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Effects of Automated Transit, Pedestrian, and Bicycling Facilities on Urban Travel Patterns

Effects of Automated Transit, Pedestrian, and Bicycling Facilities on Urban Travel Patterns

Transit in the United States often suffers from the problem of inability to deliver travelers all the way from their point of origin to their destination. This "last-mile" problem is thought to deter transit use among riders with auto access, even when high-quality transit service is provided for the majority of the trip distance. This study explores how transportation improvements, including automated driverless community transit between origins of trips and nearby transit stations, and urban-design improvements enhancing pedestrians' and cyclists' commute might help overcome the last-mile problem. This study was based on four neighborhoods in metropolitan Chicago, selected as an area with significant regional rail but also room to grow in terms of transit use. The neighborhoods were chosen to represent similar access to the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) rail system but different combinations of affluence and density: higher-income/higher-density (Evanston); higher-income/lower-density (Skokie); lower-income/higher-density (Pilsen) and lower-income/lower-density (Cicero).

Overall, the presence of the community transit and urban-design improvements had a marked effect on the sample modeled. The sample lived within 1.5 miles of a CTA rail station and worked within 3 miles of a station. The transportation mode choices of this group were modeled with and without community transit and a set of urban amenities. Deploying these reduced driving by between 7 and 29 percentage points; the largest percentage-point reductions were in the more auto-oriented areas of Cicero (16 percentage points) and Skokie (29 percentage points). Auto-use reductions were somewhat lower in areas with greater transit use to begin with: Pilsen (8 percentage points) and Evanston (7 percentage points). Use of the train increased between 9 and 28 percentage points, with more auto-oriented Skokie (28 percentage points) and Cicero (23 percentage points) exceeding the denser Pilsen (12 percentage points) and Evanston (9 percentage points). CTA mode shares among the sampled/modeled population increased from 24% to 52% in Skokie, 46% to 55% in Evanston, 52%to 75% in Cicero, and 52% to 64% in Pilsen. Across all neighborhoods community transit is forecast to decrease car share from its current 36% to 22% and increase CTA share from its current 50% to 67%. The findings that community transit produced greater change in the lower density areas of Skokie and Cicero are among the more robust in the study. Results from the stated-preference experiments suggest that these changes could be further improved with supportive augmenting policies, notably pertaining to parking pricing.

Author: Jonathan Levine, M. Zellner, Y. Shiftan, M. Arquero de Alarcon, A. Diffenderfer
Published: September 2013

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