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This paper, co-authored with Ian W.H. Parry, derives formulas for the welfare effects of reforming subsidies for peak and off-peak urban rail and bus fares, and applies them to the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and London. The model accounts for congestion, pollution, oil dependence, and accident externalities associated with automobiles and each transit mode. It also accounts for scale economies in transit supply, costs of accessing and waiting for transit service, crowding costs, pre-existing fuel taxes, and the transit agency’s adjustment of frequency, vehicle size, and route network in response to changes in demand. We find that in almost all cases existing subsidies – which typically exceed 50% of operating costs – are either about right, or possibly too low, across bus and rail, peak and off-peak period, in the three cities.
Speaker Biography: Kenneth A. Small, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California at Irvine, specializes in urban, transportation, and environmental economics. Recent research has concentrated on urban highway congestion, measurement of value of time and reliability, effects of fuel efficiency standards, public transit pricing, and the role of fuel taxes in managing external costs of automobiles. Prof. Small served five years as coeditor of the international journal, Urban Studies, and is now Associate...Read more
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A NITC Small Starts project has taken big steps toward connecting transit users with real-time transportation information about their communities.
The “Street Portals” project, headed by researchers Jason Germany and Philip Speranza of the University of Oregon, is reinventing transit kiosks – specifically bike share kiosks – and how users interact with them in public spaces.
Germany, an assistant professor of product design in UO's school of architecture and allied arts, has a background in designing consumer products and interfaces. Collaboration with Speranza, a practicing architect who was doing research in bottom-up urban design, led to the development of a test bed for interactive kiosks that could reshape the future of urban computing in several important ways.
Typical bike share stations have a kiosk with a touch screen interface that lets the user check out and return bicycles.
The NITC researchers are interested in creating a much richer experience that includes route planning assistance, personalized activity recommendations, and a sensitive interactive display.
The first step was to create a test bed: a sample kiosk built specifically for the purpose of testing...Read more
Transit signal priority (TSP) is designed to reduce delay for transit vehicles through signalized intersections. For an existing TSP system, it is important to assess how timely and effective TSP phases are granted to buses that request priority. It is also necessary to evaluate the time savings and delays for buses and other vehicles as a result of TSP phases. However, due to the lack of disaggregated and integrated transit, traffic and signal phase data, previous studies have not investigated the TSP performance at the phase level. This study collects and integrates three archived databases: bus automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger count (APC) data, intersection signal phase log data, and vehicle count data. Based on the integrated database, this research proposes innovative and useful performance measures to assess the timeliness and effectiveness of TSP phases to buses that request priority. This study also evaluates the time savings and delays to buses and other vehicles on major and minor streets. Results show that TSP performance varies significantly across intersections. On average, most of the TSP phases were granted timely to buses that request...Read more
Summary: In an era of reduced government funding, transit operators struggle to reduce operating costs and increase revenues. Energy costs account for an important share of the total costs of urban and suburban bus operators. Using a case study of one operator in Lisbon, Portugal, this talk will expand upon the empirical research on bus transit operation costs and identify the key factors that influence the energy efficiency of the overall bus fleet. Our results of a multivariate analysis find the following dimensions influence transit energy efficiency: vehicle type, commercial speed, road grades and bus routes; and to a lesser extent elements related with engine failures and malfunctions. In addition to these findings, the methodology is a decision-support tool for the bus operator in optimizing energy efficiency. The transferrability of these results and analytical tools to other contexts will also be discussed.
Bio: João de Abreu e Silva is an Assistant Professor at...Read more