Ridership on the New York City Subway has grown drastically in the last four decades, from 966 million in 1975 to 1.7 billion in 2015; at the Times Square subway station alone, rides increased by 29 million. This explosive growth in usage demonstrates the system’s importance to both the city and region. New York City’s 24-hour subway promotes a dynamic economy, livability, and connectivity giving residents access to economic opportunities and a quality of life that is unparalleled in most world cities.
Growth in subway ridership reflects the changes in New York City. This report addresses key moments in the City’s history affecting subway ridership, including the high homicide rate in the 1980s, introduction of the MetroCard, attacks of September 11, 2001, Financial Crisis of 2008, and peak tourism numbers in 2010-2015.
The health and continued growth of the subway system is critical to New York City’s future, and must be maintained and upgraded to reflect New Yorkers’ increasing reliance. Recommended system upgrades are included in this report.
Citi Bike is most heavily used in Manhattan- 83% of September trips started & ended there, with concentration around major transportation networks. If the system expands to the outer boroughs ridership is expected to be lower, speaking to the need for additional private or public financing— but will likely still primarily transport New Yorkers to commercial centers and other forms of transportation like buses and subways.
The majority of Citi Bike trips are short in both time and distance; 98% lasted under 45 minutes and 48% lasted under ten minutes— highlighting the importance of station density to match how people are using the system.
Only 112 stations (18%) are located in Zip Codes that have median household incomes of less than $50,000—reinforcing the importance of improving bike equity and access throughout the system.
The paper, published by Sarah M. Kaufman and Jenny O’Connell, is the result of an open forum on the status of Citi Bike hosted at the Rudin Center in November of 2016. Expert speakers included Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee; Tracey Capers (Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation/BSRC); Elena Conte (Pratt Center for Community Development); and Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives). NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Director Mitchell L. Moss moderated.
The panelists agreed that Citi Bike provided a valuable transportation service, and alternative funding methods would be necessary to support expansion to a five-borough Citi Bike network.
As the “baby boomer” cohort begins to age past 65, adults over the age of 65 are projected to reach 20% of the nation’s population by 2030. However, many older New Yorkers are unable to use public transportation because of a lack of subway station accessibility. Instead, they rely on the Access-A-Ride (AAR) paratransit system, which provides door-to-door transportation for riders who are unable to use the buses or subways. AAR operations will cost a projected record $505.7 million in 2016. Demand for AAR is expected to increase as the city’s population of older adults grows, presenting a significant challenge for mobility. This report attempts to forecast an increase in demand for AAR by location and make recommendations for accessibility reform.
Our new report, Intelligent Paratransit, is available for download here.
As Americans aged 65 or older increase from fifteen to twenty percent of the population by 2030, cities across the United States will face a transportation crisis. Urban residents who are physically unable to use public transportation, including the disabled and mobility-impaired elderly, are offered paratransit services. These paratransit systems, as required by an unfunded 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act mandate, are enormous, and growing annually in new applications and budget requirements.
Paratransit demand is growing nationwide and costs continually increase (now $5.2 billion nationwide); the user experience is often reported as poor. To address efficiency and user experience, this report assesses the state of paratransit, analyzes innovative solutions in three cities and recommends potential technological solutions. The Intelligent Paratransit Technological Upgrade Framework includes improvements in the areas of Onboarding, Reservations, Dispatch & Routing and User Experience. Key technological recommendations include:
Ride reservations should be available through multiple channels: phone, apps, SMS messaging, physical infrastructure on the street and wearable technology for riders.
Paratransit agencies must collaborate with taxis and app-based car services, including Uber, Lyft, Via and SilverRide, to integrate efficient services.
Services connecting riders to transit should feature real-time, in-vehicle data integration with transit services to optimize accessibility of trips.
As cities grow in language diversity, paratransit vehicles should feature on-board translation apps and call-in numbers to better service all riders.
By applying new technological systems to a 26 year-old mandate, paratransit services can be made more efficient and provide a better customer experience. In New York City, these upgrades could save the agency up to $133 million per year. Improving mobility solutions for the elderly and disabled is possible, necessary and urgent.
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.
New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics resulted in a spate of new development, despite the selection of London as the host city. The NYU Rudin Center report, “How New York City Won the Olympics,” describes how the 2012 plan shaped development and transformed major areas of New York City.
The NYU Rudin Center’s report, “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods” was featured in The New York Times this week. The article applied lessons learned from New Yorkers living in transit deserts to those dreading the L train’s impending closure.
Sarah M. Kaufman, NYU Rudin Center assistant director, commented in the article: “‘It is a perpetuating cycle because rents are closely correlated to transit access’ … adding that people with long commutes often face hardships like higher child care costs because they get home later.”
Mitchell L. Moss, NYU Rudin Center Director, and Hugh O’Neill, founder and president of Appleseed, wrote an op-ed in today’s Crain’s New York, “Forget romantic fantasies—rebuild Penn Station without uprooting the Garden.” (link)
Here’s an excerpt:
There are well-meaning groups who believe we should tear down the current structure, move Madison Square Garden, and start over. Simply put, this is too expensive and disruptive an option for achieving most of the same goals by modernizing the existing facility at far lower cost and with far less disruption.
Read the full piece here; Read the related report, “Penn Station: Time to Get Moving,” here.
Announcing our newest report, Time to Get Moving: Improving commuter and intercity rail facilities and services on Manhattan’s West Side, written with Appleseed.
“The approach to redeveloping the Farley Building and Penn Station that has been presented by Governor Cuomo, Empire State Development, Amtrak and the MTA offers a real opportunity to dramatically improve the facilities and services available to both commuters and intercity rail passengers traveling into and out of Manhattan. Critical issues must still be addressed: achieving the right balance of public and private investments, bringing New Jersey Transit into the process, the sequencing of proposed improvements, etc. But there is now a framework within which these issues can be addressed and resolved.
Moving Madison Square Garden and building an entirely new Penn Station would be far more expensive, and finding the billions of dollars in additional capital required to finance such a project would be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible. New rail tunnels under the Hudson and adequate funding of the MTA capital program are both essential to the future of New York City and to the economic vitality of New York State and New Jersey. A new Penn Station does not even come close. It’s time to move on.”