Sarah Kaufman moderated Short Talks, Big Ideas - April 7, 2014

Short Talks, Big Ideas: Photos and Recap

Monday night’s Short Talks, Big Ideas event showcased the newest innovations in transportation projects and ideas. Thanks to the excellent speakers and large crowd!

See the photos below and visit the tweetstream for discussion.

Photos by Jeff Ferzoco

Short Talks, Big Ideas: Open Mic!

We have a fantastic lineup of speakers for Monday’s Short Talks, Big Ideas event, but we’re ready to crowdsource one more: the last speaker slot on Monday’s event is up for grabs, and it could be yours!
If you’re interested in presenting, please email me [sarahkaufman /at/ nyu /dot/ edu] with your name, affiliation and a talk title (up to 6 words). Anything goes when it comes to transportation innovation!
Everyone: please vote for your favorite potential talk (poll will be posted on this page Friday morning). Whose voice is missing? What project sounds fascinating?
Ideas must be submitted by Thursday at 5pm; polls will be open on this page Friday 9am – 5pm. The winner will be announced Friday at 5pm and will present in the last slot on Monday evening.
Looking forward to a great event with a speaker list curated by YOU.
DelayGraph800

Citi Bike and “Reactionary Biking”

We at the NYU Rudin Center got an early look at Citi Bike’s new trip data and found exciting snippets, such as where it’s clear that New Yorkers hopped off delayed subways and onto bikes, transferred from ferries, or attended events at Barclays Center. (Check out our video of 48 hours in the life of Citi Bike, now live on the NYTimes website.)

 In fact, for the month of September, there is evidence of “reactionary biking,” in which subway riders encountering delays likely switched modes to bike share for that trip. The chart below demonstrates a moderate correlation between subway delays and Citi Bike usage throughout September: when delays increase, so does bike share ridership.

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Reactionary biking is indicated during particular instances: for example, on September 17th at 7:45 a.m., the MTA sent an alert that the 2/3 train was delayed at Wall Street, in the heart of Citi Bike’s stations. In the half hour surrounding this alert, seventeen rides were recorded along the 2/3 route within four stops of the Wall Street Station; they were not repeated at the same time the following day. The increased rides on days heavy with delays, coupled with September’s pleasant weather (with temperatures ranging from 59 to 76 on average), lead to the conclusion that New Yorkers are avoiding or escaping transit delays by taking to bike share. As Citi Bike expands across New York City, it will provide a more comprehensive alternative to delayed transit.

Citi Bike has become an important mode in New York’s diverse transportation landscape, both as a method of active transport and an essential connection to the transit network; we are eager to analyze this data to understand its role in New York-area mobility.

 

Data notes:

  • The chart accounts for unplanned service changes only; it does not include planned weeknight and weekend service diversions (and their occasional cancelations) relating to construction work.
  •  Dates recorded are for bike trip starts only; trips ending on subsequent days are recorded on the days on which the trips started.
Proximity To Subway

Report: Citi Bike Takes New York

Why does Citi Bike work? New York’s densely populated center already encourages residents, workers, and tourists to walk or take transit to get around the city. New York City, famed for its density and walkability, lends itself well to a tightly knit web of bike share stations. There are almost 20 stations per square mile within its service area, and almost 3/4 of its stations are within walking distance of a subway entrance.

Check out the report here.  Download here.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see in the report:

Distance from Subway Entrance

Citi Bike Station Distance from Subway Entrance

Las Vegas and Car Ownership

This new piece by Greg Lindsay, Visiting Scholar at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, is a must-read:

Las Vegas (Of All Places) May Be About to Reinvent Car Ownership

“Project 100 aims to control the entire multi-modal experience, from the vehicles operating on Vegas streets to the eventual drivers — who will be full-time ‘concierges.’ “

Read the full piece here.

Noel Hidalgo presents at Short Talks, Big Ideas, Fall 2013

New Event: Short Talks, Big Ideas

Join the NYU Rudin Center on Monday, April 7th at 6:30pm to learn about new projects and thinking on the frontiers of transportation. Speakers will deliver lightning presentations about their work and ideas, followed by networking, refreshments. We guarantee the audience will learn something new.

 

Speakers confirmed for this fifth edition of the event include:

Malinda Foy, MTA: The Access-A-Ride MetroCard
Lily Gordon-Koven, NYU Rudin Center: Citi Bike Trends
Nina Harvey, ARUP: Tech-Enhanced Urban Experiences
Stacey Hodge, NYC DOT: NYC Freight Mobility
Jacqueline Klopp, Columbia University: Open Transit Data for Nairobi
Stewart Mader, Subway NY NJ, Putting PATH on the Map
Jen Petersen, Revolution Rickshaws, Put Your [   ] on a Trike
Kate Rube, Project for Public Spaces: Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper – and Healthier
Andrew Salzberg, Uber: Uber in New York
Dani Simons, Citi Bike: Mainstreaming Biking
Moderated by Sarah Kaufman, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation

Join the discussion on Twitter at #BigIdeas14

This event is co-sponsored by the University Transportation Research Center.

Peak Driving: Do Fertility Rates, Better Logistics, and GPS Navigation Play A Role?

Ever since transportation analysts started to notice that the leveling off of vehicle miles travelled (VMT) by U.S. drivers that started around 2005 had actually turned into a steady decline, any number of theories have been put forward to explain why Americans are driving less. The most hype has been around the decline in driving by teens and young adults – most of whom, the argument goes, have given up on their parents’ cul de sac suburbs to move to transit-served urban cores. I’ll certainly accept some of that is going on (I was one of those myself, if a bit ahead of the trend in the mid-1990s). But I don’t for a minute buy the popular explanation in the tech world – that “Millennials” (god I hate that term) are shunning car purchases and cruising for smart phones and social media. They aren’t getting licenses partly because states have made it harder and raised eligibility ages, and they aren’t buying cars because they have no jobs to go to, and student debt of epic proportions. If auto manufacturers want someone to blame for the drop in teen driving, they should blame universities, not Facebook.

Some more recent plausible explanations point out that aging Boomers drive less as they get older, and that 2005 was around the time that the U.S. economy entered a new era of higher and volatile gas prices. (The rise actually starts in 2002, but it keeps rising up until 2012 with a brief dip in 2009). Gasoline is now about three times as expensive as it was in the 1990s.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have come up with three other hypotheses I’ve not seen discussed yet:

First, fertility – more young people are growing up in areas served by transit. Foreign-born women (who tend to be younger) have significantly more children than native-born women (see the Pew Research data). And immigrants are far more likely to live in urban and suburban areas served by transit, and to use it to get to work. (At least in California according to UCTC, and probably everywhere else). Therefore, young Americans today are more likely to grow up in a community where transit is a realistic mode choice. I’ve yet to do a thorough analysis of this, but my bet is that this would be a significant contribution to the VMT trendline.

Second, logistics. Despite the exploding volumes of e-commerce, a decade of steady improvements in route planning in the logistics sector is leading to significant reductions in wasted travel. UPS claims that technology solutions for improved routing have saved millions of miles since 2004. This is a drop in the bucket considering that Americans drove nearly 3 TRILLION miles each year over the last decade. But it brings me to my main point – which is that the machine intelligence that has allowed UPS to route its trucks more directly and efficiently has diffused throughout the entire population.

And so my third hypothesis, is that the mass adoption of personal GPS navigation – first through bundled manufacturer installed systems, then aftermarket personal navigation devices like Tom Tom, and now through smart phone apps like Google Maps, could be contributing significantly to the decline in VMT. Instead of taking habitual routes, more and more drivers are letting their GPS send them on a beeline that might include some unfamiliar twists and turns. Eventually people learn these better routes and start to incorporate them even into their own unassisted wayfinding.

After this occurred to me, I took a look at historic sales data for various segments of the GPS market, using data from Statista, a statistics reference service available through the university library. The numbers are pretty stunning – reporting doesn’t even begin until 2005, because the market was quite small before then. But between 2005 and 2010, there were nearly 80.5 million “GPS equipment units sold in the automobile segment” in the United States, according to Statista (I’m still trying to verify exactly what this covers – but I’m pretty sure it is manufacturer-installed in-dash units only). The number of devices sold annually increased ten-fold from 2005 to 2010.

Is it a coincidence that the era of falling VMT and the mass diffusion of personal navigation services coincide almost precisely? It’s too early to tell.

But if this is true, its good news for both the US and the world. According to Garmin, only 25 percent of the world’s 700 million cars currently have GPS installed. As this technology continues to spread throughout the market, we could see additional gains in travel efficiency.

(This essay is part of the Rudin Center’s ongoing research project Re-Programming Mobility made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.)

Re-Programming Mobility: How the Tech Industry Is Driving Us Towards A Crisis in Transportation Planning

Today, the New Cities Foundation published our essay that lays out the thinking behind an ongoing research project at the Rudin Center called “Re-Programming Mobility”.  It is the third in a series of essays being published in the run-up to a major confab of transportation and technology geeks at Google on March 6.

New digital technologies are transforming why, where, when, and how people travel to their destinations. In recent years, these technologies have turned transportation from a physical infrastructure business into an information and informatics-based activity. Despite solving issues in some regards, this shift is introducing a number of new challenges for transportation planners, who need a comprehensive understanding on how they can accommodate the potential of these services while mitigating their unintended consequences.

This is the first of a series of essays, research articles and future metropolitan transportation and land use scenarios that will explore how transportation planning and management will adapt to the changing nature of mobility in the United States. This research is made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

link to full essay 

Santiago Calatrava visits the NYU Rudin Center, February 25, 2014

Santiago Calatrava visits the NYU Rudin Center

Santiago Calatrava, renowned Spanish architect, visited the NYU Rudin Center yesterday. He showcased several key projects, particularly the Doha Crossing, the Florida Polytechnic Institute, and the World Trade Center PATH Hub. See below for photos from the event.

To explore the real-time discussion during this event, see the Twitter feed below:

Exploring challenges in transportation and infrastructure