Category Archives: urban planning

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.

New Report: Older New Yorkers and Access-A-Ride Forecasts

Following up on our Intelligent Paratransit report, “Older New Yorkers and Access-A-Ride Forecasts,” looks at the near-future mobility needs of seniors in New York City.

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.

Download the report: Older New Yorkers and Access-A-Ride Forecasts

Population density of 65+ New Yorkers in 2030
Population density of 65+ New Yorkers in 2030

A Scooter Share Primer

In the NYU Rudin Center’s August 2016 report on the “L Train Closure and Mitigation,” we suggested creative measures, including gondolas and scooter shares, to diversify commute and travel options. Today, we set out to explore the scooter share market around the world.
So, what is a scooter share?
Think bike share, but with electric scooters.
We looked at 10 scooter shares around the globe to see how they operated, including Cityscoot (Paris, France), Coup (Berlin, Germany), eBike (Chiayi, Taiwan), Enjoy (Milan, Italy), LoopShare (Vancouver, Canada), Scoot (San Francisco, US), Scooty (Brussels, Belgium), WeMo (Taipei, Taiwan), Yugo (Barcelona, Spain) and 2Hire (Rome, Italy).


How does it work?
For starters, all but one of the scooter shares (eBike in Chiayi, Taiwan) are privately operated. Some require a membership or registration fee (monthly, annual or one time) in addition to base charges per ride, but many are free to join. With the exception of Vancouver’s LoopShare, every system charges on a minute basis; LoopShare charges per kilometer traveled. Similar to bike share systems, most of the scooter shares we observed charge a flat rate for a set trip time, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes, and tack on a per-minute charge once the trip has surpassed that limit. Unlike bike shares, however, many of the scooter shares allow you to park anywhere within a zone. Users then pick up a scooter where it’s been parked (sometimes a designated charging spot). Because most scooter sharing programs have rolled out in the last year, most cities currently only have pilot zones (usually in the central business district), with the aim of expanding in the near future. Users tap into the network by locating and reserving scooters in a proprietary app.

Graphic of the Yugo System
Graphic of the Yugo System

What is the scooter riding experience?
Nearly all of the scooter shares employ electric scooters though each scooter seems as unique as the city its found in. Perhaps the most eye-catching, is the Taiwanese-developed Gogoro scooter, which hit the market only last year in Taiwan and is currently being utilized in both Taipei WeMo and Berlin Coup scooter sharing systems. The Gogoro features a “smart” mode, that tunes the scooter’s performance to optimize battery life. Paris’s Cityscoot is employing the German-based Govec scooter, featuring a fold-out wind and waterproof blanket to cover the rider’s legs on cold or rainy days. Barcelona’s Yugo scooter fleet is nearly indistinguishable from a vintage Vespa, save for it’s silent, emission-free electric motor. San Francisco’s Scoot launched with the a Govec scooter similar to Cityscoot in Paris, but is now transitioning to a lighter weight option that tops out around 30 miles per hour. Vancouver’s Loop scooters are perhaps the least traditional scooter of the bunch, with a very light-weight, minimal design and topping out at a speed of 25 miles per hour. The only non-electric scooters are from Milan’s Enjoy fleet of robust, three-wheeled Piaggio scooters, which are operated in tandem with a car-sharing service by Italian gas company Eni.

gogoro-family-shot1
Gogoro Scooter pictured with Battery Station

How are the scooters and network powered?
Because most of the scooters used in these programs are electric and require recharging, it can be challenging to keep them juiced-up. At least two of the ten scooter systems incentive riders to return the scooter to a charging dock; for instance, Cityscoot in Paris offers a two euro credit for docked scooters. Taipei’s WeMo system relies on a battery exchange system; when the scooters are running low on power, the batteries can easily be swapped by the rider for a fully charged one using one of the many battery charging kiosks around the city.  Only the publicly operated eBike system in Chiayi and Rome’s 2Hire for university students have assigned parking docks.

Opportunities for Future Study
Through this exploration of scooter shares, we’ve identified additional questions and opportunities for future study. These topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Where do scooter shares currently exist? Given that only one of the scooter shares, Scoot SF, was located in the United States, we wanted to know more about the makeup of cities with scooter shares. Do they share commonalities in terms of population density and mode share split?
  • What modes of transit do scooter shares naturally complement? How do other systems integrate with transit?
  • What are the challenges inherent to a scooter share?
  • What are the operational differences between the scooters currently used by sharing systems? Which systems require drivers’ licenses or motorcycle licenses?

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: https://intercitybusoutlook.eventbrite.com/

STUDY RELEASE:
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.

TECHNICAL TOUR:
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: https://intercitybusoutlook.eventbrite.com/

Results: Transpo on the Ballot- Strong Support for Transit Initiatives in 2016

The November elections saw major wins for transportation infrastructure projects  in the United States. 56 of the 82 ( or 68%) of the initiatives proposed in cities, counties and states passed. NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation has created a map (below) of the ballot measures that were voted on with the results highlighted.

On the map, green indicates that a measure was passed, yellow indicates that data is not yet available, and red indicates that a measure did not pass. Hover over an area to read about the ballot measures proposed.

Some of the nation’s most notable transportation wins are seen in Seattle, Los Angeles County, and the State of New Jersey.

In Seattle, voters passed Sound Transit 3, a $54 billion initiative to add 62 miles and 37 stations of light rail in the next 25 years. The initiative will include more commuter trains and bus lines and will see a light rail extension to both Everett and Tacoma, two of the most populated areas in the Seattle metro-region.

In Los Angeles County, voters passed Measure M which will expand public transit service throughout the City and in outlying suburban areas. The measure is an ambitious effort to expand light rail services with funding generated from a sales tax of half a penny on every dollar spent in the county. The project includes a tunnel to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, easing traffic congestion along the 405 freeway, as well as transit lines extending to the suburbs of Artesia, Claremont, Torrance, Whittier and South El Monte.

In the State of New Jersey, voters approved Question 2 to amend the state constitution and dedicate all revenue from state gas tax to the Transportation Trust Fund, ensuring that the money is used only for transportation purposes. The Transportation Trust Fund is the contract authority which allows the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Transit Corporation to advance capital projects.

You can view the ballot text here courtesy of Ballotpedia.org.

 

Event: The Future of Citi Bike: Assuring Access to Low-Income Communities

DATE: November 17, 2016
TIME: 08:45am – 10:00am
LOCATION: Puck Building – The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, 2nd Fl., 295 Lafayette Street, New York; NY 10012-9604

 

A panel discussion with:

Tracey Capers
Executive Vice President, Programs/Organizational Development, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Elena Conte
Director of Policy, Pratt Center for Community Development

Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez
Chair – Committee on Transportation, New York City Council

Paul Steely White
Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives

Moderated by:

Mitchell L. Moss
Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning and Director of the Rudin Center for Transportation, NYU Wagner School

Event: Cities, Data, And Mobility: The NYC Experience

Date: 11/15/2016
Time: 8:45am – 10:00am
Location: The Puck Building, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, 2nd Fl., 295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604
RSVPhttps://wagner.nyu.edu/events/rudin-11-15-2016

The  growth of NYC’s for-hire vehicle market means that the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission is gathering unprecedented amounts of trip data, yielding  a far more comprehensive view of how New Yorkers travel. The TLC uses this data to enforce consumer protections and safety requirements and to gain insight into emerging transportation models, accessibility and driver income. How can the public and private sectors use this data to inform policymaking?

Join us for a lively discussion.

Opening remarks: Meera Joshi, Commissioner and Chair, New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

Panelists:
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Cordell Schachter, Chief Technology Officer, New York City Department of Transportation
Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, City of New York
Anthony Townsend, Founder, Bits and Atoms

Moderated by Mitchell L. Moss, Director, NYU Rudin Center

RSVP here.

Photo: Michael Greenberg

NYU Rudin Center Emerging Leader Featured in NY Times

Adrian Untermyer, deputy director of the Historic Districts Council and alumnus of the NYU Rudin Center Emerging Leaders program, was featured in The New York Times today. He has organized the installation of a piano in the Port Authority Bus Terminal to make commutes more pleasant. As noted in the article, “Mr. Untermyer said he made connections that he used to advance the piano project when he had an Emerging Leaders in Transportation fellowship at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Management last fall.”

The NYU Rudin Center is proud of Adrian’s work and is looking forward to enjoying piano concertos in the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Read the full article here.

New Report: Intelligent Paratransit

Our new report, Intelligent Paratransit, is available for download here.

Executive Summary

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.