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

Green accessibility: Estimating the environmental costs of network-time prisms

Network-time prisms are powerful measures of space-time accessibility within transportation networks.  However, they fail to capture the environmental costs of potential mobility.  In this paper, we present a method for estimating the expected energy consumption and emissions associated with network time prisms.  We also verify our method using data from instrumented vehicles moving within an experimental network-time prism in the Phoenix AZ road network.

Song, Y., Miller, H.J., Stempihar, J. and Zhou, X. (2017), “Green accessibility: Estimating the environmental costs of network-time prisms for sustainable transportation planning,” Journal of Transport Geography, 64, 109-119.

Abstract.  Accessibility, or the ease to participate in activities and obtain resources in a given environment, is crucial for evaluating transportation systems. Greater accessibility is often achieved by increasing individuals’ potential mobility. However, potential mobility, if realized by motorized modes, can also generate negative environmental impacts such as fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While the negative environmental impacts of greater mobility are acknowledged, there has been a lack of research to validate those impacts using empirical data, especially considering variations in individuals’ mobility levels. This paper presents a method for estimating the expected environmental costs of accessibility represented by a network-time prism (NTP). A NTP delimits all accessible locations within a network and the available time for an individual to present at each location given a scheduled trip origin and destination, a time budget and the maximum achievable speeds along network edges. Estimating the expected environmental costs of a NTP involves three steps: (1) semi-Markov techniques to simulate the probabilities to move along network edges at given times; (2) the speed profiles for reachable edges, and (3) a cost function that translates speeds into environmental impacts. We focus on air quality and employ the motor vehicle emission simulator MOVESLite to estimate the CO2 emissions at both the edge and prism levels. We calibrate and validate the methods for experimental NTPs defined within the Phoenix, AZ, USA road and highway network using vehicles instrumented with GPS-enabled onboard diagnostic devices (OBD). We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method through two scenarios and investigate the impact of changes in mobility levels on the expected CO2 emissions associated with the experimental NTPs.

Keywords: Space-time accessibility; Network-time prism; Emissions

Kinetic prisms: Incorporating acceleration limits into space–time prisms

Space-time prisms are physically impossible since they assume infinite acceleration and deceleration. This paper is a first step in resolving this issue.  A theoretical description of kinetic prism geometry, but provides insights that can lead to moving objects data analytics with practical applications (e.g., animal movement, vehicle energy consumption and emissions, bicycles and other forms of active transportation)

Kuijpers, B., Miller, H.J. and Othman, W., (2017) “Kinetic prisms: incorporating acceleration limits into space-time prisms,” International Journal of Geographic Information Science, 31, 2164-2194.

Abstract:  Presently, data concerning moving objects abound. These data mainly consist of time-stamped geographical locations, which are collected by location aware devices, such as Global Positioning System receivers. Space–time prisms are used to model the spatio-temporal space of potential movement in between measured locations (called anchors). They rely on the knowledge of the maximal speed of travel of an object and they capture all space–time paths that respect this speed limit. However, the classic space–time path and prism model is not physically realistic, in the sense that it contains spatio-temporal paths of moving objects can alter their direction and speed instantaneously. Since this is physically impossible, the classical model is not acceptable in applications where mechanics and kinetics are vital. We propose a more realistic version of space–time prisms, in which not only speed but also acceleration is bounded. This additional bound results in a physically realistic model, which we refer to as kinetic prisms. Furthermore, we study how imposing constraints on the speed and heading at anchor points affects the geometry of kinetic prisms. In this paper, we give analytical descriptions of kinetic prisms and algorithms for their construction for movement in one- and two-dimensional space.

Keywords: Spatio-temporal data models, moving-object data, space–time prisms