Evaluating the Economic Implications of Investment in New York City’s Subway System
|Better public transportation is widely considered to have economic and social benefits. With federal transportation infrastructure spending in decline, local governments are forced to weigh the potential benefits of investment in transportation against politically unpopular increases in taxes and fees. What is the return on investment to transportation infrastructure, and more importantly, who does it benefit? A Capstone team conducted a systematic evaluation of the economic consequences of investment in New York City’s subway system by differentiating between levels of investment and type of economic benefit. The team compiled a detailed dataset of transportation and economic indicators by zip code tabulation areas and used a variety of statistical techniques—including matching analysis—to better isolate the effect of transportation improvement. Their findings have implications for how best to prioritize the investment of limited public funds available for transportation infrastructure.|
Enhancing Holistic Road Safety in Tanzania
|The World Bank is a global financial institution that issues loans to countries for development programs. The Tanzania Strategic Cities Project (TSCP) of the World Bank aims to improve the access and quality of basic urban services by financing investments in the urban infrastructure of the country’s secondary cities. The World Bank engaged a Capstone team to complement implementation support of the TSCP by assessing holistic road safety and public space networks in selected project cities. The team’s fieldwork in Arusha and Dodoma included interviewing stakeholders—including government staff, nonprofits, and community members—and visiting local parks, roads, and schools. The team also researched the primary and secondary dimensions of road safety, best practices, and case studies related to pedestrian-friendly urban design elements. Their research culminated in a final report recommending strategies and practices that enhance road safety and stakeholder engagement.|
Exploring Bus Fragmentation in Queens
|TransitCenter is a New York-based national transit advocacy foundation. TransitCenter is at the forefront of bus advocacy across American cities, publishing bus report cards in New York and identifying key public transit deficiencies experienced by riders. TransitCenter engaged a Capstone team to assess and identify challenges to bus riders posed by the territorial division between the two subdivisions of the MTA that operate bus service in Queens: New York City Transit and Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Bus. The team explored bus service fragmentation and the operations of the bus network throughout Queens as part of a broader network design analysis. The team also analyzed bus route data and evaluated potential revisions to decades-long transit corridors to address existing bus route service inadequacies and inconsistencies. The team provided recommendations to address gaps in service, key transfer points, and scheduling conflicts.|
Enhancing the Connectivity of the Prospect Expressway
|The Prospect Expressway was originally constructed to link central Brooklyn with the Gowanus Expressway and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Despite its aim of enhancing connectivity, the expressway cut through a formerly cohesive community, isolating pedestrians traversing the adjacent neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, and Sunset Park. The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President worked with the Capstone team to engage the community, local elected officials, city and state agencies, and subject matter experts to develop a roadmap to prioritize future investment along the corridor. The team assessed existing conditions, researched best practices for treatments of similar roadways, and analyzed outcomes from a community visioning workshop. The team presented a final report that incorporated conclusions based on their research and analyses, a summary of stakeholder engagement, and proposed recommendations on how to improve transportation along the corridor.|
Substantiating Car Platform Data Value in City Planning
|Dash Labs, an NYC-based startup, publishes the Dash app, which connects to cars and makes driving smarter, safer, greener, and more affordable. With nearly 400,000 downloads since the app launched in 2014, the platform collects real-world data from drivers around the world. Aiming to demonstrate the value of their data in city planning, Dash Labs engaged a Capstone team in creating visualizations and policy recommendations based on vehicle usage data within the five boroughs of NYC. By overlaying the Dash Labs data with NYC open data, the team evaluated various Vision Zero projects, including the NYC campaign to reduce the default speed limit on city streets to 25 MPH. The team substantiated the value of Dash Labs’ data through their findings, demonstrating that real-time data can aid in prioritizing and evaluating the success of initiatives—such as pedestrian safety—and highlighted policy recommendations and approaches that cities can take to best utilize this data.|
Improving Transportation Processes for Veterans
|The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides patient care and federal benefits to veterans and their dependents. The VA faces the daily challenge of providing transportation for patients to access healthcare. The current transportation process leads to missed appointments, reduced access to care, increased risk of negative health outcomes, and decreased veteran satisfaction and trust. The VA engaged a Capstone team in investigating strategies to improve its transportation processes. The team conducted market research and an environmental scan of 22 VA transportation sites. The team’s conclusions were threefold: transportation availability impacts healthcare access, insufficient performance measures are captured on patient transportation, and transportation accessibility must be integrated into the clinical process. The team provided a report to the VA that included the conclusions and these additional recommendations: standardize the transportation process across sites, implement the automated system “Vetride,” and consistently collect and report key metrics to measure outcomes and promote continuous improvements.|
A New Vision for New York City Transit with NYCT President Andy Byford
©Olivo: Courtesy of NYU Photo Bureau
NYU Rudin Center Excellence in Transportation Breakfast
The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation hosted the annual Excellence in Transportation Breakfast at The Modern on March 8, 2018. Maggie Haberman, The New York Times' White House Reporter, delivered the keynote address.
DHANBAD URBAN ROADS PROJECT
Dhanbad, known as the Coal Capital of India, is one of the largest industrial towns of Jharkhand State. A proposed loan from the World Bank aims to improve the city's road network and public transport systems. The government of Jharkhand prepared the Comprehensive Mobility Plan for Dhanbad, a master urban infrastructure development project. The World Bank South Asian Regional Unit enlisted a Capstone team to review the Comprehensive Mobility Plan and associated project report containing the scope and magnitude of the proposed road improvements. The team traveled to Dhanbad where they conducted multiple site visits and interviews with key stakeholders. The team used the gathered data to identify areas for improvement and advance project goals. The team's research supported the development of innovative initiatives-such as contextual planning, multi-purpose programming, solar lighting, and other urban design solutions-that will help tackle the social and environmental challenges of implementing the Dhanbad Roads project.
A STUDY ON THE RECENT RISE IN ROAD FATALITIES
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) serves the nation by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets vital national interests. Between 2014 and 2015, traffic-related fatalities rose across the US by seven percent. The USDOT engaged the Capstone team with investigating potential causes of this spike in fatalities. Through an extensive literature review, expert interviews, data analysis, and use of the geographic information system mapping, the team identified the relationship between fatal crashes and several key variables. Using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System data in conjunction with analysis of select data variables, the team assessed which variables were likely to be directly associated with the recent increase. The team concluded that many variables, ranging from climate change to economic growth, influence the occurrence of traffic-related accidents resulting in deaths. The team's research and analysis culminated in a set of recommendations for the USDOT aimed at improving roadway safety throughout the United States.