National Academies Press: OpenBook

Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study (2019)

Chapter: Speed + Reliability: Summary

« Previous: Speed + Reliability: Projects
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Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
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Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
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Page 25
Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 25
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Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 26
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 27
Page 28
Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 28
Page 29
Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 29
Page 30
Suggested Citation:"Speed + Reliability: Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25571.
×
Page 30

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23 Findings pertaining to the following four project characteristics are summarized for the projects in the Speed + Reliability category: project impetus, internal process and partnerships, procurement and implementation, and triumphs and lessons learned. PROJECT IMPETUS (a) The following projects were implemented primarily either as a part of or a way to advance a current or previous planning process or initiative: • 5L Fulton Limited Pilot (San Francisco, CA), • Bancroft West Pilot Project (Berkeley, CA), • Broadway Bus Lane (Everett, MA), • Denver Moves Broadway (Denver, CO), • King Street Transit Pilot (Toronto, CAN), • Streets for People (Miami, FL), and • Washington Street Bus Lane (Boston, MA). For these projects, the planning processes had built up the case for transit improvements either through identifying specific corridors within a jurisdiction that were in need of speed and reliability improvements or through establishing a set of transit projects that could be applied to multiple corridors to improve network functionality (a type of transit tool kit). The Quick-Build process offered most of them an opportunity to put paper to asphalt, and advance long-term planned improvements. (b) The following projects were implemented after observing delays and/or unreliability, for the sake of testing a more immediate solution or applying the Quick-Build process: • CTA Prepaid Bus Boarding (Chicago, IL), • Hennepin Avenue Bus Lanes (Minneapolis, MN), • Massachusetts Avenue Bus Lane (Arlington, MA), and • Mt. Auburn Street Bus Lanes (Cambridge/Watertown, MA). For the Massachusetts Avenue Bus Lane, the Town of Arlington considered opportunities to test transit infrastructure “very rare,” and were particularly excited by the process. In Cambridge, the city had experimented with bikeway pilots but had not used the Quick-Build process for a transit project yet. Specifically, quite a few of the project teams mentioned the concept of the “low-hanging fruit” of transit improvements and using the Quick-Build process SPEED + RELIABILITY: SUMMARY 5L FULTON LIMITED PILOT BANCROFT WEST PILOT PROJECT BROADWAY BUS LANE CTA PREPAID BUS BOARDING DENVER MOVES BROADWAY HENNEPIN AVENUE BUS LANES KING STREET TRANSIT PILOT MAIN STREET BUS LANE MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE BUS LANE MT. AUBURN STREET BUS LANES RHODE ISLAND AVENUE BUS LANE STREETS FOR PEOPLE WASHINGTON STREET BUS LANE 13 projects 13 cities

24 King St. Transit Pilot to get more bang for their buck where large-scale projects weren’t feasible or cost- effective at the time. This was a clear motivation expressed by the 5L Fulton Limited Pilot, Denver Moves Broadway, and the Hennepin Avenue Bus Lanes, although was discussed with other project teams, as well. (c) The following projects were initiated as a response to political or some other type of pressure: • Main Street Bus Lane (Cincinnati, OH) and • Rhode Island Ave Bus Lane (Washington, DC). In Washington, DC, the bus lane was implemented in response to subway construction, although the team also used it to garner support for similar interventions and the implementation of permanent bus lanes across the District. In Cincinnati, months of advocacy and data collection by transit group Better Bus Coalition facilitated a partnership with a local political official, who together presented the project to the city in a way that was hard to dispute. Perhaps the most consistent characteristic present in a majority of these projects that made their decision to test transit improvements quickly was the advanced readiness within their departments and/or political ecosystem. Whether or not they were familiar with the Quick-Build process, there was a willingness, if not great enthusiasm, to complement their studies with real-world evaluation. INTERNAL PROCESS + PARTNERSHIPS (a) The following projects’ processes of execution were made (relatively) easy due to a particular existing structure that enabled less reliance on multiple entities, and/or strong political support and directives: • 5L Fulton Limited Pilot (San Francisco, CA), • Broadway Bus Lane (Everett, MA), • CTA Prepaid Bus Boarding (Chicago, IL), and • King Street Transit Pilot (Toronto, CAN). In San Francisco, the SFMTA is both the transit operator and the transportation department, which made the decision-making process a lot less complex. Similarly, the CTA could implement its project without much city collaboration, as three out of the four pilots were located on CTA-owned right-of-way. In Everett and Toronto, the Mayor and other political officials directed the project teams to execute the projects within a certain time frame, either purely out of urgency to address the challenges at hand, or because the political climate would soon change. (b) The following project teams had dedicated positions, or transit liaisons, to facilitate better communication between transit agencies and city transportation departments. The liaisons proved useful in the execution of the Quick-Build projects: • Greater Boston projects (Boston, Arlington, Cambridge/Watertown, Everett) and • King Street Transit Pilot (Toronto, CAN). In the Boston area projects, collaboration with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was particularly smooth, as it had recently created a staff position specifically for municipal collaboration for transit projects. In Toronto, the project manager for the King Street Transit Pilot is the manager of the city’s Surface Transit Projects Group and serves as the point person between the city and the Toronto Transit Commission, where a primary focus of his position is developing joint strategic transit initiatives. When there were struggles internally in the execution of these projects, and different levels of comfort with using the test methodology, data that showed an irrefutable correlation between traffic congestion and bus service made the projects difficult to turn down. PROCUREMENT + IMPLEMENTATION (a) The following projects were executed entirely internally by the lead entity, from design to installation: • 5L Fulton Limited Pilot (San Francisco, CA), • Broadway Bus Lane (Everett, MA), CITY OF TORONTO

25 • Denver Moves Broadway (Denver, CO), • Hennepin Avenue Bus Lanes (Minneapolis, MN), • King Street Transit Pilot (Toronto, CAN), • Mt. Auburn Street Bus Lanes (Cambridge/Watertown, MA), and • Rhode Island Avenue Bus Lane (Washington, DC). For Denver Moves Broadway, the project offered the city and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) a unique opportunity to more clearly define who does what when it comes to transit—something that had not yet been explored. In Toronto, the King Street Transit Pilot was the first time the three entities comprising the project team (the City of Toronto Planning and Transportation Services Divisions and the Toronto Transit Commission) had collaborated on the delivery of a transit project. For Cambridge and Watertown, the project ended up being a crucial exercise in encouraging cross-jurisdictional collaboration, something that the interviewee said is not common in the Northeast. In Minneapolis and Washington, DC, the project teams had never delivered a project on such a fast timeline. Both teams are confident that the Quick-Build process will prove useful in improving overall efficiency and collaboration between the city and transit agencies. (b) Regardless of the projects’ outcomes on speed and reliability, the following projects specifically expressed lessons learned in messaging and communications as a meaningful outcome of the Quick-Build process: • King Street Transit Pilot (Toronto, CAN), • Main Street Bus Lane (Cincinnati, OH), • Mt. Auburn Street Bus Lanes (Cambridge/Watertown, MA), and • Streets for People (Miami, FL). The King Street Transit Pilot and the Main Street Bus Lane learned that presenting data was especially important in the public and political messaging of the projects. In Toronto, the project team diligently collected data and surveyed the existing curbside uses on King Street to be able to communicate how the changes would actually benefit business owners concerned about parking and deliveries. In Cincinnati, the project team also learned the value of not being afraid to present conclusions based on data. The public quickly realized the project was a no-brainer when it was made clear to them that traffic congestion was the main culprit behind the slow transit service. In Cambridge/Watertown and Miami, messaging the project as temporary, or as something that would be evaluated by all, was crucial to gaining public support. The project teams learned how to refine this messaging throughout the process, which became one of the more important takeaways for them. • CTA Prepaid Bus Boarding (Chicago, IL), • Denver Moves Broadway (Denver, CO), • Rhode Island Avenue Bus Lane (Washington, DC), and • Washington Street Bus Lane (Boston, MA). For these projects, the lead entity was able to rely on internal departments and staff for every aspect of the projects, including complete conceptual designs and/or striping plans, provision of materials that were on hand (e.g., signage, cones, barriers), installation of signage and pavement markings, reallocation of staff to operate and enforce the projects, hosting of public engagement and communications efforts, and evaluation of the projects. The most common part of the project phases (design, implementation, and evaluation) for which contractors were used in the remaining projects was implementation. Also more common among the projects that did not execute the projects internally was the addition of funding from grants or significant contributions from other partners, which allowed the project budgets to be a bit less lean. With regard to materials procurement, there was a similar division among projects on the basis of internal reliability. Being able to use materials that resided within city departments and that were easily accessible enabled certain project teams to maximize the expediency of their project delivery and efficiency of execution. For example, traffic cones are not always among the materials owned by a city government. Not every city has its own sign or pavement markings shop. These were particularly advantageous to the projects mentioned in the bulleted list. Although a few teams were using some products in bus lanes for the first time, none cited the materials procurement processes as particularly difficult. For the most part, the process for these materials followed suit with standard procedures. For example, the Bancroft West Pilot Project used an epoxy-modified acrylic asphalt paint for the dedicated bus lane. Part of the project evaluation will include how well this paint lasts until methyl methacrylate (MMA) is used for the permanent lane in approximately 3–4 years. Additionally, Denver Moves Broadway tried three different pavement coating materials for its red paint: MMA, epoxy traffic paint, and thermoplastic. The only part of this process that was different from typical procurement procedures was the application to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to test the different types of planned pavement markings. TRIUMPHS + LESSONS LEARNED (a) Regardless of the projects’ outcomes on speed and reliability, the following projects specifically expressed improvement in collaboration as a meaningful outcome of the Quick-Build process:

STREET PLANSSTREETS FOR PEOPLE

BROADWAY BUS LANE 1.5 MONTHS QUICKEST IMPLEMENTATION: 27 THE NUMBERS .67 Average pilot bus lane length in miles. Project team lead entity: 3 9 1 Project community size: TRANSIT AGENCY CITY DEPARTMENT(S) OTHER Watertown: 35,025 Toronto: 2.8 million x 100 54% Reduction in boarding times across all four pilots in Chicago. 20% Improvement in transit travel times on Washington Street in Boston. 50% Reduction in transit travel times along Massachusetts Avenue. 9 Projects with documented improvements in transit travel times and/or reliability. Figure 3, Speed + Reliability Project Highlights.

28 4 BANCROFT WEST STREETS FOR PEOPLE MAIN STREET HENNEPIN AVENUE RHODE ISLAND AVENUE WASHINGTON STREET BROADWAY MASSACHUSETTS AVE. MT. AUBURN STREET DENVER MOVES Figure 4, Bus Lanes Map.Travel times Reliability Positive outcomes are indicated on the following pages with these icons: ZOOM-IN: BUS LANES

29 BANCROFT WEST PILOT PROJECT BROADWAY BUS LANE DENVER MOVES BROADWAY HENNEPIN AVENUE BUS LANES MAIN STREET BUS LANE BUS LANE TYPE OUTCOME(S) FUNDING SOURCE(S) Berkeley, CA .25 mile Everett, MA 1 mile 10,000 daily boardings/alightings Denver, CO 3.5 miles (project extents) 1,800 boardings, 2,000 alightings daily Minneapolis, MN .55 mile, .37 mile 3,300 daily riders Cincinnati, OH .42 mile 635 buses on project segment daily WHAT’S NEXT? 24-hour • 2-way protected bike lane AM peak hour, shared bus–bike • Modular bus boarding platforms • TSP City street rehabilitation program funding • Final data report is still being compiled • So far, there has been mostly positive feedback City funding and staff time, the Barr Foundation, state Complete Streets program • Travel times reduced by 20%–30%, approximately a 6-minute savings • Over 80% of riders responded positively to the bus platforms Conceptual design for the permanent lane will begin in 2019 Bus lane was made permanent Existing peak- hour lanes to 24-hours; partial existing lane extension • Red pavement markings • Bus stop consolidation All city funding • 2.2-minute round-trip travel time savings for all transit routes on corridor (midpoint evaluation) • 2.8% increase in ridership (midpoint evaluation) Project is permanent, pending future iterations AM + PM peak hours (both directions) N/A All city funding and staff time • Overall, no significant change in daily bus travel times • 92% of bus operators thought there were advantages to the bus lanes Bus lane was deinstalled AM + PM peak hours N/A All city funding • Initial data collection estimated a 20% transit time savings • Immediate positive feedback from riders More pavement markings went down 2 months later MAIN ELEMENTS Figure 5, Bus Lanes Table.

30 BUS LANE TYPE MASSACHUSETTS AVE. BUS LANE MT. AUBURN STREET BUS LANES RHODE ISLAND AVENUE BUS LANE STREETS FOR PEOPLE Arlington, MA .25 mile 10,000+ daily riders Watertown and Cambridge, MA .65 mile, .25 mile 12,000+ daily riders Washington, DC 1.1 miles N/A Miami, FL .63 mile 6,000+ riders on project segment daily MAIN ELEMENTS OUTCOME(S) FUNDING SOURCE(S) AM peak hour, shared bus–bike • Bus stop relocation • TSP • Queue jump lanes Entirely funded by the Barr Foundation • 50% (approx. 5–6 minutes) travel times savings • 40% reduction in variability of travel times Bus lane to be made permanent 24-hour shared bus–bike • Conventional bike lane • Queue jump lanes • TSP Barr Foundation plus additional project team contributions • 98% of riders surveyed wanted it to be permanent • 70% of riders surveyed thought it sped their commute by at least 4 minutes Project is permanent, pending future iterations 12-hour with pavement markings and signage N/A All district funding and staff time • 70% of vehicles in the bus lane in most sections of the corridor were private vehicles • Both bus travel speeds and vehicular speeds decreased Project is no longer operational; markings will fade over time 8 a.m.–6 p.m. • Protected bike lane • Leading pedes- trian intervals • TSP Contributions from all project team entities plus grant funds • No significant change in bus travel times • 65% reduction in crashes • 40% increase in peak-hour bicycle volumes Project is permanent, pending future iterations WASHINGTON ST BUS LANE Boston, MA 1.22 miles 19,000+ daily riders AM peak hour, shared bus–bike (2-day, then 4-week) N/A All city funding and staff time • 20%–25% travel time savings during 4-week pilot • Implemented permanently within a month after the pilot Bus lane was made permanent Figure 5, Bus Lanes Table. WHAT’S NEXT?

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As transit agencies, local governments, and citizens look for ways to improve existing, and start new, transit service, many of them are turning to the Quick-Build (Tactical Urbanism) methodology. This approach uses inexpensive, temporary materials and short-term tactics as a way of implementing projects in the short-term, while longer-term planning takes place.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Research Report 207: Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study documents the current state of the practice with regard to what are called Tactical Transit projects, specifically for surface transit (bus and streetcar). These are both physical and operational strategies that improve the delivery of surface transit projects using this methodology. Tactical Transit projects, operational and physical Quick-Build projects that uniquely focus on transit, have evolved as a way for municipal governments to improve the way they respond to rider needs and increased demand for service.

The report highlights Tactical Transit projects happening in cities across North America and how transit agencies and other entities are using innovative methods to improve transit speed, access, and ridership at a fraction of both the cost and time of conventional projects.

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