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19 results for individual agencies vary based on current service TABLE 4 levels (23). The COMMUTER model estimates that a 1 min AGENCIES PURSUING SERVICE EXPANSION STRATEGIES decrease in average transit wait time will increase transit (% of 41 respondents) mode share by between 0.02% and 0.1% (19). Planning or Strategy Types Planning Implementing Implementing An analysis by ICF International used the Transportation Expanded route Demand Model Evaluation Model to predict the impact of 61% 32% 68% coverage increased transit service frequency on transit ridership and Increased ser- corresponding GHG emission reductions. The analysis was 46% 27% 51% vice frequency based on a proposed increase in funding for U.S. agencies. Increased hours ICF estimated that the funding increase would reduce aver- 24% 10% 27% of operation age waiting times for transit vehicles by 1.6 min in most met- New service ropolitan areas, and by 0.3 min in large metro areas with types (e.g., BRT 61% 20% 68% robust transit service, by 2020. The additional ridership or LRT) expected from reduced wait times would reduce 600,000 Other strategies 17% 0% 17% metric tons of GHG emissions in 2020, not accounting for any increase in emissions from transit vehicles (24). 78% Any strategy (32 agencies) Extending Operating Hours Although strategies to expand service can increase the Agencies can also extend their hours of operation to attract GHG savings that transit agencies provide, individual agen- more riders. Most transit agencies provide the highest level of cies consider those savings to different degrees. Agencies service during peak and midday hours, with less service in the were asked to characterize the role that GHG emissions early morning and late evening hours. Restricted operating played in the decision to pursue these strategies. Almost all hours typically force people who must make trips in the early agencies expanding or planning to expand transit service are morning and late at night to drive. Expanded hours provide an aware that these strategies can reduce transportation GHG opportunity for those people to take transit instead. Extending emissions. Nearly half said that reducing GHG emissions operating hours can also include adding weekend service. was a factor in the decision to expand service. Five agencies, Montgomery County Department of Transportation (DOT), Some transit agencies have measured systemwide TransLink, Sound Transit, Los Angeles County Metropoli- ridership increases in response to extended operating hours. tan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), and Lee County The Whatcom Transportation Authority in Washington Transit, reported that GHG emissions were a principal factor State increased ridership substantially by adding a single in their decisions to expand service. These responses indi- new evening route. In Dallas, new weekend service on sub- cate that most expansions of transit service are not driven urban shuttles prompted a measurable increase in weekday by the benefits of reduced GHG emissions; but many transit ridership (23). agencies do consider GHG emissions as a co-benefit. Of the 41 transit agencies who responded to the survey, about three-quarters are currently increasing or planning to INCREASING VEHICLE PASSENGER LOADS increase their service offering. Table 4 summarizes agen- cies' responses. The most common ways that agencies are In addition to increasing the supply of public transportation, increasing transit service are by increasing the geographic transit agencies can also implement strategies to increase the coverage of service and by adding new types of transit ser- number of riders on transit vehicles. Vehicle passenger loads vice, such as BRT or LRT. More agencies are at the stage are a crucial factor in determining the net impact of transit of planning transit expansions rather than implementing on GHG emissions. Transporting more riders per vehicle is expansions. For example, the Denver Regional Transporta- a particularly effective way to reduce transportation GHG tion District (RTD) is planning a new commuter rail service. emissions, because it does not require operating additional Agencies noted that their budget problems are a particular buses or trains, which themselves emit GHGs. Increasing concern for expansion plans. King County Metro is recon- ridership on existing vehicles also tends to be a more cost- sidering plans to expand service in light of budgetary short- effective way to reduce GHG emissions than increasing the falls. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority supply of public transit. New vehicles and supporting infra- (WMATA) and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit structure are costly for transit agencies. District (BART) are among agencies considering cutting service. Portland's Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation To attract riders, it is important that transit not merely be District of Oregon (TriMet) is cutting some services even as an option for travel, but that it be an attractive option that com- it expands light-rail service. petes, in particular, with the private auto. Transit agencies can

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20 boost ridership on their vehicles by improving access to tran- cle circulation. The guidebook also includes ways to increase sit, improving the comfort and safety of transit, improving passengers' perceptions of safety at bus stops (26 ). Use of the speed and reliability of service, and providing informa- such guidelines can form part of an overall GHG reduction tion about and incentives to use transit. Agencies may also strategy for transit agencies. be able to increase ridership, without expanding total service, by optimizing their service routes. Some individual strategies Improving Service Speed, Reliability, and Convenience may fall into more than one of these categories. Improvements to service speed and reliability can make transit Improving Transit Access, Comfort, and Safety as attractive as or more attractive than travel by private auto- mobile. Longer trip times and less reliable trip times on transit Various strategies can boost transit ridership by improv- are a major deterrent for many would-be transit users. To the ing riders' experiences traveling to and from transit stops. extent that agencies can reduce travel times and improve reli- Improvements to bicycle and pedestrian pathways to stops ability, they may attract more riders. Waiting times for transit and stations, with the collaboration of local governments, vehicles and in-vehicle trip times have measurable impacts make transit a viable and attractive travel option for more on ridership. The COMMUTER model predicts that for each people. Pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit can minute average wait times at transit stops are reduced, transit both attract new riders and encourage people who previ- mode share will increase by 0.02% to 0.1%. For each minute ously drove to transit stops to walk or bike instead. Parking that average in-vehicle trip times are reduced, transit mode and drop-off and pick-up facilities at transit stations can also share increases by 0.01% to 0.05% (19). attract more riders, but strategies that encourage nonmotor- ized connections to transit generally have a higher potential Strategies to reduce time spent waiting for transit and trav- to reduce overall GHG emissions. One agency surveyed, eling on transit include express bus services, timed transfers, Sacramento Regional Transit District, is working with its consolidating bus stops, regularized schedules, and improved city and county on a "Complete Streets" policy. Complete adherence to schedules. Specific ways to improve speed and Streets include robust facilities for pedestrians and bicy- reliability include establishing priority for transit vehicles at clists, in addition to transit vehicles and private vehicles. traffic signals, creating bus-only lanes, and using automatic vehicle location and control (AVLC) systems. Many of the Improvements to transit vehicles also improve access to agencies surveyed are planning or implementing such mea- transit for some people. Bike racks at transit stops and on sures. More than three-quarters of respondents are planning buses improve access for bicyclists. Providing wheelchair or implementing changes to traffic signals. For example, the ramps and lifts and low-floor buses improves accessibility Utah Transit Authority initiated a new BRT line in 2008 that for elderly and disabled patrons. includes signal timing. BART encourages local jurisdictions to consider signal priority for surface transit, though the Changes to transit stations and stops can improve pas- transit agency does not control such decisions. More than sengers' experiences while waiting for buses and trains. Pas- two-thirds of agencies surveyed are planning or implement- sengers spend between 10% and 30% of a typical transit trip ing bus-only lanes. One agency, Sacramento Regional Tran- waiting for vehicles. This time can be made more pleasant sit District, is implementing queue jump lanes to allow buses by providing comfortable and clean waiting areas that pro- to bypass general traffic at intersections. tect passengers from the weather, minimize exposure to traf- fic, provide transit information and amenities, and address Measures to improve the speed and reliability of transit security concerns by providing visibility and emergency need not require changes to operating systems and infra- response (24). For example, the Congestion Mitigation Air structure. Even improved enforcement of traffic regulations Quality (CMAQ) program provided funding for improved can speed up travel times. For example, the San Francisco bus waiting areas in Kansas City, Missouri, with the intent Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently con- of increasing bus ridership. The project constructed shelters ducted an experiment on parking enforcement on one bus at 100 bus stops that featured a coordinated look and feel and corridor. By intensifying parking enforcement at bus stops, provided route and schedule information (25). as well as ensuring full availability of drivers and vehicles for all scheduled runs, on-time performance on the route A guidebook from the Florida DOT provides design improved from 81% to 88% (27 ). Yield-to-bus laws, which guidelines for high-quality public transit stations and shel- oblige drivers to give the right-of-way to buses entering traf- ters as well as improving access for pedestrians, bicyclists, fic, also improve bus travel time, especially during peak the disabled, and elderly. The resource provides specific hours. The states of California, Washington, Oregon, and parameters for coordination of elements at bus stops includ- Florida all have yield-to-bus laws in place (28). ing signs, benches, shelters, lighting, landscaping, and ame- nities. At the street level, the guidebook provides parameters In addition to attracting more riders, preferential treat- on connecting bus stations and stops to pedestrian and bicy- ments for buses also reduce emissions from buses by reduc-

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21 ing the time spent idling at traffic lights or waiting to enter assists transit users in determining the best routes and traffic. A study in Southampton, England, found that bus timing for their transit trips. signal priority systems reduced CO2 emissions from buses Real-Time Transit Information --Delivers real-time by 13%. On the other hand, preferential treatments for buses arrival times, information on delays, and other infor- tend to cause additional delay for general traffic. The study mation through changeable message signs, telephone, found that CO2 emissions from other traffic increased by or websites. This information allows riders to plan their 6%. The net effect of the system was to increase CO2 emis- trips more precisely. sions by 3% (29). A forthcoming TCRP Synthesis will report on the costs and benefits of transit preferential treatments in Very little information is available on the effectiveness U.S. transit systems. of these strategies at increasing ridership. Transit agencies typically find it too difficult or too costly to track riders' Agencies can make bus service more convenient for responses to individual initiatives (31). passengers through flex-routing. Flex-routing allows buses to deviate from their fixed routes a short distance (around Incentives to use transit include reduced fares and more three-quarters of a mile) to pick up and drop off passen- convenient payment options. A TCRP study assessed the gers. Passengers can reserve stops in advance through a impact of changes to transit prices and fares on transit rider- real-time reservation system. The OmniLink bus in Prince ship. Strategies assessed included the following: William County, Virginia, is an example of a flex-route bus. OmniLink uses advanced global positioning system (GPS) Changes in General Fare Level--Increases or decreases technology to ensure that buses remain on schedule. Flex- in average transit fares. routing allows the OmniLink to provide transit access to a Changes in Pricing Relationships --Institutes discounts larger area, and it is more cost-effective than running both for various fare categories including multiple-ride tick- traditional bus services and paratransit services (30 ). ets, off-peak travel, and tickets for senior citizens. Changes in Fare Categories--Adds new types of fares Transit Information, Promotion, and Incentives such as multiple-ride tickets and unlimited-ride passes. Changes in Fare Structure Basis --Includes flat fares, Providing more and better information on transit educates zone-based fares, or distance-based fares. potential transit users and also makes transit more conve- Free Transit--Eliminates transit fares altogether. nient to use. Both information provided in advance and real- time information can increase ridership. Transit agencies The study finds that bus ridership increases an average of can conduct outreach and provide a variety of incentives for 0.4% for each 1% decrease in fare. Rail ridership increases people to take buses and trains instead of driving. an average of 0.18% for each 1% decrease in fare. Changes in fare have roughly twice the impact on off-peak ridership A TCRP study assessed the impact of transit information as on peak ridership (32). and promotion on transit users. Strategies assessed included the following: Some transit agencies offer transit benefits programs in conjunction with local employers. Such programs often Mass Market Information --Develops awareness of include discounted monthly transit passes as an incentive for various services available among the general popula- employees to use transit. A TCRP study of the effectiveness of tion. Information can be broadcast in newspapers and transit benefits programs found that such programs generally on the radio, television, and billboards. increase transit ridership, although the effects of individual Mass Market Promotion --Goes a step beyond mass programs vary widely. Transit ridership typically increased market information by including incentives such as between 10% and 50% at worksites after implementation of free or reduced fares. benefits programs. The cost implications of such programs for Targeted Information --Targets particular types of transit agencies are not well understood (33). transit users or potential transit users. Information can be distributed by direct mailing, brochures, local news- Alerting potential riders to the GHG benefits of taking papers, and other techniques. transit is one way to promote transit use. Online calculators, Targeted Promotion --Goes a step beyond targeted including one available at (developed information by including incentives such as free or through a previous TCRP project), help individuals calculate reduced fares. the impact they can have on their personal GHG emissions Ongoing Customer Information --Includes bus stop by taking transit. These calculators can be integrated into signs, telephone information services, and Internet transit agencies' websites. For example, San Francisco's sites. For example, many transit agencies are adding BART has added a GHG calculator to its online trip plan- online trip planning software to their websites, which ning software (