Public Transport: Most Popular Articles
This article examines why buses are not required to have seatbelts and concludes that it is for two main reasons - cost and the fact that adding seatbelts is unlikely to make travel by bus, already the safest mode of travel, even safer.
This article describes how much it costs transit agencies to purchase and then operate a bus in daily service.
This article examines the capital costs of recent rail transit projects in the United States and Canada and describes some factors that help to explain the differences in costs.
Obviously the bus does not disintegrate at that time. The answer is that the buses are often sold at an auction, and sometimes sold through dealerships.
This article goes over how to become and stay a bus driver, from the initial testing to continuing education.
This article describes everything you would like to know about electric buses - how they work, how much they cost, the advantages and disadvantages of using them, and the prognosis for their future usage.
We look at the data showing the operating cost differences between the two modes of public transportation, and conclude: Buses are considerably cheaper.
The latest high speed rail update features great news for supporters of the California High Speed Rail project.
This article provides a brief overview of the scheduling software used in the public transit industry and then focuses on Hastus by GIRO, and includes what kind of prices you are likely to pay for Hastus. It then finishes with a short discussion of what the future is likely to hold for scheduling software packages.
This article describes the two possible ways that transit authorities could contract out to private operators - just contract out operations or contract out planning and operations - and the advantages and disadvantages of each in comparison with public sector operation.
After defining the difference between operating and capital funding, this article describes the different ways of financially supporting transit, including farebox revenues and revenues from sales, gas, property, and income taxes. Next, the article talks about transit support at the local, state, and federal level and refers to the New Starts Program, the JARC program, and transit funding in California and New York. Local funding is then discussed, including innovative local transit funding programs such as Los Angeles's Measure R and America Fast Forward.
An overview of the medical requirements for the Commercial Driver License (CDL).
This article provides an overview of how bus routes and schedules get planned. It includes discussion of the following: long range planning, grant applications, and short-range route and schedule planning.
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This article describes the difference between transit capital and operating funding and why it is easier to build a subway than it is to run it.
This article examines if people who ride public transit get sick more than other people, and concludes that there is insufficient evidence to answer this question. It also states that you do not need to worry about catching Ebola on public transit.
This article discusses how long transit buses and other vehicles are expected to last in the United States and other countries.
A review of how rural transit differs from urban transit.
This article describes the steps to follow in determining the initial placement of a new bus route.
This installment describes how times for the bus are calculated, and how time points are determined.
The fifth in a series of five articles giving a brief overview of how bus routes and schedules get designed.
This is the first in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine what size of bus to buy.
This article describes the relative capacities of different modes of transit. Cities are cautioned against building rapid transit lines with either too much capacity - since it wastes money - or too little capacity - since a day will come when the line is saturated with passengers and cannot add any more.
This article describes the two basic methods of building a subway.
Allow me to present the Transit City of the Month for August 2014 - Vancouver, B.C.!
An examination of the effect that transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft will have on transit.
This article describes the unhealthy nature of bus driving and makes three recommendations to improve bus driver health.
This article examines how self-driving cars could affect public transit and public transportation and concludes that while some demand for transit will be reduced, many current transit passengers will be too poor to take advantage of these new technologies and transit systems, by significantly reducing labor costs, will be able to rely on fewer government subsidies.
This article reviews an article published in the Journal of Public Transportation assessing how safe young people in Melbourne, Australia feel about using public transportation.
A summary of the effect that rail transit has on property values.
This list describes the five top employment issues in the transit industry. They are: absenteeism, workers compensation, interactions between drivers and passengers, split shifts, and employee breaks.
This is a review of Sustainable Transportation: Problems and Solutions by William Black.
The fourth part of the series in which I describe how bus routes and schedules get designed.
These are six basic tips to keep in mind while marketing your public transportation system.
This article provides an overview of the debate between whether light rail or bus rapid transit will/should be built in a particular corridor.
Review of The Moving Metropolis
A definition of Bus Rapid Transit
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This is the second in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine what kind of propulsion system to buy.
This article examines the relative cost of taking transit or driving a car, and emphatically concludes that taking transit is much cheaper than driving. In fact, the cost savings is the primary advantage of taking public transportation.
This article advocates for a new lower load factor standard for low floor transit vehicles. It also advocated for a lower load factor when buses operate less frequently, because the negative effect of being passed up is obviously greater when the wait for the next bus is longer.
This article describes the requirements of being a bus driver and how transit agencies could improve the recruitment of bus drivers by relaxing some of the requirements.
An overview of the current progress on each of the ten federally designated high speed rail corridors in the United States, including links to specific pages on each of the ten.
This article assesses the safety of transit, and concludes it is much safer to take transit than it is to drive or ride a bicycle despite the high profile transit fatalities that occurred as a result of the London terrorist bombings in 2005 and the Metrolink commuter train crash in Los Angeles in 2008. It ends by describing new safety procedures that have been put in place since the above incidents that have increased transit safety.
This article examines the last mile problem in transit planning and how it could be overcome.
Automated Passenger Counting (APC) systems are revolutionizing the transit industry by providing much more information about ridership and on-time performance than has historically been available. Read about how they work here.
This article describes extra board operators. Extra board operators fill in for regular bus drivers when the regular drivers are sick or on vacation.
This article examines how gondola lifts and aerial trams, usually found only in ski resort settings, are used more broadly for public transportation.
This is the first of a series of articles describing more specifically the steps of writing schedules in Hastus and other scheduling software programs.
A review of Access Across America - the first transit accessibility study to include frequency.
This article describes two ways in which you can land a transit planning or bus scheduling job.
This article describes a common bus scheduling problem and four ways in which it can be resolved.
This is the third in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine whether to buy high or low floor buses, and what manufacturer to buy from.
A gallery of electric buses, especially the new BYD electric bus purchased by Long Beach Transit.
This article examines a study which examined where people like to sit in the subway.
This article examines the importance of the name to a transit system's identity, and goes through a list of good and bad transit agency names and what makes each one good or bad. Finally, it suggests setting up an outlet through which transit agencies can see branded product.
An article which describe the aspects of a perfect bus stop.
This article examines how closely together subway stations should be, and concludes that 1/2 mile is the optimum stop spacing for subway lines.
A quick overview of ESRI's Arc GIS products and how they are used in the public transit industry.
This article gives an overview of the federal requirement that transit agencies submit annual data about the number of accidents, crimes, ridership, and passenger miles to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for inclusion in the NTD (National Transit Database). Agencies gather this information either by using automated passenger counting systems (APCs) or by manually collecting the data through riding randomly selected trips.
Ten rules that you need to follow when you take public transportation.
This article describes the advantages and disadvantages of off-street transit centers and concludes that if used correctly they can improve the transit experience for passengers in small to medium sized cities, but space limitations prevent effective usage in large cities with the most robust transit systems.
This article describes the different duty types that make up a typical transit agency's run cut.
An article reviewing how technology has made its mark in transit.
This article described under what circumstances public transit agencies are allowed to provide charter bus services.
This article describes the value of on-time performance and the relative merits of headway-based operation versus traditional schedule-based operation.
This article examines how far people are willing to walk to transit.
This article described how AVL (automatic vehicle location) works and how it is used in the transit industry.
This article describes transit in Sydney, Australia and lessons that North American transit operators can learn from Sydney.
This is a quick overview of New York Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.
A review of Public Transport in Developing Countries by Richard Iles.
An examination of fare evasion; included are descriptions of what is is, how many people do it, and what it costs transit agencies.
This article examines what would happen if transit were free and concludes that, with the exception of limited operations in areas of small population, free transit would cause significant overcrowding and vandalism.
This article describes how bus drivers pick what routes they drive and how the way in which they pick their routes helps us improve our transit system.
Many transit systems are constructing light and heavy rail lines. But since their reach is necessarily limited, if bus system improvements do not happen concurrently with the rail line opening then the rail line will not be successful. This article describes how to create successful bus-rail interfaces.
This article examines timepoints: how many do we need, and do we even need them at all?
A review and profile of the Acela Express, an Amtrak train that is America's only kind of high speed train.
An examination of whether articulated or double-decker buses are better when transit agencies need a bus with higher capacity than a normal bus can provide.
Five ways to ensure that your next ride on a party bus will be a safe one.
This is a profile of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Here I describe three union work rules that increase the cost of operating transit, and conclude that eliminating the rules would make transit more economically efficient without affecting the wages or benefits of the bus drivers.
This article discredits three major arguments against high speed rail - that we don't need it now (we're going to need it in the future); that it's too expensive (the cost is reasonable); and that the first segment is going from nowhere to nowhere (it's the first incomplete step - you have to start somewhere).
An overview of the Toronto Transit Commission, including information about the network, funding, and projects.
This article introduces the different ways transit fares can be paid, including by cash, token, ticket, transfer, day pass, monthly pass, UPASSES, tap cards, and through open fare payments by using credit cards.
This article describes six major reasons why streetcars were replaced by buses in the United States, why streetcars, also called trams, continue to be used extensively in Europe, and the recent trend towards construction of new streetcar and light rail lines.
This article summarizes California's Wage Order Number 9, which mandates rest periods and meal breaks, and it's effect on public transit in the state.
This article argues that the makeup of Walker's network design class - young, healthy, choice riders who work in the public sector of the urban planning profession - explains the near universal decision to avoid any effective suburban transit in favor of robust central city transit, to make people walk a long distance to the nearest bus stop, and to utilize all available resources, even if deployment of said resources is inefficient.
This article describes some of the non-fare based local revenue sources for public transit.
This article describes the basic makeup of a recent urban planning class taught by Jarrett Walker and how in a simplified format any person can engage in a similar activity, which is an effective way to think more about how public transit can better serve a particular city.
A review of two cities with the best transit systems and two cities with the worst transit systems.
This article describes safety improvements implemented or planned since the Los Angles Metrolink Commuter Train crash in September 2008.
This article examines the elasticity of transit ridership in response to changes in fares and service levels.
This article provides an overview of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how it ensures that transit agencies provide their services in a racially equitable manner.
An examination of shared bus / bike lanes. Can their implementation help cities make lives better for both bus riders and bike riders?
This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of flat versus distance-based fares.
A review of Embarq corporation's recent article about how to improve transit ridership through marketing tools. Some of the tools include build a strong brand and identity, value internal communication, educate the users of your system early and often, provide simple but informative maps and schedules, tailor marketing messages to specific groups, control the media, be responsive to riders, and disseminate your information online.
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Overview of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including facts about ridership, the network, funding, and future transit projects.
This entry examines whether transit-oriented development increases ridership, and be referencing several case studies demonstrates that it does. It calls for more analysis to determine if the size of the city's rapid transit network predicts the success of transit oriented development.
These are three jobs that every transit system should have but that some people do not know exist.
A review of The Green Hornet Streetcar disaster by Craig Allen Cleve.
An overview of the Federal New Starts Program, the federal government's primary method of supporting the construction of new rapid transit lines and rehabilitation of existing ones. The program's budget is examined, including which projects are currently receiving funding. An analysis of the criteria upon which projects are judged follows; afterwards, the article discusses project timelines. The article concludes with an overall analysis of the program.
This article describes value engineering - a concept used in rapid transit project management to control costs that sometimes leaves the resulting project unusable to unable to accommodate larger than expected demand.
This article examines if the June 2013 merger between New Flyer and NABI will be good for the industry.
This article argues for simplicity in route design as a tool to attract higher patronage to transit.
A review of Plundering London Underground: New Labor, Private Capital & Public Service 1997 - 2010.
Can the private sector do a better job of running transit? Find out in my review of Privatizing Transportation Systems.
This article profiles the California High Speed Rail Project, including the route, cost, annual ridership, and outlook.
A review of the MiniMetro game. Public Transport.
This is a quick overview of California Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.
This article explains how we determine transit ridership.
This article describes five ways that transit systems can improve passenger security: install security cameras, improve lighting at stops and stations, initiate a request stop program, make real time schedule information available on phones, and employ CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) principles.
This article explains what the spare ratio is in transit, how much the spare ratio usually is, and factors that can affect the spare ratio.
A book review of the book Driving Excellence: Transform Your Organization's Culture - An Achieve Revolutionary Results by Mark Aesch, CEO of the Rochester Genesee Transportation Authority.
This article looks at the design of the transit network map, which is one of the most important planning documents that a transit agency can have. After three historical trends in map design are discussed, the article examines potential future directions.
The article describes, in my opinion, the three sources of transit planning information.
This article reviews a journal article that elucidated eight reasons why people stop using transit and made recommendations to overcome those reasons.
Contracting out of public services is all the rage right now. This article describes factors needed for success of public transit contracting out, and some factors that suggest that contracting out transit service to a private operator may fail.
An article describing an essential aspect of transit, the layover location.
This article goes over the three major capital projects currently being constructed by the New York MTA - the Long Island Railroad access to Grand Central Station, the extension of subway Line 7 to the far west side of Manhattan, and the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway from 63rd to 96th Street.
This article explains why transit is better in Europe and Asia than it is in the United States.
This article reviews an article exploring ridership differentials between bus rapid transit and light rail transit.
This article examines what makes a good transit system.
A review of Bus Blunders by Gavin Booth.
Two ways of looking at transit network design are described - the point-to-point system, in which many routes exist that attempt to connect everywhere to everywhere - and the grid system, in which every major street tends to have one route, and routes tend to be straight lines.
A review of transit in San Francisco.
An article about park and ride lots that describes their need, the last mile problem, proper placement, transit oriented development, and whether we should charge for parking.
A summary of Los Angeles County's Measure R Sales Tax increase, including funding distribution, current status, and future issues.
A review of fuel cell buses. Public Transport.
A review of public transportation consultant Jarrett Walker's book Human Transit.
A review of the importance of passenger complaints and how to handle them.
A picture of a regular Las Vegas bus operating route 108 Paradise. Page 6.
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in Southern California. Featured are the buses and rail lines of Los Angeles Metro, and the buses of Long Beach Transit, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City Municipal Bus Lines, Foothill Transit, Torrance Transit, Orange County Transportation Authority, Foothill Transit, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses and rail lines, Santa Barbara Mass Transit District, Los Angeles DASH and Commuter Express, and others. Page 32.
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink.
This is a review of My Kind of Transit by Darrin Nordahl. His book, although it has some good ideas, generally ignores how transit can and does function in the real world.
This article describes the importance of the rule version to an agency's run cut.
The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup is the seminal work on parking planning. In this review I examine how the book treats public transit.
Summary of federal requirements of accessible features on vehicles, including lifts, ramps, and automated stop and route announcements.
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in Southern California. Featured are the buses and rail lines of Los Angeles Metro, and the buses of Long Beach Transit, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City Municipal Bus Lines, Foothill Transit, Torrance Transit, Orange County Transportation Authority, Foothill Transit, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses and rail lines, Santa Barbara Mass Transit District, Los Angeles DASH and Commuter Express, and others. Page 31.
This is a review of the new El Monte Bus Station, which opened to the public on October 14, 2012 at a cost of $60 million.
Learn how you can make a difference in your transit system even if you do not work for the local transit agency.
This article describes how common the contracting out (or privatization) of public transit operations has become and the cost savings of privatization of transit service.
This article goes over the public transit options available in the Motor City, including a description of the network, funding, fares, and planned projects.
This article examines whether when we design new rapid transit projects if we should serve existing demand or generate new demand. In other words, it is asking whether rail transit is demand-based or supply-based. Due to the high construction costs of rail and other rapid transit, the article argues that new rapid transit projects should be demand-based.
A description of transit apps and a review of some of the more well-known ones.
This is an overview of the ParkLINK Shuttle, which was a service that connected the various tourist attractions of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Malibu, CA.
This article examines four ways that we could speed up local bus service: preventing cash fare payment on buses, removing bus stops, installing signal priority, and installing bus lanes.
A review of Public Transport - It's Planning, Management and Operation by Peter White.
An article describing transit vehicle destination or headsigns.
This article is a transit-tinged review of the Death and Life of Great American Cities, one of the greatest books on planning ever written.