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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.

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RECAP: WEBINAR VIDEO + SLIDES

Missed the presentation or want a look back at the slides? Check out the video below or view the presentation slides here.

Webinar: Case Studies in the FTA "Manual on Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections to Transit"

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The video begins at 1:23.

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Summary: The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) discretionary New Starts program is the federal government's largest discretionary funding program. From heavy to light rail, from commuter rail to bus rapid transit systems, the FTA's New Starts program has helped to make possible hundreds of new or extended transit fixed guideway systems across the country, including most of TriMet’s light rail extensions and WES commuter rail. Beginning in 2001, FTA has required project sponsors to prepare a Before and After Study report on the effectiveness of planning and implementation of New Starts and Small Starts projects. The studies focus on five transit characteristics – project scope, capital costs, operating and maintenance costs, service levels, and ridership behavior – and compares these characteristics at various planning milestones, as well as before and after implementation of the project.

TriMet, in conjunction with FTA, has completed or nearly completed Before and After Study reports for three projects – Interstate MAX, WES Commuter Rail, and the Green Line – and is in the process of working on two more. This presentation will briefly describe the federal New Starts program, FTA requirements for Before and After Studies, summarize...

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The video begins at 1:47.

Abstract: In transportation planning and engineering, market segments or groups of individuals with varying attitudes and travel behavior are often identified in order to define a set of policies and strategies targeted at each segment. Examples include residential location choice studies, electric vehicle adoption and the marketing of public transit options. Defining market segments is common in the marketing literature, typically based on observed socioeconomic characteristics, such as gender and income. However, in addition to these characteristics, travelers may also be segmented based on variations in their observed travel and activity patterns. The activity-based approach to travel demand analysis acknowledges the need to analyze the travel patterns of individuals, conceptualized as a trip chain or tour, as opposed to individual trip segments. This has implications for identifying markets segments based on travel patterns which needs to distinguish between the sequencing and timing of travel choices and activities, in addition to the actual travel choices and activities. One approach that holds promise is pattern recognition theory which has wide applications in image analysis, speech recognition and physiological signal processing. In this study, pattern recognition methods are applied to observed daily travel and activity patterns from Oregon to identify travel market...

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The video begins at 1:39.

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Ronald Tamse is a traffic engineer for the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Ronald has been involved in traffic design in Amsterdam and Utrecht. He is most interested in bicycle and rail transportation. He has worked on the design of the Amsterdam subway, a light rail system in Utrecht, and is currently working on urban transportation solutions as Utrecht Centraal is redeveloped. Utrecht Centraal is the largest train station in The Netherlands.

Ronald will highlight key examples from Utrecht that show some new ideas, similarities between the Dutch and American approaches, as well as a few lessons imported from Portland. These examples will share highlights from major projects that include building a new commuter railway network, including the rebuilding of Utrecht Centraal railway station, and the development of a light rail line in Utrecht that uses MAX as a development model. In addition, Ronald will demonstrate the importance of connecting bike infrastructure through network planning, infrastructure, and connections to transit.

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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 priority, but only a few of them were effective. Early green phases are more...

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Summary: Transit serves as backbone infrastructure for many regional and local visions for sustainable urban development. Also, many modern policies predicate transit funding on the potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) near proposed infrastructure investments. However, little research has examined how TOD considerations have informed transit planning. This presentation discusses the results of recent dissertation research that fills this gap. Through multiple transit project case studies and interviews with nearly 100 transit planning professionals, this research categorized how transit projects across 19 U.S. regions were designed to foster TOD and how transit planning professionals identified TOD opportunities as projects were planned. During interviews, many professionals lamented the amount of real estate development that had occurred around the transit projects they helped plan. Analysis revealed that the ways in which professionals identified TOD opportunities helped to explain disconnects between their expectations and actual outcomes. The findings raise concerns about the effectiveness and efficiency of transit planning practice in the age of transit-oriented development and point to potential policy and practice changes that could address the issues.

Bio: Ian...

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The video begins at 2:15.

Abstract: If a two-dimensional picture is worth a 1,000 words, how much more can 3D imagery convey? As part of its recently completed Strategic Plan, Metro’s TOD Program in Portland, OR has developed a new GIS -based transit orientation tool to analyze and compare the readiness of its station areas and corridors for higher density mixed-use development.  For the purposes of better capturing a more holistic view of the built environment, this innovative measure expands on the 3 “D’s” of density, diversity, and design by adopting the 5 “P’s” of people, places, physical form, performance and pedestrian/bicycle connectivity. Given the program’s interest in catalyzing near-term private development, it goes further to incorporate a strong “market strength” component. In addition to describing the tool and its future implementation, the presentation will demonstrate how the TOD Program developed and used two- and three-dimensional maps and graphics to help convey the complex methodology and findings to a broad audience of policy makers and stakeholders.

Chris is a Senior TOD Project Manager with Metro’s TOD Program in Portland, OR. Along with managing public-private development projects near transit, he led the recently completed TOD Strategic Plan and is participating in corridor planning region-wide. Prior to Metro, Chris specialized in TOD in the public and private sectors.

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