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The National Academies

TCRP J-11/Task 44 [Pending]

Improving Access to Public Transportation Services and Facilities with Transit-Oriented Complete Streets

  Project Data
Funds: $125,000
Contract Time: 18 months
Staff Responsibility: Dianne S. Schwager

BACKGROUND

Part of every public transportation trip is as a pedestrian. Consequently, safe, convenient, and comfortable access to public transportation services requires adequate and appropriate pedestrian and, often, bicycle facilities. Yet, people must often cross dangerous, non-signalized, unmarked crossways on high-traffic streets and roads to reach transit stops and stations. Similarly, potential transit passengers are frequently at risk when attempting to reach new, high-speed transit services [such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and light rail] that are constructed near highway interchanges. Some communities, especially historically, underserved communities, often lack basic infrastructure for public transportation access and face conditions hostile to walking and bicycling. Improving access to public transportation has the potential to increase ridership and improve access to jobs, education, childcare, health care, and other critical community services.

Extreme weather across the United States, including very high and very low temperatures, rain, and snow, has been exacerbated by climate change. Public transportation passengers need adequate shelters that provide protection so passengers are safe and comfortable throughout their trips. Access to shelters that increase passenger comfort has the potential to increase public transportation ridership and reduce one of the primary contributors to climate change, greenhouse gas from vehicles.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. While improvements have been made to mitigate some travel barriers, such as redesigning public transit vehicles and facilities and providing sidewalk curb cuts, there is a paucity of adequate infrastructure needed to fulfill the promise of the ADA.  

Many communities are making investments in transit-oriented Complete Streets that facilitate people-centered transportation options (e.g., services and facilities for public transportation, bicycles, shared micro-mobility modes, and pedestrians). Proven investments serve a variety of societal goals, such as safety, equity, economic vitality, public health, and environmental stewardship. However, these investments cannot be designed and implemented by public transportation agencies in isolation, but are made jointly by local, regional, and state partners and stakeholders, and require effective community engagement. Collaborating with partners and stakeholders with differing priorities and authorities is cumbersome and challenging.

In the coming years, there may be several funding sources that public transportation agencies, communities, and states can use to fund infrastructure improvements. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which funds many types of infrastructure including transportation, stipulates that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) must use 2.5 percent of their overall funding to develop and adopt Complete Streets policies, active transportation plans, transit access plans, transit-oriented development plans, or regional intercity rail plans. Similarly, states must reserve 2.5 percent of state planning and research funds for the same purposes.

Communities in urban and suburban areas need to develop and leverage their infrastructure to provide improved access to public transportation. Research is needed to help communities pursue and achieve this goal.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this research is to develop a practical resource for public transportation agencies, local jurisdictions, state departments of transportation, and other stakeholders to better connect people to public transportation services and facilities through transit-oriented Complete Streets in urban and suburban areas throughout the United States. The final deliverable should address:

  • The proven, innovative, and emerging strategies to create transit-oriented Complete Streets with improved safety, accessibility, equity, connectivity, and environmental benefits in urban and suburban areas.
  • The policies, stakeholder-partnerships, community engagement, technology, and funding commitments that underlie the successful development, execution, and on-going operation and maintenance of strategies to create transit-oriented Complete Streets. 
  • The barriers to implementation stakeholders should expect, efforts to maximize success and minimize impacts, and metrics for measuring outcomes.

RESEARCH PLAN

The research plan will describe appropriate deliverables that include the following (which also represent key project milestones):

  1. An Amplified Research Plan that responds to comments provided by the project panel at the contractor selection meeting.
  2. An interim report and panel meeting. The interim report should include the analyses and results of completed tasks, an update of the remaining tasks, and a detailed outline of the final research product(s).  The panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report. The interim report and panel meeting should occur after the expenditure of no more than 40 percent of the project budget.
  3. Final deliverables that present the entire research product with an executive summary that will be useful to a practitioners and stakeholders.
  4. A webinar on the results of the research and the deliverables that the research team will present for TCRP. 
  5. A technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.

 

STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP.  The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.

 

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