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50 CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS INTRODUCTION Employees and tourists and visitors are the most com- mon primary markets for a downtown circulator; how- This chapter summarizes key findings, presents conclusions ever, nearly all respondents reported that the circulator from this synthesis project, and offers areas for future study. was designed to serve more than one market. Close to Findings from the surveys and particularly the case studies one-half of respondents indicated that the market for the identify and assess the factors contributing to the success or circulator has changed over time, suggesting the need failure of downtown circulators. The chapter is organized in for flexibility in designing service. Almost 75% of five sections: respondents have changed the routing of the circulator to serve emerging markets in or near downtown. Circulator Design and Implementation Slightly more than half of respondents with a down- Agency Assessments of Downtown Circulators town circulator operate a network with more than one Lessons Learned--Survey Respondents route. A single loop route and a combination of differ- Lessons Learned--Case Studies ent types of routes were the most common. The transit Conclusions and Areas of Future Study agency is typically responsible for the design modifica- tion of the route, as well as for day-to-day operation. The future research needs offered here focus on extending There are several interesting examples of successful cir- the synthesis findings to understand similarities and differ- culators operated by city departments of transportation ences between public-sector and private-sector employers (DOTs). and to enhance the effectiveness of these programs. Operating parameters vary, depending on the market for the circulator. The most common start time is dur- ing the 6:00 a.m. hour on weekdays, during the 9:00 a.m. CIRCULATOR DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION hour on Saturday, and during the 10:00 a.m. hour on The impetus to begin a downtown circulator usually Sunday. The most common end time is during the comes from the transit agency, downtown organiza- 6:00 p.m. hour on weekdays and Sunday and at or after tions, or elected officials. These agencies and groups midnight on Saturday. The average span of service is are the major stakeholders in the circulator. Improving longest on weekdays and shortest on Sunday. Median mobility throughout downtown was usually cited as the prevailing headways are 15 min on weekdays and Sat- purpose of the circulator, although several other goals urday and 12 min on Sunday (this is the result of less were also reported by a majority of respondents. frequent circulator systems not operating on Sunday). A program champion is helpful, particularly in the Most respondents do not charge a fare on their down- implementation phase. The champion of the circulator town circulator. The fare is a nominal amount (20 or is typically either the transit agency general manager, a 25 cents) for 6 of the 16 systems that do charge a fare. member of a downtown interest, or an elected official. A wide variety of fare media is accepted on the down- The most common funding arrangement is for the tran- town circulator. sit agency to pay all costs, although there are a variety Introduction of or revisions to a downtown circulator of other funding situations. The private sector partici- route might offer the opportunity to restructure other pates in circulator funding primarily through downtown routes in the downtown area. Most respondents indi- businesses or business improvement districts. Half of cated that introduction of the circulator did not result in the respondents indicated that the transit agency does changes to other routes. Agencies that did change other not use federal funds for their downtown circulators. routes typically streamlined routes in the downtown Twenty-three percent of respondents discontinued, and area and facilitated transfers between regular routes and 17% never implemented, a downtown circulator. Inad- the circulator. More than 80% of respondents reported equate funding and cost were the principal reasons for no issues related to complementary ADA service asso- never implementing a circulator; low ridership was the ciated with the downtown circulator. major reason for discontinuation. Low productivity, Agencies have taken different approaches to the inte- loss of the funding source, and cost also played a role in gration of the downtown circulator with the transit net- discontinuation. work. Connections are provided at major transfer points