Category Archives: transit

What we’re reading this week

Image above: Cardboard apartment, via Andere Achterhuizen on Flickr

This is what we’re reading this week on the web:

  • New Yorkers are ditching buses for subways (link)
  • Middle East politics: now arriving at a station near you? (link)
  • Afghan girls, forbidden from riding bikes, are skateboarding instead. (link)
  • A MetroCard redesign we’re excited about (link)
  • The bright lights of NYC may dim (link)
  • Cortland St. station on 1 line receives a long overdue facelift  (link)

Compiled by Sean Lewin, research assistant.

What we’re reading this week

Image above: Cars being transported across Ireland in 1950, via the National Library of Ireland on Flickr

Aside from subway overcrowding and taxi data hacking, this is what we’re reading this week on the web:

  • The LaGuardia Airport renovation is in jeopardy, again. (link)
  • Indego, Philadelphia’s new bike share, opens today with 600 bicycles; users are encouraged to wear helmets. (link)
  • A new United Nations-adjacent residential tower will feature full-floor “floating gardens.” (link)
  • Cargo bikes are the new minivans. (link)
  • The hipster express: more L trains to start running this fall. (link)

Thanks to Sean Lewin, our new research assistant, for compiling this list.

Big Data Fest

The NYU Rudin Center presented our Transit Access and Jobs report and map at the NY Hall of Science’s Big Data Fest this weekend. Sarah Kaufman (Digital Manager) and Jorge Hernandez (Research Assistant) met a variety of people both casually and professionally interested in big data; many of them had stories about how their commutes affected their job opportunities.

Thanks to all who stopped by to talk!

Jorge Hernandez and a visitor at the NY Hall of Science
Jorge Hernandez and a visitor at the NY Hall of Science

The Rudin Center in the News

The NYU Rudin Center has appeared in the press recently, discussing policy, tech and social media:

  • Smart buses and public transportation can be compatible – Sarah Kaufman in Wired. (link)
  • How NYC “has merit as a subject of art” – Mitchell Moss in the Wall Street Journal. (link)
  • Benefits of Citi Bike’s weekend reset – Mitchell Moss in The New York Times. (link)
  • Social media keeps transit riders informed – Sarah Kaufman in Government Technology. (link)
  • Anthony Townsend named to Chicago’s Internet of Things Council – Chicago Tribune. (link)

Image above: Interior of Leap Bus, via Wired.

Unprecedented Action, Typical Storm

This afternoon, New Yorkers looking out their windows may wonder if the meteorologists who predicted last week’s Snowstorm Juno would be the “biggest snowstorm in the history of this city” simply got their dates wrong.  While the storm didn’t break weather records, it did prompt the breaking of another record. For the first time in its 110-year history, the MTA subway system was shut down because of snow.

After the snow settled on Tuesday afternoon, The New York Times, illustrated the multifaceted nature behind this historic decision:

“I would much rather be in a situation where we say we got lucky than one where we didn’t get lucky and somebody died,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

All subway service halted from 11pm Monday evening until 9am Tuesday morning. Travelers had virtually no options of getting around the city as cars were banned from driving city roads and bus and ferry service stopped.

Of the unprecedented precautions our Director Mitchell L. Moss said, “They were able to conjure a snowstorm that didn’t occur, we won a battle without an enemy.”

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods

In January 2015 The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation released a new report: “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods,” focusing on the variations of job access by transit throughout New York City.

Although public transit provides access to jobs throughout the New York City region, there are actually substantial inequalities in mobility. By focusing on the neighborhood level, the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation has identified communities that are substantially underserved by the public transportation system.

“In New York, mass transit is the path to economic mobility, not education,” Mitchell Moss, Rudin’s director, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s far more important to have a MetroCard than a college degree.” (Gothamist)

In New York City neighborhoods where people are heavily dependent on transit but access to jobs via train or bus is mediocre, 67 percent of workers commute by transit. In these areas the average income is lower than the city average, at $46,773, and the unemployment rate is 11.7, the highest in the city.

“It’s exactly these commuters, who live just beyond the reach of convenient transit but lack the resources to own a private car, who could benefit most from improvements to the city’s transit network.” (Streetsblog)

The report recommends that policymakers increase the number of transportation modal options across the city, maximize use of existing transportation infrastructure, and foster the ability to work remotely. These solutions will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic improvement.

“We need to link transit to areas that aren’t likely to get a new subway system — using … a variety of buses, more customized buses to link people to the mass transit system,” [Moss] says. “In some cases it’s getting people to mass transit that’s the challenge.” (Vox)

 

This research was supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Google.

 

Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods: A New Report

The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation announces the release of a new report: “Mobility, Economic Opportunity and New York City Neighborhoods,” focusing on the variations of job access by transit throughout New York City.

This research was supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Google.

Job Access Map

From the Introduction:

“The ability of a public transportation network to physically link residents to jobs has become a central point of concern for urban policy in an era of uneven unemployment and rapidly changing job markets. The economy of New York City is unique in North America due to its high uptake of public transportation. Here, 56% of the population uses transit to reach work; an individual’s ability to access a job is largely a function of how well their neighborhood is served by the public transportation system. This report presents direct measurements of job access in New York City, and contrasts the levels of access that are experienced in the city’s many neighborhoods…

To improve economic opportunities citywide, the NYU Rudin Center recommends that policymakers increase the number of transportation modal options across the city, maximize use of existing transportation infrastructure, and foster the ability to work remotely. These solutions will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic improvement.”

Report maps by NYU Rudin Center, linepointpath and Datapolitan.

 

Mitchell Moss on the MTA Capital Plan

NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell Moss appeared on NY 1 News to discuss the MTA’s capital plan. “Nothing is more important in Albany than making sure the MTA maintains its terrific condition as the basic engine that drives the economy,” he said. Watch the video on NY1’s site.

Mitchell Moss on NY1
Mitchell Moss on NY1

Link: http://www.ny1.com/content/news/216833/mta-officials-hope-capital-program-clears-hurdles/

New Report: Re-Programming Mobility

Anthony Townsend’s new report on the future of transportation:

“With generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management has developed a set of four alternative future scenarios set in a selection of representative U.S. metropolitan areas in 2030. Based on our synthesis of current and anticipated technological innovations and expert speculation on their impacts from over 150 source documents, these scenarios highlight:

  • likely and possible shifts in the market for mobility, public financing schemes, and the overall structure and function of the U.S. transportation system at a metropolitan level,
  • the kinds of organizational changes that transportation regulators, funding agencies, and public planning institutions need to begin preparing for now, and
  • the kinds of skills and practices that might be required of transportation planners in the future.”

Read more on the project website.

Event Recap: Short Talks, Big Ideas

Last night’s Short Talks, Big Ideas featured the best in transportation innovations of late:

Arlene Ducao showed off her MindRider brain wave-tracking bike helmets, which help map biking stress points in NYC.

Richard Dunks discussed the missing link in data processing (what to do with all this data), focusing on his Water Street Corridorscope project (with Jeff Ferzoco).

Paul Salama showed the potential for green loading zones, such as priority delivery windows for electric trucks.

Jose Soegaard taught us the importance of a functional NYC waterfront, including ferries that have been used in emergency evacuations.

Malinda Foy showcased new work at MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and fielded several questions about potential for biking on bridges (answer: hopefully!).

Neysa Pranger dove into potential uses for beacon technology to improve transit by sharing applicable information to riders’ devices.

Ryan Russo shared Vision Zero’s important initiatives to improve pedestrian safety in New York City, estimating that two million speeding tickets will be issued in 2014.

John Biggs discussed travel in reality and fiction, including his new young adult novel, “Mytro,” featuring a magical worldwide subway.

The event was moderated by Sarah Kaufman, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. Please contact her if you have a big idea to share at the next event.

 

See the photos below (by Lauren Holter and Sarah Kaufman, in a very dark room) and visit the tweetstream for further discussion.