MAKING TRANSIT WORK

Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States

Special Report 257

Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.
2001



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 MAKING TRANSIT WORK Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States Special Report 257 Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 2001

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 Transportation Research Board Special Report 257 Subscriber Category VI public transit Transportation Research Board publications are available by ordering individual publications directly from the TRB Business Office, through the Internet at www.TRB.org or national-academies.org/trb, or by annual subscription through organizational or individual affiliation with TRB. Affiliates and library subscribers are eligible for substantial discounts. For further information, contact the Transportation Research Board Business Office, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418 (telephone 202-334-3214; fax 202-334-2519; or e-mail TRBsales@nas.edu). Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to the procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report was sponsored by the Transit Cooperative Research Program, Transportation Research Board. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Making transit work : insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States / Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council. p. cm—(Special report ; 257) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-309-06748-0 1. Local transit—Europe, Western—Case studies. 2. Local transit—Canada—Case studies. 3. Local transit—United States—Case studies. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board. Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit. II. Special report (National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board) ; 257. HE4704 .M35 2001 388.4—dc21 2001027346

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is a unit of the National Research Council, which serves the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. The Board’s mission is to promote innovation and progress in transportation by stimulating and conducting research, facilitating the dissemination of information, and encouraging the implementation of research results. The Board’s varied activities annually engage more than 4,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 This page intentionally left blank.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit LES STERMAN, Chairman, East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, St. Louis, Missouri DAVID J. ARMIJO, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange, California DAVID BAYLISS, Halcrow Fox, London, England STEPHEN J. DEL GIUDICE, Frederic R. Harris, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland HELEN E. GAULT, Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission, Ontario, Canada GENEVIEVE GIULIANO, University of Southern California, Los Angeles CHARLES A. LAVE, University of California, Irvine HERBERT S. LEVINSON, Herbert S. Levinson Transportation, New Haven, Connecticut JOHN R. PUCHER, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey JACK M. REILLY, Capital District Transportation Authority, Albany, New York BEVERLY A. SCOTT, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, Providence JOEL A. TARR, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JEFFREY M. ZUPAN, Transportation Consultant, Chestnut Ridge, New York Transportation Research Board Staff THOMAS R. MENZIES, JR., Study Director

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 This page intentionally left blank.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 Preface This report is the product of a 2-year study funded by the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP).1 The study had its genesis in discussions during 1995 and 1996 by the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee, which were prompted by Louis J. Gambaccini, then General Manager of the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority. A number of TOPS members, including many transit managers, had had the experience of being asked by their customers, as well as their policy boards, why transit usage is so low in American cities as compared with the cities of Western Europe, Canada, and other parts of the world. Around that same time, teams of transit managers from across the country were returning from tours of public transportation systems in dozens of Western European and Canadian cities. Reports from these tours—documented in four TCRP Research Results Digests2—describe many innovative practices, services, and technologies with potential for application in the United States. The teams often prefaced their reports, however, by noting the distinct differences in the urban environments and transportation policies they witnessed abroad. For instance, they observed the following: Most Western European residents live in densely developed communities within reach of public transportation corridors that were established long before widespread use of the automobile, thus providing naturally large markets for transit operators. Motor fuel prices in Western European cities are three to five times higher than in the United States, and many other government taxes, parking regulations, and traffic policies encourage the use of transit, while deterring use of the automobile.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 The fragile and physically constrained medieval towns and historic cities of Western Europe compel government actions to discourage automobile use and promote public transit. The strong national and regional governments in Western Europe, as well as in Canada, allow for the coordination of policies governing urban land use and the planning of highways and transit, offering a means of emphasizing the latter. Tour participants also observed a wholly different attitude about the role and value of public transportation among both policy makers and the general public. They visited transit systems that were treated as integral components of regional transportation systems. They met with transit managers having a high level of technical competence; professional prominence; and latitude to realign routes, change equipment, and adjust fare schedules as they saw fit. And they learned that innovating was commonplace among Western European transit operators and encouraged by elected officials. Seeking a more complete explanation of the many factors underlying the above differences, the TOPS Committee asked the National Research Council, under the auspices of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), to convene a committee of experts to compare U.S. public policies and attitudes about urban form, transit, and highways with those of other industrialized nations. The sponsor emphasized that the comparison should be construed broadly to include government policies and institutions; public expectations and preferences; and economic, geographic, social, and demographic factors affecting urban transportation, housing, and land use (see Box P-1 for the project Statement of Task). The Committee for an International Comparison of National Policies and Expectations Affecting Public Transit, led by Les Sterman, Executive Director, East-West Gateway Coordinating Council, St. Louis, Missouri, included experts in public transportation, economics, public policy, highway transportation, and urban planning. Early in its deliberations, the committee narrowed the study scope to compare the United States with Canada and the largest industrialized nations of Northern and Western Europe. These countries are closest to the United States in affluence, urbanization, and governance. Much of the committee’s attention was focused on Germany, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden, which are the most studied, wealthiest, and populated countries in Northern and Western Europe. Where sufficient information and data were available, Austria, Belgium,

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 Box P-1 Statement of Task This project will compare U.S. public policies and preferences about urban form, transit, and highways with those of other industrialized nations. Public policies will be broadly construed to include tax policies affecting transportation, housing, and land; institutional forms and policies affecting land use regulation and urban form; and subsidies and investment policies affecting transit, parking, and highways. Although national policies affecting funding for transit and ancillary policies affecting transit use will be examined, the impact of those policies will be considered at the metropolitan level. Public attitudes and preferences will be examined on the basis of available public opinion data, travel behavior, and other published sources of comparative information. The project will include considerations of the dynamics and time scale of changes. Considerations of attitudes will not be restricted to transportation per se but will include historical and cultural factors as well. The committee will summarize available information and report its findings regarding the combinations of policies and attitudes that result in different levels of transit use among countries and will apply its judgment regarding the potential transferability of such public policies to the United States. Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland were also examined. By and large, it is these ten countries that are referred to as Western Europe in the report. The committee adhered closely to its original charge of examining the broader policies and external factors affecting transit use abroad. The report contains scores of references to publications that document specific transit technologies, operating practices, and fare and scheduling policies outside the United States, and some information of this kind is synthesized in the text (see Chapter 3 and the appendix); however, this is done mainly for explication. The discussion centers on those broader policies and factors outside the control of transit agencies. The committee was also asked to render its collective judgment about the prospects for transferring the transit-supportive policies of Western Europe and Canada to the United States. However, it proved difficult to judge

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 the transferability of specific policies to the United States because the same social, economic, political, and other conditions that can make a policy or practice successful in one place can have little, if any, relevance in another. Moreover, conditions can change over time. Thus, instead of offering specific policy advice, the report is intended to inform policy makers and others who are interested in learning more about what has worked in other countries and may have application here. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A number of individuals provided valuable input and assistance during the course of this study. The committee met five times in a 20-month period. At one of its early meetings, Lee J. Schipper, Visiting Scientist, International Energy Agency, discussed his research findings on the effects of rising incomes and motor vehicle and fuel taxation on travel behavior in Western Europe and North America. Bo E. Peterson, former Director of Planning, Stockholm Transit, and Professor of Traffic and Planning, Lünd University, Sweden, joined with David Bayliss, former Director of Planning, London Transport, and a member of the committee, in describing changes now taking place in Western European transit policies and in the way transit is organized, managed, and funded. In conjunction with a meeting in Southern California, members of the committee met with staff of the Orange County Transportation Authority to discuss transit innovations and the challenges involved in offering bus services in a medium-density American urban environment. The study was managed by Thomas R. Menzies, Jr., who drafted this report under the guidance of the committee and the supervision of Stephen R. Godwin, Director of TRB’s Studies and Information Services Division. Eric Monami, consultant, OGM, S.A., Brussels, Belgium, drafted a resource paper describing recent changes in the delivery and organization of public transportation in the European Union. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The committee thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: David J. Banister, University College, London, England; Lawrence D. Dahms, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, California; Thomas F. Larwin, San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board, California; Jonathan Levine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Anthony Siegman, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; and Hal Wolman, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Although these reviewers provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the findings and conclusions, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by L.G. (Gary) Byrd, Alexandria, Virginia, and Lester A. Hoel, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Suzanne Schneider, Assistant Executive Director of TRB, managed the report review process. The report was edited and prepared for publication under the supervision of Nancy Ackerman, Director of Reports and Editorial Services. Rona Briere edited the report. Appreciation is expressed to Heather Allen of the Union Internationale des Transports Publics for providing the photographs used in the report. Special thanks go to Marion Johnson and Frances E. Holland for assistance with meeting arrangements, communications with committee members, and production of the final report. NOTES 1.   TCRP, which is administered by the Transportation Research Board, was established under the sponsorship of the Federal Transit Administration to undertake research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit service providers. Research projects are selected by an independent governing board (TOPS) composed mainly of transit managers from around the country. TOPS asked TRB and the National

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257     Research Council to convene an interdisciplinary committee to conduct this TCRP-funded study. 2.   See (a) Research Results Digest 20: International Transit Studies Program, Report on the First Three Missions, May 1997; (b) Research Results Digest 22: International Transit Studies Program, Report on 1996 Missions, October 1997; (c) Research Results Digest 27: International Transit Studies Program, Report on the Spring 1997 Mission: Public–Private Partnerships and Innovative Transit Technologies in Scandinavia, October 1998; and (d) Research Results Digest 31: International Transit Studies Program, Report on the Fall 1997 Mission: Applications of Intelligent Transportation Systems to Public Transit in Western Europe, October 1998.

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   13 2   Transit Use, Automobility, and Urban Form: Comparative Trends and Patterns   17      Historical Developments   18      Transit Use and Availability Today   28      Transit and Urban Form   37      Trends in Urban Development   43      Automobiles, Cities, and Transit   51 3   Policies and Practices Favorable to Transit in Western Europe and Canada   65      Dependable, High-Quality Transit Service   66      Policies Affecting Use of the Automobile   77      Coordination of Urban Land Use and Transportation Decisions   91 4   External Policies and Factors Affecting Transit Use   114      Demographic and Economic Conditions   115      History and Traditions   119      Public Attitudes and Institutions   125      Urban Housing and Highway Programs   134      Transit Policy-Making and Funding Environment   139      What Differentiates Canada?   141 5   Insights and Opportunities   148      Major Factors Differentiating the United States, Canada, and Western Europe   148      Opportunities and Challenges   153      Concluding Observations   160     Appendix: Local Bus Transit Service Design and Quality in Western Europe Jack M. Reilly   161     Study Committee Biographical Information   167

OCR for page R1
Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States - Special Report 257 This page intentionally left blank.