Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Parking districts vs. transportation/urban management districts: Part three, jitneys/shuttles/delivery and the tertiary transit network

In my conceptualization of how to do multi-faceted and integrated transportation planning and service provision at the metropolitan and regional scales (past blog entry), service delivery is categorized at four scales:
  • regional -- such as between Baltimore and DC
  • metropolitan -- foundational services,  usually heavy rail and in-area commuter rail services, serving as the backbone of metropolitan transit service, serving both the center city and the suburbs
  • suburban primary, secondary, and tertiary transit subnetworks
  • center city primary, secondary, and tertiary transit subnetworks.
The center city primary network is comprised of the intersection of the inter-city transit and a dense transit station footprint within the city (also see "Making the case for intra-city (vs. inter-city) transit planning"), while the secondary network is comprised of cross-city bus services and outer city transit stations and is more focused on within-city transit (the "intra-city" piece is more about how to conceptualize service within central business districts of various types).

Port Phillip Community Bus Stop
Port Philip in Australia has a similar bus service.  Their bus stop sign is a good illustration of the purpose of the service.  Flickr photo by Daniel Bowen.

Conceptually, the neighborhood serving element of the tertiary network would provide a means for people to get from home to the neighborhood commercial district, transit stations, supermarkets, etc. without feeling compelled to drive.  See the past blog entry, "DC transit network."

That form of intra-neighborhood transit is different from more typical shuttle services that we are familiar with.  In DC most of these services travel between transit stations and a final destination.

Image from Subway Nut.

There are two types of tertiary transit service, public and semi-public.

A fully public version of this type is the free community bus service provided by Tempe, Arizona and their Orbit bus service. (Scottsdale modeled a similar service after Tempe.)  Most of the routes end Downtown at the main transportation center, which is also a stop on the Phoenix light rail rail.

Semi-public services are services that limit use to people with a relationship with the sponsor of the service, usually as workers or students or clients--e.g., federal government agencies, universities or the Washington Hospital Center all have shuttle services--linking multiple sites of the organization or connecting a building or campus to transit stations and other activity centers.

A variant would be hotel shuttles, which pick people up at airports and train stations and take them to the hotel, and will drop guests off at various places.

There are a couple of examples of intra-neighborhood focused public services like how I hypothesize, in the DC area, but both are fixed route with fixed stops.  By comparison the Tempe Orbit service will let people off anywhere along a route.

The Town of Friendship Heights, just over the DC border in Montgomery County, Maryland does provide a neighborhood-based shuttle connecting the towns apartment and condominium buildings with the Friendship Heights Metro Station and the area's two supermarkets.

The City of Vienna, Virginia provides bus service, called CUE, between the local transit station, the town center, and the George Mason University campus.  Falls Church had a similar service, but it shut down in the face of low ridership and loss of grant funding ("Falls Church to end George bus service amid grim budget," Washington Post).

DC TMDs could provide intra-neighborhood shuttle services.  In the previous discussion which outlined the case for why the city ought to create more formal "transportation management districts" to manage and support sustainable mobility, providing this kind of shuttle service would be another way to support commercial districts served by TMDs without having to focus on the provision of private parking.

Jitneys.  Jitneys or shared taxi service are a variant of this type of service.  Usually they are provided when the number of riders is too small to support regular transit service, but there is still a demonstrated need, proximate transit stations, etc.  (This will be discussed tomorrow in an entry that discusses, among other topics, Bridg.)

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At 12:06 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

excellent series.

Car-sharing/car-rental needs a place in these plans. Would be interesting to see how car2go is doing that in Europe.

I know issue regarding private jitneys is their fear of being common carriers. You'd need to include things like the howard to GUTS buses as well.

There has been some coordination with regional buses and other non-wmata stops. We need more of that. ON K st during rush hour regional buses can grinds blocks to a stop as they "board".

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Richard Layman said...

I was rushing this. E.g., I neglected to mention apartment building shuttles and hotel/motel shuttles. But the university shuttles are sort of mentioned, just not very directly.

UR right about car sharing to some extent. I know we use it to get to commercial areas in MoCo (like Parkway Deli!!!!!!!!!) but park on the DC side of the line.

Maybe there would be a way to do geographically specific carshare, so the cars would stay in Takoma so to speak, to support this kind of use.

The problem with having shuttles of course is labor. But maybe you only need to run it Weds. or Thurs. to Sunday, which would cut the cost a bit.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

yes. Bump out the car2go home area for a few blocks. Or Friendship Heights, for instance.

Uber-type solutions might work in the future for jitneys.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Larry Littlefield has some long pieces on real ride sharing that's kind of a combo of Uber and jitneys, but with a low standard price (in a way it would be zoned).

He suggests a fare of $3.50 of which go fees to the software provider and for marketing, but leaving about $2.50 for the driver. Again, it's more like the taxi collectif in Montreal (Pre-meters, taxis could be "shared" in this way in DC).

he calls it dynamic carpooling,

and he came up with the concept 20 years ago.

There's no question there should be bumped out zones for car2go in Friendship Heights and Silver Spring, maybe in Bethesda. But the problem is the compensatory fees that would have to be paid to MoCo leading to a jacking up of the rates.

In any case, it would be interesting for car2go and MoCo to do a pilot. The issue would be how many "members" could they get in MoCo to pay towards the fees...

There is one precedent. For Black Friday weekend, at Tysons and Tangier Outlets National Harbor, there was a car2g0 special "zone" where people could go back and forth, leaving the cars in the standard way.

Similarly, there should be such a zone for National Airport.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

right, I got that idea from Littlefield as well.

That's why I said parking -- you need a negoiation if you want street parking but if you can do it in a garage. car2go sometimes does not work inside of one (bad data connection)

You're going to love this:

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I don't get it. There isn't that big of a market for that kind of service. Don't understand the evaluation. Especially since it needs to be marketed to the end user, not to "a district" or building.

But maybe because of my depression mentality about costs of things, I really don't get it. cf.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

yep, I figured you would love it.

There is clearly a lot of efficency you can bring to valet parking.

Also, apps like this : SpotHero, which I used in Chicago to find a garage.


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