Category Archives: buses

Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain

In today’s Daily News, NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell L. Moss makes the case for a 21st-century AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport in his op-ed “Getting from point A to point LGA: Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain.”

“Improving LaGuardia Airport without transforming the way in which passengers can get to and from the airport makes no sense. With the proposed AirTrain, we will finally have an airport commensurate with New York.”

Read the full piece here.

Inter-City Bus Outlook 2017

The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation is hosting today’s report release by the DePaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development : “Running Express: 2017 Outlook for the Intercity Bus Industry in the United States.”

Watch the event on Facebook Live starting at 12:30 p.m. on January 13th, and read the report here.


Inter-city bus routes competing with Amtrak - Chaddick Institute.
Inter-city bus routes competing with Amtrak (Click to enlarge) – Chaddick Institute.

Event: 2017 Outlook for the Intercity Bus Industry in the U.S.

Join us for the study release of the 2017 Outlook for Intercity Bus Travel in the United States, a new study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. This program is hosted in partnership with The Chaddick Institute and with support from the New York chapter of the Transportation Research Forum.

Learn how the country’s travel landscape is likely to change in 2017 due to intercity bus expansion and hear about notable highlights of the past calendar year. In addition to commentary by DePaul professor Joe Schwieterman and Brian Antolin, this event will feature other prominent experts on bus travel and offer perspectives on the debate over the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) in New York. The technical tour will begin at the PABT one hour after the program ends.

January 13, 2017

Register here:

Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University | 295 Lafayette Street
12:00-1:30pm: Join the study team and event hosts for a buffet lunch (for purchase) followed by the official study release event. Speakers include Mitchell L. Moss, Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, and Joe Schwieterman, Director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

This event is free, with lunch available for purchase.

Port Authority Bus Terminal | 625 8th Ave
2:30-4:00pm: Following the Study Release event, an immersive tour led by Brian Antolin (industry expert and CEO of CoTo Travel), Joe Schwieterman (DePaul University), and Nicholas Klein (Columbia University) will highlight innovations and exciting advancements in bus travel. The tour will begin at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and will focus on key features of the PABT, the Megabus pickup locations near the Javits Convention Center (34th St. b/t 11th & 12th Avenues), and notable specialty lines operating out of Midtown Manhattan. Space is limited.

Register here:

L Train Closure and Mitigation

The L train tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn will close fully to trains for 18 months in 2019 to repair extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy.  The L has become synonymous with the Brooklyn brand; ridership at Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue station has increased more than thirty percent since 2010.

The NYU Rudin Center addresses the effects of this closure in our newest report, “L Train Closure and Mitigation,” written by Mitchell L. Moss, Sarah M. Kaufman, Jorge Hernandez and Sam Levy.

This report analyzes how the L train’s surrounding Brooklyn communities will absorb the economic impact of this tunnel closure: jobs, commutes dining and nightlife will be affected, and recommends mitigation measures.

Download the report [pdf]

Read the Wall Street Journal coverage.

What We’re Reading This Week

School is out for spring break this week, but we’re busy preparing for NYU Wagner’s Admitted Students Day on April 1st and reading up on this week’s transportation news. Take a look:

A Groundbreaking Hackathon

The Staten Island Bus Hackathon, organized by the NYU Rudin Center, TransitCenter and the MTA was a resounding success and an unprecedented event. Held on Saturday, March 5th, It was highly attended and produced many implementable solutions.

Approximately 150 participants – coders, planners and other interested attendees – joined the event held at LMHQ in Lower Manhattan. Fifteen proposals for reforming Staten Island Bus service were submitted and presented.

Three prizes were awarded:

  • Grand Prize: “How to Optimize Express Bus Routes in Staten Island,” by Sri Kanajan (link)
  • Best Solution for Express Bus Service: “Better Than The Subway,” by Colin Foley, Maria Carey, Raymond Cha, Larry Gould and David McCreery (link)
  • Best Solution for Local Bus Service: “Buses in SI,” by Austin Krauza, Jenny Ye, Adam Davidson, Sunny Zheng and Steve Bauman (link)

All submissions can be viewed in the gallery.

The event was hosted by NYU Rudin Center Assistant Director Sarah Kaufman and TransitCenter Program Manager Tabitha Decker. The program featured several prominent presenters:

  • TransitCenter’s Executive Director, David Bragdon, welcomed the attendees.
  • Staten Island Borough President James Oddo discussed key transportation concerns and his high hopes for the hackathon’s outcomes.
  • The data and Staten Island Bus Study were introduced by MTA NYCT planners Jonathan Hawkins and Chris Pangalinan.
  • Key tools to be used by hackers were introduced by Felipe Hoffa (Google) and Jeff Ferzoco (CartoDB).
  • Chris Whong of CartoDB delivered the lunchtime keynote, hitting on several key ingredients necessary for successful civic hacking.

The hackathon submissions were judged by:

  • John Gaul, Vice President, 21st Century Service Delivery, MTA New York City Transit
  • Manasvi Menon, Senior Strategic Consultant, Intersection
  • Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Executive Director, TransitCenter
  • Sarah Wyss, Senior Director, Bus Service Planning, MTA New York City Transit

The hackathon was a highly successful event showcasing the importance and value of public participation in planning and the power of data-based solutions.

Photos below and at our photo gallery.

What We’re Reading this Week

In case you missed it, the Rudin Center released a new report this week, entitled “Downtown Rising: How Brooklyn became a model for urban development.” For the full report, click here.
We’ve also been busy preparing for our Staten Island Bus Hackathon with the MTA a week from Saturday. For more information about the Hackathon take a look at our announcement post. And, finally, there’s a lot of transpo-related news to share this week–here’s what we’ve been reading:

  • Oculus, Centerpiece of Transit Hub and Selfie Magnet, Is Set to Open
  • Why is NYC MIA on the MTA Board?
  • MTA approves $202 million radio and dispatch contract
  • MTA to award additional $66M to Second Avenue subway project
  • One Day,625 Delays
  • This Danish city is so bike-friendly even kindergartners ride to school
  • Uber’s in India to Learn How to Rule the Rest of the World
  • What We’re Reading This Week

    In addition to our weekly news round-up, the Rudin Center has news of our own this week: On Monday, we announced that the Rudin Center will host New York City’s first ever bus hackathon to analyze and improve Staten Island express bus routes. The hackathon will take place on Saturday, March 5th. Read the official announcement here for more information and to register.
    Additionally, Rudin Center graduate researchers put together a re-cap of the transit closures caused by winter storm Jonas.

    Video of the Week:

    Photo by: Tina Leggio on Flickr

    Blizzards: New York City Does It Better

    Winter storm Jonas plowed into the East Coast on Friday, January 22nd, dropping nearly 27 inches of snow on New York City through the following night. Cities throughout the mid-Atlantic coast were affected; both Washington, DC and Philadelphia received approximately 22 inches. (1) Maintaining public transportation service during a large storm is no small task, nor is resuming service once the snow has stopped and roads and above-ground rails remain buried. But, being able to dig out – and doing it quickly – is an important part of keeping a city moving during the snowiest months.

    Of the three major cities most affected by Jonas, which transit system best handled the storm? For a quick discussion of the effects of the storm on commute and travel in these cities, we compared three major modes–subway, bus, and car–and included, for New York City, salient points from Placemeter’s pedestrian activity analysis. (3)

    • Washington, DC- Metro closed on Friday at 8:00 p.m., and remained closed through Sunday. On Monday, limited underground service reopened on three of Metro’s six subway lines. Storm-related delays continued to slow down regular service on Tuesday – more than 48 hours after snowfall stopped. (2)
    • New York City- Above-ground subway operations were suspended after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, while underground subway operations never ceased. By Monday, aboveground service had resumed.
    • Philadelphia- SEPTA suspended all weekend service beginning at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, but was back up and running by Monday morning. In total, this constituted an approximately 48 hour outage.


    • Washington, DC- WMATA suspended bus service on all but lifeline routes on Friday at 5:00 p.m. with service completely suspended by 11:00 p.m. (2) On Wednesday, WMATA resumed metrobus service on a modified schedule, but did not become fully operational until Friday. This constituted a 4-day, more than 96 hour bus outage.
    • New York City- The MTA was forced to stop bus service after 12:00 p.m. on Saturday as city roads piled up with snow, but by Sunday at 7 a.m. buses were back in operation on a modified schedule. Altogether, MTA bus service was down for a mere 19 hours.
    • Philadelphia- SEPTA suspended all weekend service beginning at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday. By Monday morning, 35 percent of SEPTA’S normal bus operations were back in service. In total, bus service was down in Philadelphia for just over 48 hours.


    • Washington, DC- Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a warning to drivers and pedestrians urging them to keep off the roads through the duration of the storm. No official travel ban was put in place. (8)
    • New York City- A driving ban was put into effect beginning Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and continuing through Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. (5) Alternate Side Parking rules were suspended through Monday, 2/1, while parking meters remained in effect. It is not clear, however, whether or how many parking violations were given in the days after the storm. (6)
    • Philadelphia- A Snow Emergency was issued, forcing vehicle owners to move parked vehicles from emergency routes. Parking regulations were loosened to accommodate residents difficulties with parking; the PPA did not enforce meter and kiosk parking violations until the Tuesday following the storm. (11)

    Pedestrian Activity (NYC):

    The Thursday after the storm, Placemeter released a comprehensive analysis of pedestrian activity in several NYC neighborhoods. The company found decreases in foot traffic during the worst of the weather on Saturday, which included the heaviest snowfall and worst travel conditions (including the driving ban). However, Placemeter identified increased foot traffic to neighborhood parks. (3) While pedestrian traffic dropped in places like Times Square and Penn Station during the poor weather, most areas were back to typical traffic levels by Monday morning. (3)
    Despite the disruptions, the transit systems in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia admirably mitigated the effects of winter storm Jonas. New York City stands out in its response, having continued underground subway service throughout the duration of the storm.

    New York City’s storm management was successful mainly due to clear communication and preparation. Days before the storm hit, Mayor de Blasio launched a winter weather public service announcement to help New Yorkers prepare for the snow and cold. (7) The City agencies collaborated to mitigate the storm’s effects on residents:

    • NYC Department of Sanitation deployed 579 salt spreaders on Friday evening, well before the inclement weather. As soon as two inches of snow had accumulated, 1,650 plows were prepared and readied for dispatch. In addition, DOS planned 12-hour shifts for workers starting Friday at 7:00 a.m., with 2,400 workers/shift.
    • Well before the storm, Department of Transportation had plans in-place for the de-icing of bridges and pre-treatment of pedestrian overpasses.
    • The Office of Emergency Management issued advance warning messages to non-profits and local organizations working with people with disabilities and access and functional needs, in addition to providing storm updates to local officials. (9)
    • MTA significantly prepared its own infrastructure, including implementing snow throwers, de-icer cars and tire chains for buses. (10)

    1. NOAA. “STORM SUMMARY NUMBER 13 FOR HISTORIC EASTERN U.S. MAJOR WINTER STORM.” January 24, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    2. “Metro, Metrobus and MetroAccess Will Shut down for the Weekend.” Washington Post. January 21, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    3. “How Did Winter Storm Jonas Affect Pedestrian Activity in New York City?” How Did Winter Storm Jonas Affect Pedestrian Activity in New York City? January 28, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    4. “Weekend Storm Economic Hit Not as Bad as Feared.” The New York Times. January 24, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    5. “Travel Ban Lifted after Storm Dumps 26 Inches of Snow on NYC.” NY Daily News. January 24, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    6. “City Hall Press Release.” NYC Office of Emergency Management. January 24, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    7. “Mayor De Blasio Launches Winter Weather PSA to Help New Yorkers Prepare for Winter Weather.” The Official Website of the City of New York. January 20, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    8. “Why There’s No Travel Ban in D.C.” Washington Post. January 23, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    9. “Mayor De Blasio Issues Hazardous Travel Advisory.” The Official Website of the City of New York. January 21, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    10. “Photos: MTA Itching To Deploy Some Serious “Snow-Fighting” Hardware.” Gothamist. January 21, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.
    11. “” City Ends Snow Emergency. January 25, 2016. Accessed February 04, 2016.

    Announcing NYC’s First-Ever Bus Hackathon

    MTA New York City Transit, TransitCenter and the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation will hold the first-ever New York City Bus Hackathon on March 5, 2016. Participants will use ridership and performance data to inform and improve bus route planning. This event will build upon the MTA’s study of Staten Island bus service and will shape local data-centric transit planning in the future.

    Participants will be tasked with developing proposals for a reconsidered network of express and local buses on Staten Island. MTA New York City Transit will provide unprecedented data sets, including ridership data for express routes and comprehensive archival performance data from BusTime for express and local routes. The best solutions for faster, more reliable transit for Staten Island will be rewarded and presented to local officials.

    Visit the event website on DevPost.

    Please join us:
    Saturday March 5, 2016
    9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    LMHQ: 150 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY

    Click here to register. This event is open to the public, but requires pre-registration.

    This event is organized in partnership with TransitCenter and the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, and generously sponsored by TransitCenter. Additional support is provided by Google and CartoDB; technical assistance will be available from both organizations at the event.