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Re: [NewMobilityCafe] [World Streets] New Mobility Hubs: Connecting the dots

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  • Heather & Kerry Wood
    Richard One possibility to keep in mind is that the stations may really be worth closing. A suburban station will delay every train that calls by one an a half
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 2, 2009
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      One possibility to keep in mind is that the stations may really be worth closing.

      A suburban station will delay every train that calls by one an a half or two minutes: say 30 seconds each for braking, dwell time and acceleration. That doesn't matter for the people boarding but it slows everybody else, and if one stop is extremely lightly used, others are likely to be on the light side, at least. Every station slows every train, making the route less competitive, so all stations should justify their existence. 

      Excess stops are also costly. A ninety second delay at one station becomes three minutes on the round trip. If there is a ten minute peak hour service, closing one station may save the capital and operating cost of one train, and closing three stations will almost certainly save one train.

      I commute daily by train, and the line I use has one place where there are three stops in 900 metres: two consecutive station spacings of 450 m. It is a single-track line and one extra stop between passing loops makes a mess of the timetable. The solution, almost unbelievably, is to operate a four-train timetable using three trains. The line has apparently worked like that for half a century.

      It is the same story with bus stops. Regulatory authorities like to make sure that passengers don't have to walk too far, and rarely seem to notice that the buses may be stopping too often. Some stops are in 'fixed' positions and individual spacings often up end up much shorter than the minimum. In this country it is not difficult to find stops spaced less than 150 m apart, when even the traditional 'four stops per mile' (400 m) is often too short.

      Of course, longer stop spacings make for longer walks -- too long for some people -- but the solution is not necessarily to delay everybody. One solution is simply public seating, so that slow walkers can take a rest. Other are cycle parking, 'hail-a-ride' on some buses, or expanded paratransit.

      Kerry Wood
      Wellington, New Zealand

      On 31/07/2009, at 5:43 AM, Richard Layman wrote:

      separately I have developed this concept as well.  I call it the mobilityshed (or mobility shed), and similarly, look at a transit line as the "transitshed" (transit shed).  I developed the terms based on Robert Cervero's use of the word "commutershed." 
      But I was trying to figure out how to deal questions that grew out of plans by the Maryland commuter railroad system to close some extremely lightly used stations and the outcry against the closure, which included this policy suggestion "build more parking lots so people will drive to the station."
      The operative concept to pull it all together is by incorporating the transportation demand management planning method developed by the Travel Smart organization in Victoria, Australia.  www.travelsmart.vic.gov.au/
      (Note to Eric -- I have submitted an amendment to DC's Comprehensive Land Use plan to require transportation demand management planning within the land use, building regulation, and zoning regime.  We'll see where it goes.  I "feel" that the language is already in the Plan, but the Dept. of Transportation and the Office of Planning do not.  Hence the amendment.)
      Below is an old blog entry where I first laid out the point. Note one of the modes not listed in the hierarchy is taxis.
      My only criticism of the "mobility hub" approach is that it seems overly focused on the modes, rather than a primary focus on optimal mobility.  Mode considerations should be secondary to the overall objective and goal of transportation optimality.
      Richard Layman
      Washington, DC


      Sunday, April 20, 2008

      Update of the mobility shed/mobilityshed concept

      First written about in the summer of 2006, updated today to include bicycle sharing in the list, since the SmartBike bicycle sharing system is being introduced in DC next month, see "Bicycle-Sharing Program to Debut, from the Washington Post.
      BIcycle sharing in DC
      Jim Sebastian of the District's Department of Transportation displays SmartBike DC's prototype bicycles, which will be ready for use in mid-May. (By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)

      The idea has to do with (1) having walking, bicycling, and transit as part of your daily and week-in, week-out lifestyle/way of life, rather than being something you do specially such as for recreation or only to go to and from work; and (2) planning for mobility around what I call the mobilityshed and transitshed.

      The transit shed is the area impacted by a transit line, the mobilityshed is the planning for mode shift within catchment areas around stations, which should include bicycle sharing stations, although they weren't listed in my first writing about it, and/or transit lines in total.

      I think you can think of bicycle sharing systems as different from owning a bicycle in terms of the level of mobility afforded by the method.

      "Conservatives" like to criticize society post-1960s as degenerating into a valueless sphere of relativistic thinking. It happens that this is a pretty facile approach to the nuances involved in cognitive development. I have mentioned before William Perry's work and his 9 stages of cognitive development. Relativistic thinking as a "permanent" form of thinking without commitment is by no means the highest stage.

      This comes up with regard to thinking about different forms of mobility, comparing forms, and determining which are "superior." Sometimes I do fall into this trap that I need to extricate myself from too. People would send me stuff about scooters, Segways, etc. and I would always respond, "a bike is better." Sure, a bike is better than a scooter or a Segway for most settings, but that isn't the point.

      In a city, for a lot of things, a bike is better than a car. And, now that you can take a bike on buses, and on the subway except for certain times of the day, you get further enhanced mobility that is relatively time-efficient.

      For example, I went to a meeting up Georgia Avenue but I didn't want to ride up the hill of Georgia Avenue. So I rode to 7th and Florida Avenue NW and took the bus up. On the way back, aided by the downhill slope, I rode all the way home (made good time too).

      Anyway, there is some discussion about the Smart Car, and the response from some is "a bike is better." But the Smart Car isn't about bicyclists. It's about people who already have cars. In auto marketing what they call "conquest" sales is when a particular brand gets someone who drives another brand to switch (a Lexus sale to a Mercedes driver is a "conquest", etc.).

      We need to think about "conquest sales" in terms of promoting (more) sustainable transportation options. And moving people along a sort of continuum to better mobility choices. The kinds of "conquests" we need to work towards are getting a car driver to switch to transit, or a multiple car household to get rid of a car, or for a F-350 pickup driver to switch to a Smart Car, etc.

      Segways (?)
      bicycle sharing
      bicycling (owned)
      - bus
      - rapid bus
      - light rail/streetcar
      - subway
      - railroad
      driving a vehicle
      - car (usually big)
      - cars (usually many in a household)
      - shared cars
      - Motorcycles

      (This list isn't necessarily hierarchical, but it could be organized that way in terms of the criteria below.)

      This is another element of thinking about transportation planning through the lens of a transit or mobility shed.

      Other dimensions include:

       frequency of use;
       trip purpose (for example, delivery services need to come back--if Home Depot can make deliveries in Manhattan, maybe Best Buy and Target and Bed Bath & Beyond could have a shared delivery service from the DC USA shopping center in Columbia Heights);
       habitation type and trip origin location (apartment buildings could develop car sharing Smart car programs as a profit center, etc.);
       trip distance/destination;
       sustainable and efficiency;
       number of people traveling together; etc.

      Yeah, a bicycle is better in a lot of instances than a Smart Car. But for someone committed to driving, a Smart Car is way better than most any other car choice they make--for most trips under 25 miles (and most people in the city make relatively short driving trips). And you can almost fit 2 Smart Cars in the same space that one car takes up on the street now.
      A Smart Car in DC!

      That's good for cities, and I hope, but don't expect, that United Auto Group would create special dealerships in center cities (the Mini dealerships are in the suburbs).

      In short, I think that a bicycle is always better than a Segway and I can't even think of a possible conquest sale-choice favoring Segways (no car driver would give one up; is a Segway ever preferable to a bike or walking or transit?, probably not), but a Vespa would be much better than a car. On the other hand, a Segway can be great for people with mobility issues.

      Everything isn't relative, but we need to be sure we are making the right comparisons when we are debating these issues.
      Question for you: in this New York Times article, "Daimler Hopes Americans Are Finally Ready for the Minicar," a trends analyst is quoted comparing the Smart Car to a Mercedes and using that as a marketing point, rather than focusing on its size and urban-appropriateness. From the article:

      Smart will not be the only extreme-subcompact darting in and out of traffic on American city streets. Honda has had success with its new Fit, as has Toyota with the Yaris. DaimlerChrysler notes, however, that the Fortwo is the only car in the world less than 3 meters (roughly 10 feet) long. 

      That makes it small enough for two to squeeze into a single parking space. Or for drivers to park it perpendicular to the curb without protruding beyond other parked cars — a practice that is forbidden in some cities.

      Some experts said DaimlerChrysler should promote Smart's European styling and affiliation with the Mercedes Car Group. "They ought to play it like a Baby Benz," said Joel A. Barker, an author and expert on business trends. "The Smart car just has a style to it that these other cars don't have. They don't have the cachet."

      Do you think he is right and I am wrong? Should the Smart Car be marketed primarily as a "city car" or not?

      If it's a third or fourth car to supplement an SUV, people are missing the point.

      --- On Thu, 7/30/09, Eric Britton <eric.britton@...> wrote:

      From: Eric Britton <eric.britton@...>
      Subject: [NewMobilityCafe] [World Streets] New Mobility Hubs: Connecting the dots
      To: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com, "WTP&P List" <WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com>,KyotoWorldCities@yahoogroups.com, Sustran-discuss@...
      Date: Thursday, July 30, 2009, 1:10 PM

      http://1.bp.blogspot..com/_kbTo-M_pSuw/SkMMPOzfTuI/AAAAAAAAA-o/OF8EX31q3xY/s200/pic-suez.gifThe next generation of urban transportation is about connecting the dots, bringing diverse innovations together in ways that work better for users than the single occupancy vehicle alone. Sue Zielinski introduces the New Mobility Hubs program, an initiative of City Connect, Ford Motor Company, the University of Michigan SMART project and local partners, with ongoing projects in N. America, Germany, India and South Africa.

      # # #
      Recognizing that neither alternative fuels nor pricing alone will save the day in this rapidly urbanizing world, a groundswell of transportation innovation is arising worldwide. However these innovations are too rarely linked in way that can provide a convenient, practical, affordable door-to-door trip for the user. The next generation of urban transportation is about connecting the dots, bringing diverse innovations together in ways that work better for users than the single occupancy vehicle alone.

      For full article – http://WorldStreets .org/

      Posted By Eric Britton to World Streets at 7/30/2009 06:35:00 PM


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