Transportation

The Emergence of the "Super-Commuter"

The Emergence of the "Super-Commuter"
Rudin Center for Rudin Center for Transportation, New York University Wagner School of Public Service, February, 2012

Moss, Mitchell L. and Carson Qing.
02/01/2012

The twenty-first century is emerging as the century of the "super-commuter," a person who works in the central county of a given metropolitan area, but lives beyond the boundaries of that metropolitan area, commuting long distance by air, rail, car, bus, or a combination of modes. The super-commuter typically travels once or twice weekly for work, and is a rapidly growing part of our workforce. The changing structure of the workplace, advances in telecommunications, and the global pattern of economic life have made the super-commuter a new force in transportation.

Many workers are not required to appear in one office five days a week; they conduct work from home, remote locations, and even while driving or flying. The international growth of broadband internet access, the development of home-based computer systems that rival those of the workplace, and the rise of mobile communications systems have contributed to the emergence of the super-commuter in the United States. Super-commuters are well-positioned to take advantage of higher salaries in one region and lower housing costs in another.

Many workers are not expected to physically appear in a single office at all: the global economy has made it possible for highly-skilled workers to be employed on a strictly virtual basis, acquiring clients anywhere and communicating via email, phone and video conference. Furthermore, the global economy has rendered the clock irrelevant, making it possible for people to work, virtually, in a different time zone than the one in which they live. Simply put, the workplace is no longer fixed in one location, but rather where the worker is situated. As a result, city labor sheds (where workers live) have expanded over the past decade to encompass not just a city's exurbs, but also distant, non-local metropolitan regions, resulting in greater economic integration between cities situated hundreds of miles apart.

NYU's Rudin Center has found that super-commuting is a growing trend in major United States regions, with growth in eight of the ten largest metropolitan areas.

 

The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011

The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011
January 2012

Ballon, Hilary
01/01/2012

Laying out Manhattan's street grid and providing a rationale for the growth of New York was the city's first great civic enterprise, not to mention a brazenly ambitious project and major milestone in the history of city planning. The grid created the physical conditions for business and society to flourish and embodied the drive and discipline for which the city would come to be known. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York celebrating the bicentennial of the Commissioners' 1811 Plan of Manhattan, this volume does more than memorialize such a visionary effort, it serves as an enduring reference full of rare images and information.

The Greatest Grid shares the history of the Commissioners' plan, incorporating archival photos and illustrations, primary documents and testimony, and magnificent maps with essential analysis. The text, written by leading historians of New York City, follows the grid's initial design, implementation, and evolution, and then speaks to its enduring influence. A foldout map, accompanied by explanatory notes, reproduces the Commissioners' original plan, and additional maps and prints chart the city's pre-1811 irregular growth patterns and local precedent for the grid's design. Constituting the first sustained examination of this subject, this text describes the social, political, and intellectual figures who were instrumental in remaking early New York, not in the image of old Europe but as a reflection of other American cities and a distinct New World sensibility. The grid reaffirmed old hierarchies while creating new opportunities for power and advancement, giving rise to the multicultural, highly networked landscape New Yorkers thrive in today.

 

Mobile Communications and Transportation in Metropolitan Regions

Mobile Communications and Transportation in Metropolitan Regions
The Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. New York University. July 2011.

Moss, Mitchell, Josh Mandell and Carson Qing.
07/01/2011

This study examines the role of mobile communications in urban transportation systems and analyzes American metropolitan regions best positioned to capitalize on the growth of mobile technologies. This paper identifies three critical factors—data accessibility, mobile network strength, and mobile tech user/developer demographics—and uses data from several public resources in an analysis of major Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The authors explore trends and public policy implications for furthering the use of mobile communications in the transportation systems of metropolitan regions.

The rankings revealed that metropolitan regions each have areas of strength and weakness. In fact, no MSA ranked in the top five for each category, suggesting that though several cities were very strong (top five) in two categories (San Jose, San Francisco, Washington DC, San Diego), every MSA has substantial room for improvement.

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.

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.

 

Reusing and Repurposing New York City's Infrastructure: Case Studies of Reused Transportation Infrastructure

Reusing and Repurposing New York City's Infrastructure: Case Studies of Reused Transportation Infrastructure
RCWP 10-005

Brooks, Galin
05/01/2010

The High Line, Brooklyn Navy Yards, Pier 40 and Myrtle Avenue Station, are examples of projects that are reinventing how we think about the use of infrastructure spaces in New York City. What are the characteristics that define such projects and how is that they have been successful? This paper attempts to provide answers to this question by reviewing four case studies of repurposed transportation infrastructures, drawing out their commonalities and discussing their policy implications. 

Causality vs. Correlation: Rethinking Research Design in the Case of Pedestrian Environments and Walking

Causality vs. Correlation: Rethinking Research Design in the Case of Pedestrian Environments and Walking
RCWP 10-001  

Guo, Zhan
03/01/2010

This paper investigates the causal effect of pedestrian environments on walking behavior and focuses on the issue of research design. The paper differentiates between two types of research designs:treatment-based and traveler-based. The first approach emphasizes the variation of the treatment (pedestrian environments), and generally compares distinct neighborhoods, such as urban vs. suburban or transit-oriented vs. auto-dependent. The second approach emphasizes the homogeneity of subject (pedestrians), and aims at the same pedestrian under different environments normally due to home relocation, or the improvement of pedestrian environments.

This paper presents a third method, following a traveler-based research design while providing the pedestrian multiple walking paths with different pedestrian environments.

 

Transportation Recovery in an Age of Disasters

Transportation Recovery in an Age of Disasters
Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

Zimmerman, R.
01/01/2010

Disasters from terrorism, natural hazards and accidents are now becoming commonplace and may be increasing as a major threat against the viability of transportation infrastructure and the invaluable social services it provides. The paper first sets forth the nature of the threats and hazards transportation infrastructure faces. This provides the foundation for understanding the need to develop an integrated and common set of solutions that incorporates co-benefits to solve more than one problem at the same time, that is, simultaneously for different kinds of hazards, different types of infrastructures, and infrastructures that affect or have interdependencies with transportation. Types of funding sources and innovative technologies that are becoming available to support protection and recovery are discussed in terms of their ability to integrate multiple hazards and address areas of need.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.
Transportation Research D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 14, pp. 343-352 

Guo, Z.
07/01/2009

There is a lack of consensus as to whether the relationship between the built environment and travel is causal and, if it is, the extent of this causality. This problem is largely caused by inappropriate research designs adopted in many studies. This paper proposes a new method (based on path choice) to investigate the causal effect of the pedestrian environment on the utility of walking. Specifically, the paper examines how the pedestrian environment affects subway commuters' egress path choice from a station to their workplaces in downtown Boston. The path-based measure is sensitive enough to capture minor differences in the environment experienced by pedestrians. More importantly, path
choice is less likely to correlate with job and housing location choices, and therefore largely avoids the self-selection problem. The results suggest that the pedestrian environment can significantly affect a person's walking experience and the utility of walking along a path.

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