Social Media in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery
TR News July-August 2013: Logistics of Disaster Response
Sarah M. Kaufman
Social media have become an essential source of
information before, during, and after disasters.
Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and
Tumblr—instantaneous, far-reaching, and interactive—
have become the convergence point for a range
of information sources, dialogues, and dynamic content.
A survey conducted by the New York University
(NYU) Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and
Management found that during Superstorm Sandy,
social media were the second-highest-rated source of
information, ranking higher than other popular
sources such as television and radio news, news websites,
and community groups.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Social Media Protocols and Policies
"What’s the Worst That Can Happen? Social Media Protocols and Policies" in Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media, CRC Press, October 2, 2013.
Sarah M. Kaufman and Susan Bregman
Timely updates, increased citizen engagement, and more effective marketing are just a few of the reasons transportation agencies have already started to adopt social media networking tools. Best Practices for Transportation Agency Use of Social Media offers real-world advice for planning and implementing social media from leading government practitioners, academic researchers, and industry experts.
The book provides an overview of the various social media platforms and tools, with examples of how transportation organizations use each platform. It contains a series of interviews that illustrate what creative agencies are doing to improve service, provide real-time updates, garner valuable information from their customers, and better serve their communities. It reveals powerful lessons learned from various transportation agencies, including a regional airport, city and state departments of transportation, and municipal transit agencies.
Filled with examples from transportation organizations, the text provides ideas that can apply to all modes of transportation including mass transit, highways, aviation, ferries, bicycling, and walking. It describes how to measure the impact of your social media presence and also examines advanced uses of social media for obtaining information by involving customers and analyzing their social media use.
The book outlines all the resources you will need to maintain a social media presence and describes how to use social media analytical tools to assess service strengths and weaknesses and customer sentiment. Explaining how to overcome the digital divide, language barriers, and accessibility challenges for patrons with disabilities, it provides you with the understanding of the various social media technologies along with the knowhow to determine which one is best for a specific situation and purpose.
Home parking convenience, household car usage, and implications to residential parking policies
Transport Policy, 29, 97-106
This paper investigates the effect of home parking convenience on households' car usage, and the implications to residential parking policies. A random sample of 840 households is selected from a travel survey in the New York City region, and their home parking types are identified through Google Street View. It found that with the same car ownership level, households without off-street parking used cars much less, and relied more on alternative modes than those with off-street parking. For households with access to both garage and street parking, those who use the handy street parking tend to make more car tours than those who do not. In general, convenient home parking encourages households' car usage. Policy implications to the minimum off-street parking requirement, residents parking permit, street cleaning, and new urbanism neighborhood design are discussed.
Residential Street Parking and Car Ownership
Journal of the American Planning Association 79.1 (2013): 32-48.
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Local governments’ minimum street-width standards may force developers to oversupply, and residents to pay excessively for, on-street parking in residential neighborhoods. Such oversupply is often presumed to both encourage car ownership and reduce housing affordability, although little useful evidence exists either way. This article examines the impact of street-parking supply on the car ownership of households with off-street parking in the New York City area.
The off- and on-street parking supply for each household was measured through Google Street View and Bing Maps. The impact of on-street parking on car ownership levels was then estimated in an innovative multivariate model. The unique set-up of the case study ensures 1) the weak endogeneity between parking supply and car ownership and 2) the low correlation between off-street and on-street parking supply, two major methodological challenges of the study. Results show that free residential street parking increases private car ownership by nearly 9%; that is, the availability of free street parking explains 1 out of 11 cars owned by households with off-street parking.
Takeaway for practice: These results offer support for community street standards that make on-street parking supply optional. They also suggest the merits of leaving the decisions of whether, and how many, on-street parking spaces to provide in new residential developments to private markets rather than regulations.
Research support: This project was supported by grants from the University Transportation Research Center (Region 2) and the Wagner School Faculty Research Fund.
From Endeavor to Achievement and Back Again: Government's Greatest Hits in Peril
In To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government. Steven Conn, Ed., Oxford Univeristy Press
Paul C. Light
"These 10 articles from leading scholars address federal government activism in such areas as health, education, transportation, and the arts. In some areas, federal involvement has been direct; for example, while school public systems are governed locally, Washington provides about 10% of k–12 funding. Similarly, antipoverty programs, such as the New Deal’s Social Security Act and Aid for Dependent Children, have played a major role in reducing the poverty rate from around 40% in 1900 to 11.2% in 1974. At other times, Washington has exerted influence more subtly, through regulations and research. Examples include the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which mandated the separation of investment and commercial banking and the WWII-era research that yielded compounds to prevent and cure malaria, syphilis, and tuberculosis. Further, as public policy scholar Paul C. Light points out in a fascinating concluding piece, more than two-thirds of leading governmental initiatives have been supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations. However, Light adds, the massive tax cut in 2001 “continue[s] to constrain federal investment in problem solving.” The scholars brought together by Ohio State historian Conn (History’s Shadow) persuasively demonstrate how the growth of “big government” throughout the 20th century has benefited ordinary Americans so comprehensively and unobtrusively that they have often taken it for granted."
Getting Started with Open Data, A Guide for Transportation Agencies
Kaufman, Sarah M.
Getting Started with Open Data is a guide for transportation agencies that would like to release their schedule data and administrative records to the public, and need an introduction to the practice. This guide is intended to result in streamlined use of transportation services and promote a productive dialogue between agencies and their constituents. It is being released as a living document, intended for input from both transportation data owners and users, to result in the most complete open transportation data guide possible.
Above Board: Raising the Standards for Passenger Service Workers at the Nation's Busiest Airports
Mason, C. Nicole & Garcia, Lisette
I n the fall of 2011, the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service conducted a survey of over 300 passenger service workers at the region's three major airports: LaGuardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International.
Only workers contracted by the airlines were surveyed. This report focuses on the impact of the low-bid
contracting system on passenger service workers at the airports. It also proposes ways forward and concrete recommendations to raise job quality and performance standards for companies contracted directly with airlines.
The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011
Laying out Manhattan's street grid and providing a rationale for the growth of New York was the city's first great civic enterprise, not to mention a brazenly ambitious project and major milestone in the history of city planning. The grid created the physical conditions for business and society to flourish and embodied the drive and discipline for which the city would come to be known. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York celebrating the bicentennial of the Commissioners' 1811 Plan of Manhattan, this volume does more than memorialize such a visionary effort, it serves as an enduring reference full of rare images and information.
The Greatest Grid shares the history of the Commissioners' plan, incorporating archival photos and illustrations, primary documents and testimony, and magnificent maps with essential analysis. The text, written by leading historians of New York City, follows the grid's initial design, implementation, and evolution, and then speaks to its enduring influence. A foldout map, accompanied by explanatory notes, reproduces the Commissioners' original plan, and additional maps and prints chart the city's pre-1811 irregular growth patterns and local precedent for the grid's design. Constituting the first sustained examination of this subject, this text describes the social, political, and intellectual figures who were instrumental in remaking early New York, not in the image of old Europe but as a reflection of other American cities and a distinct New World sensibility. The grid reaffirmed old hierarchies while creating new opportunities for power and advancement, giving rise to the multicultural, highly networked landscape New Yorkers thrive in today.
Assessing the cost of transfer inconvenience in public transport systems: A case study of the London Underground
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 45, 2, 91-104
Guo, Zhan and Nigel H.M. Wilson
Few studies have adequately assessed the cost of transfers in public transport systems, or provided useful guidance on transfer improvements, such as where to invest (which facility), how to invest (which aspect), and how much to invest (quantitative justification of the investment). This paper proposes a new method based on path choice,3 taking into account both the operator's service supply and the customers' subjective perceptions to assess transfer cost and to identify ways to reduce it. This method evaluates different transfer components (e.g., transfer walking, waiting, and penalty) with distinct policy solutions and differentiates between transfer stations and movements.
The method is applied to one of the largest and most complex public transport systems in the world, the London Underground (LUL), with a focus on 17 major transfer stations and 303 transfer movements. This study confirms that transfers pose a significant cost to LUL, and that cost is distributed unevenly across stations and across platforms at a station.
Transfer stations are perceived very differently by passengers in terms of their overall cost and composition. The case study suggests that a better understanding of transfer behavior and improvements to the transfer experience could significantly benefit public transport systems.
Mind the Map! The Impact of Transit Maps on Path Choice in Public Transit
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 45, 7, 625–639
This paper investigates the impact of schematic transit maps on passengers' travel decisions. It does two things: First, it proposes an analysis framework that defines four types of information delivered from a transit map: distortion, restoration, codification, and cognition. It then considers the potential impact of this information on three types of travel decisions: location, mode, and path choices.1 Second, it conducts an empirical analysis to explore the impact of the famous London tube map on passengers' path choice in the London Underground (LUL). Using data collected by LUL from 1998 to 2005, the paper develops a path choice model and compares the influence between the distorted tube map (map distance) and reality (travel time) on passengers' path choice behavior. Results show that the elasticity of the map distance is twice that of the travel time, which suggests that passengers often trust the tube map more than their own travel experience on deciding the ‘‘best'' travel path. This is true even for the most experienced passengers using the system. The codification of transfer connections on the tube map, either as a simple dot or as an extended link, could affect passengers' transfer decisions. The implications to transit operation and planning, such as trip assignments, overcrowding mitigation, and the deployment of Advanced Transit Information System (ATIS), are also discussed.
Uninsured motorists and unsafe drivers: The role of compulsory insurance regulations
Journal of Law and Economics, Volume 47, Number 2 (October 2004), pp. 357-394.
Dehejia, R.H. & Cohen, A.
Transportation Recovery in an Age of Disasters
Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
Disasters from terrorism, natural hazards and accidents are now becoming commonplace and may be increasing as a major threat against the viability of transportation infrastructure and the invaluable social services it provides. The paper first sets forth the nature of the threats and hazards transportation infrastructure faces. This provides the foundation for understanding the need to develop an integrated and common set of solutions that incorporates co-benefits to solve more than one problem at the same time, that is, simultaneously for different kinds of hazards, different types of infrastructures, and infrastructures that affect or have interdependencies with transportation. Types of funding sources and innovative technologies that are becoming available to support protection and recovery are discussed in terms of their ability to integrate multiple hazards and address areas of need.
Urban Design in Action
The Lindsay Years, ed. Sam Roberts.
Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York
Ballon, H. & Jackson, K.T. eds.
"We are rebuilding New York, not dispersing and abandoning it": Robert Moses saw himself on a rescue mission to save the city from obsolescence, decentralization, and decline. His vast building program aimed to modernize urban infrastructure, expand the public realm with extensive recreational facilities, remove blight, and make the city more livable for the middle class. This book offers a fresh look at the physical transformation of New York during Moses’s nearly forty-year reign over city building from 1934 to 1968. It is hard to imagine that anyone will ever have the same impact on New York as did Robert Moses. In his various roles in city and state government, he reshaped the fabric of the city, and his legacy continues to touch the lives of all New Yorkers. Revered for most of his life, he is now one of the most controversial figures in the city’s history. Robert Moses and the Modern City is the first major publication devoted to him since Robert Caro’s damning 1974 biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. In these pages eight short essays by leading scholars of urban history provide a revised perspective; stunning new photographs offer the first visual record of Moses’s far-reaching building program as it stands today; and a comprehensive catalog of his works is illustrated with a wealth of archival records: photographs of buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes, of parks, pools, and playgrounds, of demolished neighborhoods and replacement housing and urban renewal projects, of bridges and highways; renderings of rejected designs and controversial projects that were defeated; and views of spectacular models that have not been seen since Moses made them for promotional purposes. Robert Moses and the Modern City captures research undertaken in the last three decades and will stimulate a new round of debate.
Assessment of the Transfer Penalty for Transit Trips: A GIS-based Disaggregate Modeling Approach
Transportation Research Record, Vol.1872, pp.10-18
Guo, Z. & Wilson, N.H.M.
Transit riders negatively perceive transfers because of their inconvenience, often referred to as a transfer penalty. Understanding what affects the transfer penalty can have significant implications for a transit authority and also lead to potential improvements in ridership forecasting models. A new method was developed to assess the transfer penalty on the basis of onboard survey data, a partial path choice model, and geographic information system techniques. This approach was applied to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)subway system in downtown Boston. The new method improves the estimates of the transfer penalty, reduces the complexity of data processing, and improves the overall understanding of the perception of transfers.
Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.
Transportation Research D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 14, pp. 343-352
There is a lack of consensus as to whether the relationship between the built environment and travel is causal and, if it is, the extent of this causality. This problem is largely caused by inappropriate research designs adopted in many studies. This paper proposes a new method (based on path choice) to investigate the causal effect of the pedestrian environment on the utility of walking. Specifically, the paper examines how the pedestrian environment affects subway commuters' egress path choice from a station to their workplaces in downtown Boston. The path-based measure is sensitive enough to capture minor differences in the environment experienced by pedestrians. More importantly, path
choice is less likely to correlate with job and housing location choices, and therefore largely avoids the self-selection problem. The results suggest that the pedestrian environment can significantly affect a person's walking experience and the utility of walking along a path.
Infrastructure Disruptions and Recovery Rates in Disasters
ASCE Metropolitan Section Infrastructure Group Technical Seminar "New York City Infrastructure Critical Needs," Polytechnic University, March 24-25, pp. 28-35.
Zimmerman, R., Restrepo, C. & Simonoff, J.S.
Transportation Density and Opportunities for Expediting Recovery to Promote Security
Journal of Applied Security Research, Vol. 4, No. 1.
Zimmerman, R. & Simonoff, J.S.
Analysis of Electrical Power and Oil and Gas Pipeline Failures
Critical Infrastructure Protection, edited by E.D. Goetz and S. Shenoi. New York, NY: Springer, pp. 381-394.
Simonoff, J.S., Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R. & Naphtali, Z.
This paper examines the spatial and temporal distribution of failures in three critical infrastructure systems in the United States: the electrical power grid, hazardous liquids (including oil) pipelines, and natural gas pipelines. The analyses are carried out at the state level, though the analytical frameworks are applicable to other geographic areas and infrastructure types. The paper also discusses how understanding the spatial distribution of these failures can be used as an input into risk management policies to improve the performance of these systems, as well as for security and natural hazards mitigation.
A Prescription for Getting the MTA on the Right Fiscal Track
The Stamford Review, Fall, pp. 27-24.
Brecher, C. & Mustovic, S.
Typically when an asset is acquired it is assigned a "useful life" representing the amount of time it can be expected to stay in use. Then a fraction of the asset's purchase price, equal to one year of its "useful life," is counted as an annual expenditure called depreciation. The MTA's depreciation schedules are based upon estimated useful lives of 25 to 50 years for buildings, two to 40 years for equipment, and 25 to 100 years for infrastructure. Most subway cars are depreciated over 30 years and buses over 12 years. Setting aside money equal to the value of depreciation, known as "funding depreciation," is a way of ensuring that an organization has adequate capital to replace assets at the end of their useful life. In contrast, failing to fund depreciation enables an organization to meet its cash expenses each year without having a budget that is balanced under generally accepted accounting principles. However, the adverse consequence of this practice is a shortage of capital and a resulting need to borrow in order to replace depreciated assets. This is the path the MTA routinely takes.