Mobility Lab https://mobilitylab.org Moving People... Instead of Just Cars Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:41:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Understanding the basics behind transportation choices https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/understanding-the-basics-transportation-choices/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/understanding-the-basics-transportation-choices/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:12:34 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21325 When it comes to transportation choices, people generally do what is best for themselves. Understanding what factors influence people’s decisions can help the transportation industry and advocates better show the benefits of different transportation options that address different components of motivations. What motivates someone to bike, or drive, or use transit? As the industry looks... Read more »

The post Understanding the basics behind transportation choices appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
When it comes to transportation choices, people generally do what is best for themselves. Understanding what factors influence people’s decisions can help the transportation industry and advocates better show the benefits of different transportation options that address different components of motivations.

What motivates someone to bike, or drive, or use transit? As the industry looks to influence demand, it’s important to recognize how commuters come to their decisions.

Convenience

“Convenience is a big factor – and if it’s not there, we can’t sell it,” says Mobility Lab managing director Howard Jennings. Generally speaking, people choose transportation mode based on what is the most convenient, in terms of price, time, proximity, and flexibility. But how does one know that option is the best? Have they tried all the other ones at all? If people can use and access a transportation option flexibly, they will most likely use it. For transit, the key is typically increasing frequency and hours of service per day.

Costs

Monetary. More than half of people surveyed in randomized neighborhoods in the U.S. said that it was important to minimize costs in a trip. In the U.S., income typically informs transportation mode choices. Those with higher incomes will use transit less, unless they live in a city such as New York City or Washington, D.C., where transit is well-ingrained.

Gas prices are a major predictor of whether commuters choose to drive or ride transit. Back in 2008, for example, commuters in Washington State and many places found it easier to start a vanpool after gas prices exceeded over four dollars per gallon.

Time. In the U.S. (as elsewhere), people value their time. A key part of saving time is the reliability of how long a trip will take. If the bus is late every other day, or breaks down every other week, a commuter loses time and may choose other options. With unexpected occurrences, it’s important that transit riders have back up plans and up-to-date information. Bus-tracking apps and flexible payment systems help reduce some of the uncertainty and allow commuters to make informed, timely decisions.

Benefits

Transit benefits in the U.S. are associated with much higher ridership, even in transit-deficient cities. Employees offered commuter benefits are five times more likely to take transit regularly, as opposed to other employees who do not receive benefits.

Chart via Citylab.

In fact, as research from Virginia Tech indicates, companies offering their employees transit benefits can have a large effect on their commute choices, especially if they do not offer competing parking benefits. Rather than rent expensive parking garages, employers can save money by offering some of that cost as subsidy to their employees in the form of transit subsidies.  Property managers can do the same, and by offering residents bikeshare memberships, free Metro cards, and more , work to to attract residents to property.

Commute distance

A TransitCenter survey on commute distance and use of transit found that, at less than half a mile, it is unlikely that people will use transit, as walking/biking numbers are high. At less than 2 miles, it is quite likely that people will use transit. But after that, the likelihood of commuting by transit decreases, as car usage rises.

tc whosonboard distance

Chart via TransitCenter’s 2014 Who’s on Board report.

Life events

There’s nothing like having a kid to make you to realize that you need to change the way you get around. A number of studies indicate that more than 90 percent of changes in car use are attributable to a life event: having that kid, getting fired, moving cities, getting married, and more. Life events act as a trigger to reassess people’s modes of travel, which otherwise governed by habit.

The transportation industry can use these kinds of opportunities, such as job relocation, to reach out to employees and help them understand what types of transportation options could serve them best.

In Arlington County, Va., Arlington Transportation Partners does exactly that with their Relocation Services. First, they survey the employees undergoing relocation on their current commuting habits, then ask where they will be living with respect to the workplace. Using this information, ATP creates customized materials with available transportation options (including time & cost involved) and information on various commute planning tools (like apps).

Other factors

There are many other factors that can contribute to transportation choice as well. Those with environmental concerns, for example, are more likely to eschew driving, as they see the link between environmental costs and car use. However, they tend to consider other factors such as monetary cost and convenience more important.

Acquiring a driver’s license qualifies as a life event, and predisposes people to rely more on driving. Once they’ve begun driving, the convenience of being able to hop into a personal high speed vehicle is addictive. Millennials are generally putting off getting their driver’s license, though, so they don’t have to/can’t drive, and are being multi-modal instead.

This is good for the TDM industry. With some attitudes already changing towards multi-modalism, TDM just has to provide the extra support, not life-altering incentives. It is important then, in the coming years, that agencies use this knowledge to provide proper services to people.

For many, it comes down to options

Giving people multiple options provides them the freedom to do what they want, when they want, how they want. In fact, if they try one new option, they are much more likely to try more. Being able to access other transportation options allows commuters to more efficiently respond to the above behavioral factors.  By addressing any set of the above barriers, advocates, transportation agencies, and cities can encourage large numbers of people to try smarter ways of commuting.

Photo: An ART bus picks up commuters outside the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. (Sam Kittner for Mobility Lab, www.kittner.com).

The post Understanding the basics behind transportation choices appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/understanding-the-basics-transportation-choices/feed/ 0
Google Waze takes on Uber, Lyft with more carpooling – CNET https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/google-waze-takes-on-uber-lyft-with-more-carpooling-cnet/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/google-waze-takes-on-uber-lyft-with-more-carpooling-cnet/#respond Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:13:28 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21327 Having seemingly completed pilot experiments in San Francisco and Israel, Google Waze’s carpooling app appears to be set to launch in other places soon. It will be fascinating to see if Waze is the one that will finally bring carpooling back into the mainstream, after being marginalized for the past 30-plus years. Only about 11 percent of U.S. commuters... Read more »

The post Google Waze takes on Uber, Lyft with more carpooling – CNET appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
Having seemingly completed pilot experiments in San Francisco and Israel, Google Waze’s carpooling app appears to be set to launch in other places soon. It will be fascinating to see if Waze is the one that will finally bring carpooling back into the mainstream, after being marginalized for the past 30-plus years. Only about 11 percent of U.S. commuters carpool to work.

Now Waze looks ready to expand to other cities in the US and Latin America, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The difference with Waze’s ride sharing is that it’s a form of carpooling, while Uber and Lyft involve hiring drivers for the ride-share. This could mean Waze carpooling is a lot more affordable, but a different concept: drivers already heading to a certain area would be invited to pick up others who need rides.

“Can we get the average person on his way to work to pick someone up and drop them off once in a while? That’s the biggest challenge,” Waze CEO Noah Bardim said in an interview with the Journal.

It does seem like a pretty large challenge. According to the Journal story, carpoolers currently pay drivers 54 cents a mile as reimbursement. Waze could start charging riders 15 percent more on top of that in the future, according to Bardin, making Waze ride sharing more of a for-profit enterprise.

Read the complete article at CNET

The post Google Waze takes on Uber, Lyft with more carpooling – CNET appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/24/google-waze-takes-on-uber-lyft-with-more-carpooling-cnet/feed/ 0
Ford CEO: Future of cities has almost nothing to do with cars – Business Insider https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/ford-ceo-future-of-cities-has-almost-nothing-to-do-with-cars-business-insider/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/ford-ceo-future-of-cities-has-almost-nothing-to-do-with-cars-business-insider/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:20:08 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21315 Ford CEO Mark Fields has clearly been brushing up on the finer points of why transportation demand management is one of the most crucial tools for fixing traffic jams to make the economy and people’s lives better in cities. He is perfectly willing to admit cities of the future won’t be ruled by cars. The real... Read more »

The post Ford CEO: Future of cities has almost nothing to do with cars – Business Insider appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
Ford CEO Mark Fields has clearly been brushing up on the finer points of why transportation demand management is one of the most crucial tools for fixing traffic jams to make the economy and people’s lives better in cities.

He is perfectly willing to admit cities of the future won’t be ruled by cars.

The real problem, it seems, is how to prepare for a future in which people prefer to get around using all different modes of transportation: driverless cars, ride-sharing, train, bus, bicycle, and on foot.

“The approach has always been, from a city-planning standpoint, how many cars can you get through the area?” he said. “If we turn that on its head, and ask how do we maximize people getting through the areas, it makes you think very differently.”

In addition to its extensive plans to create commercially-available autonomous vehicles by 2021, Ford’s main focus in cities has been to increase its involvement with ride-sharing and bikes.

Read the complete article at Business Insider

The post Ford CEO: Future of cities has almost nothing to do with cars – Business Insider appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/ford-ceo-future-of-cities-has-almost-nothing-to-do-with-cars-business-insider/feed/ 0
Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes? https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/map-tweaks-dc-metro-riders-shift-commutes/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/map-tweaks-dc-metro-riders-shift-commutes/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:19:59 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21288 SafeTrack surges in the past months have highlighted one of of the D.C. Metrorail system’s largest demand crunches: the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck, where the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines converge to head east into downtown. This capacity issue has been exacerbated by the 2014 Silver line opening, and more recently by the current Blue line shutdown... Read more »

The post Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes? appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
SafeTrack surges in the past months have highlighted one of of the D.C. Metrorail system’s largest demand crunches: the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck, where the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines converge to head east into downtown. This capacity issue has been exacerbated by the 2014 Silver line opening, and more recently by the current Blue line shutdown surge.

Many commuters coming from the south prefer to take the Blue line downtown, as that route does not require a transfer at L’Enfant Square or Metro Center, even if it less geographically direct. This can create crowding on less-frequent Blue line train cars.

To encourage people to choose the Yellow line as their path to downtown D.C., a New York University professor experimented with manipulating how the Yellow and Blue lines appear on the well-known Metrorail map. Speaking with Martine Powers of The Washington Post, Zhan Guo detailed how, in different maps, he shortened the Yellow line’s Potomac River crossing and lengthened the stretch of Blue that passes Arlington National Cemetery to see if these affected the choices of test-takers at a crowdsourcing website:

“Three different maps showed the Blue Line to be more out-of-the-way as it crossed the Rosslyn tunnel: that section of the route appeared more angular or boxy, but the line was the same length as in the original map. In those cases, the percent of people who opted to use the Yellow Line route increased by sizable amounts: from as little as 1.9 percent, to as much as 5.7 percent.

“In another map, he redrew the Yellow Line to be less angular, more of a straight shot between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations. That also had an effect, encouraging 2.6 percent more people to use the Yellow Line.”

Guo told the Post that even regular Washington, D.C., commuters (based on respondents’ zip codes) were more likely to switch to the Yellow line given map changes. Practically speaking, most regular commuters are less likely to reference a map on their way to work, but those Blue/Yellow tweaks might be effective for newer commuters and visitors.

One change from Guo’s experiment, which smoothed the Yellow line river crossing to make it appear more direct.

Even if the changes – some designed to be deliberately unattractive – are unlikely to be incorporated into a future version of the iconic Metrorail map, Guo’s results highlight the key role transportation information plays in guiding the deliberate choices people make in how they get to work. Small changes can lead commuters to more efficient paths that skirt congestion issues. Besides, who doesn’t like taking in a morning view of the Potomac as the Yellow line makes its way into the District?

The post Would minor map changes encourage Metro riders to shift their commutes? appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/23/map-tweaks-dc-metro-riders-shift-commutes/feed/ 0
Blurred (transit) lines: Apps like Uber are the new public transport – Newsweek https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/blurred-transit-lines-apps-like-uber-are-the-new-public-transport/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/blurred-transit-lines-apps-like-uber-are-the-new-public-transport/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:13:48 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21302 “Mass transportation is an old-fashioned way of talking about transportation supply,” says Matt Caywood, co-founder of TransitScreen, which started up at Mobility Lab. “It’s defined as a type of transportation that carries a lot of people. But that’s not the perspective of the tourist, who’s just trying to get somewhere in a new city.” Here’s... Read more »

The post Blurred (transit) lines: Apps like Uber are the new public transport – Newsweek appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
“Mass transportation is an old-fashioned way of talking about transportation supply,” says Matt Caywood, co-founder of TransitScreen, which started up at Mobility Lab.

“It’s defined as a type of transportation that carries a lot of people. But that’s not the perspective of the tourist, who’s just trying to get somewhere in a new city.”

Here’s what’s happening: Instead of adding bus lines or building train tracks, cities turn to the sharing economy to build out their transportation networks. Diana Mendes, a senior vice president for HNTB, a Kansas City-based infrastructure firm, tracks public-private ventures all over the country. They include the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

How do you win? It starts with changing the way you think about mass transit, says Jeff Schramm, a Missouri University of Science and Technology expert on mass transportation and technology. Public transportation can be anything that gets you where you’re going—whether it’s on rails or hailed through an app.

“Think of mass transportation as part of the vacation,” he says. “It’s a way to experience a new place and learn about it and the people that live and work there.”

Maybe there’s a term to be coined here: transit-agnosticism—the idea that when it comes to getting around, everything from bikesharing to the subway will do. It’s something I experienced the last time I visited Washington, when I noticed that tourists used Metro and Uber interchangeably, as if they were almost one and the same.

To many, including myself, wrapping our heads around the idea that mass transit is no longer just mass transit is problematic. The rewards are considerable for people who do. Imagine being able to visit any city without having to bother with a pricey rental car.

Where rideshare is mass transit

Altamonte Springs, Fla. The city covers up to 25 percent of your Uber fare to or from the city’s commuter train station, or 20 percent of the fare for using Uber on all trips that begin and end within Altamonte Springs. The program recently expanded to Lake Mary, Longwood, Maitland and Sanford.

Dallas. Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Lyft have partnered to offer a “first-last” mile program for mass transit users. Riders can use the Lyft mobile app to connect with a driver, then connect to a bus or light rail. DART has a separate agreement with ZipCar.

Summit, N.J. To alleviate parking congestion, the city subsidizes ridesharing for a group of residents on a limited basis. It aims to save the taxpayers $5 million over the next two years, or about the cost of building a parking lot.

Read the complete article at Newsweek

The post Blurred (transit) lines: Apps like Uber are the new public transport – Newsweek appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/blurred-transit-lines-apps-like-uber-are-the-new-public-transport/feed/ 0
When street parking becomes a pop-up bus lane – CityLab https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/when-street-parking-becomes-a-pop-up-bus-lane/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/when-street-parking-becomes-a-pop-up-bus-lane/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:51:56 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21297 In search of a cheaper way to make its connections to neighboring Boston more reliable for commuters, the town of Everett tried out a simple bus experiment: a week-long bus lane replaced parking, and was separated only by cones. Stephen Miller of CityLab reports that the trial proved popular, and after a week it was... Read more »

The post When street parking becomes a pop-up bus lane – CityLab appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
In search of a cheaper way to make its connections to neighboring Boston more reliable for commuters, the town of Everett tried out a simple bus experiment: a week-long bus lane replaced parking, and was separated only by cones.

Stephen Miller of CityLab reports that the trial proved popular, and after a week it was decided that the bus lane will become permanent:

Only about a quarter of the parking that was removed had been used during the morning rush, according to city observations, and there are plenty of places to park on the other side of the street or in nearby parking lots. Trips are now shorter by four to eight minutes for Broadway’s 10,000 daily bus riders, and Monty says car drivers have saved time, too, since buses no longer block traffic while they weave in and out of bus stops.

The quick pace of the change, and simple materials involved, offers a lesson in experimentation to other cities considering their own transit improvement projects.

Read the complete article at CityLab

The post When street parking becomes a pop-up bus lane – CityLab appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/22/when-street-parking-becomes-a-pop-up-bus-lane/feed/ 0
Five ways employers are thinking big on commuter benefits https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/21/five-ways-employers-are-thinking-big-on-commuter-benefits/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/21/five-ways-employers-are-thinking-big-on-commuter-benefits/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:39:03 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21276 A new publication from the Association for Commuter Transportation, entitled “Getting to Work,” highlights the ways several forward-thinking employers are offering better commuting options to their employees. Each story offers a look at the unique transportation challenges major employers face – from parking crunches to time-consuming commutes – and which solutions have proven effective in addressing... Read more »

The post Five ways employers are thinking big on commuter benefits appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
A new publication from the Association for Commuter Transportation, entitled “Getting to Work,” highlights the ways several forward-thinking employers are offering better commuting options to their employees. Each story offers a look at the unique transportation challenges major employers face – from parking crunches to time-consuming commutes – and which solutions have proven effective in addressing them.

Keeping ridesharing fresh

While carpooling rates have fallen consistently across the U.S., Salt River Project, a water and electricity utility in Phoenix, Ariz., has maintained a strong employee ridesharing rate for decades. Starting in the 1970s, SRP began promoting carpooling as part of a sustainability campaign, encouraging employees to do “one in five for cleaner skies” – as in, take at least one carpool commute per week.

Today that trend and ridesharing culture continues. SRP enjoys a 6 percent vanpool commute rate and an attractive vanpool setup: the utility leases vans to ferry employees to and from its 20 office locations, and employees only have to split the costs of gas.

“We subsidize the vanpool because it’s been, hands­ down, one of the most effective ways of getting employees involved in an alternative mode of commuting,” SRP transportation coordinator Perez told ACT.

A free connection to transit

In Atlanta, Coca-Cola is also offering rides for employees, but on a fixed route. The “Red Bus,” which first launched in 2013, circulates from the company’s two downtown office locations to the MARTA Civic Center rail station. The first-last mile transit connection is further cemented with a complementary incentive: a $50 transit pass monthly subsidy, more than half the cost of a $95 monthly MARTA pass.

Speaking with ACT, Eric Ganther of Coca-Cola explained that the ease of use makes the shuttle a popular option.

“‘The transit benefit helps. But the [most impactful piece] is the shuttle,’ Ganther said. ‘It’s that direct connection from transit stop to doorstep that makes the choice to leave your car at home easier, one part of helping ease the barrier to entry for those who have never used public transit to get to work.'”

Coca-Cola sees its responsibility to commuters and employees as part of its long history with Atlanta, where it has resided for over a century. The company estimates that its shuttle replaces approximately 800 trips each day in the metro region.

Use new transit as a jumping-off point

The opening of the first leg of Metro’s Silver Line reshaped the transportation landscape in Northern Virginia three years ago. In McLean, Va., not-for-profit MITRE sought to build off of the interest in the new option by investing in commuter benefits to encourage some employees, many of whom drove through Beltway traffic, to try the new Metro line.

The organization found that, with Metro nearby, the number of employees taking advantage of the pre-tax transit benefits is now on track to quadruple pre-Metro levels. Now, employees can also take advantage of a $30 subsidy on top of the pre-tax benefits. MITRE also reported to ACT that the number of employees commuting by transit has yet to level off as of late last year.

Like Coca-Cola, MITRE complements its transit benefits with a free employee shuttle between the Silver Line and its office locations.

Pay employees to not drive

Seattle Children’s Hospital, a national leader in commuter benefits, has been working to reduce drive-alone commuting since the early 1990s in order to meet Seattle’s commute reduction plan. Using a three-part model for shifting commute preferences – parking reform, non-driving subsidies, and amenities – SCH has already reduced its drive-alone percentage by 35 points in the last 20 years.

One key part of this plan is a daily subsidy for commuting by any mode other than driving alone. Employees log their commutes in a web portal, and are in turn given $4 for each day they do not drive. This creates an additional opportunity cost for driving that, when combined with market-rate parking costs, adds up over time and helps influence transportation choices.

Expedite longer commutes through vanpools

At Marriott’s current headquarters in North Bethesda, Md., three miles from the nearest Metro station, the hotel company has seen success in a recently-launched vanpool program. After Marriott’s transportation manager Jude Miller reached out to employees about connecting those who lived near each other to better commuting options, two vanpools launched in 2015. In the short time since then, four others have taken off as well, bringing employees from as far as Ashburn, Va.

As Miller told ACT, the vanpool can be a time-saving alternative for those who would otherwise drive long distances alone: “In a van, driving in an HOV lane, it definitely takes less time to get here, making employees happier and more productive.” Car rental provider Enterprise operates the vanpools and stressed the flexibility of the option, noting that Marriott can add or eliminate pools depending on future changes in commuter ridership.

Marriott also encourages employees to apply their $120 monthly commuting subsidy toward the cost of the vanpools. And while the publication makes no mention of Marriott’s recently-announced move to downtown Bethesda, the new location mere steps from Metro will open new transit options to its commuters.

It’s worth checking out “Getting to Work” for a deeper dive into each commuter benefit program: beyond the cited options, each works to offer a network of additional benefits to appeal to commuters of all types and needs.

Photo: The McLean Metro station on the Silver Line (Malcolm K., Flickr, Creative Commons).

The post Five ways employers are thinking big on commuter benefits appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/21/five-ways-employers-are-thinking-big-on-commuter-benefits/feed/ 0
Why does Tampa Bay have one of the worst public transit systems in the US? – Tampa Bay Times https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/special-report-tampa-bay-has-one-of-the-worst-public-transit-systems-in-america-heres-why-transportation/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/special-report-tampa-bay-has-one-of-the-worst-public-transit-systems-in-america-heres-why-transportation/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:17:59 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21272 An investigation from the Tampa Bay Times examines why Tampa’s transit system is so lacking for a metropolitan area of 3 million people. Compared to other cities of the same size, Tampa Bay’s transit options allow for access to far fewer jobs: Tampa Bay’s system reaches the same number of jobs as those in places... Read more »

The post Why does Tampa Bay have one of the worst public transit systems in the US? – Tampa Bay Times appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
An investigation from the Tampa Bay Times examines why Tampa’s transit system is so lacking for a metropolitan area of 3 million people. Compared to other cities of the same size, Tampa Bay’s transit options allow for access to far fewer jobs:

Tampa Bay’s system reaches the same number of jobs as those in places like Boise, Idaho, or Chattanooga, Tenn. — except it serves five times as many people.

In 2011, the Brookings Institute calculated the number of jobs a typical commuter could reach via bus and rail in every major American city. They found that in Tampa Bay, a 45-minute trip could reach 28,000 jobs.

Only three other communities of at least 2 million people scored so low. Two of them — Orlando and Riverside and San Bernardino in California — both invested in major transit projects since the study, unlike Tampa Bay.

The Times also uncovered that the region is the only city in the top 20 most populous U.S. areas that spends less than $213 million on transit annually.

Read the complete article at the Tampa Bay Times

The post Why does Tampa Bay have one of the worst public transit systems in the US? – Tampa Bay Times appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/special-report-tampa-bay-has-one-of-the-worst-public-transit-systems-in-america-heres-why-transportation/feed/ 0
What topics have brought people to TransportationCamp DC over the years? https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/transportationcamp-dc-topics-years/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/transportationcamp-dc-topics-years/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:02:52 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21261 At TransportationCamp DC, the Mobility Lab-sponsored unconference held in Arlington, Va., transportation professionals, advocates, and enthusiasts gather each year to discuss and learn about the pressing topics of the day. We put together this back-of-the-envelope analysis to see if we could discern any trends in topics and modes being discussed in the events’ sessions. Due... Read more »

The post What topics have brought people to TransportationCamp DC over the years? appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
At TransportationCamp DC, the Mobility Lab-sponsored unconference held in Arlington, Va., transportation professionals, advocates, and enthusiasts gather each year to discuss and learn about the pressing topics of the day. We put together this back-of-the-envelope analysis to see if we could discern any trends in topics and modes being discussed in the events’ sessions.

topics tcamp

Due to the structure of the unconference, the attendees set the agenda at each TransportationCamp. This grants insight into what attendees – and by extension the broader transportation industry – have cared about over time. The above chart shows sessions by category, the broad topic it was about, and the below chart shows all sessions involving specific modes, the forms of transportation they addressed.

tcamp modes

According to Paul Mackie, Mobility Lab’s communications director, this confirms what organizers have felt over the years. Technology and planning questions consistently draw attendees, especially those also familiar with the local Transportation Techies meetup group.

Sessions on data and technology have dominated the scene, comprising about one-third of all sessions each year. This makes sense for a time when the industry is rapidly looking for data-centered solutions that could help build ridership in both the short- and long-term.

2017 tcamp pie

Discussions on specific modes has been overall relatively steady. Transit has consistently been the focus of at least one-fifth of the sessions.

Policy sessions pretty consistently make up about 10 percent of the sessions each year – perhaps for D.C.-centric reasons. Equity-centered sessions fluctuated, appearing higher on the agenda in 2014 and 2017 and dipping in interest in 2015 and 2016.

Sessions were categorized based on their notes, which, in the open spirit of TransportationCamp, are publicly available online. Given the complexity of many issues, the topics of individual sessions were divided as best as possible, though overlap does exist (see: Integrating/ Creating New Mobility Options for K-12 Schools). This is shown with some sessions qualifying as multiple categories, and some sessions not specifying modes.

Veteran TransportationCampers: do these match your experience? Do you have a guess as to why some of these trends may be the case?

Photo: The wall of sessions from the 2014 TransportationCamp DC (MV Jantzen, Flickr, Creative Commons).

The post What topics have brought people to TransportationCamp DC over the years? appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/17/transportationcamp-dc-topics-years/feed/ 0
Curing a hospital’s transportation ailments https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/16/hospitals-transportation-ailments-vhc-atp/ https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/16/hospitals-transportation-ailments-vhc-atp/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:45:22 +0000 https://mobilitylab.org/?p=21248 This post originally appeared on the Arlington Transportation Partners blog. Virginia Hospital Center is a leading medical services provider and one of the nation’s top teaching hospitals, providing 24/7 healthcare across two campuses. Over the years, the size of VHC’s facilities and the number of staff have grown considerably. That growth has provided the hospital with... Read more »

The post Curing a hospital’s transportation ailments appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
This post originally appeared on the Arlington Transportation Partners blog.

Virginia Hospital Center is a leading medical services provider and one of the nation’s top teaching hospitals, providing 24/7 healthcare across two campuses. Over the years, the size of VHC’s facilities and the number of staff have grown considerably. That growth has provided the hospital with an opportunity to rethink their transportation and parking strategies and to utilize public/private partnerships to find solutions.

Transportation challenges

Like many hospitals today, VHC is motivated to look at all aspects of the patient’s experience. As one of Arlington County’s largest employers, with more than 2,000 employees, they are also interested in retaining and recruiting the best talent. In a region where transportation can make or break a patient’s decision on where to receive care, or an employee’s choice on where to work, it is crucial to cater to many needs and provide multiple mobility options. Gone are the days when a large campus, whether it be a hospital, a university, or an employer site can focus solely on providing parking. VHC has been working diligently with Arlington County to make sure they have identified all these options to remain competitive.

ART 51

The ART 51 route connects commuters and visitors to the Ballston-MU Metro station.

VHC has limited parking for staff at its main campus and in recent years, management has added additional parking about 1.5 miles away with free shuttle service to the hospital. With so many employees, patients, and visitors commuting to the main campus, the impact VHC has on the county’s roads and transportation network is significant. Therefore, as part of its development agreement with Arlington County, VHC also subsidizes two local ART bus routes (left) that employees can ride for free – or opt into a more active commute with support from the hospital with provided bike parking, showers and lockers.

All these additional services came at considerable cost to VHC, yet issues remained regarding parking capacity and demand. To explore further solutions to the challenging commuting situation for its employees, VHC reached out to its long-term transportation demand management resource, Arlington Transportation Partners, to assist them with understanding current employee commute modes and identify opportunities to implement programs that would be attractive to employees for getting to work and provide a financial savings for employees and the hospital.

TDM solutions

For this concentrated effort,  ATP started a collaboration with Mobility Lab in March 2016, to survey VHC employees for the purpose of  understanding their commute patterns and provide non-drive-alone mobility recommendations based on these findings. To facilitate the survey process, a mixture of multiple on-site events and VHC intranet opportunities were incorporated. The combined effort resulted in an above average 31 percent survey response rate.

VHC shared data with ATP and Mobility Lab in order to study transit trip times against drive-alone trip times using Modeify, a software tool which is part of Arlington’s CarFreeAtoZ project. The transit options analyzed included commuting to/from the additional parking facility leased by VHC close to the Ballston Metro Station (1.5 miles from the main facility) for three reasons:

  • It is the off-site parking garage VHC promotes its employees to use
  • It is a stop for the two ART routes employees ride for free
  • It is the stop for the free shuttle bus that connects employees to the main campus

Modeify helped identify various commute options, namely that approximately 1,900 employees have access to transit, around 250 employees live within a 30-minute bike commute, and a significantly high number of employees have at least one carpool match of a fellow VHC employee within a quarter-mile radius of their house.

ATP’s recommendations

VHC-hrrep

Human resources at VHC.

Additionally, a high percentage of survey respondents acknowledged using transit before and expressed interest in receiving a pre-tax transit subsidy to save money on their commute. Based on the survey results and data analyses, ATP recommended that VHC offer a pre-tax transit benefit that employees could use for Metrorail, local and regional buses, VRE/MARC trains or vanpool. Offering a pre-tax transit benefit helps employees save up to 38 percent on commuting expenses, which equals $1,175/year, while employers can save just over $400 per employee on payroll taxes. Since employers are able to offer up to $255 per month, it can make a considerable difference for both employees and employers alike.

VHC agreed with ATP’s recommendation that WMATA’s SmartBenefits tool would be the best fit to implement the program due to its ease of use via its online user interface and IRS compliance as well as the interface being free to employers and employees. Over the past six months, ATP has worked with VHC Human Resources to set up and implement a pre-tax benefit for staff that is available to eligible employees starting this open enrollment cycle. ATP is looking forward to working with VHC to educate employees about the benefit and options available to individuals that would allow them to take advantage of the new benefit.

In conclusion

Hospitals generate a significant economic impact in the region with thousands of employees looking for options on how to get to work. As hospitals look for ways to improve their patients’ experience and be positive role models as corporate community citizens, it is imperative that hospitals provide convenient transportation options and benefits to their employees. ATP plans to gladly continue the partnership with VHC to educate employees about their mobility choices and increase employee participation in the newly implemented transit-benefit program.

Photo Credit: Reema Desai/ReemaDesai.com for Arlington Transportation Partners. ART 51 bus map from Arlington Transit.

The post Curing a hospital’s transportation ailments appeared first on Mobility Lab.

]]>
https://mobilitylab.org/2017/02/16/hospitals-transportation-ailments-vhc-atp/feed/ 0