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22 TABLE 5 AGENCIES PURSUING STRATEGIES TO INCREASE VEHICLE PASSENGER LOADS (% of 41 respondents) Planning or Strategy Types Planning Implementing Implementing Transit marketing campaigns 56% 71% 85% Provision of real-time transit information or trip planning software 59% 44% 83% Improved transit shelters and station stops 54% 51% 83% Improved transit access for bicycles and pedestrians 46% 61% 76% Improved transit access for the disabled and elderly 44% 56% 73% Improved vehicle comfort 41% 41% 61% Service improvements; e.g., timed transfers, reduced travel times, 56% 37% 71% improved modal integration Changes in fare structures or payment methods 39% 44% 63% Safety improvements 41% 41% 59% Optimization of existing routes and services 51% 56% 76% Other strategies 5% 2% 5% Any strategy 93% (38 agencies) Optimizing Transit Routes software, and making improvements to transit stations and shelters were the most commonly cited strategies, but every Agencies can make better use of their existing service by strategy was cited by more than half of the respondents. On optimizing routes to increase the efficiency of service and some highly used transit services, vehicles are already travel- focus service in corridors with a higher ridership potential. ing with maximum passenger loads and have problems with Individual transit agencies may find that they can selectively overcrowding. Faced with this problem, BART is removing cut underutilized service to reduce net GHG emissions, but some seats from trains to accommodate more passengers on the GHG impacts of service cuts depend on the broader net- each vehicle. work effects of reducing transit service. Early morning bus service may be GHG inefficient, whereas peak and midday Of the transit agencies taking steps to increase ridership bus services are highly utilized and are much more GHG or load factors, almost all are aware that these strategies can efficient than auto travel. However, just as extended service reduce transportation GHG emissions. Nearly half of these hours can increase ridership on peak services (see Extending agencies noted that reducing GHG emissions was a factor in Operating Hours in this chapter), reducing off-peak service their decision to increase ridership or load factors. Three agen- can decrease peak ridership. Other key services that tran- cies--Montgomery County DOT, Sound Transit, and LACM- sit provides, such as access to jobs, may be compromised TA--reported that GHG emissions were a principal factor. by a reduction in off-peak service. Agencies may be able to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of services with- out cutting service altogether by using smaller vehicles on STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE CONGESTION less heavily traveled routes. Most transit strategies that mitigate congestion are the same A systemwide optimization of transit service can increase strategies that increase ridership. Transit mitigates conges- overall ridership levels without changing the total supply of tion primarily through travel mode shift, as removing private service. For example, SFMTA plans to reconfigure its ser- vehicles from roadways tends to reduce congestion. Transit vice routes beginning in 2009. SFMTA predicts that shifting agencies, in partnership with other local and regional agen- service from underused routes to the busiest corridors will cies, sometimes implement mode shift strategies to relieve increase ridership by 9% by 2015 without increasing operat- congested conditions in specific areas. ing costs (34). Transit agencies in eight urban areas have partnered with Almost all survey respondents reported that their agencies other local agencies and the U.S.DOT to reduce roadway were taking some steps to increase ridership or load factors on congestion as part of U.S.DOT's Integrated Corridor Man- existing transit service. Table 5 summarizes the specific strate- agement pilot program. The eight urban areas are Dallas, gies that agencies are pursuing. Transit marketing campaigns, Texas; Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Montgom- providing real-time transit information and trip planning ery County, Maryland; Oakland, California; San Antonio,