The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SA-44 [Active (Synthesis)]

Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/2/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: FourSquare Integrated Transportation Planning
Principal Investigator: Lora B. Byala
Effective Date: 9/14/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017

Final Scope

Many American bus networks were designed and planned many decades ago to support populations, job locations, technologies and land uses that have, in most cities, changed dramatically. Network redesign can improve access to jobs, schools, healthcare, and other essential opportunities. Transit agencies with outdated networks might benefit from starting from scratch and designing and implementing an entirely new network, rather than using a piecemeal, route-by-route approach that could take decades to be implemented. Changing the network is, however, much more complex than a technical planning exercise—it represents significant political, regulatory and community engagement challenges, which are more strategic and communications-driven in nature. At the same time, it can be strategically efficient to undertake a wholesale network redesign rather than many small and ongoing tweaks to the network, which could carry significant political cost and incur relatively minor benefits.
The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the current state of practice regarding network redesign.

Topics to be studied include research and practice on the following items (not an inclusive list):

Decision making
• How do we determine whether bus network redesign is appropriate?
• What is the impetus for the redesign?
• What data was used?
• What were the goals and objectives?
• What was the funding source for the process of planning the redesign?

• What was the network design approach used? ( Philosophy used)
• What are the regulatory considerations? ( ADA, Title VI., etc.)
• What were the equity considerations?
• Which technical efforts/ analysis are used? (e.g. modeling forecasting, accessibility analysis, cost benefit, etc.)
• What are the tradeoffs considered?
o Rider perspective
o Local interests (municipalities, politics, advocates, etc.)
o Private interests
• How were emerging mobility solutions and other transportation options considered?
• How did financial considerations inform the process?
• Were additional capital expenditures considered?
• Was existing transportation infrastructure considered?

Evaluation criteria or framework
• What metrics were used? Were they weighted?
• What are the projected outcomes?
• How do the agencies measure success?

Stakeholders Engagement
• How are operators consulted or Involved in redesign?
• In what stages of the process and in what ways were the different stakeholder groups engaged?

• What were the marketing and communication strategies?
o Internal and external
• Over what time period was the redesign implemented? ( phased vs. all at once)

Challenges and lessons learned
• What challenges were encountered in the process?
o Scalability issues
• What things would you have done differently?

Information will be gathered by a literature review (e.g. agency reports, peer reviewed journal articles, web articles) and a survey on a broad range of North American transit agencies (diverse in terms of geography, socioeconomics, size, modes and governance) to identify the different strategies, the decision making process and the impacts of such actions. The report should include 5 case examples that will gather information on the state-of-the-practice, emphasizing lessons learned, challenges, and gaps. The needs for future research should also be discussed.

Information Sources:
• Vukan R. Vuchic (2005). Urban Transit: Operations, Planning, and Economics. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.
• Avishai Ceder (2007). Public Transit Planning and Operation: Theory, Modeling, and Practice. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
• Walker, Jarrett (2011). Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives. Washington: Island Press.
• Houston Metro’s 2015 “System Reimagining”
• TCRP Synthesis 10 Bus Route Evaluation Standards
• TCRP Synthesis 110 Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 14, 2017, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: October 4, 2017, 2:00 p.m., EST
Second Panel: May 10, 2018, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
Zak C. Accuardi, Transit Center
Matthew A. Ciborowski, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Lawrence Deeter, Capital Metro
Sybil J. Derrible, University of Illinois-Chicago
Jeanne Krieg, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority
Becca Nagorsky, Metrolinx
Daniel Nemiroff, SEPTA
Raymond A. Santiago, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District
Brian Jackson, Federal Transit Administration
Jeffrey Roux, Federal Transit Administration
Stephen J. Andrle, Transportation Research Board

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