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.”
The Rudin Center analyzes transportation policy and management in New York City and beyond. The results of our analysis is often published as a report or publication on the Rudin Center site.
Just last month, the Rudin Center hosted the first ever NYC Bus Hackathon in partnership with the MTA and supported by TransitCenter. A full review of the event can be read here.
Rudin Center reports and publications are often cited in news articles. Additionally, Rudin Center staff are frequently asked for comment on transportation issues. Included below are some examples of press coverage:
Sarah Kaufman in Wired, “Google and the Feds Team Up to Build the City of the Future” (Link)
Mitchell Moss in AMNY, “L train could face Manhattan-Brooklyn shutdowns in 2017” (Link)
NYU Rudin Report in Politico New York, “NYU urban planners counter pope-visit gridlock predictions” (Link)
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: