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New Reports Show Value of Public Transportation

Here’s information summarizing several recently released reports of interest to public transportation.

U.S. PIRG: Tech Transportation Options
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group’s new report shows ­Austin, TX, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as the top U.S. cities integrating technology-enabled services and tools into their transportation options, followed by ­Boston, Los Angeles and New York City.

The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car ranks 70 major U.S. cities on the number of different types of new transportation technology options they offer, including carsharing, ridesharing, ridesourcing, taxi-hailing, bikesharing, navigation apps and virtual ticketing. It shows that residents of 19 cities currently have access to eight or more of the 11 services covered.

“None of these options even existed a few years ago and this trend is just beginning,” said Phineas Baxandall, transportation program director at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Technology has given people new convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car.” The organization explained that while these services and tools make differences individually, they gain in strength when taken as a group.

To read the report, click here.

BlueGreen Alliance: Transportation Investment Benefits Manufacturing
Federal and state investments in public transportation and passenger rail support manufacturing businesses and jobs in a majority of the states, according to Passenger Rail and Transit Rail Manufacturing in the U.S. released by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC).

The groups said the report demonstrates a powerful opportunity to increase public transit and passenger rail manufacturing nationwide, but argued that success depends on leadership from Congress to make the long-term investments in rail and transit that are key to sustaining a strong and globally competitive industry.

“Modernizing our nation’s passenger rail and transit systems will improve mobility, alleviate congestion on highways and at airports and will reduce pollution,” said ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner. “This report shows that sound policies to accelerate passenger rail and transit will grow the economy and drive job creation at large manufacturing businesses, smaller fabricating companies and technical and engineering businesses across the country.”

The report identifies 212 companies in 32 states that manufacture public transit or passenger rail cars and locomotives or major rail propulsion, electronics and body components and systems. It also cites 542 additional companies in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions that manufacture subcomponents, materials, track and infrastructure and provide repair and remanufacturing to the industry.

For details, click here.

Smart Growth America: Complete Streets Policies
Los Angeles Metro joins nine municipal governments with the top 10 Complete Streets policies recognized by Smart Growth America in The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2014.

Goals of the Los Angeles policy include maximizing multimodal benefits and efficiencies, improving safety for all users, facilitating multi-jurisdictional coordination, leveraging partnerships and incentive programs to achieve a “complete” and integrated transportation system that serves all users, establishing active transportation improvements as integral elements of the countywide transportation system and fostering communities where all residents have increased mobility choices.

Smart Growth America noted that more than 70 jurisdictions adopted Complete Streets policies in 2014. These laws, resolutions, agency policies and planning and design documents establish a process for selecting, funding, planning, designing and building transportation projects that allow safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and how they travel.

The report is available here.

TCRP Reports
Report 172-Guidance for Developing a Transit Asset Management Plan provides tools and guidance to improve asset management. The Transit Asset Prioritization Tool, a spreadsheet that accompanies the report, can help public transit agencies predict the future conditions of their assets and prioritize asset rehabilitation and replacement. The contractor’s final report summarizing the research and methodology of this project is also available. 

Report 174-Improving Safety Culture in Public Transportation presents research on the definition of safety culture in public transportation, offers methods and tools for assessing safety culture and provides strategies and guidelines that agencies can apply to initiate and build such a program.

Report 173-Improving Transit Integration Among Multiple Providers, Volume I provides guidelines and procedures to help agencies evaluate, plan and implement steps to integrate services in areas with multiple providers. It accompanies Report 173, Volume II-Research Report.

Visit the TCRP website to download electronic copies or to order a hard copy for a minimal fee.

APTA Fact Book
APTA recently released the 65th annual version of its Public Transportation Fact Book. The book, available here, features an overview of U.S. public transit facts, finances and operating statistics by modes of travel; vehicle characteristics and deliveries; federal grants and the Federal Transit Act and statistical trends of Canadian public transit operations.
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