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APPENDIX D Public Transit in Statewide Corridor Planning Transit can be considered as part of the statewide planning process on a statewide, regional, or local corridor basis and in conjunction with existing public transportation systems and operations. The potential benefits of transit service in a corridor can range from "nothing" to being the most important or the only option for adding person capacity to the corridor. Transit in the corridor sense is any mode that allows for high-occupancy vehicles that are not private automobiles. This would range, therefore, from vanpools to mass transit rail systems. Generally the modes (or technologies) fall into the categories of Rail (heavy-rail rapid transit or HRT); Automated guideway transit (AGT) such as monorail or maglev; Light rail transit (LRT) and commuter rail transit (CMT); or Bus, including local, express, and bus rapid transit (BRT). Each of these also falls into one of three categories for the location and operation of the service: Exclusive transitway, including rail, bus-only lanes, bus use of shoulders, high-occupancy- vehicle lanes (HOV) or high-occupancy toll lanes (HOT); Shared use (shared roadways with other vehicles, such as bus or LRT); or Mixed use (a combination of exclusive and shared use segments). Needs Analysis Determining the potential need for and role of transit in a corridor can require several steps that ultimately may lead to conducting an Alternatives Analysis as outlined by FTA. The first step is to determine whether transit can play a role in addressing corridor needs. Questions that could help to determine this include Is there existing transit service in or near the corridor? Do the corridor demographics (population density, race, gender, income, and automobile ownership) identify potential opportunities for transit usage (transit propensity)? The first question is fairly straightforward but is often overlooked. It is important to consider the potential benefits to the corridor by enhancing or expanding transit capacity or by provid- ing connections to existing transit facilities. The second question can be evaluated using various methodologies, including those described in the following: TCRP Report 100: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (2003) or TCRP Web Document 6: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (1999); TCRP Report 28: Transit Markets of the Future: The Challenge for Change (1998); and TCRP Report 27: Building Transit Ridership: An Exploration of Transit's Market Share and the Public Policies that Influence It (1997). 57

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58 A Guidebook for Corridor-Based Statewide Transportation Planning If one or both of these questions are answered in the positive, then more detailed analysis of transit opportunities should be included in the next level of corridor analysis. This analysis also offers additional information that can be added to the project purpose and need such as providing mobility for environmental justice populations, providing commuter service in high-density areas, and meeting the needs of other special communities identified as part of this evaluation. Alternatives Development and Evaluation The next step would be to include transit alternatives in the initial development of corridor alternatives that address project purpose and need. This could begin with the development of Transportation System Management (TSM) alternatives. TSM alternatives could include such initiatives as park-and-ride facilities; transit hubs; optimal bus-stop locations (near-side/far side); service branding; next bus information; traffic-signal priority; and other strategies identified during the corridor study. For example, the location of bus stops and shelters should also be considered as part of this analysis as the ability of the bus to work in concert with the traffic will help improve traffic flow and optimize the capacity that is already there. Additional major facility and system alternatives should also be considered for a corridor such as express bus service, BRT, and other exclusive guideway options (i.e., HRT, AGT, and LRT). Using traffic volumes, congestion levels, available right-of-way, and population density, some of these alternatives may be eliminated early in the screening process, while others may proceed fur- ther through the process and receive an equal level of detail as any other alternative. This analysis may conclude that new or enhanced transit alone may not be the primary solution to congestion problems, but it may be a contributor to the ultimate solution. Transit may also provide mobility choice and access that is not otherwise available for transit-dependent populations. If transit continues to be a viable alternative through initial screening, the integration of FTA's Alternatives Analysis (AA) methodology should be considered. This process includes criteria for measuring the success (or lack of success) of a particular transit alternative. This methodology includes a review of the capital and operating costs, ridership, and impacts on the remaining roadway network. While the full AA package of analysis may not be performed, one of the elements is the use of a travel-demand model not only to determine the ridership and air-quality benefits, but also to calculate the potential user benefits for each alternative. Analytical tools are available to assist with this analysis, such as the Transit Route Optimization Tool described in Appendix C. Evaluating transit as part of existing corridor optimization can also provide benefits to both the transit operator and the existing and future traffic using the facility. To truly understand proposed transit improvements requires a more-detailed look at operations including buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. This may provide additional insight for DOT planners and a public transit provider to recognize previously unidentified operational problems and to formulate more effective ways of addressing those problems. Incorporating Public Transit into the Statewide Corridor Planning Process Ultimately, if transit initiatives, strategies, or improvements are chosen for a corridor, the proposed improvements must be incorporated into the state's prioritization process and the costs must be financial planning efforts. At this point, most state DOTs face a major challenge in identifying funding for the implementation of proposed transit solutions. To address properly the potential transit alternatives for statewide corridors of significance, it is important to actively engage and involve transit interests in the statewide corridor planning

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Public Transit in Statewide Corridor Planning 59 process to help identify needs and provide input on potential solutions for local, regional, and intercity transit service. For some states, this has been very successful. However, in other states, involving transit interests in the statewide planning process has proven to be a challenge. In many states, most transit systems are local, not intercity or statewide, so planning efforts are seen as the responsibility of a local or regional planning agency such as an MPO, not of the state DOT. Also, the statewide planning process for many DOTs primary focus is transportation needs for the state highway system. Therefore, transit providers feel that they are wasting their time because the DOT will not seriously consider their input for non-highway solutions or because the DOT planning efforts are related to highways and, therefore, are not relevant to transit operations. From a statewide transportation policy perspective, however, the most important step for a state transportation agency is to make a strong commitment to seriously consider public transit as a legitimate alternative by identifying selected corridors where transit may be appropriate and viable. While this may necessitate a culture change for some, DOTs must send a clear message by words and action that they are open and interested in proactive input and participation from the public transit community.