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.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

More on planning and operating transit at the metropolitan and regional scales

While this report, Public transport -- Plannng the networks (HiTrans Best Practice Guide #2, 2005) is focused on smaller regions, the best practice analysis and recommendations are relevant to most transit agencies and planning bodies.

Combine integrated planning and market competition

The major institutional challenge for creating success in urban public transport is to combine the benefits of market competition and tendering in relation to market orientation and efficient service production, with the benefits of service co-ordination, network integration and the potential of public transport’s economies of scale. At the same time the challenge is to avoid the negative aspects of the two principal

Rothengatter (2000) has expressed the following viewpoints on the balancing of the two principles of competition and co-ordination:

  • In order to succeed in the urban transport market, the public transport system must offer a network of lines that ideally integrates all modes and lines for both intra-urban and inter-regional travel.
  • Lines and their stopping places, timetables, fares and ticketing systems and information systems must be integrated to form a single, understandable, user friendly and efficient system.
  • In order to exploit the synergy effects of a transport network, one has to have a single, strong regional body to co-ordinate all actors in the system.
  • Competition for the operations of the network can be achieved by two different approaches; often a middle way is used in practice.
  • Separate tenders for small parts of the network, even single lines. This will make it possible for many small operators to compete for the market.
  • Large sections, or even the whole network in the region, are put out for tender. Then the operator must do all the work of coordinating lines in the network, in addition to the task of operating the lines. This alternative tends to exclude small operators, and thus reduces competition.
  • The transaction costs are often significant when using economic incentives in urban transport.

Therefore Rothengatter recommends simple, pragmatic solutions in preference to more ideal solutions according to economic theory.

.... As in most other countries, the German market share of urban public transport in relation to car travel has fallen, although less than in other countries. According to Pucher (1998), the relatively small decline may be attributed to regional co-ordination of public transport services, which has greatly enhanced the quality of public transport in Germany. The regionalisation of the railways is one important aspect of this. (page 56)

... A Dutch study of public transport organisation and management has looked at the experiences in four different European urban regions; Zürich, Tyne and Wear, Copenhagen and South Limburg (the Maastricht region) in the Netherlands (Veeneman 2002). As a generalisation, the study concluded that there are five different types of rationalities behind the institutional frameworks and organisational reform in urban and regional public transport:

  • “Conceive the customer”
  • “Manage the market”
  • “Schedule the service”
  • “Produce the policy”
  • “Maintain the metropolis” (page 58)

Key factors of success and good practice ... (page 60)
Irrespective of the nature of the operation of the public transport in terms of its competitive orientation, a number of key factors emerge. Empirical evidence suggests that good practice seems to have four interrelated factors in common. These are:

  • Regional organisation: The existence of some kind of regional structure is the element that many authors have argued as essential.
  • Funding: A willingness to commit funds to both operations and infrastructure by relevant stakeholders is a pre-requisite and by itself would appear to be able to generate public transport patronage, but not modal shift from car.
  • Supporting policy: Complementary policies that reinforce the underlying transport policies in their achievement of modal shift.
  • Land use and transport co-ordination: Successful co-ordination between land-use policies and transport policies in recognition of their conjoint spatial attributes.
Of course, a regional body in and of itself can't work miracles.  There must be congruence between transportation policy at the regional, state, and federal levels. In Germany, there is strong support for car manufacturing, as three major companies are based there (BWM< Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen).  

Even so the use of sustainable mobility is preferenced through other policies, including high gasoline excise taxes--gas is almost 3x more expensive in Germany compared to the US, parking is expensive, the time and cost required to get a driver's license is considerable, and registration and other taxes on car purchases and ownership

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