National Academies Press: OpenBook

Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study (2019)

Chapter: Why This Document?

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Suggested Citation:"Why This Document?." 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 7

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7 AARON PALEY, COURTESY OF LA MÁSGO AVE 26 WHY THIS DOCUMENT? A component of what has made Tactical Urbanism, or the Quick-Build methodology, flourish is the idea that anyone can do it. Even consultants who coach groups, citizens, and entities in the methodology do so with the intention of building capacity, so that the process lives on and is applied to other projects by that same entity in the future. With publications such as the Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design (Street Plans Collaborative, 2016; http://tacticalurbanismguide. com/), and Quick Builds for Better Streets: A New Project Delivery Model for U.S. Cities (People for Bikes, 2016; https://b.3cdn.net/bikes/675cdae66d727f8833_ kzm6ikutu.pdf), more people than ever are using the Quick-Build methodology as a way of testing and accelerating street and public space projects. However, no similar publication for Tactical Transit projects currently exists. Tactical Transit projects involve different challenges from those found in a street or open space project. Transit infrastructure is often the most costly transportation infrastructure type, while departments that own streets and infrastructure are often different from transit operators. Furthermore, there are often more unique physical constraints to work within (e.g., fixed streetcar tracks). These challenges pose unique questions with regard to Tactical Transit projects. When it comes to coordinating a new service, who does what? How is funding identified? How are materials procured? How is the public involved? This document seeks to answer these questions and more. This report is just the beginning, a first look into the pioneers who, within the past 5–6 years (most frequently within the past 3 years) have adopted the Quick-Build methodology to tackle issues of surface transit (bus and streetcar), and a glimpse into where this application currently stands and where it could go. If we’ve learned anything from some of the more newsworthy examples of the methodology, it’s that change can happen fast. From using plastic lawn chairs in 2009, to an interim design plaza in 2010, to a permanent car-less pedestrian plaza in 2015, examples such as Times Square remind us that we can only begin to imagine the impact the Quick-Build methodology could have on surface transit in the near future.

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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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