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43 CHAPTER EIGHT CONCLUSIONS Research on the relationship between bus transit and land Bus transit generally requires a significant amount of land developments is relatively limited. The majority of the area to provide appropriate facilities and amenities. There- research on transit and developments is concentrated on the fore, bus transit cannot be an afterthought if good connec- rail modes. The literature indicates that bus transit service is tions between transit and the development are desired. To not viewed as positively as rail service in having the ability successfully integrate bus transit into land developments, all to influence land use. The reasons for this include: stakeholders agree that transit must be considered early in the planning process. Bus transit is not viewed as permanent in comparison with rail transit. The research, survey results, and case studies all indicate The quality and level of service for bus transit is lower that differing strategies have been successful in different than for rail transit. regions. A mix of strategies appears to be the best course of Rail transit encourages higher densities than bus transit. action to build relationships among stakeholders and gener- Bus transit has a poor public image. ate their interest. What has worked in some areas is an effec- tive planning process that provides an overall vision for the Bus changes are typically incremental and relatively region, including how the community will look and how it small, implemented as part of an existing system, whereas will manage future growth. The building of relationships new rail stations are major investments that are associated among stakeholders begins with the preparation of this plan, with specific efforts related to land use. Presumably, this and the implementation of revised zoning codes generally would also be the case for major bus rapid transit (BRT) follows the production of the plan. investments. BRT systems are relatively new in the United States and in the research field. Thus far, the evidence indi- The case studies showed that it is useful to have a legal or cates that BRT has not significantly influenced land use planning framework in place that requires the inclusion of where new BRT systems have been employed. Perhaps this transit in the development process. In those areas with such will change as BRT systems evolve and grow in number. legislation, transit is brought to the planning table early in the development process. Examples include the states of Califor- For regular bus systems in most communities, there nia and Florida, and the Metropolitan Council in Minnesota. appears to be little consideration of bus transit in land developments. The survey uncovered frustration on the Strong leadership and/or the existence of a "champion" part of most transit agencies that are contending with inap- for transit can be found in many successful areas. Champi- propriate and misplaced land developments. New develop- ons and strong leadership can be vital for the initiation of ments are often constructed outside of the transit agency actions supportive of transit, but their existence can be fleet- service area, making the development expensive if not ing. It is more prudent to use strong leadership and champi- impossible to serve. Even developments within the service ons to build an accepted structure and process that will have area are often designed inappropriately for bus transit lasting effects. Transit agencies should not rely on champi- service. One example that was cited most often was big ons to be there forever. box retail development. The provision of a bus stop pole and sign at the front door of a big box retailer is not There is a wide range of guidelines produced by transit considered an ideal integration of bus transit and land agencies. The scale and content of guidelines varies from just development. The operation of a bus route through a busy a few pages on bus stop requirements to multiple volumes parking lot slows down bus service, increasing customer covering all aspects of land development. In most cases, for travel time and bus operating costs, and increasing the like- those agencies with guidelines, the distribution of those lihood of conflicts with automobiles and pedestrians. From guidelines could be improved. Only four of the nine agencies a transit perspective, a successful big box development that supplied guidelines for this synthesis make them avail- would incorporate smaller setbacks with less parking and able on their websites. Supplying this information on the good pedestrian connections, and would provide a separate agency website seems to be a simple and inexpensive method bus lane, a bus stop with customer amenities, and/or a ter- of providing this information. Website access could create a minal facility. greater awareness of the issue and act as an educational tool

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44 for all stakeholders. Furthermore, website publication per- incentives that developers look for from local governments. mits transit agencies to easily share these documents, Knowing how the process works and how to approach enabling them to learn from each other's experiences. developers sufficiently early in the process will greatly improve the chances that transit can be included in the A major finding was the lack of resources in terms of oper- development. Once the transit planner understands the ating funding and personnel available to transit agencies to development process, it could be beneficial to also have plan for land developments and to provide new or expanded some pointers to "sell" transit to developers. A simple service to new developments. Many transit agencies noted primer on the development process, written for transit plan- that human resources were unavailable to participate in plan- ners, will improve communications between transit planners ning for new developments, and financial resources for new and developers, and will assist in the negotiation of transit or expanded services were also unavailable. Some transit elements. This primer could be used by multiple audiences, agencies provided information on innovative funding mecha- including community leaders and city planners. nisms that they had used successfully. The Centre Area Trans- portation Authority in State College, Pennsylvania, shares a Transit planners can reach developers through networking transit planner with the Centre Regional Planning Agency. opportunities such as luncheon meetings and conferences. The transit planner has offices in both agencies and splits the An example presentation on the benefits of transit that might 40-h work week evenly between the two agencies. This be persuasive to developers could be a useful resource for the arrangement addresses the issue of inadequate human transit industry. resources to conduct land development planning and encour- ages good communication between agencies. Another educational tool that might be helpful to transit planners is a "How To" document on preparing transit Other agencies have convinced developers and building agency development guidelines. The document should out- owners to finance the operation of new bus routes. LYNX in line a minimum level of transit-supportive design elements Orlando has succeeded in procuring the first two years of and technical specifications. National examples of recom- operating costs for new bus routes serving new developments. mended treatments for individual design elements and spec- In addition, the LYMMO downtown circulator system is ifications should be included. A transit agency can choose the funded by the city through parking revenues. Pace Suburban elements that meet its local needs or use the examples as a Bus in Arlington Heights, Illinois, partners with the United starting point to develop its own design treatments and spec- Parcel Service for the provision of several bus routes serving ifications. If the transit agency prefers to contract with a con- the United Parcel Service facility. There are similar examples sultant for the preparation of such guidelines, this How To in other cities. However, these partnerships are not available document could provide transit planners with information in every case. Transit funding to serve new developments, as useful in preparing an appropriate Request for Proposal. well as to maintain existing service, will continue to be a major on-going issue for transit agencies across the nation. Developers are generally unaware of transit and the ben- efits that it can provide in some developments. A tutorial on This section will introduce ideas for further research and where transit is appropriate and how it can benefit develop- development of products that will support the integration of ment would be useful. This document should include eco- bus transit into land developments. Most of these future nomic and quantitative benefits as well as the qualitative efforts are related to education. Transit officials, transit plan- benefits that transit provides to land developments. Examples ners, developers, city officials, city planners, and business that describe how transit increased the success of selected leaders are largely unaware of each other's processes and developments are recommended. This tutorial should be interests. Educational tools are recommended to bridge the specifically focused toward developers and written in terms knowledge gap that exists. These diverse groups each have that they will appreciate. It is recommended that the tutorial differing needs and might best be served by different formats be published by an entity familiar to developers and made and methods. Examples of educational tools are described available through venues frequently used by developers. for each group. Education for officials from local government can Research is also suggested to provide lenders with more increase their knowledge of transit-supportive development. appropriate market studies and to provide transit agencies A handbook or toolkit with presentation materials can pro- with helpful information on appropriate walking distances vide guidance for local decision makers involved in the land and regulatory tools. development process. Short explanations of the critical transit- supportive elements, such as density and pedestrian access, Transit planners can benefit from additional knowledge should be presented. The handbook or toolkit could include regarding the development process and how regulations can recommendations on how to incorporate transit into devel- influence developments. Transit planners need to under- opments and why it is important to do so. Examples of large stand the developer's process, the timeline associated with and small scale developments should be included, as well as that process, the economics of land development, and the suburban and urban environments.

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45 Workshops on transit-supportive developments and land needed that examines the level of staff effort required for uses would be beneficial for all stakeholders. Research could development review, negotiation meetings, alternative plan include the identification of the appropriate topics to consider development, and related activities. The study should iden- in a transit-supportive workshop, and development of exer- tify representative transit agencies for examination, and cises that would involve participants and educate them on the include for each area an indication of the amount of devel- importance of transit-supportive land use. The workshops opment occurring and the relative success in building transit could be designed as on-site or web-based sessions. Recom- elements into new developments. Such a study would give mendations on how to conduct the workshops are required. transit agencies baseline information on which to gauge their For example, on-site workshops should include participants current efforts. It could provide them with information to with a wide array of backgrounds, and participants could be determine if additional, or fewer, expenditures may be appro- intermixed throughout the room to provide attendees with the priate for their planning efforts. widest possible range of perspectives. Transit agencies, local governments, planning organizations, and community Lenders who finance large developments are skeptical of groups could use the workshop outline and exercises to con- a transit-supportive development because the development duct educational workshops in their own regions. proposes reduced parking or mixed uses. Lenders need to receive appropriate information that considers the benefits Further research is needed on the impact of bus systems associated with transit within new developments. Studies on land use and on the economic development of the adjoin- that examine the true number of parking spaces needed ing area. Methods to measure the impacts of bus service are within a transit-supportive or transit-oriented development needed to support future bus transit and land use coordina- are required. In addition, the advantage of mixed-use devel- tion projects. This research could also include an investiga- opments, especially with regard to generation of fewer trips, tion specifically focused on BRT systems. BRT is still an requires further research. emerging technology in the United States. More research is needed on the benefits associated with BRT, especially as it Research on regulatory policies that support the integra- relates to land developments. BRT proponents need docu- tion of bus transit into land developments would be a useful mentation regarding the positive aspects of BRT on eco- reference tool. Transit agencies and local governments nomic development and the benefits associated with BRT for endeavoring to encourage transit-supportive land uses could adjoining developments. This documentation will improve use the document to recommend changes in their areas. State the ability of transit planners and officials to negotiate for policies and programs should be investigated, as well as dedicated BRT rights-of-way and space provisions for cus- regional and local programs. This research could also update tomer amenities with building owners and developers. the American Planning Association's report on model leg- islative language. This could provide planners with an up-to- A standard component of new developments includes date guide on model codes for transit-supportive land use provisions for automobile users. In addition, developers may policies, design ordinances, and subdivision requirements. be requested to provide for transit and bicycle access. Research is needed to determine how a planned transit Lastly, more research is needed on the pedestrian envi- improvement may affect mode choice to the development. ronment. Many survey respondents voiced concern that ade- For example, if high-frequency bus service will serve the quate pedestrian environments are not provided in new development, how much of an impact will this have on the developments or in the adjoining areas. The impact of the projected requirements for the number of parking spaces or walking environment on acceptable walking distance is not roadway improvements? There needs to be credible research well known. It is suspected that pedestrians are willing to that developers, lenders, and municipalities can use to deter- walk farther in pedestrian-friendly environments than in mine the trade-off between the various modes. The avail- environments hostile to walkers. It also follows that a greater ability of this type of research would provide developers number of walking trips will be made in pedestrian-friendly with further incentive to implement transit elements in the environments. If this is the case, documentation would pro- development. vide evidence that lower vehicular trip rates are achievable in pedestrian-friendly environments. This would encourage The survey did not question transit agencies on the level expenditures to create pedestrian-friendlier environments. A of effort expended by transit planners on planning for new study to examine the impact of the environment on walking developments, and the literature review did not reveal that trips by trip purpose and trip length together with associated any analysis had been conducted on this topic. A study is demographic characteristics is needed.