Transit-Supportive Guidelines

Appendix A: Case Studies

The following studies provide examples of how municipalities across North America have attempted to increase ridership through the creation of more transit-supportive communities and the implementation of transit improvement strategies.

  1. 01: Corridor Planning, Saint. Paul, MN
  2. 02: Transit Network Design, Oakville, ON
  3. 03: Creating Complete Streets, Charlotte, NC
  4. 04: Station Intensification, Calgary, AB
  5. 05: Cycling Facilities, Toronto, ON
  6. 06: Targeting Transit Service, Waterloo, ON
  7. 07: Rural Transit, Austin, TX
  8. 08: Small to Mid-sized Community Transit, North Bay, ON
  9. 09: Mid-sized Community Rapid Transit, Eugene, OR
  10. 10: Right-Sizing Transit Systems, San Francisco, CA
  11. 11: Growing Transit Ridership, Winnipeg, MB
  12. 12: Promoting a Change in Travel Behaviour, Boulder, CO
  13. 13: Creating a Transit-Supportive Community Structure, Ottawa, ON

01: Corridor Planning

St. Paul Central Corridor Development Strategy

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Population: 287,200

Planning Scale: Regional Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 1.1.3, 16, Inspiring Change, 152, District Level Plans, 156

Overview

The planned Central Corridor LRT totals 17.5 km with 16 planned stations, providing a direct link between the downtowns of Saint Paul and Minneapolis via a route that traces the most important east-west transportation corridor within the region.

The City of Saint Paul realized that the $1-billion investment in a new LRT linking downtown Saint Paul with Minneapolis was about more than just moving people from A to B but an opportunity to guide the unique place-making and city-building potential that would result from the investment. Ahead of the transit investment, the City produced a development strategy to guide change and investment along the corridor. The strategy recognized a number of diverse place-making opportunities and identified areas of change and stability along the corridor.

The document establishes a vision and set of strategies for how the central corridor should grow and change over the next 25 to 30 years in response to the LRT investment. The plan broadens the understanding of the specific character, opportunities and challenges inherent along the corridor. It aims to connect transit with pedestrian and bicycle routes, enhance the role of the arts in neighbourhood life, and prepare a skilled work force to build the rail line itself. The plan was developed through close consultation with community stakeholders.

Left: The development strategy was the result of an extensive consultation process involving interactive open houses and focused round table sessions. Right: A series of six development types was developed, each with their own unique sets of principles that responded to different conditions along the corridor.

The development strategy was the result of an extensive consultation process involving interactive open houses and focused round table sessions.

A series of six development types was developed, each with their own unique sets of principles that responded to different conditions along the corridor.

Features

  • The strategy connects major activity and employment centres such as the State Capitol campus, the Midway Shopping District and Industrial District, and the University of Minnesota.
  • The strategy identified an area of change that responded to both the desire to protect existing stable communities and the unique redevelopment opportunities along the route.
  • A public realm framework helped to identify key public realm improvements that could help to strengthen connections to key destinations on either side of the corridor.
  • A series of six development types were identified, each with their own set of development principles that responded to unique development conditions along the corridor. The 6 development types included:
    • Urban Villages which were larger parcels with the potential for new street and block networks;
    • Market Intensification Sites which were existing areas of big box retail;
    • Larger Front and Back Sites which were larger parcels fronting both the corridor and employment areas to the rear;
    • Half Depth Infill Sites which were smaller sites fronting the Central Corridor;
    • Full Depth Infill Sites which were parcels fronting both the Central Corridor and low-rise neighbourhoods to the rear; and
    • Urban Infill Blocks which represented full blocks of redevelopment.
  • A transit overlay zone and associated transit-supportive zoning ordinance were created for the identified areas of change.

Lessons Learned

  • An investment in public transit should be viewed as more than just getting people from A to B but as a unique city-building opportunity with the potential to strengthen communities.
  • Major planning efforts injecting significant transit infrastructure into communities should involve public consultation. Throughout the nine-month process for developing the strategy, there was an extensive consultation process that involved numerous meetings with district task forces, public presentations, open house events, and input from hundreds of community members and business owners.
  • An extensive consultation process helped to curb initial community apprehensions and build support for the investment.

Resources

Central Corridor Development Strategy (City of St. Paul)

LRT Station Area Plans (City of Saint Paul)

02: Transit Network Design

Oakville Transit

Location: Oakville, Ontario

Population: 165,600

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 1.2.2, 30, Guideline 3.1.1, 96, Guideline 3.4.3, 130

Overview

In September 2009, Oakville Transit launched a new service network to offer passengers more direct travel around town and more convenient service. The Town of Oakville originally designed its system 30 years ago, primarily to serve passengers travelling to and from GO Transit stations.

As part of the process, the Town identified a series of nodes and corridors and made adaptations to the transit system so that these were supported by higher levels of transit service.

The new network includes a grid system consisting of six new transit routes running north/south and east/west facilitating faster and more direct travel across and throughout town. The new routes will make regular stops and facilitate connections to other grid and local routes. With the design of a new grid system, some routes have been rescheduled and/or re-routed to avoid duplicating or overlapping of services.

In order to maintain service to more dispersed areas, the Town still operates many of its former routes, which it now refers to as “local routes”.

Left: The former transit network radiated out from the regional transit station. Right: The system was supplemented by a series of cross-town connections to enhance inter-city service.

The former transit network radiated out from the regional transit station.

The system was supplemented by a series of cross-town connections to enhance inter-city service.

Features

  • Larger, more colourful and more visible bus stop signs.
  • 40 new shelters to improve customer waiting areas.
  • New terminal at Sheridan College on Ceremonial Drive that provides bus bays for Oakville Transit and GO Transit and improves customer waiting areas with heated shelters.
  • Zone Express is a late-night service that meets passengers arriving at Oakville GO Station seven days a week. Passengers board the buses that serve the area of Oakville they wish to reach and tell the driver where they wish to travel. The driver then creates a unique route to take everyone where they want to go.
  • A Student Freedom Pass allows students to ride throughout July and August any time of the day for $10 a month.
  • Hybrid service network of grid and non-linear bus routes.
  • Low-floor buses are fully accessible to passengers who use wheelchairs, scooters, walkers or strollers.
  • New grid routes run every 20 minutes during rush hour and every 40 minutes off-peak while service on local routes that cover neighbourhoods has been maintained with some route adjustments. The new grid system has maintained travel times to GO stations, but increased the number of buses serving GO stations.

Lessons Learned

  • Grid systems facilitate more direct service to support the identified nodes and corridors (such as at Sheridan College).
  • The provision of local community routes can help to maintain service to more dispersed neighbourhoods while providing important feeder service to line-haul routes.
  • Monitoring is important. Since the new service was launched, Oakville has been monitoring route times, service delivery and feedback from both Oakville Transit drivers and riders, and adjusting the routes based on that feedback.

Resources

Oakville Transit Routes (Oakville Transit)

03: Creating Complete Streets

Urban Street Design Guidelines, Charlotte

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Population: 756,900

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 2.2.1, 44, The Planning Process, 155

Overview

Charlotte consists primarily of auto-oriented post-war era development with many cul-de-sacs in newer neighbourhoods. This results in a poorly connected street network with streets that lack sidewalks or convenient pedestrian routes. In 2007, Charlotte adopted a set of new Urban Street Design Guidelines (USDG), which include detailed design directions for building complete streets, to be applied to new and existing streets. The USDG is one of a set of policies intended to transform Charlotte into a more sustainable city and create more context-sensitive streets. Critical to the success of the USDG is its six-step process:

  1. Define the land use context;
  2. Define the transportation context;
  3. Identify deficiencies;
  4. Describe future objectives;
  5. Define street type and initial cross-section; and
  6. Describe trade-offs and select cross-section.

The process ensures that all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in creating a solution. Rather than merely developing ideal cross-sections, the process seeks to balance the trade-offs that are inevitable when planning a street, and is most beneficial when used during the early stages of planning. At the time of writing, Charlotte had applied the USDG recommendations to eight new thoroughfares, 10 streetscape projects, nine road conversions, 11 rebuilt intersections, and 15 sidewalk projects and has integrated the USDG recommendations into area planning processes for application now and into the future.

Left: An image of the pre-construction, auto-oriented street. Right: The street post-construction has been designed to calm traffic and support higher levels of pedestrians and cyclists.

An image of the pre-construction, auto-oriented street.

The street post-construction has been designed to calm traffic and support higher levels of pedestrians and cyclists.

Features

  • The USDG include a six-step process for designing streets for the interests of all users and land uses. Design trade-offs are systematically examined for every project.
  • The USDG provide a diverse set of street types and flexible designs to be applied to various types and intensities of land uses. Additionally, the USDG describe the land uses and urban design elements that can best complement each type of street.
  • The USDG is one of Charlotte’s many transit-supportive initiatives. Others include the identification of centers and corridors, the Transportation Action Plan and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity Project. Charlotte is also encouraging transit-supportive development to complement their first light-rail line.
  • The USDG is being applied during the area planning process. The award-winning South Corridor Station Area Plans were among the first to apply the USDG to select appropriate street classifications, street intervals and street cross-sections based on planned land uses.

Lessons Learned

  • Auto-oriented cities like Charlotte can transform themselves with more efficient and sustainable growth patterns. Effective guidelines like the USDG serve as a tool for not only transforming streets, but also creating a more livable city that offers more transportation choices.
  • Charlotte is anticipating high levels of growth and sees the USDG policies for streets as necessary to accommodate this growth in a holistic manner.
  • Coordination with other smart growth and transportation initiatives helps to strengthen and create an overall transit-supportive environment.
  • The six-step process is important for understanding and prioritizing the trade-offs between users and land uses. The process considers all of the different travel modes, but it does not mean equal treatment on all roads.

Resources

Urban Street Design Guidelines (City of Charlotte)

Complete Streets

04: Station Intensification

Brentwood Station

Location: Calgary, Alberta

Population: 1,065,500

Planning Scale: District Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 1.1.2, 14, Guideline 2.1.1, 40, Guideline 2.4.3, 76

Overview

The Brentwood area is a major transit centre with many bus routes passing through, terminating or originating there. However, it features a fragmented street and sidewalk network and low scale commercial buildings placed within large surface parking lots. The City of Calgary recognized the potential for concentrated growth within the station area and wanted to put in place a plan to guide new development. The plan involved extensive consultation with transit providers as well as local area residents and land owners.

The Brentwood Station Area Plan puts in place a pattern of intensification, recognizing that the framework will enable gradual intensification over time. The Plan will support transit through increased densities and improved connections while maintaining the function of the station area and integrating into surrounding neighbourhoods. The station area is both a major employment node and a shopping destination, and includes a large park-and-ride facility. The intensification encourages a wide spectrum of uses including shops, restaurants, live-work units, housing, parks, and plazas.

Left: The existing transit station area is defined by large areas of surface parking and auto-oriented uses. Right: The plan for intensification included a new walkable street and block pattern and open space network that helped to enhance connections to adjacent neighbourhoods and employment uses.

The existing transit station area is defined by large areas of surface parking and auto-oriented uses.

The plan for intensification included a new walkable street and block pattern and open space network that helped to enhance connections to adjacent neighbourhoods and employment uses.

Features

  • A street and block plan and a proposed open space plan will set the foundation for where public and private development parcels will be located.
  • A new integrated, fine-grained street and block network will tie the redeveloping area into the city’s existing fabric.
  • A new urban square, along with smaller secondary spaces such as transit plazas and linear connections.
  • Taller buildings closest to the station transition to lower-rise buildings adjacent to existing residential communities.
  • A pedestrian priority area immediately surrounding Brentwood LRT Station, requiring wider required sidewalks and active ground-floor uses, will facilitate a comfortable and attractive place for pedestrians and reduce conflicts with automobiles as much as possible.

Lessons Learned

  • Intensification does not happen overnight – plans for intensification should enable gradual intensification over time.
  • Intensification should achieve its main objective to support transit, but ensure effective integration with the surrounding community.
  • Efforts to reurbanize existing built-up areas with higher density should be accompanied with a robust and extensive public and stakeholder consultation process.
  • Outmoded low-density commercial malls and strip malls show tremendous potential for intensification and intensification to support transit.

Resources

Brentwood Station Area Plan (City of Calgary)

05: Cycling Facilities

Bike Station at Union Station

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Population: 2,503,300

Planning Scale: Site Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 2.2.3, 50, Guideline 2.3.4, 68, Guideline 3.4.2, 128

Overview

Bike stations are secure, indoor facilities for storing bikes while passengers are commuting, with full service bike repair stations. The bike station at Union Station is located beneath the commuter and inter-city train platforms. A central body, the Union Station Revitalization Advisory Committee (USRAC), was created to oversee the establishment of the bike station, and the USRAC collaborated with interested members of the public, the Toronto Cycling Committee, and city councillors. The first phase was built in spring 2009, with a total of 180 bicycle parking spaces, change rooms and a washroom. When the remaining two phases are completed, the bike station will have a total of 600 bicycle parking spaces. In addition to the range of facilities on offer, the bike station is also a resource for information on bicycling, walking and public transit in Toronto.

People wishing to use the bike station can either register for a membership at the bike station for a fee of $21.53 for 1 month, $64.57 for 4 months (plus a one-time registration fee of $26.91), or use the Pay and Park service for $2.15, which gives them access to the station for one day. The membership provides some advantages, such as bike station access at all times of the day, free access to the shared bicycles (in case of flat tires or other issues), and a 10% discount at participating bike shops in Toronto.

The bike station at Union Station in Toronto offers a range of services for users including twenty-four-hour parking, video surveillance, repairs, showers, changing rooms, and vending machines, and is staffed throughout the day.

The bike station at Union Station in Toronto offers a range of services for users including twenty-four-hour parking, video surveillance, repairs, showers, changing rooms, and vending machines, and is staffed throughout the day.

Features

  • Change room
  • Mechanic stand with tools for customer use
  • Vending machine with emergency bike necessities such as tire levers, tubes, patch kits, energy bars, and beverages
  • Secure “man-trap” door system to prevent non-members from entering the bike station
  • 24 hour video surveillance
  • Daytime staff

Lessons Learned

  • Bike facilities are most beneficial when integrated into a system-wide strategy for providing safe and convenient bicycle access between communities and their transit stations. The provision of a bike station at Union Station provides an opportunity for suburban commuters to safely leave bicycles over night and use them to commute from Union Station to and from work during the day.
  • Developing diverse partnerships can help to build support for cycling facilities and increase the number of users.

06: Targeting Transit Service

Grand River Transit (GRT)

Location: Region of Waterloo, Ontario

Population: 473,700

Planning Scale: Regional Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 3.1.1, 96, Guideline 3.1.3, 104, Guideline 3.3.2, 118

Overview

Grand River Transit (GRT) is the public transit agency for the Region of Waterloo, Ontario. It operates daily bus services primarily in the tri-cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, travelling about twelve million km/year. The Region is a rapidly growing mid-sized metropolitan area. Transit ridership has traditionally been low because of low-density land uses, high auto ownership, and widely available parking. In recent years, GRT has increased its ridership by introducing innovative strategies aimed at addressing the region’s diverse service needs. This includes the provision of an express bus service with a real-time passenger information system, new low-floor, wheelchair-accessible buses, bus service tailored to the needs of low-density suburban neighbourhoods, and bicycle racks on the front of its buses.

The iXpress is an express bus service that provides quick travel along a 35 km central corridor through the region’s urban centre. It links the Tri-City downtowns with the two universities, regional hospital, and shopping centres. The system is supported by EasyGO, a real-time passenger information system that is accessible by web, phone and text messaging, and is part of a larger transportation demand management strategy.

MobilityPLUS is a specialized service for pre-booked trips that provides accessible services for persons with physical and cognitive disabilities. An event was held to promote and teach the community about the new accessible transit features. Buses were available at the event for those with mobility aids to test out the low-floor buses. The region’s busPLUS service uses smaller vans to serve areas of low ridership in new subdivisions.

Following the implementation of EasyGO features, average daily use more than doubled between June 2008 and September 2008. Online survey results have been positive and suggest a strong relationship between ridership growth and implementation of the EasyGO system.

Left: The GRT event, called “RAMP”, provided people with mobility aids an opportunity to test the new low-floor buses and ask questions. Right: The new bus shelters along the iXpress routes contain EasyGO displays to provide real-time departure times for buses. Bike racks are provided adjacent to the shelters to encourage people to ride to the stops, which are spaced further apart than for non-express routes.

The GRT event, called “RAMP”, provided people with mobility aids an opportunity to test the new low-floor buses and ask questions.

The new bus shelters along the iXpress routes contain EasyGO displays to provide real-time departure times for buses. Bike racks are provided adjacent to the shelters to encourage people to ride to the stops, which are spaced further apart than for non-express routes.

Features

  • iXpress bus service carries over 8,500 riders daily and includes an automatic vehicle location system and passenger counting system.
  • The EasyGO Traveller Information System includes:
    • a web-based trip planner to plan trips using landmarks, bus stops, addresses or intersections;
    • text messaging to receive the next three scheduled times the bus will be at a particular stop;
    • next bus call that provides scheduled times for the next buses at that stop;
    • visual and audible in-vehicle announcements of upcoming stop information; and
    • station/terminal displays that provide real-time departure times.
  • EasyGO was developed in coordination with existing transit strategies and guided by policy initiatives including the Regional Transportation Master Plan, the Regional Growth Management Strategy, and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
  • The TaxiSCRIP program is for people who are registered with MobilityPLUS, and allows passengers to book service directly with a local taxi company and pay with TaxiSCRIP coupons.
  • The busPLUS service uses a van in new lower-density neighbourhoods to pick up customers and drop them off at designated busPLUS stops.

Lessons Learned

  • Providing effective transit service across a diverse range of environments requires an equally diverse range of transit services.
  • Partnering with private services such as taxi companies can help to extend the reach and convenience of demand responsive transit services.
  • Coordinating transit strategies with existing policy initiatives can help to plan transit services to meet the diverse needs of a community and grow ridership.

07: Rural Transit

Central Texas Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS)

Location: 19,400 km2 surrounding Austin, Texas

Population: Approx. 1,026,000

Planning Scale: Regional Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 1.1.6, 22, Guideline 3.1.1, 96, Guideline 3.1.3, 104

Overview

The Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) is a public agency formed by nine county governments surrounding Austin, Texas, covering an area of over 19,000 km2. CARTS delivers customized transportation for 169 communities. In addition to the fixed routes that the city buses travel on, a curb-to-curb service allows customers to schedule rides. Passengers can board a CARTS bus from their home, be taken to their destination and back home. Sixty mini-buses and vans operate this flexible service.

CARTS buses operate from five transit stations, located strategically throughout the district. These centres are located in Austin, Bastrop, Round Rock, San Marcos and Smithville. There are plans to open two more centres in Williamson and Taylor, and more are expected for the future.

Curb-to-curb fares are set based on three zones and are based on a one-way trip. One-way fares are $2 for a trip within town, trips within a county are $4 and inter-county travel costs $6. CARTS operates on a $5 million annual budget and is funded with state and federal dollars. About 549,000 people in the nine counties use this service and about 350,000 trips are made per year.

Left: The Central Texas Capital Area Rural Transportation System serves nine counties and covers 19,400 km2. RIght: The buses are operated from five transit stations located throughout the area.

The Central Texas Capital Area Rural Transportation System serves nine counties and covers 19,400 km2.

The buses are operated from five transit stations located throughout the area.

Features

  • Persons with disabilities, persons over age 60, and children aged 12 and under are eligible for half-fare.
  • CARTS contracts with third parties like Medicaid and mental health centres to provide medical transportation for clients.
  • All fixed route services offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
  • Electronic signboards display exactly when the next bus arrives at the transit station and two of the major stops.
  • Re-loadable electronic fare cards can be purchased on the CARTS web site as well as at stations.
  • The curb-to-curb service uses a radio-data communications network and computer-assisted scheduling, CARTS provides advance reservation.

Lessons Learned

  • Inter-jurisdictional cooperation is essential to making rural transportation systems work. Collaboration between the nine county governments provides a regional perspective and planning for the community-based passenger transportation services it operates, allowing for community-tailored service.
  • Real-time information displayed on electronic signboards increases efficiency and convenience for passengers.
  • Coordination is key to CARTS’ operation. Numerous health and human service agencies contract with CARTS for transportation services for their clients. CARTS also provides vehicles and vehicle maintenance services to several human service agencies, and the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department.

08: Small to Mid-Sized Community Transit

North Bay Transit

Location: North Bay, Ontario

Population: 53,000

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 3.5.3, 142, Guideline 3.5.4, 144

Overview

The City of North Bay is a smaller mid-sized community where traffic is light and driving distances are relatively short, making it at times a difficult market for transit services. To overcome these challenges, North Bay Transit has instituted a variety of programs aimed at enhancing the efficiency of existing services and attracting new ridership.

The city is an active participant in the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)’s SmartDRIVER training program. The program aims to enhance driver safety by promoting more defensive driving skills and teaching driving techniques to increase the efficiency of vehicle operations. Through initiatives such as a driver competition aimed at who could save the most fuel, the program has been very successful, resulting in a reduction in fuel expenditures, lower maintenance costs and an enhanced rider experience resulting from smoother vehicle operations.

In response to a parks and recreation survey which had identified that community youth were reluctant to try transit due to a lack of familiarity with the system, the city introduced the Go Green on the Bus (GGOB) program aimed at de-mystifying transit use and promoting increased student ridership. The transit agency created a student package containing a range of useful information and incentives such as telephone numbers, a list of frequently asked questions and answers and 5 free rides to get students familiar with their services. A specially designed transit map that students could fit into their wallets was also created identifying key points of interest such as sports fields, community facilities and shopping destinations. North Bay Transit actively seeks partnerships and provides incentives where they can be demonstrated to increase ridership and provide mutual benefit to both the agency and partnering organization.

North Bay Transit’s Go Green on the Bus (GGOB) program used a dedicated web site to reach student riders, educate them about the benefits of transit use and provide them with information about transit services.

North Bay Transit’s Go Green on the Bus (GGOB) program used a dedicated web site to reach student riders, educate them about the benefits of transit use and provide them with information about transit services.

Features

  • North Bay Transit was actively involved in the implementation of CUTA’s SmartDRIVER training program which teaches defensive skills and more efficient driving techniques. This has resulted in fuel and maintenance savings as well as an enhanced rider experience.
  • The GGOB program was designed to actively target students and included in-school presentations and a specially designed student package to encourage greater student ridership.
  • A partnership formed with school co-op teachers provided discounted tickets in return for increased transit use by students going to and from placements. Prior to the program students typically used taxi services.
  • A corporate employee program provides discounted monthly passes in exchange for guaranteed minimum uptake.

Lessons Learned

  • Partnerships take commitment and coordination by all parties involved. Delays in getting into high schools early in the year led to reduced uptake and difficulties in evaluating the success of the GGOB program in its first year.
  • In-house incentives such as front line worker competitions can help to implement changes.
  • Tying individual strategies to larger policy initiatives can help to relate transit services to larger community objectives. Both the GGOB and SmartDRIVER programs were attached to a larger sustainability strategy. This along with other initiatives such as the use of employee transit passes and environmentally friendly cleaning materials have helped North Bay Transit to brand the agency not only as a transit service provider but a sustainable solution.

Resources

North Bay Transit

Go Green on the Bus (North Bay Transit)

SmartDRIVER for Transit (CUTA)

09: Mid-Sized Community Rapid Transit

EmX Bus Rapid Transit, Eugene, Oregon

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Population: 149,000

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 2.2.5, 56, Guideline 3.1.1, 96

Overview

Eugene began discussions about new transportation options in 1996 as part of a regional transportation plan update. Bus rapid transit (BRT) was selected because the scale and cost was appropriate for their community size, and because it could be developed one line at a time as demand and funding allowed. Eugene’s BRT line, EmX, replaced an existing bus route and very quickly saw a dramatic increase in ridership.

EmX offers nearly 19 km of BRT service along Franklin Boulevard, a major east-west corridor, linking downtown Eugene and downtown Springfield, a neighbouring city. The corridor was selected because of its high traffic volume, population density, and heavy transit ridership. By linking two major nodes, the Eugene Station and the Springfield Station, the Franklin EmX formed the spine along which all future EmX lines will be based. The EmX line is integrated into a region-wide bus network in the Lane County Transit District.

Sixty percent of this corridor consists of exclusive bus lanes which allow EmX to operate efficiently, even in high-traffic situations. Bus ridership in Eugene increased 35-40% in a three-year period, and a rider survey revealed that around 64% of riders choosing EmX had a car accessible to them. The success is attributed to key transit priority features such as dedicated bus lanes, new transit stations with local station art, high service frequency, and low-floor buses for efficient boarding.

Left: High quality transit stations, buses and infrastructure helped to enhance the image of the system and grow ridership. Right: Transit priority and dedicated rights-of-way enable the buses to move efficiently along congested portions of the corridor.

High quality transit stations, buses and infrastructure helped to enhance the image of the system and grow ridership.

Transit priority and dedicated rights-of-way enable the buses to move efficiently along congested portions of the corridor.

Features

  • Dedicated bus rights-of-way along 60% of the route.
  • Signal priority gives buses priority through intersections.
  • Low-floor buses make boarding easier.
  • Off-board fare collection speeds up boarding.
  • Improved stations including eight new shelters built along original route.
  • Higher service frequency: peak 10 minutes, off-peak 20 minutes.
  • Integrated with local network of bike paths.
  • A transit pass system with the University of Oregon; incidental fee allows free bus rides with a University ID.
  • Local jobs were created by hiring local contractors to design and construct key infrastructure components.
  • Hundreds of community members, including civic leaders, business owners, and environmental and neighbourhood groups were involved in open houses that were used to gather feedback and to inform corridor planning and design.

Lessons Learned

  • Partnerships with local universities, schools and medical institutions help provide low-cost service.
  • High-quality infrastructure and transit priority measures such as signal priority and dedicated rights-of-way are strategies to help grow transit ridership.
  • The sensitive selection and planning of the pilot BRT corridor led to its success, and has enabled the extension of the BRT line to two other corridors in West Eugene and Springfield.

Resources

EmX (Lane Transit District)

10: Right-Sizing Transit Systems

San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni)

Location: San Francisco, California

Population: 809,000

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 3.1.1, 96

Overview

San Francisco’s Muni operates 80 routes throughout the city with a fleet composed of streetcars, LRTs, trolley coaches, buses and cable cars – it is one of the most diverse in the world and sees more than 200 million transit riders a year.

The city’s LRT system has been designed to respond to San Francisco’s diverse environments, including running below grade through the downtown, running mixed with traffic through residential areas, through parks, and along dedicated stretches as needed. By designing the rail system to run within a variety of configurations, the same streetcar is able to serve both the dense core of the city as well as many of the smaller main street areas to the south.

Top-left: Below-grade condition; Top-right: Dedicated condition; Bottom-left: Mixed with traffic; Bottom-right: Dedicated off-street condition

Features

  • Streetcars are designed to work both underground as well as at grade on the street with retractable stairs that provide level access in underground stations and street stair access along city streets.
  • A range of transit priority measures are put into place and vary according to local context including dedicated tunnels beneath the city centre, stretches of dedicated right-of-way along busy streets, open space corridors and in mixed traffic in smaller neighbourhood settings.
  • Flexible LRT routes are served by a comprehensive network of feeder buses that together ensure that over 90% of the city is within 2 blocks of a transit stop.
  • The Muni only serves places within the San Francisco city limits, but is integrated into a regional transit system that connects with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), SamTrans, and AC Transit.

Lessons Learned

  • Transit corridors do not have to be a one-size-fits-all solution – design elements and transit features can vary along the length of a corridor to respond to its environment.
  • Transit priority measures can respond to the places they run through, supporting the local context rather than overriding it.
  • The integration of a range of transit service types including rapid transit and on street feeder services can facilitate wider system coverage and support higher levels of ridership on dedicated rapid transit or line-haul routes.

11: Growing Transit Ridership

Winnipeg Transit

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Population: 633,500

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 1.1.7, 24, Guideline 2.2.5, 56, Guideline 3.2.1, 108

Overview

In 2006, Winnipeg gained Council approval for a capital budget to implement a comprehensive multi-year transit improvement initiative for 2007-2012. Winnipeg Transit has since implemented significant enhancements to improve the speed, reliability, comfort, accessibility and the communication of its transit service. The plan consists of an integrated set of improvements in specific “Quality Corridors”, tailored to meet the needs of each area.

In 2008, a funding agreement for $138 million was announced for construction of the first phase of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor project, a rapid transit system for Winnipeg. The project is funded by a combination of municipal, provincial, and federal funding programs.

A network of transit routes will use this new infrastructure and existing transit priority measures to provide fast, reliable transit service between the downtown and the southwest part of the city. The first phase will be constructed between 2009 and 2011. The plan will link Winnipeg with a number of nodes composed of mixed residential and commercial development.

Public reaction to the improvements has been very positive. System ridership has continued to grow steadily, from 42.6 million in 2008 to 43.9 million in 2009.

Left: Low floor, low emission buses enhance accessibility along with the image of the transit system. Right: A new rapid transit network linking the downtown with a number of existing and planned mixed-use hubs will help to enhance access to a range of uses and support ridership.

Low floor, low emission buses enhance accessibility along with the image of the transit system.

A new rapid transit network linking the downtown with a number of existing and planned mixed-use hubs will help to enhance access to a range of uses and support ridership.

Features

  • Upgrades to over 500 stops with new shelters (many heated), signage, benches, and landscaping.
  • New on-street transit priority measures (diamond lanes, transit signal priority, queue jumps) to improve speed and reliability.
  • New Park & Ride facilities.
  • New buses with low floors for accessibility and low emission engines.
  • iBUS technology to provide automated vehicle location, schedule adherence monitoring, “next stop” display/announcements, security cameras, and automatic passenger counters.
  • A new control centre system provides service monitoring and incident management tools to better manage daily transit operations.
  • Real-time passenger information is provided through an online trip planner, an improved TeleBUS system, text messaging, electronic signs at major stops, a smartphone web application and Twitter feeds.

Lessons Learned

  • Enhancing speed, reliability, comfort, accessibility, and information are all highly valued by commuters and ensure that transit remains competitive with other modes of transportation.
  • Targeting improvements to meet the needs of specific service corridors can help to make the most of limited resources.

Resources

Improvements Program (Winnipeg Transit)

12: Promoting a Change in Travel Behaviour

GO Boulder

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Population: 100,200

Planning Scale: Regional Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Guideline 3.1.1, 96, Guideline 3.5.3, 142, Guideline 3.5.4, 144, Inspiring Change, 152

Overview

GO Boulder, the Boulder region’s transportation agency, has been working to create a transportation system that sustains the city’s quality of life while providing a range of travel options for its residents. In support of this, the city’s Updated Transportation Master Plan (TMP) encourages a shift in movement patterns away from the single-occupant vehicle to alternative transportation modes such as public transit, cycling and walking.

To support this shift in travel behaviour a range of innovative programs have been implemented. These include:

  • the development of a Community Transit Network of high frequency mini buses;
  • enhanced user amenities such as shelters and real-time transit schedule displays;
  • promoting and enhancing the Eco Pass program aimed at business, neighbourhoods and students; and
  • developing marketing and educational materials to promote higher levels of walking, cycling, and transit use.

GO Boulder proactively collaborates with regional partners including the local business community and other constituents to provide convenient travel choices to employees and customers and promote innovative work programs such as flextime and teleworking to reduce single-occupant vehicle trips. A key element of the marketing of alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle has been the inclusion of the public in the community design process. This has enabled residents to provide meaningful input into the selection of transportation options within the TMP and has helped to build greater community support for initiatives.

Left: Each bus has graphics designed by users of the route and includes services that are designed and timed to address neighbourhood ridership characteristics. Right: GO Boulder has taken a holistic approach to promote a shift from single-occupant vehicle use by encouraging more active modes of transportation such as walking and cycling.

Each bus has graphics designed by users of the route and includes services that are designed and timed to address neighbourhood ridership characteristics.

GO Boulder has taken a holistic approach to promote a shift from single-occupant vehicle use by encouraging more active modes of transportation such as walking and cycling.

Features

  • The Community Transit Network offers convenient transit options by using smaller vehicles more suitable to the ridership levels of lower-density neighbourhoods.
  • The Eco Pass is an annual bus pass that is purchased by employers, providing employees with unlimited rides on most regular transit services. The Eco Pass also comes with the Guaranteed Ride Home program, which guarantees any individual with the pass a free taxi ride home if they have taken the bus, bike, or car/vanpool to get to work and have an unplanned emergency and need to get home. GO Boulder and the City of Boulder will rebate $60 per employee for a company of 1 - 9 employees for their first year contract and $30 per employee for a company of 1 - 9 employees for their second year contract
  • GOBikeBoulder is a pilot program funded by a federal grant and GO Boulder and the City of Boulder that makes it easy to find the best bike route around Boulder for getting from one place to another.
  • GOSmartBoulder is a marketing campaign that works with residents of North Boulder to help them learn more about transportation resources in order to encourage and support a change in travel behaviour.

Lessons Learned

  • Partnerships between businesses and transit providers can be used to attract quality employees and increase employee recruitment and retention.
  • Pilot testing used for most of the Go Boulder programs allowed for the evaluation of each new program prior to full implementation. This allowed planners to identify strengths and shortcomings, make adjustments, and determine whether to implement the program permanently.

Resources

GO Boulder

13: Creating a Transit-Supportive Community Structure

City of Ottawa

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Population: 812,100

Planning Scale: Municipal Level

Key Applicable Guidelines: Section 1.1, 10, Guideline 1.2.2, 30, The Planning Process, 155

Overview

Ottawa’s population is projected to grow by 30 per cent or approximately 145,000 new homes by 2031. To accommodate this new growth in a manner that is more transit-supportive, the City of Ottawa’s 2003 official plan directs growth to key locations served by existing and planned transit services. The approach is intended to ensure that new development supports the efficient delivery of transit service and that there is a cost-effective pattern in place for the long-term provision of municipal services and infrastructure.

Within the designated urban boundary, growth will be directed to a series of higher-density, mixed-use nodes and corridors. The central area will remain the focus within the transit system, containing the highest density development. Radiating out from the central area is a planned linear network of main street corridors. These are intended to accommodate cross-town transit commuters and act as local destinations within the system.

Complementing and at times paralleling these corridors is a planned dedicated rapid transit network. Major stations within the network are to anchor a series of higher density, mixed-use nodes designated as Mixed-Use Centres and Town Centres within the plan. These concentrations are to act as “mini-downtowns”, seeking to support and take advantage of the higher volume of transit riders by providing high-density, high-rise employment and residential development opportunities in an environment that is supportive of walking and cycling.

The City of Ottawa Rapid Transit Network identifying light rail (red) and bus rapid transit (blue) corridors and stations. Target areas for intensification with density targets were established around key transit nodes in order to support the transit system.

The City of Ottawa Rapid Transit Network identifying light rail (red) and bus rapid transit (blue) corridors and stations. Target areas for intensification with density targets were established around key transit nodes in order to support the transit system.

Features

  • Target areas for intensification are focused on major elements of the rapid transit network, including the central area, mixed-use centres, main streets, and town centres.
  • Arterial main streets will have denser development to support frequent transit service and prepare them for a higher level of transit.
  • The City will also promote intensification for lands within 600 m of future or existing rapid-transit stations and lands that are no longer viable for the purpose for which they were intended, such as older industrial areas or abandoned transportation corridors.
  • Ottawa’s target for intensification, defined as the minimum proportion of new residential growth in the urban area to be achieved through intensification, is 40% of new dwelling units, averaged over the 2006-2031 time period.
  • Monitoring and reporting annually on the pattern and amount of residential and non-residential intensification will be related to the assumptions upon which the citywide and minimum targets associated with the target areas are based.
  • To support the transit-supportive policies in the Official Plan, the City has created a series of Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines, to be applied throughout the city, for all development within 600 m of a rapid transit stop or station.

Lessons Learned

  • Transit and land use planning should be an iterative, integrated process that coordinates transit decisions alongside an understanding of existing and planned patterns of land use and similarly supports transit decisions through land use strategies.
  • As cities grow it may be necessary to move from a radial transit network to more of a grid system capable of serving more multi-nodal development.
  • Planning to support nodal and corridor related intensification should be supported through larger growth initiatives aimed at increasing levels of intensification within designated growth areas.
  • The creation of design guidelines can help to clarify transit-supportive policies, providing direction and communicating transit-supportive concepts for planners, developers and members of the wider community.

Resources

Ottawa Official Plan (City of Ottawa)

Ottawa Transit Map (City of Ottawa)

Transit-Oriented Development Guidelines (City of Ottawa)


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