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Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study (2019)

Chapter: How to Use It

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Suggested Citation:"How to Use It." 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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8 HOW TO USE IT This report presents the results of interviews and other investigation that provide insight into how local and regional governments, transit agencies, and other organizations have implemented surface transit Quick-Build projects. In the chapter Findings, the 20 projects explored are organized into the following three categories on the basis of each project’s intended goal/outcome: 1. Speed + Reliability: Projects that addressed issues of bus travel times, improved headways, and improved boarding times/reduced dwell times, etc. 2. Access + Safety: Projects that enhanced multimodal and/or ADA accessibility to surface transit, had separate distinct elements that addressed this, or produced desirable outcomes such as increased ridership, decreased crash incidents, and increased bike volumes. 3. Rider Experience: Projects that addressed rider comfort, created a sense of place around accessing transit, or mobilized communities in support of transit. A few projects appear in more than one category because they had multiple elements or tested various types of infrastructure. Within each category, those MARTA ARMY projects’ findings are summarized according to a few aspects of each project that were deemed most insightful for the intended purpose of this document: project impetus, internal process and partnerships, procurement and implementation, and triumphs and lessons learned. The chapter on findings also presents a series of comparables across the different types of projects and includes a section of project summaries based on the interview protocol. Keep an eye out for the five projects that the research team found particularly noteworthy, referred to as “Superlatives” and identified with the icon shown in Figure 1. Each of the five Superlatives embodies one of the following characteristics: • Complexity: Which was the most complex project and yielded the most positive outcomes? • Advocacy Initiation: Which project is the strongest example of one that started as an advocacy initiative and was implemented? • Long-term Outcome: Which project created something long-lasting, other than permanent infrastructure? • Iteration: Which project is the best example of the iterative Quick-Build process? • Positive Outcome: Which project had the most positive speed and reliability outcome? Following the chapter on findings, a chapter titled Spotlight: Advocacy + Funding presents a few examples of transit advocacy groups and funding programs that have executed their own small-scale Quick-Build projects or contributed to one of the Quick-Build projects in Figure 1. These entities were discovered first for their own projects or contributions to the others featured in this report, and the research team felt their stories could be shared separately as examples of ways cities and transit agencies could harness the power of their communities or seek resources for the funding of region- and network-wide transit improvement projects. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of all transit advocacy and funding entities, but rather those that were discovered either through their own physical Quick-Build projects, or for their relation to those included in this report. See the Glossary at the end of the report for clarification on how the research team defines the commonly-used words and transit tools. For example, where used, the term “demonstration project” specifies a project duration of several days, whereas “pilot project” specifies a project duration of several weeks, to months, to even years!

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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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