How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables

What would it be like to live in a city administered using the business model of Amazon (or Apple, IKEA, Uber,…)?  A new book playfully combines speculative fiction and analysis of 38 different business models when applied to running cities of the future.  How to Run a City Like Amazon, and Other Fables, edited by Mark Graham, Rob Kitchin, Shannon Mattern and Joe Shaw, is available in paperback and PDF from Meatspace Press.

My contribution to the book, Cities Need Mass Transit, shows how a highly personalized transportation system envisioned by Tesla and Elon Musk cannot possibly scale to be an effective urban mobility solution.

 

Fare-free public transit?

Real estate developer and former longtime Central Ohio Transit Authority board member Bob Weiler has proposed that buses be fare free, spreading the burden with an increase in the county sales tax.

I was a guest on the WOSU public affairs show All Sides with Ann Fisher to discuss fare free public transit, along with Bob Weiler and Patrick Harris (COTA).  You can listen to it here.

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