Director, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation & Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Service
Sarah M. Kaufman is the Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation, where she researches, advocates for and educates about cutting-edge technologies in transportation. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Service.
Ms. Kaufman directs several projects related to improving transportation for contemporary needs: adapting to the increasing frequency and impact of extreme weather events on mobility; an autonomous vehicles policy framework for U.S. cities; The Pink Tax on Transportation, an analysis of how safety concerns impact women's travel patterns in New York City; Intelligent Paratransit, to rethink how we transport seniors and disabled residents; and the Emerging Leaders in Transportation Fellowship, a program to enhance innovation at all levels of transportation planning and policymaking.
Ms. Kaufman serves on the Board of Commissioners of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, as well as on the advisory board of Transportation Alternatives.
Ms. Kaufman was honored with a Transportation Power 100 Award in 2023, 2022 and 2021, a Responsible 100 Award in 2018 and a Tech Power 50 Award in February 2019, by City & State New York. She is a member of The List and a contributor to Forbes.com. She has been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, CNN, Curbed and Urban Omnibus.
Ms. Kaufman joined NYU Wagner after nearly five years at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where she led the open data program, created a conference and online exchange between the MTA and software developers, and assisted in developing the agency's social media program.
Ms. Kaufman earned a Master of Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner School in 2005, specializing in infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications, and wrote an award-winning thesis designing a bus arrival time signage system. She earned her BA from Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in science writing and concentrating in computer science.
Headshot photo credit: Christian Delfino
Couples with CAP-GP.3602.
As part of the core curriculum of the NYU Wagner Masters program, Capstone teams spend an academic year addressing challenges and identifying opportunities for a client organization or conducting research on a pressing social question. Wagner's Capstone program provides students with a centerpiece of their graduate experience whereby they are able to experience first-hand turning the theory of their studies into practice under the guidance of an experienced faculty member. Projects require students to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific content or issue area; enhance key process skills including project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out on data. Capstone requires students to interweave their learning in all these areas, and to do so in real time, in an unpredictable, complex, real-world environment.
The promises of autonomous vehicles in cities are clear – but so are the challenges. While they show incredible potential for moving both people and goods – from providing mobility for populations underserved by public transit to creating safer traffic conditions – without incentives, regulations, and proper preparation, cities may not reap these benefits.
This document, developed with stakeholders in the public, private, and advocacy sectors, aims to outline how policymakers, industry, and stakeholders can mitigate challenges and pursue opportunities to collectively unlock the positive benefits of AVs for cities. To identify specific principles that are applicable to a range of U.S. cities, Nuro and the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation brought together five working groups of practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and industry leaders between September 2022 and January 2023. These participants hailed from cities large and small, as well as from suburbs and state authorities, representing public, private, and non-profit sectors. Taken together, the discussions produced a set of ten principles that can be applied to cities of all sizes when introducing autonomous vehicles.
Ten Principles for Autonomous Urbanism:
- Engage early and often.
- AV companies should work with cities to help improve urban infrastructure to serve all residents and users.
- Communication with first responders is critical.
- AV deployment should lead to safer streets, not stranded assets.
- Rigorous safety standards must be met.
- Data-driven decision-making is valued.
- AVs should lead the conversion to zero-emission vehicles and support public transit.
- AVs should be efficient users of space.
- Workforce gains should be maximized through public-private collaboration.
- Economic opportunities and access to services should be equitable.
These principles are intended to inform urban plans in advance of the introduction of new transportation modes. They should assist cities in strategically aligning with their needs and goals of safety, sustainability, accessibility, equity and livability – while also fostering innovation. Furthermore, these principles should offer a framework for public-private partnerships that will help to increase availability of safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation options, and the infrastructure to support them.
This work was sponsored by Nuro, an autonomous, electric vehicle company focused on providing a convenient, eco-friendly alternative for last-mile goods delivery.
Additional support was provided by NYU C2SMART, a USDOT Tier 1 University Transportation Center.
In December 2022, the City of Buffalo in Erie County, New York experienced a “generational storm” that claimed the lives of 31 residents and brought activity to a standstill for nearly a week. While the city is no stranger to snowstorms, several factors made this particular blizzard uniquely challenging. Hurricane-force winds of up to 80 miles per hour brought whiteout conditions and 15-foot high snowdrifts, wind chill temperatures dipped to 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and the blizzard lasted longer than any prior storm below 5,000 feet of elevation in continental U.S. history.
To compound the dire situation, the blizzard hit Buffalo during the Christmas season, when many residents had travel plans and some essential workers were already away for the holidays. Employees who remained local were asked to sacrifice their holiday time to serve in extraordinary conditions that resulted in 46 deaths countywide.
Without question, the storm had serious adverse effects on the city’s infrastructure, businesses, and residents. Taking a proactive approach, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown sought expertise on how to better prepare for future blizzards of this magnitude. He commissioned the NYU Wagner School to conduct an analysis of the storm’s impacts and to identify actionable solutions aimed at improving preparation and recovery, and reducing loss of life and property in the future.
A research team of nine individuals and additional advisors (a full list of study participants appears on page 2) focused on and investigated four primary areas of impact:
- Roads: How disastrous road conditions and insufficient snow removal resources impeded the storm response and recovery
- Utilities: How power losses affected residents and city operations
- Communications: How warnings and emergency messages were communicated to the public
- Equity: How the storm exacerbated existing inequities in the city of Buffalo
Despite these significant challenges, aspects of Buffalo’s response were highly successful and demonstrated resourcefulness and bravery under immense pressure.
To address the challenges identified through our research, our team developed a set of recommendations for consideration by Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo. These recommendations encompass changes that can be enacted as soon as next storm season (Winter 2023-24), as well as larger systemic changes aimed at upgrading preparation and recovery in the long term while minimizing the risk of loss of life, injury, and damage. We also include steps to harness the city’s unique and highly successful 311 program.
- Bolstering physical assets for greater efficiency, protection, and nimble operations
- Partnering with regional, state and federal agencies, as well as the private and non-profit sectors, to realize the City’s immediate and long term needs.
- Creating and maintaining clear and consistent public communications
- Addressing systemic challenges that hinder resilience, including impacts on under-resourced neighborhoods and residents and mobility-linked hindrances
The research team was asked to review the response to an unprecedented storm that occurred over a holiday. As such, the report should not be read as a suggestion of negligent conduct by any of the respondents or government officials, many of whom were heroic in a time of crisis. To the extent that words such as “inadequate” or “insufficient” appear in the report, the intent is the literal meaning; in other words, a given action or resource was not able to counter a particular circumstance.
We make recommendations for improving preparation, but we recognize that since resources are limited, appropriate planning must balance the costs and benefits of all preparedness actions in light of the probability that they will be needed. We do not undertake any such balancing of costs and benefits in this report.
A true strength of the City of Buffalo is that it lives up to its nickname, “The City of Good Neighbors.” Its residents are a testament to the city’s resilience and caring nature. Our research team encourages the city to lean into this strength and utilize its tight-knit communities to better prepare local residents for future weather crises, and to foster even more effective mutual assistance. This report provides a roadmap for helping the city make meaningful progress.
Language access (the provision of equal services for people with Limited English Proficiency) is an under-researched aspect of public transportation in New York City, even as the city is considered one of the most linguistically diverse urban areas in the world. This report considers the need for language access on NYC transit systems and the current state of service for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) riders. Overall, language access in the subway can and should be improved, and likely presents a barrier for LEP New Yorkers accessing equal economic and social opportunities. This work considers select language access improvements that would serve a substantial number and proportion of riders without excessively burdening the MTA, and best practices for language access from elsewhere that could apply to NYC’s uniquely challenging transit environment.
While the reality of autonomous vehicles in New York City remains several years away, this timeline grants us the opportunity to set up a policy model for equitable, safe and accessible mobility.
Although AVs are regulated for safety and efficacy within the transportation realm, they are rarely evaluated from a policy perspective. Autonomy’s impacts will be far-reaching, prompting significant social concerns like potential job displacement, equitable neighborhood access, and data privacy.
To establish a framework for considering these wraparound AV impacts in New York City, the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management led a multi-stakeholder initiative in conjunction with NYU’s C2SMART, USDOT University Transportation Center. The team hosted three workshops in December 2021 addressing issues and opportunities in seven topic areas: Local Governance, Community Outreach, Integration with Public Transit, Equity, Accessibility, Safety and Data Privacy. Participants represented the public and private sectors, advocacy and civic organizations, and academia.
In addition, the research team conducted a quantitative study of equitable deployment of new mobility in New York City. The study finds that the ideal data aggregation level depends on the reliability of the public data collected for that community, and recommends a new tool to help design the appropriate data structure for data sharing.
Based on this foundational research and stakeholder input, seven mobility policy principles are presented as a preliminary framework for approaching the wraparound policies concerning the introduction of autonomous vehicles to New York City:
Safety, and public trust in that safety, is paramount to the introduction of autonomous vehicles on city streets.
Serve all New Yorkers equitably, raising the voices of our diverse populations in developing, testing and using AVs to make them accessible to all.
Engage New York’s diverse communities, hearing out community goals and concerns while also promoting innovation and equity.
Shared-ride autonomous vehicles must coexist with public transportation, which continues to serve as the lifeblood of New York City.
New technologies introduced by AVs should foster increasingly intelligent interactions with the city.
Adoption of AVs must augment New York City’s ongoing sustainability efforts, including vehicle electrification, minimized vehicle miles traveled, and sharing rides.
Public-private partnerships are key to setting and achieving safety, equity and sustainability goals.
These policy principles are intended to establish cross-sector strategic partnerships to advance both public innovation and social tenets. By centering the city’s goals of equity, safety, and sustainability, this initiative aims to ensure that AVs sufficiently support and move New Yorkers.
The Interborough Express project is a proposed transit line that will connect Brooklyn and Queens, running on a right-of-way currently used for freight rail. Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal envisions a rail line offering subway-like service, with 16 stations on a route that currently requires multiple bus transfers or a detour through Manhattan.
In total, 323,786 people live within a ten-minute walk of the proposed stations. This report, prepared by the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, includes six maps showing how the IBX will serve New Yorkers of diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The connectivity benefits of the Interborough Express will flow to neighborhoods with a diversity of economic standing, with poverty rates ranging from 8% to 37.7%. In addition, frontline workers, who comprise 20.5% of working residents near some proposed stations, are frequently employed in hospitals, warehouses, and garages located in the outer boroughs. Many workers already endure commutes greater than one hour, especially in East Flatbush. The proposed IBX offers improved economic mobility by connecting New Yorkers to more work and educational opportunities.
The Interborough Express will serve a multiplicity of neighborhoods, some with 90% non-white populations, and will directly connect many racial and ethnic enclaves. Several proposed stations will connect neighborhoods with high immigrant populations; the proposed Queens Blvd station would serve a population that is 68.1% foreign-born, compared with 36.8% citywide.
The Interborough Express will help transit-underserved New Yorkers, connecting people from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to fast-growing economic opportunities in the outer boroughs.
Cover image: MTA
The Pink Tax is a form of gender-based price discrimination concerning the upcharge women pay for specific products or services. Although the term is most frequently referenced in regard to cosmetic and personal care products, it is also prevalent in transportation services. Women are three times as likely to be concerned for their safety on shared modes of transit, and as a result, choose longer, more costly, or less efficient transportation options. The physical and psychological impact of gender-based trauma can result in lifelong preferences for cars or taxis instead of transit or bikes. Moreover, 61% of caregivers are women; escorting children or the elderly further reduces travel options and adds costs.
This white paper is based on the conviction that innovations to increase personal safety and improve accessibility for caregivers will provide greater access to education and jobs, deliver health benefits from more active transportation, and support women’s confidence and well-being in trip planning—while greatly reducing carbon emissions.
This white paper—and the workshops described herein— is an initial step in building more equitable systems. It is intended to frame the issue for various stakeholders, lay the foundation for systemic change, and gather momentum by identifying high-impact near-term interventions.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of non-essential business transformed mobility in, through and around New York City. This report provides a detailed analysis of the way in which the transportation systems in New York City and the surrounding region were affected by the pandemic and curtailed economic activity through May 31, 2020.
The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and 6t-research office have published the results of a large-scale exploratory survey on the consumption and mobility practices of the population of Paris and Manhattan (NYC).
The survey – which can be downloaded below - aims at comparing online consumption practices (both for food and non-food related items) of Parisians and New Yorkers (focusing on Manhattan residents), focusing particularly on:
- Identifying the profiles of e-consumers;
- Singling out the determinants of online consumption, notably in a context where express and instant delivery are developing rapidly;
- Identifying the characteristics of at-home meal delivery;
- Estimating the impacts of online consumption practices on mobility practices.
A survey analysis was conducted online based on a sample of 2178 Paris and Manhattan residents. The New York study surveyed individuals in dense neighborhoods, including Manhattan below 125th Street and downtown Brooklyn. Results were compared to Parisian neighborhoods of similar densities.
Non-food related online consumption: a widespread practice in NYC and Paris
- In 2017, 97% of Manhattan and 95% of Paris respondents bought a non-food related item online. New Yorkers make online purchases significantly more often than Parisians;
- In both Manhattan and Paris, more than one e-consumer out of two opts for at-home delivery;
- The pickup point as a French singularity: 1/5 Parisians chose this delivery method, compared to less than 1% of New Yorkers.
A boom in express deliveries in Paris and in NYC:
- 37 % of Manhattan residents and 26 % of Parisians and use an express delivery or collection option, such as Amazon Prime Now.
- 14% of Manhattan residents and 9 % of Parisians select instant delivery as their delivery method.
Online grocery shopping is primarily about saving time.
- About three quarters (73%) of Manhattan residents and more than half of Parisians (51%) have already shopped for groceries online.
- The purchasing of groceries online does not imply the alltogether disappearance of in-store purchasing practices, but rather a fragmentation of grocery shopping practices.
At-home meal delivery: apps as facilitators of a growing activity.
- 90 % of Manhattan residents and 67% of Parisians and surveyed have already ordered a meal and gotten it delivered to their home, workplace or place of study.
- The use of food ordering apps is as common amongst Parisians and New Yorkers who order meals (76% and 75%, respectively).
- Impacts: 23% of Manhattan residents and 15% of Parisians eat out at restaurants less often than before they started using a meal-delivery apps.
To mitigate the congestion and environmental challenges presented by the growth of delivery-based shopping, the report authors recommend:
Optimize curb uses: Curbside deliveries, which occur throughout daytime and evening hours, must compete with personal vehicle parking and ride pickups and dropoffs. In front of building entrances, parking must be eliminated, and dedicating loading zones for freight loading and unloading and for-hire vehicle uses should be established. This redesign will meet the competing demands of a modern street.
Encourage efficient delivery modes: To reduce freight and personal vehicle traffic, cities must legalize and encourage efficient delivery modes, including electric delivery bicycles and tricycles. These vehicles are already in use in several large cities and have reduced travel time and street congestion.
Employ existing vehicles: New York’s ample supply of taxis and for-hire vehicles can be used to deliver goods and meals for additional income and efficient use of vehicles already on the street.
A full study report and an executive summary are available for download below.
The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation's participation in this research was sponsored by C2SMART.
Many thanks to individuals who provided feedback and discussion about the report:
- Joseph Chow, NYU C2SMART
- Alison Conway, City University of New York
- Leah Flax, 100 Resilient Cities
- Diniece Peters, NYC Department of Transportation
- Michael Replogle, NYC Department of Transportation
The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation sought to determine whether transportation has a "Pink Tax," a term used to describe the extra amount women are charged (typically 7%) for products and services, like deoderant and dry cleaning. To learn more about women's experiences while traveling in New York City, the NYU Rudin Center deployed a survey online. The survey's 33 questions asked users about travel habits, safety on transportation, costs of travel and caretaker trips.
For the detailed survey and plans for continued work, please read the full report here.
Scooter sharing, the temporary rental of motorized standing kick scooters, emerged in the Fall of 2017 as a last mile and short-distance travel mode. In cities across the United States, thousands of scooters were deployed virtually overnight. Electric scooters quickly became popular with city residents.
The scooter’s appeal stems partially from the ubiquity of the children’s Razor Scooter in the early 2000s, when the millennial generation was growing up. The latest scooters are the next step in the micro-mobility revolution, following dockless bike shares.
The major e-scooter sharing companies, Bird, Lime and Spin, aim to provide a new mode of urban transit with a low barrier to entry. However, cities across the U.S. are struggling with how to regulate scooters. Requiring street space to operate and sidewalk space to park, scooters can interrupt the flow of, and even endanger, pedestrians, bikes and wheelchair users. In light of these challenges, city regulators must develop intelligent policies that balance the need for safety with the public desire for a new, efficient travel mode.
Graphic designed by Ari Kaputkin
Access-A-Ride, New York City’s paratransit program, provides door-to-door transportation service at the same cost as a transit ride for passengers who are unable to use the city’s fixed-route buses and subways. Access-A-Ride is costly for its operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA): The program cost $467.7 million in 2016. AAR’s high costs are due to system issues — specifically, inefficient ride matching, routing and transit feeders.
The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation conducted an in-depth analysis of the MTA’s data set of all AAR trips taken in 2015. In that year, 6,284,188 trips were recorded. To date, this is the only analysis of AAR data external to the MTA.
This analysis builds upon Intelligent Paratransit, released in November 2016 by the NYU Rudin Center. In that report, 14 technology upgrades were recommended. One of those recommendations, data analysis, is at the heart of this report, and is the starting point for innovation in paratransit.
This report, Bringing Innovation to Paratransit, includes AAR usage by neighborhood, public transit accessibility needs and most commonly requested routes. The report includes recommendations to improve the paratransit program, including ride-sharing opportunities, priority subway stations for accessibility upgrades and open data for future analyses. The accompanying interactive map, located atNYURudinCenter.com, is available for the public to explore the AAR data for education and advocacy.
Bringing Innovation to Paratransit uses data to improve mobility options for the disabled in New York City, and demonstrates the power of data analysis to inform transportation planning and policy.
Subway riders are often frustrated by the lack of notifications about long and unexpected delays, despite the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s efforts at using social media. The need for rider information was highlighted on June 5, 2017, when a rush-hour F train was stuck underground in a tunnel for nearly an hour between the West 4th Street and Broadway-Lafayette Street stations.
This report includes an analysis of the event and the need for essential information through social media.
Since the opening of the Second Avenue Subway’s three new stations on January 1, 2017, pickups by taxis and for-hire-vehicles (FHV) in the immediate vicinity have declined overall, according to a new report by NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation.
Since the opening of the Second Avenue Subway’s three new stations on January 1, 2017, taxi pickups and dropoffs in the immediate vicinity have declined, according to a new report by NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation.
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: What Current Use and Activity Suggests for the Future of the Program takes stock of the system’s strengths and areas for growth as policymakers determine the City’s role in bringing Citi Bike to all five boroughs.
Key findings include:
- 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.
More than 993,000 people, or 12 percent of the New York City population, are adults over the age of 65. 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. New Yorkers over 65 grew by 5.5 percent between 2000 and 2010, presenting a challenge to New York City’s transportation infrastructure. Many older adults are not physically able to use public transportation, often because of a lack of subway station accessibility. Instead, they rely on the Access-A-Ride (AAR) paratransit system, an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated service operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) and partially subsidized with New York City funds, that provides door-to-door transportation for riders who are unable to use the buses or subways. In 2015, AAR users over the age of 65 accounted for 69 percent of all registrants. AAR operations will cost a projected $505.7 million in 2016 and have experienced annual growth, according to the MTA: in 1994, AAR provided 424,239 trips to 25,446 registrants; in 2015, AAR provided 6,360,165 trips to 144,692 registrants. Demand for AAR is expected to increase as the city’s population of older adults grows; the MTA forecasts that the year 2022 will see 14,322,120 trips for 316,907 users, requiring a scaling up of the already overburdened system. This report attempts to forecast an increase in demand for AAR by location and make recommendations for accessibility reform.
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.
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.
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. The Rudin Center ranked New York City’s 177 neighborhoods according to the number of jobs accessible from the neighborhoods by transit, within 60 minutes and completed by 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. This analysis reveals high variation in levels of transit access across New York affect residents’ employment levels, travel modes and incomes. This report seeks to affect the implementation of new policies and transit services to increase economic opportunity for New Yorkers, and ensure that the transportation system is fully leveraged to connect workers with jobs. These improvements will benefit all New Yorkers’ access to job opportunities and economic mobility.
Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is an historic event that will disrupt life in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., but not in New York City. In Washington D.C., federal government workers are being advised to telecommute. Philadelphia is towing cars and shutting down roads and transit in the event area. For New Yorkers, the Papal visit will limit mobility in some parts of Manhattan, but only for limited time periods. With the nation’s largest subway system and municipal police department, New York is accustomed to large-scale events and high-profile visitors like the Dalai Lama, the President of the United States and foreign leaders coming to the United Nations.
New York City launched Citi Bike, the largest bike share program in the United States, in May 2013. This study examines the first two years of Citi Bike and its role in New York City mobility. Citi Bike’s station connection to public transportation hubs and station density are major factors in the system’s high ridership and use. Seventy-four percent of Citi Bike stations are within a five-minute walk of a subway station entrance, providing a “last mile” solution for transit commuters. The system’s greatest challenges are expanding and diversifying its customer base while also rebalancing the number of bicycles available at high-demand stations. Citi Bike has become an integral part of New York’s transportation culture, even though it serves a limited geographic area. This report addresses those challenges and recommends strategies for the future.
Emerging technologies offer transit agencies an opportunity to transform fundamental aspects of their operations and the way they communicate with their riders. With nearly ubiquitous smartphones and social media tools among growing ridership patterns, transit providers can use aggregate mobile phone data and social media posts to improve system management.
Data-based reports can reach the operations center faster than field personnel, with mobile phone networks indicating station crowding or a passenger posting a photo of another pulling the emergency brake. Exceeding traditional reporting mechanisms (exclusive information from personnel) would save time and lower the costs of field monitoring while raising the trust between transit agencies and their customers.
By employing “co-monitoring” - the monitoring of field conditions through a combination of staff reports, data analysis and public observations – transit agencies will save time and costs for information gathering, improve their responsiveness, and establish working partnerships between the agencies and their customers. This report proposes a framework for a co-monitoring system, and discusses the expected benefits and challenges, as well as policy recommendations for agencies pursuing co-monitoring systems. Keys to successful co-monitoring systems are agency openness to new streams of data and respectful dialogue from both management and riders. Well-designed co-monitoring tools will put transit on track to manage smarter, more versatile transit systems for the twenty-first century.
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.
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.
Social media networks allow transportation providers to reach large numbers of people simultaneously and without a fee, essential factors for the millions of commuters and leisure travelers moving through the New York region every day. This report, based on earlier findings (from Part 1), which analyzed local transportation providers’ use of social media, and a seminar on the subject in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, recommends social media policies for transportation providers seeking to inform, engage and motivate their customers.
The goals of social media in transportation are to inform (alert riders of a situation), motivate (to opt for an alternate route), and engage (amplify the message to their friends and neighbors). To accomplish these goals, transportation providers should be:
- Accessible: Easily discovered through multiple channels and targeted information campaigns
- Informative: Disseminating service information at rush hour and with longer-form discussions on blogs as needed
- Engaging: Responding directly to customers, marketing new services, and building community
- Responsive: Soliciting and internalizing feedback and self-evaluating in a continuous cycle
Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the strengths and limits of the transportation infrastructure in New York City and the surrounding region. As a result of the timely and thorough preparations by New York City and the MTA, along with the actions of city residents and emergency workers to evacuate and adapt, the storm wrought far fewer casualties than might have occurred otherwise.
This report evaluates storm preparation and response by New York City and the MTA, discusses New Yorkers' ingenuity in work continuity, and recommends infrastructure and policy improvements.
Social media networks are valuable tools for the public outreach needs of transportation providers: they are free, instantaneous, reach large numbers of people simultaneously, and allow for sideline discussions. When transportation providers are trying to notify large numbers of passengers about delays, drivers about construction work, or bus riders about re-routes, they can “blast” messages through social media channels to reach their intended audience immediately (the audience accesses these networks far more frequently than the websites of their local transportation agencies). The goals of social media in transportation are to inform (alert riders of a situation), motivate (to opt for an alternate route), and engage (amplify the message to their friends and neighbors). Ideally, these actions would occur within minutes of an incident.
This report analyzes the use of social media tools by the New York region’s major transportation providers. It is focused on the effectiveness of their Twitter feeds, which were chosen for their immediacy and simplicity in messaging, and provided a common denominator for comparison between the various transportation providers considered, both public and private. Based on this analysis, recommendations are outlined for improving social media outreach. A subsequent report will propose policies and recommendations for enhanced information and engagement with users.
Augmented Reality is beginning to shift the landscape of urban exploration, making the experience ever-more informative, from language translation applications to cultural enrichment tools. It will lead people to be more informed, advertised to, and assisted on every urban excursion, removing the traditional happenstance from urban exploration. It is unclear whether Augmented Reality (AR) will truly enhance experiences, lead to over-saturation of information and advertising, or a combination of the two. This paper will discuss the current and near-future uses of AR for city dwellers and the projected implications of ubiquitous information.
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.
Manhattan, a global center of finance, culture, fashion and media, harnesses a workforce of 2 million people. Regionally, Manhattan is the business hub for the New York metropolitan area, with commuters entering the city every morning from the other four boroughs, suburban counties in New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, western Connecticut, and Long Island, and distant locations, such as eastern Pennsylvania. The workforce of Manhattan is both growing and changing. There is a growing set of high-income, service-related occupations, and an increasing number of workers are residing in the outer boroughs or to the west, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. In fact, Manhattan now has 59,000 “super-commuters” who do not live within the metropolitan region. This report examines key trends in the residential location of Manhattan workers and will also discuss the travel, occupation, and income characteristics of Manhattan workers living in the surrounding metropolitan region. Finally, we explore the strength, resilience and vitality of Manhattan as a global economic and cultural hub in the 21st century.