidized Housing Improve School Quality? Evidence from New York City
Journal of the American Planning Association, 77 (2): 127-141.

Chellman, Colin, Ingrid Ellen, Brian McCabe, Amy Ellen Schwartz and Leanna Stiefel
01/01/2011

Problem: Policymakers and community development practitioners view increasing subsidized owner-occupied housing as a mechanism to improve urban neighborhoods, but little research studies the impact of such investments on community amenities.

Purpose: We examine the impact of subsidized owner-occupied housing on the quality of local schools and compare them to the impacts of city investments in rental units.

Methods: Using data from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), we estimate three main sets of regressions, exploring student characteristics, school resources, and school outcomes.

Results and conclusions: The completion of subsidized owner-occupied housing is associated with a decrease in schools’ percentage of free-lunch eligible students, an increase in schools’ percentage of White students, and, controlling for these compositional changes, an increase in scores on standardized reading and math exams. By contrast, our results suggest that investments in rental housing have little, if any, effect.

Takeaway for practice: Policies promoting the construction of subsidized owner-occupied housing have solidified in local governments around the country. Our research provides reassurance to policymakers and planners who are concerned about the spillover effects of subsidized, citywide investments beyond the households being directly served. It suggests that benefits from investments in owner occupancy may extend beyond the individual level, with an increase in subsidized owner-occupancy bringing about improvements in neighborhood school quality.

The Great Recession's Impact on New York City's Budget.

The Great Recession's Impact on New York City's Budget.
Municipal Finance Journal 32(1): 89-113.

Miller, Lawrence J. and Daniel L. Smith.
01/01/2011

Strong property tax growth and proactive policies - including beginning the recession with a substantial surplus of $5.3 billion (9 percent of revenues) - offset a severe contraction in income tax receipts, protecting the City's budget such that it never contracted in absolute terms during or immediately following the Great Recession. Policymakers increased property and sales tax rates, utilized fund balances, cut agency budgets repeatedly, and re-appropriated retiree health benefits in response to the fiscal challenges brought about by the Great Recession. Whether one attributes it to compliance with a strong, state-mandated, balanced budget rule or adept leadership, New York City certainly appears to be dealing effectively with the Great Recession's impact on its budget. However, City leaders have asked lower income residents to bear a substantial portion of the burden by favoring more regressive tax policies and by cutting the social service agency's budget substantially. With forecast budget gaps of $3 billion and $4 billion in FY 2012 and FY 2013, the long-term impact of the Great Recession on New York City's budget remains an open question.

To Leave An Area After Disaster: How Evacuees from the WTC Buildings Left the WTC Area Following the Attacks.

To Leave An Area After Disaster: How Evacuees from the WTC Buildings Left the WTC Area Following the Attacks.
Risk Analysis, Vol. 31, Issue 5, 2011, published on line December 8, 2010. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01537

R. Zimmerman and M. Sherman.
01/01/2011

How people leave a devastated area after a disaster is critical to understanding their ability to cope with risks they face while evacuating. Knowledge of their needs for communications about these risks is particularly crucial in planning for emergency responses. A convenience sample of 1,444 persons who survived the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001 were surveyed to ascertain their initial and ultimate destinations once they had left the buildings, how they arrived there, the role of types of obstacles they encountered, and the need for information and the seeking of other people as potential factors in influencing the process of leaving immediately. This survey was part of a larger, original survey. Results showed differences in how people traveled by mode to initial and ultimate destinations, how immediately they left the area, and factors associated with when they left. How they traveled and when they left were associated with where people lived, their tendency in times of stress to seek out other people including who they knew in the immediate area (e.g., co-workers or friends), the physical conditions surrounding them, and the importance to some of waiting for more information. Many people indicated they did not leave immediately because they had no information about where to go or what services would be available to them. Perceptions and communications about risks they were facing were reflected in the choices they considered in how and when to leave the area. These findings have numerous ramifications for understanding and guiding personal behavior in catastrophic situations.

Using cross-curricular, problem-based learning to promote understanding of poverty in urban communities

Using cross-curricular, problem-based learning to promote understanding of poverty in urban communities
Journal of Social Work Education, 46(1), 147 – 156.

Gardner, D., Tuchman, E., & Hawkins, R.
11/01/2010

This article describes the use of problem-based learning to teach students about the scope and consequences of urban poverty through an innovative cross-curricular project. We illustrate the process, goals, and tasks of the Community Assessment Project, which incorporates community-level assessment, collection and analysis of public data, and social policy analysis and planning. Students in three master's classes (Social Work Research I, Ending Poverty: Models for Social Change and Social Action, and Advanced Social Policy in Aging) worked in self-directed groups to explore the impact of economic insecurity on our most vulnerable clients. The project engaged students, linked research and policy practice, and helped to educate the next generation of social workers about urban poverty and strategies for community-based research and practice.

Hidden Talent: Tacit Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States

Hidden Talent: Tacit Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Latino Immigrants in the United States
Journal of Planning Education and Research December 2010 vol. 30 no. 2 132-146

Iskander, Natasha and Nichola Lowe
09/17/2010

This article examines informal training and skill development pathways of Latino immigrant construction workers in two different urban labor markets: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. We find that institutional differences across local labor markets not only shape how immigrants develop skills in specific places but also determine the localized obstacles they face in demonstrating and harnessing these skills for employment. To explain the role of local institutions in shaping differences in skill development experience and opportunities, we draw on the concept of tacit skill, a term that is rarely incorporated into studies of the labor market participation of less educated immigrants. We argue that innovative pathways that Latino immigrant workers have created to develop tacit skill can strengthen advocacy planning efforts aimed at improving employment opportunities and working conditions for marginalized workers, immigrant and nonimmigrant alike.

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