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19 Mixed uses and urban design treatments can also reduce importance tends to be parking supplies and charges, followed average trip distances. Evaluating shopping trips only, Handy by demand-management measures like employer provision (1993) analyzed the impacts of local accessibility on trip dis- of free transit passes. Least influential tends to be land-use tance and frequency, where accessibility reflected conven- and urban design factors. Mixed land use and high-quality ience to nearby supermarkets, drug stores, and dry cleaners urban design, however, can be important factors in drawing nearby in small centers or stand-alone locations. In this case, tenants to station areas in the first place, thus indirectly their accessibility was measured as a function of retail, service, and role in shaping travel behavior in TODs can be substantial. other non-industrial jobs in nearby zones (attractiveness) While the factors listed above--transit service levels and park- and off-peak travel times (impedance). The study concluded ing management--strongly influence transit ridership, service that high levels of local access are associated with shorter enhancements and parking programs usually have not been shopping distances, although no relationship was found for introduced explicitly for the purposes of increasing ridership trip frequency. at TODs. In the transit planning literature, there is a large body of research on what strategies are the most effective in generat- TOD Ridership Strategies ing increased transit ridership. The 1995 TCRP study, Transit 1. What motivates or impedes transit ridership in a TOD? Ridership Initiative, identified five main transit strategies to 2. What strategies have been effective in increasing transit increase ridership: service adjustments; fare and pricing ridership at TODs? adaptations; market and information activities; planning 3. What steps should transit agencies take in supporting orientation (community- and customer-based approaches); TODs to maximize transit ridership? and, service coordination, consolidation, and market segmen- tation. It is reasonable to expect that this family of conven- tional transit ridership strategies also will be effective in gen- Key Conclusions erating increased ridership at TODs (that study is not · Factors that most influence transit ridership are station summarized here). Transit agencies interested in taking steps proximity, transit quality, and parking policies. to maximize ridership at TODs would be well advised to start · Fast, frequent, and comfortable transit service will increase with these proven strategies. Among factors within the direct ridership. control of transit agencies, the provision of frequent, reliable, · High parking charges and/or constrained parking supply and comfortable transit services will induce ridership among also will increase ridership. TOD residents and workers more than anything else. Past · Free or low-cost parking is a major deterrent to transit ridership models reveal that the quality of transit services (in ridership. terms of speed and accessibility) are significant predictors of · Successful strategies include: TOD transit pass programs, transit mode choice among station-area residents. To iden- parking reductions, and car-sharing programs. tify the most effective transit service strategies, the key deter- · TOD transit programs will be similar to other transit pro- minants of travel demand for a specific setting need to be grams. Because by definition TOD residents and house- known. One cannot easily generalize the findings from a few holds are the nearest to transit, TODs should be among the urban settings in California and the Washington, D.C. area to first locations that transit agencies implement specialized all parts of the country. programs. That said, transit agencies also have shown considerable · TOD (e.g., mixed uses, high densities, reduced parking) is creativity in pursuing a variety of TOD-specific strategies to still illegal around station areas in many cities and transit increase ridership at TODs. Transportation Demand Man- districts. agement (TDM), initiating targeted pass programs, ad- · Steps transit agencies are taking to promote TOD include: dressing parking at a number of levels, car-sharing, modify- reconsidering replacement parking requirements at park ing transit facility design, providing planning assistance, and rides, advocating for zoning changes with TOD entitle- and developing TOD design guidelines are some strategies ments, land assembly, joint development, and educational undertaken by transit agencies to maximize ridership in efforts (e.g., producing TOD guidebooks). TODs. One of the best times to affect travel decisions and to en- courage transit use is when there is a change in home or job Findings location. New TOD development offers a good opportunity The travel fundamentals of TOD transit ridership are to implement transit pass programs to attract individuals to similar to general transit ridership. Among the variables use transit, and in general encourage others to change their amenable to policy change, transit service levels and prices transportation habits. A survey of commuters offered Eco are the strongest predictors of ridership in a TOD. Next in Transit Passes through the Santa Clara Valley Transportation
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20 Authority (VTA) found that after passes were given away the (WA), Seattle, Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay area, number of people driving a vehicle by themselves declined Long Beach, and other Los Angeles areas (TriMet 1999). from 76% to 60%. It also found that transit's mode share in- Together with density (i.e., proximity to transit) and good creased from 11% to 27%, while parking demand declined transit service, a major driver of TOD ridership is the provi- roughly 19% (Shoup, 1999). sion and management of parking. Market profiles of TOD Portland's TriMet initiated a TOD Pass Program in Sep- residences (e.g., small households with few cars) suggest that tember 1998 at four TODs in Westside suburbs in conjunc- parking-related strategies, like a relaxation of supply codes tion with the startup of the Westside LRT project. Residents and the unbundling of parking and housing costs, could yield of these TODs were offered free transit passes. Among the key long-term ridership dividends. Thus, many transit agencies findings: in May 1999, 83% of Orenco Station respondents and local governments desire to affect the amount and price reported using transit, where only 30% of them used it prior of parking provided. to the Westside LRT opening. From September 1998 to May Numerous studies found that transit ridership increases 1999, there was a 22% increase in the number of Orenco res- when parking charges are implemented, and transit agencies idents that use transit for commuting purposes. and local governments try to affect these too. Mildner, Strath- To estimate the collective impacts of increased parking man, and Bianco (1997) found that cities with interventionist charges and a new transit pass program, Bianco (2000) con- parking policies, high parking prices and limited supply, ducted a study of the Lloyd District, a TOD employment frequent transit service, and a high probability that travelers center near downtown Portland, immediately following the pay to park, are most likely to have high transit mode shares. installation of the on-street parking meters. Programs imple- Shifting from free to cost-recovery parking (prices that reflect mented in the Lloyd District included: the full cost of providing parking facilities) typically reduces automobile commuting by 10% to 30%, particularly if im- · The new on-street parking meters; plemented with improved travel options and other TDM · A new transit pass program (Passport); strategies. (See http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm26.htm. Some · Emergency Ride Home program; studies have focused on the impacts of reducing parking sup- · Two new express bus routes to the Lloyd District; and plies, but parking supplies are generally limited where land use · Transfer facility improvements. is intense and land costs are high. In these cases, it is common to see parking fees that correlate with land values, and the Survey respondents were asked to note how their commute relationship between parking supply and transit demand is behavior changed one year after these programs were started. captive to the dominant role of parking pricing.) For all workers, SOV mode shared declined 7%. For Passport At The Merrick TOD, only 17% of workers commuted by eligible workers, SOV use went down 19%, transit use in- private vehicle if required to pay for parking at school or creased 12%, and carpools increased also. The mode share work. In contrast, more than 70% of those with free parking impacts were immediate and large. Twenty-five percent of re- used a private vehicle. The most recent California study found spondents indicated that their primary reason for change was that the likelihood of transit commuting rose by nearly 70% for lifestyle reasons, 22% noted the parking charges, and 19% if station-area residents enjoyed flex-time privileges and had because of Passport (other reasons included new transit avail- to pay market rates for parking, compared to the scenario of no ability, change in car ownership, and other). Thirty-six per- flex-time and free parking. The 1993 California study found cent of respondents listed Passport as their secondary reason the availability of abundant free parking to be the biggest de- for change. terrent to transit riding among those living and working near Transit agencies also have tailored car-sharing strategies transit (Dill, 2005). for TODs. Research described later in this review shows that Restricted parking supplies at the workplace and employer car ownership rates at TODs are significantly lower than financial assistance with transit costs also increased the odds average. At the same time, the need to use a car for some trips of station-area workers opting for rail transit. Figure 1.1 from remains. Some TODs such as Buckman Heights in Portland the Lund et al. study reveals the relationship. Based on the ex- have utilized car-sharing as a means to reduce the need for periences of the typical California TOD office worker, the parking in the TOD while providing the option to drive if models showed with 25 feeder buses per day, a workplace needed. Car-sharing allows individuals to have the benefits of with 50% more parking spaces than workers and no employer auto use for personal trips without the hassles and cost of car help with transit costs, just 9% of office workers near a ownership and reinforces transit-oriented lifestyles. Transit California rail station likely will commute by transit. At the agencies have played an important role in advocating for and other extreme, for a worker leaving a station with 400 daily helping to set-up car sharing. Companies like Flexcar provide feeder buses and heading to a worksite where the employer car sharing in communities such as Portland, Vancouver provides transit-pass assistance and offers just one parking
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21 0.6 Employer help with transit costs 0.5 No employer help with transit costs 0.5 parking space/worker Probability Chose Transit 0.4 1 parking space/worker 1.5 parking spaces/worker 0.3 0.2 0.5 parking space/worker 1 parking space/worker 0.1 1.5 parking spaces/worker 0 0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300 325 350 375 400 Feeder Bus Frequency at Nearest Station (buses per day) Figure 1.1. Sensitivity of rail commuting to parking prices, availability of flextime work schedules, and travel time ratios via highway verses transit, based on modeling for predicting the likelihood of California station area residents commuting by rail transit in 2003 (Lund et al., 2004). space for every two workers, the likelihood the worker will on average between $10,000 and $15,000 a space ($23,000 to commute by transit is 50%. $25,000 a space with special features like a retail wrap), the For transit agencies involved in the development of agency cost of replacement parking can have a debilitating effect on owned land, the policies and procedures for encouraging the financial viability of a proposed TOD and the financial TOD can have a major impact on the implementation of return to the transit agency. For a theoretical 5-acre resi- TOD and directly from that, TOD ridership. Park-and-ride dential TOD project developed at 40 units per acre, the cost lots often are viewed as land banking for TOD. Ohlone- of replacement parking could add $30,000 to nearly $80,000 Chynoweth Commons, located on the Guadalupe light-rail to the cost of each unit, making TOD infeasible in many transit line in San Jose, is an example of transforming part places. of a park-and-ride into a medium density mixed-use TOD. Sometimes, transit parking has more to do with parking The project's housing, retail, and community facilities were location than the amount of parking. There is a growing developed on an under-used light-rail park-and-ride lot. interest in designing transit parking to encourage TOD. For this project, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is- Portland's TriMet and DART in Dallas have moved parking sued a request for proposal seeking a developer for the at some stations away from the platform to accommodate 7.3-acre site. The former 1,100-space park-and-ride now in- TOD. Newly planned systems such as Phase II of the Gold cludes: 240 park-and-ride spaces, 195 units of affordable Line in Los Angeles, Sound Transit in Seattle, and the Red housing, 4,400 square feet of retail, and a day care center Line in Baltimore are considering TOD early on in the location (Parsons Brinckerhoff, 2002). and design of stations. This balances the need for parking to One barrier to creating more TODs is that many transit generate ridership while preserving the opportunity to capture agencies (WMATA in the Washington, D.C. region, the San additional ridership from TODs within an interesting and Francisco Bay Area's BART, MTA in Maryland and RTD in attractive walk to the station. Denver, among others) have parking replacement policies that Transit agencies have served as an educator, advocate, and result in one-to-one replacement of park-and-ride spaces. financial resource for local jurisdictions to advance the under- The H-27 team estimated that replacement parking strictures standing of TOD and facilitate the preparation and adoption affect at least one third of TOD settings. This has proven to of TOD plans and zoning. The presence of self-selection has be a major obstacle to TOD implementation on transit agency clear implications for municipal land-use and zoning strategies. owned parking lots. With structured parking costs running The desire of many households to live in a transit-accessible