Click for next page ( 52

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 51
51 for the majority of circulators, but almost 20% of respon- funding are also concerns. Eleven percent of survey dents indicated that there is no integration and that the respondents reported no drawbacks. circulator is separate from the rest of the transit system. Most respondents reported no significant impact to the A majority of respondents named the transit agency as design and operation of the downtown circulator as a having overall responsibility for marketing. Agencies result of downtown's changing role. Several agencies promoting tourism, hotels, the convention center, and modified the circulator to serve nonresidential trip gener- downtown employers are likely to participate in mar- ators such as hospitals, employment centers, historic sites, keting efforts. A wide variety of marketing activities are retail, schools and universities, and entertainment dis- undertaken for downtown circulators. tricts. New residential areas were cited by 13% of respon- Survey respondents assessed various elements in terms dents. Some of these destinations required changed or of whether they were constraining factors in the start-up expanded times of service. and ongoing operation of the downtown circulator. Improvements related to more and more certain funding Funding is the only element characterized as a major from a variety of sources were most frequently men- constraint at a majority of agencies. Operating funding tioned. Many other responses were also received, some dominated the list of major constraints. of which conflicted with each other; for example, more For all circulators in the sample, the median ridership public input versus limited outreach efforts or whether to was 600 on weekdays (30 circulators), 1,100 on Satur- implement versus discontinue a fare-free zone. This day (20 circulators), and 1,500 on Sunday (16 circula- question elicited the greatest variety of comments and the tors). Median productivity (measured as riders per least convergence on a clear set of desired improvements. revenue hour) was 23 on weekdays and 26 on both Sat- urday and Sunday. These results are misleading, because circulators with high ridership are more likely to operate LESSONS LEARNED--SURVEY RESPONDENTS on Saturday and Sunday. After controlling for the num- ber of days per week of operation, median ridership and Survey respondents shared lessons learned from the planning, productivity are highest on weekdays. Median ridership implementation, and operation of downtown circulators. The and productivity are generally proportional to service lessons learned were grouped into ten broad categories. area population; downtown circulators in larger cities Lessons regarding partnerships led the list of topic areas, fol- have higher ridership and are more productive. Down- lowed by service design and branding/attracting new riders. town circulators oriented toward tourists and visitors have the highest median ridership and productivity. Cir- Partnerships are important when planning and imple- culators in Charlotte, Long Beach, Philadelphia, San menting a downtown circulator. Although funding part- Antonio, and Santa Barbara rank highest in the tourist/ nerships are ideal, these are the exception rather than the visitor category in terms of ridership. rule. The process of enlisting a diverse group of stake- holders early on in the design of the service results in valuable input regarding routing decisions as well as AGENCY ASSESSMENTS OF DOWNTOWN CIRCULATORS ownership in the circulator concept. Partnerships provide political support for the circulator and change the per- Results regarding the success of the downtown circula- ception of transit in the business community. Ongoing tor are positive. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents communication once the circulator is in operation is of rated the circulator as very successful and 36% rated it great value in maintaining interest and support. as somewhat successful. Frequent service is one key to success. Respondents The primary benefits of the downtown circulator include cited 10 min or better as an ideal frequency, whereas the improved downtown mobility and circulation, greater median frequency of downtown circulators was reported downtown access for transit riders, a way for tourists as 10 to 15 min. Short routes mitigate the cost of fre- to get around, a means for employees to get around quent operation while still connecting as many destina- downtown, and positive impacts on transit (increased tions as possible. Simple and direct routes are important, ridership and revenue, very frequent downtown service, as are consistent, clockface headways. improved image, and an opportunity to streamline other Branding the downtown circulator with a unique, inter- routes). esting paint and graphics scheme to make the vehicles Drawbacks to the downtown circulator involve the ten- stand out is especially important if the target market is sion between providing very frequent and direct service visitors and tourists. The downtown circulator is the versus serving all locations that want to be served, low face of the transit system to visitors and nontransit users speeds owing to downtown congestion, difficulty in who work or live downtown. maintaining schedules, and negative transit impacts (a Friendly operators knowledgeable about downtown are circulator takes riders from other routes, maintenance important for attracting new riders. Some respondents expense, and confusion for regular system riders). Low reported working with their operators' union to select and ridership, expense, irregular demand, and inadequate train drivers who can double as downtown ambassadors.