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This paper, co-authored with Ian W.H. Parry, derives formulas for the welfare effects of reforming subsidies for peak and off-peak urban rail and bus fares, and applies them to the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and London. The model accounts for congestion, pollution, oil dependence, and accident externalities associated with automobiles and each transit mode. It also accounts for scale economies in transit supply, costs of accessing and waiting for transit service, crowding costs, pre-existing fuel taxes, and the transit agency’s adjustment of frequency, vehicle size, and route network in response to changes in demand. We find that in almost all cases existing subsidies – which typically exceed 50% of operating costs – are either about right, or possibly too low, across bus and rail, peak and off-peak period, in the three cities.
Speaker Biography: Kenneth A. Small, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California at Irvine, specializes in urban, transportation, and environmental economics. Recent research has concentrated on urban highway congestion, measurement of value of time and reliability, effects of fuel efficiency standards, public transit pricing, and the role of fuel taxes in managing external costs of automobiles. Prof. Small served five years as coeditor of the international journal, Urban Studies, and is now Associate...Read more
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Transit signal priority (TSP) is designed to reduce delay for transit vehicles through signalized intersections. For an existing TSP system, it is important to assess how timely and effective TSP phases are granted to buses that request priority. It is also necessary to evaluate the time savings and delays for buses and other vehicles as a result of TSP phases. However, due to the lack of disaggregated and integrated transit, traffic and signal phase data, previous studies have not investigated the TSP performance at the phase level. This study collects and integrates three archived databases: bus automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger count (APC) data, intersection signal phase log data, and vehicle count data. Based on the integrated database, this research proposes innovative and useful performance measures to assess the timeliness and effectiveness of TSP phases to buses that request priority. This study also evaluates the time savings and delays to buses and other vehicles on major and minor streets. Results show that TSP performance varies significantly across intersections. On average, most of the TSP phases were granted timely to buses that request...Read more
Summary: In an era of reduced government funding, transit operators struggle to reduce operating costs and increase revenues. Energy costs account for an important share of the total costs of urban and suburban bus operators. Using a case study of one operator in Lisbon, Portugal, this talk will expand upon the empirical research on bus transit operation costs and identify the key factors that influence the energy efficiency of the overall bus fleet. Our results of a multivariate analysis find the following dimensions influence transit energy efficiency: vehicle type, commercial speed, road grades and bus routes; and to a lesser extent elements related with engine failures and malfunctions. In addition to these findings, the methodology is a decision-support tool for the bus operator in optimizing energy efficiency. The transferrability of these results and analytical tools to other contexts will also be discussed.
Transportation mode choice is often expressed in terms of models which assume rational choice; psychological case studies of mode adoption are comparatively rare. We present findings from a study of the psychology of adoption for sustainable transportation modes such as bicycles, car sharing, and mass transit. Case studies were conducted with current and former participants in PSU’s ‘Passport Plus’ transit pass program, as well as a longitudinal cohort study of first-time winter bicycle commuters. Composite sequence analysis was used to construct a theory of the adoption process for these modes. Our findings suggest that mode evaluation is cognitively distinct from mode selection and has different information requirements. We conclude that public and private organizations could improve the adoption rate for these modes by tailoring their communication strategies to match the commuter’s stage of adoption.
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