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Old 03-05-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,252 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11711

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Can mass transit be highly successful in the absence of two conditions:

(1) some measure of employment centralization; and
(2) expensive parking in areas of employment centralization?

Looking at cities around the world that have high mass transit ridership, at least one of two conditions seem to be in place. For example, the following is a list of CBDs around the world and their share of their regions' total employment. Note that the stats are from 1990, but illustrate my point nonetheless.

Amsterdam - 25.2%
Atlanta - 7.7%
Boston - 6.8%
Brussels - 24.1%
Chicago - 15.3%
Dallas - 5.6%
London -21.0%
Los Angeles - 4.6%
Miami - 2.8%
Montreal - 20.0%
Munich - 24.8%
New York - 21/0%
Osaka - 18.4%
Paris - 20.1%
Portland - 12.8%
San Francisco - 9.2%
Seattle - 12.2%
Tokyo - 27.2%
Washington, DC - 13.4%

Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed

So in an America where most people are not commuting into a downtown core, but rather from one suburb to another suburb, how do you make transit work?

Last edited by Yac; 03-06-2014 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
Reputation: 26646
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Can mass transit be highly successful in the absence of two conditions:

(1) some measure of employment centralization; and
(2) expensive parking in areas of employment centralization?

Looking at cities around the world that have high mass transit ridership, at least one of two conditions seem to be in place. For example, the following is a list of CBDs around the world and their share of their regions' total employment. Note that the stats are from 1990, but illustrate my point nonetheless.

Amsterdam - 25.2%
Atlanta - 7.7%
Boston - 6.8%
Brussels - 24.1%
Chicago - 15.3%
Dallas - 5.6%
London -21.0%
Los Angeles - 4.6%
Miami - 2.8%
Montreal - 20.0%
Munich - 24.8%
New York - 21/0%
Osaka - 18.4%
Paris - 20.1%
Portland - 12.8%
San Francisco - 9.2%
Seattle - 12.2%
Tokyo - 27.2%
Washington, DC - 13.4%

Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed

So in an America where most people are not commuting into a downtown core, but rather from one suburb to another suburb, how do you make transit work?
San Francisco is a weird case, even though only 9% of the region is employed in the central business district, 60% of the workers use transit, many of whom are coming from outside of SF. (source: San Francisco General Plan :: Downtown)

Oakland, also has a fairly small percentage of jobs in the central business district, and 24% of the workers take transit to the area. (source: http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/a...f-Downtown.pdf)

Transit can't work when everything is disconnected, you have to create areas of "concentration" of work/shopping/residential. Having these hubs of activity, give people a destination when they get off of the transit.

There are some benefits in using those shuttles that make a short loop around a business district, or connect a suburban office park with the train station a few miles away. This can help fill in the gaps of transit.

You need a moderate amout of density and centralization to run transit. But you don't need it to take the form of manhattan to make it work.

Last edited by Yac; 03-06-2014 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,252 posts, read 26,226,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
San Francisco is a weird case, even though only 9% of the region is employed in the central business district, 60% of the workers use transit, many of whom are coming from outside of SF. (source: San Francisco General Plan :: Downtown)
You mean that 60% of the workers in the CBD take transit into work, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
You need a moderate amout of density and centralization to run transit. But you don't need it to take the form of manhattan to make it work.
That's true. But what city has been most successful at implementing mass transit without having very much employment centralization?

I also don't think employment centralization captures the whole picture. Even if an area is not that centralized from an employment standpoint, it can still be very centralized from an attractions/amenities standpoint. No matter what Boston's employment numbers are, it will always be the center of gravity in its region. Bannk North Garden (or whatever they're calling it these days), Fenway Park, Fanueil Hall, Boston Commons, etc. are fixed attractions that are going to generate a certain amount of trips to the urban core no matter what.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
Reputation: 26646
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
You mean that 60% of the workers in the CBD take transit into work, right?
Yup. For the vast majority of people it is easier and faster not to drive (kinda like in manhattan, streets are packed etc). And well San Francisco has other problems. The transit is so screwed up, it is actually faster to get to downtown SF from most of Oakland, than it is from the western part of the city via transit. So the 30 minute transit window actually only covers about 40% of SF, 60% of Oakland, Berkeley and a few other nearby cities

Quote:
That's true. But what city has been most successful at implementing mass transit without having very much employment centralization?
There is a small city next to Oakland (and Berkeley), Emeryville. They didn't have much transit or much stuff period. In the 90s they went on a development spree and added a little housing, a lot of big boxes and a lot of offices. But the streets were already congested, as it is basically at the foot of the Bay Bridge (bridge from the East to SF). People would use the town's streets to beat highway congestion either to SF or Berkeley or the cities north.

They created a Business Improvement District to fund a free shuttle that connected the nearest transit stop to the city and the various office parks, apartments and strip malls.

40% of people who live in the city and work elsewhere take transit. 20% of the people who work there and live elsewhere take transit. Which is really good because the city bus (which is roughly county wide, including Oakland and Berkeley) has really limited coverage of Emeryville. The special shuttle covers the city really well, and things are not centralized in this small city.

To sum it up, you can create a transit system, that just loops around town. Provided the frequency is good enough, people can and will use it instead of their cars. And that is what happened in Emeryville. Its rates of transit to work for its residents is a lot higher than the region. And the inbound numbers are actually pretty high for the region on the whole (but maybe a little low for the county).

This free shuttle has been going on for about 15 year now, has about 1.3 Million passenger trips a year. [http://www.emerygoround.com/uploads/....original.pdf]

Quote:
I also don't think employment centralization captures the whole picture. Even if an area is not that centralized from an employment standpoint, it can still be very centralized from an attractions/amenities standpoint. No matter what Boston's employment numbers are, it will always be the center of gravity in its region. Bannk North Garden (or whatever they're calling it these days), Fenway Park, Fanueil Hall, Boston Commons, etc. are fixed attractions that are going to generate a certain amount of trips to the urban core no matter what.
I wouldn't call it employment centralization, more like stuff centralization. I commented that you need to put work/home/shopping in a centralized location. Some people will go to work, some will go home and some will come for play, but all drive trips (and hopefully via transit). But if development isn't a bit centralized, transit is impossible
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,252 posts, read 26,226,229 times
Reputation: 11711
I'm familar with Emeryville. But I wasn't talking about a suburb or satellite city. I meant a decentralized metro area with great transit.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,655,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I'm familar with Emeryville. But I wasn't talking about a suburb or satellite city. I meant a decentralized metro area with great transit.
I'd say, impossible. You need some centralization. You could have multiple "activity zones" but you need to create destinations where the density is higher. Even in a decentralized place. That's what LA is doing. Creating more destinations and linking the existing ones to each other.
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:30 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,554,590 times
Reputation: 33053
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Can mass transit be highly successful in the absence of two conditions:

(1) some measure of employment centralization; and
(2) expensive parking in areas of employment centralization?

Looking at cities around the world that have high mass transit ridership, at least one of two conditions seem to be in place. For example, the following is a list of CBDs around the world and their share of their regions' total employment. Note that the stats are from 1990, but illustrate my point nonetheless.

Amsterdam - 25.2%
Atlanta - 7.7%
Boston - 6.8%
Brussels - 24.1%
Chicago - 15.3%
Dallas - 5.6%
London -21.0%
Los Angeles - 4.6%
Miami - 2.8%
Montreal - 20.0%
Munich - 24.8%
New York - 21/0%
Osaka - 18.4%
Paris - 20.1%
Portland - 12.8%
San Francisco - 9.2%
Seattle - 12.2%
Tokyo - 27.2%
Washington, DC - 13.4%

Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed

So in an America where most people are not commuting into a downtown core, but rather from one suburb to another suburb, how do you make transit work?
Denver:

Denver, CBD 11.4%
Denver, Tech Center 5.6%

Interesting that DTC gets its own mention on this list (for those of you who thought the DTC was just a little office park).

Last edited by Yac; 03-06-2014 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 03-05-2014, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I know Portland functions with a plan of concentrated centers throughout the metro and then connecting those areas with rail.
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:24 PM
 
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It's about time they built some "circle" lines, eliminating the need to go into the Center City, miles out of the way, to reach another suburb that is only 15 angular degrees apart.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:45 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,558,119 times
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Depends on the level of decentralization. A "streetcar suburb" pattern with interurban lines running in a star/wheel-and-spokes arrangement can serve a lot of spread-out neighborhoods, but without a "circle" line it's tough to live on one "spoke" and work in an adjacent "spoke." And that adds overhead.

Generally, it seems like there are two relatively incompatible ways to build cities: walkable (which facilitates pedestrian, bicycle and transit activity) and auto-centric (which limits the other three) or some mixture of the two. There may be ways to mitigate some factors, like car-sharing and ride-sharing, allowing people to use cars to get from point to point when needed but not needing quite so many cars and quite so many parking spaces. But designing a space for fast, unimpeded high-speed automobile traffic is inherently limiting to any other mode of transportation. The middle ground becomes the "worst of both worlds"--traffic is bad but the streets may not be quite walkable enough.

So, really, the way to make transit more practical in a decentralized city is to centralize it.
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