Measuring the impacts of new public transit services on space-time accessibility

Lee, J. and Miller, H. J. (2018) “Measuring the impacts of new public transit services on space-time accessibility: An analysis of transit system redesign and new bus rapid transit in Columbus, Ohio, USA,” Applied Geography, 93, 47-63.

Highlights

  • Lack of access to opportunities contributes to poor social and health outcomes.
  • Columbus, OH introduced a transit route and schedule redesign and bus rapid transit.
  • We analyze impacts on accessibility to opportunities in a deprived neighborhood.
  • Detailed route and schedule data allow high resolution accessibility analysis.
  • The new bus rapid transit has a much greater impact on accessibility

Abstract

The absence of effective access to opportunities and services is a key contributor to poor socio-economic and health outcomes in underserved neighborhoods in many cities. The city of Columbus, Ohio, USA is attempting to enhance residents’ accessibility by providing new public transit services. These new services include a major Transit System Redesign (TSR) of the conventional bus network and the introduction of a new bus rapid transit, named CMAX. Using a high-resolution space-time accessibility measure, we analyze whether these new public transit services will change residents’ accessibility to job and healthcare in an underserved neighborhood of Columbus. Also, we assess whether enhancing the CMAX service to reduce delays (e.g., reserved lane, off-board payment system) will improve accessibility. The high-resolution space-time accessibility measure in this study uses published public transit schedules via the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). We use multiple departure times during a day to account for the temporal fluctuations of accessibility based on the transit schedule changes. We also consider the operating hours of job opportunities and healthcare services. Results suggest that the TSR yields ambiguous benefits for accessibility to jobs and healthcare. However, the new CMAX service and its potential upgrades lead to a substantial increase in both job and healthcare accessibility. The results can be used for city officials and urban planners to evaluate the effectiveness of public transit innovations in improving accessibility.

Keywords: Transportation; Space-time accessibility; Public transit; Bus rapid transit; Jobs; Healthcare

Out for Good podcast on Mobility in Columbus

I am happy to be part of the first episode of Out for Good, a weekly podcast that explores issues facing Central Ohio and highlights the individuals and organizations making an impact.

Elissa Scheider (Transit Columbus) and I discuss why mobility is important to our community with co-hosts Jason Phillips and J.M. Rayburn.  You can listen to the podcast here.

Good Ideas Columbus

This afternoon is an event I have been anticipating for quite some time: the Good Ideas Columbus Happy Hour at Seventh Son Brewery.  Transit Columbus, a local, not-for-profit community-based planning organization is sponsoring this event: it is the culmination of a months-long process involving six design teams with six ideas for transforming transportation in Columbus.  Each team has a community leader (such as Mayor Michael Coleman), but consists of citizens who volunteered their time and energy to make Columbus more livable and sustainable.

Other Transit Columbus events have produced creative solutions to transportation problems in Columbus, such as the Design Your Transit event this past Autumn.  We should see some good, perhaps great, ideas tonight as well.  As a relatively recent transplant (re-plant?), I must say that I am very impressed with what I see in Columbus.  There is a great urban fabric to work with, a committed leadership, and great grass-roots energy.  People love the Cbus and believe in its future.

As their Facebook page says, “Trains, bikes, pedestrians, food and beer.”  How can you go wrong?  See you this afternoon at Seventh Son Brewery (1101 North 4th St).