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24 3.1 Overview Based on the literature review and online searches, the authors developed a list of transit agen- cies that may have completed or started a system design. While the potential transit agencies to be surveyed were limited to those that were believed to have conducted or were in the process of con- ducting a system redesign, the distribution carefully considered the inclusion of a range of agencies in terms of size, geographic location, modes provided, and stage within the redesign process. The survey was sent to 49 transit agencies in North America; 38 (78%) responded, and 36 completed surveys were used for the data analysis (two respondents, Tri-Met and Cleveland RTA, each indicated that their agency had neither engaged in nor were considering a system redesign). The survey was conducting using skip logic based on where the agency is in the system redesign process to ensure that the agency received questions applicable to them; there- fore, certain questions were only asked of a subset of agencies, and the results outline how many respondents are included in the results from each question. The results are grouped based on the status of the redesign: Group 1: Implemented or Partially Implemented; Group 2: Currently Planning or Planned but Not Implemented; and Group 3: Contemplating a Redesign. Note that, except for the Transit Agency Context and System Redesign Definition sections, Group 3 results (only three agencies) are analyzed separately. The motivation for and process of planning and implementing a system redesign can take many forms. They also cover a host of aspects, from goal development to service planning to operational considerations, that transit agencies must consider and prepare for. The survey instrument was designed to obtain many data points over a wide variety of components that compose the system redesign process. Through the survey, data were gathered from agencies that completed or are in the process of planning and implementing a system redesign that paints a high-level picture of the state of the practice. This includes context behind the early planning phases, different components of what is entailed in a system redesign, and cost considerations. Several surveys were also collected from agencies that are contemplating a system redesign. This chapter discusses the findings of the data analysis from the survey. The reader should be aware that while every attempt was made to ensure that the questions had only one interpretation, as with any survey it is possible that agencies may have responded with varying levels of under- standing of the question at hand. 3.2 Transit Agency Context The agencies completing surveys have been divided by size in terms of their service area population in the tables that follow. Agencies classified as large have a service area popula- tion of 1.5 million people or more (Table 3). Those classified as medium have a service area C H A P T E R 3 Survey of Agency Practice
Survey of Agency Practice 25 population from 500,000 up to 1.5 million (Table 4), and small agencies have a service area population of less than 500,000 (Table 5). The agencies that serve large populations provide upward of one million hours of bus revenue service annually, with some providing many millions of hours. The agencies serving medium sized areas provide between 200,000 and 1.2 million hours annually, and the agencies that serve smaller populations provide between about 40,000 and 160,000 hours of annual bus service. The tables show some of the operat- ing characteristics of each agency, including annual revenue hours from the 2014 National Transit Database (NYCT MTA 2017b), the most recent year these data were available (data have subsequently been added for 2015â2017). The modes listed are in addition to fixed- route bus. The surveys reviewed are from 36 agencies representing 22 states and one Canadian province responded to the survey conducted as part of this synthesis. Twenty-one (58%) operate as independent agencies, 11 (31%) are arms of local or state government, while the remaining four (11%) agencies have a different relationship with the area they serve. Learning about network redesigns from a wide variety of agencies that responded to the survey â 17 that have imple- mented bus network redesigns, 16 that are in the planning process, and three that are consider- ing one â proved extremely valuable. These 36 agencies spanned North America and included a wide variety of agency sizes and modes operated â 15 of the systems operate in environments with no regular heavy rail, light rail, or commuter rail service and 21 of the systems operate in environments with commuter rail, heavy rail, and/or light rail service. Of the 21 agencies operating in an area with rail service, 19 of them have commuter rail and 16 systems have either heavy rail or light rail. Ag en cy N am e Ci ty St at e R eg io n* G ov er na nc e* * O pe ra tio ns ** * An nu al B us R ev en ue H ou rs Se rv ic e Ar ea P o pu la tio n H ea vy R ai l Li gh t R ai l St re et ca r Co m m ut er R ai l Pa ra tr an si t Fl ex /O n- D em an d Fe rr y G ro up fo r S ur ve y A n al ys is DART Dallas TX SW I M 2,380,530 1 Houston Metro Houston TX SW I M 4,298,000 1 King County Metro**** Seattle WA NW G D 2,177,125 2 LACMTA Los Angeles CA W I M 8,626,817 2 LYNX Orlando FL SE I D 2,134,411 2 MBTA Boston MA NE G M 3,109,308 2 MDOT MTA Baltimore MD MA G D 7,888,145 1 NYCT New York (Staten Island) NY NE I M 8,550,405 2 OCTA Orange CA W I M 3,077,903 1 Denver RTD Denver CO W I M 2,902,000 1 SEPTA Philadelphia PA MA G D 3,816,641 3 VIA Metro Transit San Antonio TX SW I D 1,825,502 2 VTA San Jose CA W G D 2,077,637 2,537,329 2,759,035 6,946,779 1,105,050 2,375,894 1,738,160 12,502,318***** 1,577,713 2,674,604 3,971,387 1,538,539 1,263,254 1,927,888 2 * NE (northeast), MA (mid-Atlantic), SE (southeast), M (Midwest), SW (southwest), W (west), NW (northwest) ** (I)ndependent Agency or part of local or state (G)overnment (as reported by survey respondents) *** Bus service is (D)irectly Operated, (C)ontracted, (M)ix of directly operated and contracted **** In addition to the modes noted, King County Metro also operates monorail service ***** This represents all NYCT Metrobus service, not just Staten Island where the redesign is planned. Table 3. Large transit agency respondents.
Ag en cy N am e Ci ty St at e R eg io n* G ov er na nc e* * O pe ra tio ns ** * An nu al B us R ev en ue H ou rs Se rv ic e Ar ea P o pu la tio n H ea vy R ai l Li gh t R ai l St re et ca r Co m m ut er R ai l Pa ra tr an si t Fl ex /O n- D em an d Fe rr y G ro up fo r S ur ve y An al ys is Clemson Area Transit Clemson SC SE G D 42,495 27,883 1 Connect Transit Bloomington- Normal IL M G D 90,579 129,107 1 DASH Alexandria VA MA G D 179,684 139,966 2 EMTA Erie PA NE G D 163,615 189,872 2 Halifax Transit Halifax NS CN G D 792,904 290,376 1 LAVTA Livermore Valley CA W I C 125,826 220,469 1 Metro McAllen McAllen TX SW G D 35,209 129,877 3 Salem Transit (Cherriots) Salem OR NW I D 156,860 236,632 1 Tri Delta Transit Antioch CA W G C 149,444 306,000 2 Valley Regional Transit Boise ID NW I C 98,000 338,759 2 Wave Transit Wilmington NC SE I C 86,268 216,479 2 * NE (northeast), MA (mid-Atlantic), S (south), M (Midwest), SW (southwest), W (west), NW (northwest), CN (Canada) ** (I)ndependent Agency or part of local or state (G)overnment (as reported by survey respondents) *** Bus service is (D)irectly Operated, (C)ontracted, (M)ix of directly operated and contracted Table 5. Small transit agency respondents. Table 4. Medium transit agency respondents. Ci ty St at e R eg io n* G ov er na nc e* * O pe ra tio ns ** * An nu al B us R ev en ue H ou rs Se rv ic e Ar ea P o pu la tio n H ea vy R ai l Li gh t R ai l St re et ca r Co m m ut er R ai l Pa ra tr an si t Fl ex /O n- D em an d Fe rr y G ro up fo r S ur ve y An al ys is Austin TX SW I C 1,065,774 1,163,204 1 Charleston SC S I C 205,833 543,209 1 Columbus OH M I D 879,037 1,059,314 1 Norfolk VA MA I D 778,904 1,143,932 2 Indianapolis IN M G D 494,489 928,281 1 Jacksonville FL S I D 609,595 1,021,375 1 Milwaukee WI M G D 1,258,386 957,735 3 Nashville TN SE I D 434,710 655,900 2 Omaha NE M G D 280,616 561,920 1 Providence RI NE I D 633,454 1,048,319 2 Sacramento CA W I D 548,446 1,031,946 2 Cincinnati OH M I D 736,720 845,303 2 CARTA Hampton Roads Transit JTA Nashville MTA RIPTA SORTA Omaha Metro Sacramento Regional Transit District IndyGo Milwaukee County Transit System Ag en cy N am e Capital Metro COTA * NE (northeast), MA (mid-Atlantic), S (south), M (Midwest), SW (southwest), W (west), NW (northwest) ** (I)ndependent Agency or part of local or state (G)overnment (as reported by survey respondents) *** Bus service is (D)irectly Operated, (C)ontracted, (M)ix of directly operated and contracted
Survey of Agency Practice 27 Figure 6 shows the geographic distribution of participating transit agencies along with their redesign status. The agency with the smallest service population is Clemson Area Transit in South Carolina (27,883), while the agency with the largest service population belongs to New York City Transit (8,550,405). (While the responses provided in this survey by NYCT refer to the redesign of their Staten Island bus service, in April 2018 the agency announced plans to reimagine their bus system (MTA 2018). http://www.mta.info/news/2018/04/23/ nyc-transit-unveils-plan-reimagine-bus-system-deliver-world-class-bus-service.) 3.3 System Redesign Definition There is currently no industry-accepted definition of what a ânetwork redesignâ entails or consists of. Some agencies have conducted bus network planning studies that take a âblank slateâ approach and develop entirely new networks, while others consider very detailed comprehensive operational analyses with significant service change recommendations. The survey asked transit agencies whether or not their agency had considered or conducted a systemwide network redesign and, if they had, they were asked where in the process they were at the time. The results that follow in this section are largely grouped by the stage at which the agency is in their planning and implementation process: Group 1: Implemented or Partially Implemented; Group 2: Currently Planning or Planned but Not Implemented; and Group 3: Contemplating a Redesign. Figure 6. Responding agencies by service area population and redesign status.
28 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns Table 6 shows the first group of agencies and the years that their system redesigns were imple- mented or partially implemented. The second group of agencies indicated that their agency has planned or is currently planning a system redesign, but has not started implementation (Table 7). The last group of respondents (Table 8) includes agencies that are contemplating a system redesign, but have not starting the planning process. Although most of the agencies conducted a redesign or planning study for their entire systems, several focused on parts of their networks. Of the 17 agencies with complete plans (Group 1), only two, Californiaâs Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Coloradoâs Regional Transportation District (RTD), conducted partial system redesigns. Group 1 agencies favored calling their plans branded system redesigns; ten called their plans branded system redesigns while seven classified their plans as a Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA). In Group 2, 2 of the 16 agencies that are in the planning process are conducting partial redesigns. These agencies are evenly split between calling their plan a COA or TDP, a branded system redesign, or some- thing else. Finally, two of the three agencies contemplating a redesign (Group 3) are planning to conduct one for the full system and the last is still deciding. The agencies surveyed also differ in terms of their approach to planning the new network, whether it was more focused on making modifications to the existing system, be they large or small, or whether the planning process took a âblank slateâ approach to developing the new network. Figure 7 shows the breakdown between the approaches by where the agencies are in their planning process; the division between approaches is fairly evenly split. The remainder of this chapter will focus on data relating to the first two groupsâthat is, the 33 agencies that have implemented or partially implemented their system redesign or agencies that have planned or are in the process of planning their redesign. Group 3 will be discussed further in Section 3.11 of this chapter. 3.4 Goals of System Redesign The survey also captured details relating to âbig picture goalsâ and specific service plan- ning objectives that the agencies had in initiating or contemplating a system redesign. As shown in Figure 8, which shows some of the more commonly cited goals, the five most important overall goals that the agencies that have planned or are planning (Groups 1 and 2) were hoping to achieve were improving rider satisfaction, increasing ridership, simplifying the system for ease of public use, better serving transit-dependent populations, and improving on-time per- formance and reliability. The goals that the survey offered as an option for selection deemed the five least important were: adapt to changes resulting from new types of transportation options (e.g., TNCs, bike share); long-term operating cost savings; use new operating funding strategi- cally; shift ridership to other modes; and increase or decrease service area (i.e., provide service in new/reduced jurisdictions). The three agencies considering a redesign all agreed that their very important overall goals were to re-evaluate the big-picture structure of the system and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. The service planning objectives were likely a bit farther off in their minds, but the following were selected as either very or somewhat important by all three agencies were to increase the opportunities for transfer, increase the span of service, and increase frequency. In addition to asking agencies about their big-picture goals the survey asked them to weigh in on their primary service planning objectives. The service planning objectives that rose to the top for Groups 1 and 2 were decreasing the peak vehicle need, selected by 31 of the 33 (94%) agencies as very or somewhat important; reducing travel times, selected by 26 of the 33 (79%) agencies;
Agency City State Agency Size Name of Plan (Self Identified) Implementa ion Status ion Year of Initial JTA Jacksonville FL Medium Branded System Redesign Full 2014 RIPTA Providence RI Medium Comprehensive Operational Analysis Full 2014 Houston Metro Houston TX Large Branded System Redesign Full 2015 Omaha Metro Omaha NE Medium Branded System Redesign Full 2015 Transit Salem OR Small Analysis Full 2015 CARTA Charleston SC Medium Comprehensive Operational Analysis Full 2016 Transit -Normal IL Small Analysis Full 2016 LAVTA Livermore Valley CA Small Analysis Full 2016 OCTA Orange CA Large Branded Redesign Full 2016 COTA Columbus OH Medium Transit System Full 2017 t - Implementa- - t Redesign MDOT MTA Baltimore MD Large Branded System Redesign Full 2017 Denver RTD Denver CO Large Branded System Redesign Full 2017 Halifax Transit Halifax NS Small Branded System Redesign Partial 2016 Capital Metro Austin TX Medium Branded System Redesign Partial 2018 Clemson Area Transit Clemson SC Small Branded System Redesign Partial 2018 IndyGo Indianapolis IN Medium Comprehensive Operational Analysis Partial 2018 DART Dallas TX Large Comprehensive Operational Analysis Partial 2018 Comprehensive Operational Operational Comprehensive Operational Comprehensive BloomingtonConnect Salem System Table 6. Group 1 â Agencies that have implemented or are currently implementing a system redesign.
30 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns Agency City State Agency Size Name of Plan (Self-Identified) DASH Alexandria VA Small Transit Vision Plan EMTA Erie PA Small Transit Development Plan HRT Norfolk VA Medium Transit Development Plan King County Metro Seattle WA Large Transit Vision Plan LACMTA Los Angeles CA Large Branded System Redesign LYNX Orlando FL Large Branded System Redesign MBTA Boston MA Large Branded System Redesign Nashville MTA Nashville TN Medium Comprehensive Operational Analysis NYCT Staten Island NY Large Branded System Redesign Sacramento RTD Sacramento CA Medium Branded System Redesign SORTA Cincinnati OH Medium Branded System Redesign Tri Delta Transit Antioch CA Small Comprehensive Operational Analysis VRT Boise ID Small Transit Vision Plan VIA Metropolitan Transit San Antonio TX Large Comprehensive Operational Analysis VTA San Jose CA Large Branded System Redesign Wave Transit Wilmington NC Small Transit Development Plan Table 7. Group 2 â Agencies with a complete plan or in the process of planning a system redesign.
Agency City State Agency Size Type of Plan Scope Metro McAllen McAllen TX Small Short Range Plan Full System Milwaukee County Transit Milwaukee WI Medium Branded System Redesign Contemplating Full or Partial System SEPTA Philadelphia PA Large Transit System Redesign Full System Table 8. Group 3 â Agencies contemplating a system redesign. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 N um be r o f A ge nc ie s Existing System Blank Slate Figure 7. Planning approaches to system redesigns. Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Im pr ov e rid er sa tis fa cti on In cr ea se ri de rs hi p Si m pl ify t he sy st em fo r pu bl ic e as e- of - us e Be tt er s er ve tr an si t- de pe nd en t po pu la tio ns Number of Respondents 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Very Important Somewhat Important Figure 8. Commonly cited big picture goals â Groups 1 and 2. (continued on next page)
32 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns Figure 8. (Continued). Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Im pr ov e on - tim e pe rf or m an ce an d/ or re lia bi lit y A tt ra ct c ho ic e ri de rs Im pl em en t hi gh -f re qu en cy / pr io ri ty b us ne tw or k Im pr ov e pu bl ic im ag e A dj us t s er vi ce le ve ls to av ai la bl e re so ur ce s Im pr ov e m ul ti- m od al co nn ec tio ns Number of Respondents 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 Group 1 Group 2 In cr ea se d op er ati on al effi ci en cy / eff ec ti ve ne ss Re -e va lu at e th e âb ig p ic tu re â st ru ct ur e A dj us t to ch an gi ng ho us in g/ po pu - la ti on c en te rs A dj us t to m ov in g/ m ov ed jo b ce nt er s Very Important Somewhat Important
Survey of Agency Practice 33 and increasing the span of service, selected by 24 of the 33 (73%). Other service planning objec- tives that the agencies planned for were: consolidating or modifying service into new/moved transfer hubs/centers and decreasing coverage within the service area, both of which were considered âveryâ or âsomewhatâ important by 21 of 33 agencies (64%). 3.5 Agency Organization System redesigns are born of different motivations and have different goals, and each agency has different areas of strength and influence within their organization. As a result, the agency champion, lead department, and participation from other offices can vary. Lead and Major Support Departments Overall, the responses indicated that a majority of system redesigns were housed in the short- term planning/operations scheduling department. Figure 9 shows the breakdown of which departments led the system redesign effort, while Table 9 indicates the other departments that Long Range Planning / Capital Planning and Programming 22% Joint Planning Department Effort 14% Short Term Planning / Operations Scheduling 44% Executive Office 17% Other 3% Figure 9. Lead role on system redesign. Lo ng R an ge Pl an ni ng Sh or tT er m Pl an ni ng /O pe ra tio ns Ex ec ut iv e O ff ic e Fi na nc e M ar ke tin g O pe ra tio ns Pr oc ur em en t Cu st om er R el at io ns O th er Group 1: Implemented or Partially Implemented 65% 65% 82% 53% 88% 82% 24% 65% 29% Group 2: Planning a Redesign 63% 69% 75% 44% 69% 69% 0% 44% 13% Total 64% 67% 79% 48% 79% 76% 12% 55% 21% Table 9. Other departments that played/are playing a significant role in the redesign.
34 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns played significant roles. The most common departments with significant roles were the execu- tive office, marketing, and operations; more departments played significant roles in agencies that have already completed or begun the implementation of their redesigns. Redesign Champions In addition to board support and involvement, large projects often require champions to help advocate for the project. Sixty-seven percent, or 22 of the 33 agencies, indicated that there was a project champion within the agency, the most common being the agency head or CEO. Other common champions included board members, local politicians, and other agency staff mem- bers. The role of the champion included developing the vision for the project, leading internal coordination, and/or promoting the project to internal and external stakeholders. LACMTA noted that their CEO championed the redesign effort by âEducat[ing] the Board of Directors on the need to re-baseline the system to be more relevant to todayâs travel markets and demand, and to set a foundation from which to grow with funding from Measure M.â A few agencies had more than one champion, promoting the redesign work in different ways. For example, VRT responded â[Executive Director] Kelli Badesheim really saw the need for a unified plan for Valley Regional Transit and saw the network restructure as a critical piece of that. She has shopped the plan and network around to board members, stakeholders and the business community. Jim Hansen [Board Chair] has been focusing on keeping the VRT board focused on delivering on the unified vision and restructured network, specifically working out funding issues and working through key relationships/ potential conflict points with highway districts and local road jurisdictions.â Internal Communications Challenges and Strategies With many departments interacting with such a large-scale project, it is no surprise that the respondents experienced challenges in their planning and implementation of system redesigns. The most common challenge indicated by agencies was generating buy-in for the project within their own agency; for example, Omaha Metro found that âSome staff members felt that major changes were not necessary, and feared we would lose our ridership base. Strong leadership from the Executive Director made it clear that change was necessary, and would happen.â LAVTA responded that their biggest communication challenge was âgetting all internal stakeholders onboard with a system redesign. We are a small agency and if one person isnât onboard with a plan, it can be disrup- tive.â Larger agencies were concerned about internal buy-in, but also highlighted the need to overcome information silos; for example, Houston Metro noted that âbringing disparate groups of employees together who have/had significant experience and recognition based upon independent operation and results to work collectively on an organization-wide effort proved incredibly challeng- ing. Weekly meetings were held where individual tasks and deadlines were reviewed collectively to ensure that everyone was operating on the same page toward the same time deadline with the same goal.â With so many departments impacted and involved when an agency conducts a redesign, these communication efforts have proven in several cases to help break down the walls between silos and improve interdepartmental communication. Figure 10 shows the results of all challenges indicated by agencies during the planning and decision-making process. Twenty-nine of 33 agencies (88%), including all Group 1 agencies and 75% of Group 2 agencies, responded that they involved bus operators in the system redesign planning process. Respondents who indicated that they involved operators received an open-ended follow-up question, asking in what way the operators were involved. The most common method used to collect information from bus operators was through meeting with them in the operator break room and conducting focus groups. Some agencies also indicated the type of information they collected from operators, such as comments on the draft recommendations, having operators
Survey of Agency Practice 35 involved in route planning, and gaining operator input on the system vision and existing con- ditions. HRT, which has planned but not implemented a redesign, noted that they held stake- holder meetings with operators to gain insights from them on what worked best on the existing routes and what, from their perspectives, were low passenger productivity areas of the routes. Additionally, some agencies indicated that operator input was specifically sought for opera- tional details such as turns, safety, layovers, restrooms and other operational details. JTA worked closely with operators during the launch of their system to identify operational issues; they noted âwe sought input on route changes and held table top exercise on launch week to identify quick fixes.â Involving bus operator union leadership was also common among the surveyed agencies. Twenty-three of the 33 agencies (70%) reported involving union leadership. Seventeen of 33 agencies (52%) indicated that they approached union leadership occasionally regarding spe- cific topics while seven of the agencies (21%) responded that they held regular briefing meetings. Regular engagement with the union is also critical for a smooth implementation. OCTA, one of the agencies that has implemented its redesign, noted that union leadership provided feedback about relief points, routing options, and other route-specific insights. When it came time to post the new bid/pick, the union was helpful in selling the changes to the drivers as an improvement in overall work hours. 3.6 Decision-Making Agencies varied in who was responsible for decision-making, in some cases based on whether the agency was an independent agency or an arm of the local or state government. Overall, boards played a key role in both supporting redesign and serving as champions as well as being opposed to the redesign. In some cases, board members were not supportive of the overall goals of the redesignânot because of theory or concepts but because of concern about a particular route. Role of Board and/or Parent Agency Agency board involvement and support is an integral yet varied part of the decision-making process. According to the survey results, most commonly the board gives policy guidance and 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 N um be r of A ge nc ie s Group 1 Group 2 Internal Staff Buy-In Board/ Executive Buy-in Under- resourced External Communications Internal Coordination Staff Training/ Education on Changes Figure 10. Internal communication or coordination challenges experienced.
36 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns final approval of the system redesign vision and route recommendations, along with policy guid- ance on stakeholder involvement and final approval of operating and capital budget impacts. Some of the most common elements of board participation are shown in Table 10. An agency board can also play a role in advocating for the system redesign; answers from 65% of Group 1 agencies indicate that boards may conduct political advocacy on behalf of the project, and 53% conduct public outreach among the community to garner support. Group 2 agencies that have not started the implementation process similarly answered that their boards have or are likely to conduct public and political advocacy for their respective system redesigns. Role of the Jurisdiction in Which the Agency Operates State, city, and county departments of transportation may also play a large role, depending on the context of the local service environment. Twenty-four of 33 agencies (73%) including every âlargeâ agency except VIA Metro Transit, reported that their state or municipal DOT was involved at the stakeholder level for review and feedback. Forty-five percent of the 33 responses indicated that the DOT had a small part in the planning and implementation process, and only 33% had a very close working relationship with the transit agency on the planning; interestingly 40 to 45% of the small and medium agencies had a strong involvement and only 17% of the large agencies had strong collaboration on planning with the cities in which they operate. 3.7 Redesign Components The agencies that either have implemented/partially implemented a system redesign (Group 1) or are in the process of planning for one (Group 2) were directed to a set of survey questions designed to gather information related to the detailed components of a system redesign. This Type of Board Involvement Group 1 Group 2 Total Policy Guidance: Route recommendations 75% 31% 49% Final Approval: Route recommendations 88% 63% 71% Policy Guidance: System redesign vision 94% 63% 74% Final Approval: System redesign vision 56% 56% 51% Policy Guidance: Operational restructuring 50% 0% 47% Policy Guidance: Operating budgets 56% 25% 37% Final Approval: Operating budgets 81% 69% 71% Policy Guidance: Stakeholder involvement 69% 44% 54% Final Approval: Capital improvements 63% 50% 54% Final Approval: Capital budgets 75% 56% 63% Policy Guidance: Equity considerations 63% 63% 60% Final Approval: Equity considerations 69% 38% 49% Policy Guidance: Community outreach 63% 38% 49% Table 10. Board involvement in system redesigns.
Survey of Agency Practice 37 includes service planning, outreach to stakeholders, operating and capital costs, planning and implementation costs and post-launch performance. The following section discusses these results. Service Plans The service planning process conducted by the agencies varied. They used a variety of approaches to planning, different tools, and varying levels of involvement by stakeholders. All agencies began the process by defining key goals that they were trying to address in the redesign (as shown in Figure 8). They also all focused on a variety of service planning objectives to guide the service planning process â from moving toward a grid network to focusing service on high- frequency corridors. As discussed in Section 3.3, the agencies were about evenly split in how they approached their redesign in terms of beginning with their current network or taking a blank- slate approach. Most agencies surveyed used metrics to evaluate their plans during the process to evaluate how well the plan was aligning with their stated goals and objectives, and all agencies with completed plans reported the anticipated impact of the plans on operations. Tools and Data Agencies also responded on what technical tools were used in the planning process. Desktop geographic information system (GIS) mapping tools were the most common, with 31 agencies (94%) indicating that they used such software. The two agencies that did not use desktop GIS tools were EMTA and LAVTA. The next most common tools used were web-based mapping software, and spreadsheet and database software, both with 28 agencies (85%) using each. Least used were trip planning, travel demand modeling, and statistical data analysis toolsâno agency that implemented or was working on a partial system redesign used travel demand modeling tools, likely because they are not calibrated for this type of work. Agencies that indicated âOtherâ specified specialized in-house or proprietary tools that they used. Figure 11 shows the full list of tech tools along with the number of responses out of 33 agencies. In addition to tech tools, agencies provided which data sources were or would be relevant during the planning process (Figure 12). The most common data source was passenger provided 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 N um be r of A ge nc y R es po ns es De sk to p GI S To ols Sc he du lin g So ftw ar e Tr ip Pl an nin g So fw ar e Tr av el/ Tr an sit M od eli ng Sp re ad sh ee t a nd D at ab as e So ftw ar e St at ist ica l/D at a An aly sis T oo ls Ot he r W eb -b as ed M ap pin g So ftw ar e Types of Tech Tools Figure 11. Tech tools used for system redesign.
38 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns information, with all but two agencies indicating that they used public comments and/or onboard passenger surveys to inform their planning. It is worth noting that later in the survey both of the agencies that did not use passenger-provided information, EMTA and LAVTA, indicated that they planned to use various public engagement strategies and that they consulted the public. Automated passenger counters (APCs), automated vehicle location (AVL) systems, and American Community Survey/Decennial Census were also commonly used â by more than 79% of respondents each â in planning their redesigned systems. Least commonly used were regional and national datasets that provide information on travel patterns generally. The agencies that answered âotherâ used data sources such as aerial photography, location based data provided by cell phones and social media tools, prior agency studies, and other resources available to the consultant team. Evaluation Criteria Agencies were asked what types of evaluation criteria they used to assess possible impacts during the planning process. The options provided to the respondents were â¢ Service area and coverage, e.g., transit walkshed, service to key trip generators/facilities/places, service availability for different demographics; â¢ Travel time impacts, e.g., systemwide average transit travel time, number of trips by trip dura- tion, average transit travel time by zone/district/neighborhood; â¢ Cost impacts; â¢ Equity impacts; â¢ Transfers, e.g., systemwide average transfer rate, number of trips by number of transfers; â¢ Transit usage, e.g., ridership, mode share; â¢ Transit accessibility, e.g., regional transit accessibility, jobs accessible within a specified time- frame; and â¢ Performance, e.g., predicted changes in on-time performance and average systemwide speed. Thirty-one agencies selected service area and coverage criteria as the most common metric type used in the planning process. This was followed by equity impacts and cost impacts criteria. Houston Metro and LA Metro both indicated that they used other evaluation criteria: Houston Metro used specific criteria that showed âEmployment/Population relative to frequent networkâ and LA Metro used criteria based on âUser Experience and other Customer focused KPIs and mea- sures of success based on what service characteristics and attributes are important to [customers].â Figure 13 shows the frequency of responses for all evaluation criteria listed. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 N um be r of A ge nc y R es po ns es Types of Data Sources Group 1 Group 2 AV L AP C GT FS Fa re bo x LE HD Tr av el De m an d M od el AC S On -b oa rd S ur ve ys Pu bli c C om m en ts Ot he r Fi eld S ur ve ys Figure 12. Data used for service planning.
Survey of Agency Practice 39 Impact of Emerging Modes The survey requested input on the topic of newer modes of transportationâsuch as trans- portation network companies (TNCs), bike share, and automated vehicles (AVs)âand 12 of 33 agencies (36%) indicated that these did have an impact or an anticipated impact to the system redesign; most of those agencies fell in Group 2, indicating that considering these impacts is a newer trend in redesigns. Only 4 of 33 agencies (12%) indicated that bike share impacted or will impact their redesign efforts, and just one agency (VRT) indicated that autonomous vehicles may have an impact. VRT noted that they are very interested in identifying use cases for autonomous transit services and would envision using them either for access to large business parks and/or to improve service frequencies at a lower cost. When the 12 agencies that indi- cated that TNCs had or might have an impact on system redesign efforts were asked to explain the impacts further, 8 agencies (67%) indicated through partnerships that provide service, for example LYNX responded that âWe have already created a Mobility Management Call Center and recently began diverting some paratransit rips to Taxis and soon TNCsâ and two (17%), Nashville MTA and VRT indicated through assistance in filling first/last mile gaps. Capital Improvements The survey found that capital improvements are often associated with a system redesign. Shown in Figure 14, 21 agencies (66%) answered yes to whether or not capital costs were associ- ated with their system redesign. Of those 21 agencies, 17 of them (81%) said that they improved or expected to improve passenger facilities, and 16 of them (76%) said that they had or expected to install new bus stop signage systemwide. Eleven agencies said they purchased or would pur- chase new rolling stock in conjunction with their redesign. The percentage of Group 1 and Group 2 agencies did not differ in the types of capital expenditures with the exception of bus support facilities such as improving a garage or layover spaces â only one Group 1 agency (COTA) said they had done this, but five Group 2 agencies are planning such expenditures. Outreach Agencies indicated that outreach was a large part of the system redesign process; all agencies either consulted or plan to consult the public during the redesign process. For Group 1 agencies that have already implemented their plans, the points in the redesign process where most agen- cies consulted the public were after draft and final scenarios were developed (88% each). Fewer 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 N um be r of A ge nc ie s Se rv ice A re a an d Co ve ra ge Tr av el- Ti m e Im pa cts Eq uit y I m pa ct Co st Im pa cts Tr an sit U sa ge Tr an sit A cc es sib ilit y Tr an sfe r Pe rfo rm an ce Ot he r Figure 13. Evaluation criteria used during system redesign planning process.
40 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns agencies, although still a majority, began seeking public input on the plan during the visioning stage (71%). Group 2 agencies, currently planning or planned but not implemented, indi- cated a stronger inclination to consult the public after final scenarios were developed (94%), although still a majority indicated that input would be or was sought after draft scenarios were developed (81%) and during the visioning stage (63%). The survey asked agencies about the types of outreach tools used or would be used. Figure 15 shows the frequencies of responses. All but one agency indicated public meetings as a tool for public outreach (This agency did not select any public outreach tools, but later in the survey did indicate that public input would be sought, suggesting that this question was skipped). Social Yes 66% No 28% Unsure 6% Figure 14. Were capital costs associated with the system redesign? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 N um be r o f A ge nc y Re sp on se s Public Outreach Tools Group 1 Group 2 On lin e S oft wa re On lin e S urv ey s Sta nd alo ne W eb sit e Pro jec t P ag e o n A ge nc y W eb sit e On -bo ard Su rve ys So cia l M ed ia Pu bli c M ee tin gs Str ee t S pa ce Ou tre ac h Ev en t O utr ea ch Sta ke ho lde r M ee tin gs Sig ns on Bu se s Re co rde d B us An no un ce me nts Sig na ge at Bu s S top s/ Ag en cy Pro pe rty Pa id Ad ve rtis ing Ot he r Figure 15. What community engagement strategies did you employ/ will you be employing?
Survey of Agency Practice 41 media (85%) was the next most prevalent outreach tool, followed by other person-to-person engagement strategies such as stakeholder meetings (79%) and engagement in public spaces at events or on the street (73%). The outreach tools that were used the least were paid advertis- ing, recorded announcements on buses, standalone project websites, and online crowdsourcing software. In addition, four respondents responded with descriptions of other strategies they employed or would employ for community engagement. These included media interviews, meetings with all local elected officials, sending mailings throughout the community, and using a trolley at outreach events. Equity Considerations Agencies were asked how they gauged or planned to gauge the equity impacts of their rede- signs. All but two agencies indicated a method for assessing equity impacts, and over half (54%) indicated that they used or planned to use two or more approaches to assess equity impacts. All but four US agencies indicated the use of a Title VI analysis tool; the four agencies that did not all had service area populations of below 200,000 people. Eleven agencies wrote in other tools they used which included assessing the impact on riders who would fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), job access analysis, walkshed analysis, and other specific measures tied to equity. Figure 16 shows the number of responses regarding the types of equity analy- ses performed or planned to be performed. Based on the number of agencies that are still in the planning process, the high level of Title VI service equity analysis indicates that agencies are conducting these analyses earlier than is required to check for and address any potential impacts. Agencies found that addressing impacts on ADA paratransit early can help assuage concerns about impact to existing paratransit users; anecdotally most agencies grandfather in existing users even if the ADA paratransit service area will change under the redesign. 3.8 Funding Planning Costs and Process The survey sought to reveal what resources agencies used during the planning and imple- mentation processes. The majority of respondents, 85%, indicated that planning work was done through a mix of agency staff and consultants. Two agencies, EMTA and LYNX, have so far used 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Title VI Service Analysis Title VI Fare Analysis Transit Accessibility Analysis Other N um be r o f A ge nc y Re sp on se s Equity Analysis Tool Group 1 Group 2 Figure 16. How did you or how are you planning to gauge the redesign impacts on equity considerations?
42 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns consultant staff exclusively, while two agencies, NYCT and Halifax Transit, used only agency staff. Of the 27 agencies that indicated that a mix of agency staff and consultants conducted the planning work, the majority (85%) indicated that the consultants did most of the work. Two agencies, JTA and VIA Metro Transit, indicated that it was an even split, and VRT indicated that agency staff did most of the work. In general, consultants were used to conduct market assess- ments, service valuations, and to craft recommendations for agency and public input. The survey also addressed the implementation planning process. Sixteen agencies responded to a question regarding who did the planning work around implementation, of which the majority of respondents, 94%, indicated that a mix of agency staff and consultants conducted implementation planning work. Only one agency, LAVTA, indicated that consultants did all implementation planning work. Agencies were asked how much the overall planning process cost. Thirty agencies responded, and the majority indicated that their planning costs were between $100,000 and $500,000 (Fig- ure 17). The agencies that spent the most, or anticipate spending the most on their planning are Houston Metro, JTA, LA Metro, VIA Metro Transit, MDOT MTA, and MBTA. Operating Costs Survey participants were asked about the impact of the redesign on agency operating costs; of the 33 agencies that saw the question, 30 responded. A third of agencies indicated that they did not experience or did not anticipate experiencing operating cost impacts. Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that there had been or would be an annual operating impact. Respondents who indicated there would be an impact were asked a follow-up question to find out if it increased or decreased operating costs; 18 agencies responded, and the majority (16 agencies) indicated an increase, while two agencies, Halifax Transit and CARTA indicated a decrease. Halifax Transit and CARTA both indicated that a very important goal in their redesign was to increase opera- tional efficiency and effectiveness, however service planning goals were largely different. Halifax Transit indicated a focus on increasing transfer opportunities and increasing service frequency as its top two service planning priorities. CARTAâs top service planning goals were to strategi- cally apply service cuts through decreasing frequency and thus decreasing revenue hours. The Group 1 agencies that indicated an operating cost increase were also asked to quantify the percent increase; half of respondents indicated at most an increase of less than 5% of annual operating costs. Three respondents indicated that annual operating costs had increased between 5% and 10%, and five agencies indicated an increase of greater than 10%. Of those with the 0 5 10 15 20 25 $50,000 - $100,000 $100,000 - $500,000 $500,000 - $1 million $1 million - $5 million N um be r o f A ge nc y Re sp on se s Planning Costs Group 1 Group 2 Figure 17. Estimate of planning costs.
Survey of Agency Practice 43 greatest percent increase in annual operating costs only two had implemented their redesign, Connect Transit and Clemson Area Transit; both agencies have small service areas and oper- ate less than 100,000 annual revenue hours. These agencies responded that they would cover increased operating costs with local contributions and reallocation of the existing operating budget, respectively. The Group 2 agencies whose plans call for increasing annual operating costs by more than 10% are HRT, SORTA, and VRT; both HRT and SORTA anticipate using addi- tional tax revenue or another dedicated funding source to pay for the increase while SORTA also anticipates raising fares. VRT is at the stage in their planning where they are unsure how they will pay for the increase. Overall, the most frequent response to how the agencies paid for or planned to pay for increased operating costs was through reallocating existing operating budgets, followed by taxes/dedicated funding sources (Figure 18). Capital Costs The capital cost that was most frequently expended/planned to be spent by agencies was roll- ing stock, followed by passenger facilities (e.g., transit hubs), and bus stop signage. All but three of the 21 agencies that indicated that capital costs were associated with their redesign invested in more than two types of capital improvements, including in bus priority treatments and support facilities (e.g., bus garage or layover facility). Table 11 shows which capital investments were selected by responding agencies as part of their system redesigns. 3.9 Implementation Agencies were asked how they implemented or planned to implement the redesign from a timing perspective. Thirty-one percent of the agencies stated that they had/would implement all at once, with another 25% stating it would be mostly all at once with minor additional phases. Only 36% had implemented or planned to implement in phases; the remaining 8% cited that they did not yet know. For those agencies using phasing, the agencies that responded were evenly split in whether they were phasing by geographic service area or by service type, and the span of time for the phasing ranged anywhere from less than 2 years to 10 years or more. Group 1 agencies were asked what the agency did to prepare for the launch of their redesigned system; 15 out of the 17 Group 1 agencies responded (Table 12). Most used multiple methods to Group 1 Group 2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Fare Increase / Increased Farebox Recovery Reallocation of Existing Operating Budget Local Contributions Tax /Dedicated Funding Other Unsure N um be r o f A ge nc y Re sp on se s Options to Pay Figure 18. Options to pay for increased operating costs.
44 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns prepare for launch, the most common being launch preparing meetings and print materials. Two agencies, CARTA and IndyGo, restructured their organizations as part of the redesign; CARTA consolidated its leadership and IndyGo added more staff and created a new Planning and Capital Projects Division for long and short-term planning and construction. JTA indicated that in addi- tion to the preparation options listed they also held a pep rally in preparation for launch. Finally, most agencies provided free fares on the new system for some length of time, typically for 1 to 2 weeks, to ease the financial burden on riders who were getting used to the new system. Agencies were asked to describe their launch preparation selections in more detail; for example, Omaha Metro explained that their launch meeting preparations included, âseveral training meet- ings for all operators to review route-by-route changes. Marketing staff met to plan for launch day media, paid advertisements, etc. We also enlisted about 25 volunteer âtransit ambassadorsâ to pass out information during the first few days, so we held training sessions for them as well.â Analysis of write-in responses showed that most agencies held meetings to train staff and to ensure effective interagency coordination. Ten agencies specified that they created externally facing print material such as handouts, flyers, and brochures; most of those agencies (seven) also created posters and signs such as bus cards. For example, RIPTA wrote that âOur marketing department developed materials for installation at bus stops, on-board buses, and via the internet.â Internal print materials were detailed route level information for staff as well as key contact information for further infor- mation about the launch within the agency. For example, COTA wrote âPrinted materials Agency Rolling Stock Passenger Facilities Priority Treatments Bus Stop Signage Support Facilities (e.g., bus garage, layover facility) Other MDOT MTA Houston Metro JTA ** LA Metro VIA Metro Transit CARTA Clemson Area Transit Connect Transit COTA * DART HRT IndyGo LYNX Sacramento RTD Salem Transit SORTA Tri Delta Transit VRT Nashville MTA Halifax Transit King County Metro * Respondent wrote that network redesign related capital costs were associated with a transit center renovation. **Respondent wrote that network redesign related capital costs were associated with âbus branding.â Table 11. Capital investments.
Survey of Agency Practice 45 were developed for both internal staff and the public. Internal: Staff were given talking points with key leader phone numbers, system maps, Downtown maps with key transfer locations, and a table that described pre-change lines, by unique segment, and what lines riders would board in the new network.â Four agencies hired temporary staff in preparation for launch, and all four indicated that temporary staff were used for outreach purposes. COTA and MDOT MTA specified the use of street teams for outreach and additional call center staff, while JTA referred to their temporary staff as customer outreach specialists, and Denver RTD called their staff public relations staff for outreach. 3.10 Post-Launch Adjustments and Performance The oldest redesigns in this survey are from 2014 (JTA and RIPTA), and most are from the past 2 years, which is a short timeframe to observe the performance impacts of a bus system redesign. In fact, none of the responding agencies provided a full quantification of the impacts of the redesign, possibly due to how recently the changes were implemented. Additionally, parsing out impacts of the redesign vis-Ã -vis other externalities can be difficult, such as overall transit ridership decline nationwide. Table 12. Launch preparations. Agency Organizational Restructuring Launch Preparation Meetings Launch Pr int Materials Staff Other COTA CARTA Denver RTD Salem Transit Connect Transit Houston Metro JTA * MDOT MTA Omaha Metro OCTA RIPTA Capital Metro Clemson Area Transit Halifax Transit IndyGo * Respondent held a pep rally prior to the launch of the redesigned network. Preparation Temporary
46 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns Agencies that had fully implemented or partially implemented their redesign (Group 1) were asked what additional changes were necessary after the redesign was first implemented and how the performance of the system had changed. While most agencies are continually making updates to their routes, the big difference with making updates after a redesign is the volume and pace with which they must be made. When so many routes are changing at once, the likeli- hood of needing tweaks is higher than usual, and agencies need to be ready to process the large number of modifications â some of which can be quite urgent in nature if, for example, on-time performance is poor. Twelve of the seventeen Group 1 agencies responded to the question about what types of post-launch adjustments were needed. The most common change that was made post-launch was to adjust the run time of routes (35%), followed by updating stops (24%), adjusting align- ments (18%), and lastly upgrades to street infrastructure (e.g., stop bars) (12%). For example, Cherriots (Salem Transit) noted that âOn time performance required significant changes to routes. We had created many crosstown routes that had to be taken apart to help with bus bunching and the routes being on timeâ and MDOT MTA wrote, âSome routes were adjusted immediately (within days) after launch for safety reasons. Other routes were adjusted at the next service change 3 months later. We implemented run time adjustments on 40+ routes at the service change 8 months after launch.â Of the five agencies that had not done any post-launch adjustments, four implemented or are implementing their redesigns this year, while the fifth agency, Halifax Transit, is implementing its redesign in phases over a 4- to 5-year period, began implementing in 2016 and plans on com- pleting the implementation of its plan in 2020/2021. In both cases, these agencies may still be in the process of evaluating and executing potential post-launch adjustments. Regarding system performance post-launch, all agencies expressed positive results from their system redesign. Although CARTA noted that ridership decreased more than expected, the agency noted that their goals were met, which were to make the system more efficient and to stra- tegically implement service cuts. Other agencies that are experiencing or experienced ridership decline also see the performance of their system as better after implementation; RIPTA, Omaha Metro, COTA, and JTA all noted ridership decreases, however they credited their redesigns for reducing those decreases, which would have been larger without the redesigns. For example, Omaha Metro noted, âRider ship declined, although it happened at the same time as a significant drop in gas prices . . . Even still, our goals were met. We wanted to strengthen the network struc- ture, redistribute coverage/frequency, improve the customer experience, and build financial sus- tainability. . . .â Connect Transit saw ridership decrease initially and then begin to increase, and LAVTA, OCTA, and Houston Metro noted ridership increases. For example, OCTA wrote âThe changes appear to have stemmed the declining ridership trend we were experiencing. Routes which saw service improvement have seen ridership increase by over 10%.â MDOT MTA noted that on-time performance of their system improved by 5%, an important goal of the agencyâs redesign. 3.11 Group 3 Results â Contemplating Redesign Out of the 36 agencies that completed the survey, three of them responded that they were contemplating the decision to plan a system redesign. These agencies were Metro McAllen, Milwaukee County Transit, and SEPTA. This section explores some context behind the decision- making process for agencies still deciding. Redesign Goals and Objectives As was the case with the Group 1 and Group 2 agencies, all three Group 3 agencies indicated that if they elect to embark on a system redesign, re-evaluating the big picture structure of
Survey of Agency Practice 47 the transit system and increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness are very important goals for their redesigns. Table 13 shows Group 3 agenciesâ responses relative to the importance of each to the question âWhat is your agency hoping to achieve through your bus system redesign?â Group 3 agencies are quite varied in terms of their potential service planning goals (Table 14). SEPTA indicated that only one objective would be very important: to increase opportunity for transfers. Of the 14 objectives to choose from, SEPTA ranked six of them as âneutralâ and said that four of them were ânot applicable.â Metro McAllen (Texas) said that reducing travel times, increasing transfer opportunities, reducing the need for transfers, expanding coverage through- out the service area, and increasing frequencies would all likely be very important service planning objectives. Milwaukee County Transit had only two very important service plan- ning objectives, which were to increase overall frequency and strategically apply service cuts to decrease frequency in specific areas. Big Picture Objectives Rating Re-evaluate the âbig pictureâ structure High Increased operational eff iciency/effectiveness High Adjust service levels to available resources High Adapt to new types of transportation opt ions High Implement high-frequency/pr iority bus network High Improve public image High Simplify the system for public ease-of-use High Improve r ider satisfaction High Improve on-t ime performance and/or rel iabil ity High Better serve transit -dependent populations High Adjust to changing housing/population centers High Attract choice r iders Medium Adjust to moving/moved job centers Medium Increase ridersh ip Medium Improve multi -modal connections Medium Long-term operating cost savings Medium Use new operating funding strategically Medium Increase service area Medium Shift r idership to other modes Low Decrease service area Low Provide alternatives to heavily congested automobile corridors Low Adjust to other public transit investments Low Table 13. Group 3 big picture objectives by level of importance.
48 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns Agency Organization and Decision Making The organization and decision-making process mirrors agencies that have already begun the planning or implementation stages. Some interesting deviations are in the agency department that is leading the system redesign consideration. Two of the three agencies marked that the executive office is leading the charge. The other agency marked that the long-range planning department housed the effort. Like the Group 1 and Group 2 agencies, two of the three agencies indicated that the board would be involved at either the approval of the final plan or in the policy recommendations stage. Service Planning Considerations Though Group 3 agencies have not begun the planning process for a system redesign, some questions asking respondents to âforeseeâ what their agency would do shed some light on agency considerations. One example is that all three agencies answered that they would involve bus operator union leadership in the planning process. With regard to tech tools for planning, two of the three agencies estimate that their agency would use desktop and online mapping tools, scheduling software, and spreadsheet software for planning purposes. For data sources, all three agencies responded that field surveys, farebox data, automated passenger counters, and auto- mated vehicle location data would be used for planning purposes. Outreach Considerations Group 3 agencies indicated that outreach considerations have been a part of the decision- making process. All three agencies indicated that after the scenarios were developed would be a Service Planning Goals Rating Reduce travel t imes High Increase opportunity for transfers High Increase span of service High Increase frequency High Reduce need for transfers Medium Expand coverage within service area Medium Decrease coverage within service area Medium Increase weekend service Medium Increase revenue hours Medium Decrease revenue hours Medium Increase peak vehicle need Medium Decrease peak veh ic le need Medium Consolidate or modify service into new/moved transfer hubs/centers Low Strategical ly apply service cuts (reduce frequency) Low Table 14. Service planning goals by level of importance.
Survey of Agency Practice 49 point where general public comment would be sought. For equity concerns, all three agencies agreed that a Title VI service analysis would be conducted during the planning process. Capital, Planning Process, and Costs Considerations Metro McAllen and SEPTA anticipate that there will be capital costs associated with their redesigns. Metro McAllen foresees investing in rolling stock and bus stop signage, while SEPTA anticipates investing in passenger facilities, bus stop signage, and bus priority treat- ments. Regarding who will be doing the planning work, Milwaukee County Transit antici- pates it will be agency staff only, SEPTA anticipates a mix of staff and consultants, and Metro McAllen is undecided. Only SEPTA indicated how much they think the planning for the system redesign would cost, they estimated between $1 million and $5 million, however they also noted that no final decision to move forward has been made and that the cost and scope of the project are being discussed. 3.12 Summary The survey respondents represented a wide variety of agencies from the perspectives of geography, system size, and status of their redesigns. Yet, they had many commonalities, includ- ing the overall goals of the system redesigns â most were hoping to improve rider satisfaction, increasing ridership, simplifying the system for ease of public use, better serving transit-dependent populations, and improving on-time performance and reliability. The agencies also largely agreed on their objectives relating to service planning, including decreasing the peak vehicle need (but often increasing service at other times of day); reducing travel times; and increasing the span of service. Agencies consistently cited the need for board support and involvement as well as for the outside influence of a project champion to help advocate for the project; the most common champion was usually the agency head or CEO. One of the key challenges cited in terms of engagement was generating buy-in for the project within their own agencies across many departments, and a common thread was the need for union engagement and support as a criti- cal component of successfully completing and implementing a plan. Another challenge that agencies sought to address was ensuring collaboration with the cities and jurisdictions in which they operate, particularly from the perspective of coordination on bus priority treat- ments and other aspects related to street and curb space that the agencies do not have direct control over. In terms of outreach to the public and key stakeholders, all agencies indi- cated that outreach was a large part of the redesign process, especially during the develop- ment of draft and final scenarios, though the majority also sought input earlier during the visioning stage. Transit agencies surveyed unanimously approached their planning with equity consider- ations at the forefront. Most agencies applied a methodology for assessing equity impacts, and all agencies with service area populations of greater than 200,000 used a Title VI analysis tool despite it not being required at the planning phase. This indicates an emphasis across the board on providing service in an equitable manner. Most agencies used consultants for all or part of the work, and agencies that used a mix of consultants and agency staff indicated that the consultants did the majority of the work. As the pool of consulting firms conducting network redesigns is relatively small, this may help explain the common themes and approaches between the bus network redesigns surveyed.
50 Synthesis on Comprehensive Bus Network Redesigns About one-third of the agencies had conducted or were currently planning redesigns to have no net change in operating costs, while the remainder were planning toward a change, most of them an increase. The survey did not ask about the level of capital investments, but most agencies invested in some capital items related to the redesign, primarily rolling stock, passenger facilities, and bus stop signage, although a reasonable number of agencies also invested in bus priority treatments. Overall, the survey responses provided great insight into current practice of how agencies plan and implement bus network redesigns, showing many similarities but also a lot of unique ideas and approaches that provide rich lessons for other agencies considering a similar endeavor.