Promoting Transportation Flexibility in Extreme Events through Multi-Modal Connectivity

Promoting Transportation Flexibility in Extreme Events through Multi-Modal Connectivity
U.S. Department of Transportation Region II Urban Transportation Research Center, New York, NY: NYU-Wagner, June 2014.

R. Zimmerman, C.E. Restrepo, J. Sellers, A. Amirapu, and Theodore R. Pearson

Extreme events of all kinds are increasing in number, severity, or impacts. Transportation provides a vital support service for people in such circumstances in the short-term for evacuation and providing supplies where evacuation is not undertaken, yet, transportation services are often disabled in disasters. Nationwide and in New York and New Jersey record-setting weather disasters have occurred and are expected to continue. Disadvantaged populations are particularly vulnerable. Network theories provide insights into vulnerability and directions for adaptation by defining interconnections, such as multi-modality. Multi-modal connectivity provides passenger flexibility and reduces risks in extreme events, and these benefits are evaluated in the NY area. Focusing on public transit, selected passenger multimodal facilities are identified that connect to transit, emphasizing rail-bus connectivity. Publicly available databases are used from MTA, NJ rail, and U.S. DOT’s IPCD. For NYC, statistical analyses suggest there may be some differences by poverty levels. For NYC and three northeastern NJ cities connectivity differs for stations that are terminuses and have high rail convergence. This report provides statistical summaries, cases, and a literature review to characterize multi-modal facilities and their use in extreme events. Recommendations and future research directions are provided for the role of passenger multi-modality to enhance transit flexibility.

The research was funded by a faculty research grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Region 2 University Transportation Research Center to NYU-Wagner, 2012-2014.

A Port Authority That Works

A Port Authority That Works
Rudin Center for Transportation, NYU Wagner School, April 2014.

Moss, Mitchell L. and Hugh O'Neill.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been a vital force in the physical and economic growth of the New York-New Jersey region. During the past few years, however, public attention has focused on the Port Authority’s spending, management, and political interference in the agency’s operations. In recent weeks, several sources have called for reform, restructuring, or even abolition of the Port Authority.

However, the critical problem facing the Port Authority today is not mismanagement, political abuse, or rivalry between New York and New Jersey. The fundamental challenge is that the business model under which the Authority has operated for the past thirty years is no longer sustainable. For the New York-New Jersey region to grow over the next fifty years, the Port Authority must rethink not only how it manages its business, but also how it defines what that business is.

Co-Monitoring for Transit Management

Co-Monitoring for Transit Management
NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, February 2014.

Kaufman, Sarah

Emerging technologies offer transit agencies an opportunity to transform fundamental aspects of their operations and the way they communicate with their riders.  With nearly ubiquitous smartphones and social media tools among growing ridership patterns, transit providers can use aggregate mobile phone data and social media posts to improve system management.

Data-based reports can reach the operations center faster than field personnel, with mobile phone networks indicating station crowding or a passenger posting a photo of another pulling the emergency brake. Exceeding traditional reporting mechanisms (exclusive information from personnel) would save time and lower the costs of field monitoring while raising the trust between transit agencies and their customers.

By employing “co-monitoring” - the monitoring of field conditions through a combination of staff reports, data analysis and public observations – transit agencies will save time and costs for information gathering, improve their responsiveness, and establish working partnerships between the agencies and their customers. This report proposes a framework for a co-monitoring system, and discusses the expected benefits and challenges, as well as policy recommendations for agencies pursuing co-monitoring systems. Keys to successful co-monitoring systems are agency openness to new streams of data and respectful dialogue from both management and riders. Well-designed co-monitoring tools will put transit on track to manage smarter, more versatile transit systems for the twenty-first century.

Child Passenger Safety Laws in the United States, 1978–2010: Policy Diffusion in the Absence of Strong Federal Intervention

Child Passenger Safety Laws in the United States, 1978–2010: Policy Diffusion in the Absence of Strong Federal Intervention
Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 100 (Jan 2014), pp. 30-37. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.10.035

Bae, J.Y., E. Anderson, D. Silver, and J. Macinko

This article examines the diffusion of U.S. state child passenger safety laws, analyzing over-time changes and inter-state differences in all identifiable features of laws that plausibly influence crash-related morbidity and mortality. The observed trend shows many states' continuing efforts to update their laws to be consistent with latest motor vehicle safety recommendations, with each state modifying their laws on average 6 times over the 30-year period. However, there has been a considerable time lag in knowledge diffusion and policy adoption. Even though empirical evidence supporting the protective effect of child restraint devices was available in the early 1970s, laws requiring their use were not adopted by all 50 states until 1986. For laws requiring minors to be seated in rear seats, the first state law adoption did not occur until two decades after the evidence became publicly available. As of 2010, only 12 states explicitly required the use of booster seats, 9 for infant seats and 6 for toddler seats. There is also great variation among states in defining the child population to be covered by the laws, the vehicle operators subject to compliance, and the penalties resulting from non-compliance. Some states cover only up to 4-year-olds while others cover children up to age 17. As of 2010, states have as many as 14 exemptions, such as those for non-residents, non-parents, commercial vehicles, large vehicles, or vehicles without seatbelts. Factors such as the complexity of the state of the science, the changing nature of guidelines (from age to height/weight-related criteria), and the absence of coordinated federal actions are potential explanations for the observed patterns. The resulting uneven policy landscape among states suggests a strong need for improved communication among state legislators, public health researchers, advocates and concerned citizen groups to promote more efficient and effective policymaking.

Residential on-site carsharing and off-street parking: The case of the San Francisco Bay Area

Residential on-site carsharing and off-street parking: The case of the San Francisco Bay Area
Transportation Research Record, 2359, 68-75.

Rivasplata C, Z Guo, R Lee, D Keyton

This research explores the recent practice of connecting on-site carsharing service with off-street parking standards in multifamily developments; the San Francisco Bay Area, California, is used as a case study. If implemented well, such a policy could help boost the carsharing industry and reduce off-street parking, which is often criticized as being oversupplied as a result of excessive off-street parking standards. In 2011, the authors surveyed all carsharing sites in the Bay Area and all new residential developments (completed after 2000) with on-site carsharing spaces. The results showed that a significant number of carsharing spaces were located on residential properties, but 70% of the spaces had been retrofitted into existing buildings. For the new developments, on-site carsharing did not result in a reduction in the amount of regular off-street parking. Interviews with 15 professionals from three stakeholder groups (planners, developers, and service providers) revealed that even though all the stakeholders were in favor of on-site carsharing at residential developments, three major barriers existed: a lack of incentives, the complexity of access design, and high transaction costs.

Street standards as parking policy: rethinking the provision of residential street parking in American suburbs

Street standards as parking policy: rethinking the provision of residential street parking in American suburbs
Journal of Planning Education and Research December 2013 vol. 33 no. 4 456-470

Guo, Zhan and L Schloeter

This paper examines the parking mandate in residential street standards in the U.S. Based on literature review and a national survey of 97 principal cities in the top 52 metro areas, it reveals two unjustified assumptions behind the mandate: traffic lanes must maintain the continuous alignment even with limited, slow traffic and parking demand must be satisfied with dedicated parking lanes in absence of price. The mandate is likely to force market to over-supply parking and under-supply housing. The paper calls for the removal of the parking mandate from street standards, and the deregulation of the residential street parking market. 

What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Social Media Protocols and Policies

What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Social Media Protocols and Policies
In Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media, CRC Press, October 2, 2013.

Sarah M. Kaufman and Susan Bregman

Timely updates, increased citizen engagement, and more effective marketing are just a few of the reasons transportation agencies have already started to adopt social media networking tools. Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media offers real-world advice for planning and implementing social media from leading government practitioners, academic researchers, and industry experts.

The book provides an overview of the various social media platforms and tools, with examples of how transportation organizations use each platform. It contains a series of interviews that illustrate what creative agencies are doing to improve service, provide real-time updates, garner valuable information from their customers, and better serve their communities. It reveals powerful lessons learned from various transportation agencies, including a regional airport, city and state departments of transportation, and municipal transit agencies. 

Filled with examples from transportation organizations, the text provides ideas that can apply to all modes of transportation including mass transit, highways, aviation, ferries, bicycling, and walking. It describes how to measure the impact of your social media presence and also examines advanced uses of social media for obtaining information by involving customers and analyzing their social media use. 

The book outlines all the resources you will need to maintain a social media presence and describes how to use social media analytical tools to assess service strengths and weaknesses and customer sentiment. Explaining how to overcome the digital divide, language barriers, and accessibility challenges for patrons with disabilities, it provides you with the understanding of the various social media technologies along with the knowhow to determine which one is best for a specific situation and purpose.


Social Media in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery

Social Media in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery
TR News July-August 2013: Logistics of Disaster Response

Sarah M. Kaufman

Social media have become an essential source of information before, during, and after disasters. Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr—instantaneous, far-reaching, and interactive— have become the convergence point for a range of information sources, dialogues, and dynamic content. A survey conducted by the New York University (NYU) Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management found that during Superstorm Sandy, social media were the second-highest-rated source of information, ranking higher than other popular sources such as television and radio news, news websites, and community groups.


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