Economic Development Research Group Blog

Getting Value from Transit Data (TRB Recap Series #2)

transit app pic
At the TRB Annual Meeting, I had the opportunity to publicize a project that I’m leading: TCRP J-11 (31) Guidance for Trading, Sharing, and Selling Public Transit Data – Now and in the Future . I have been talking to transit agencies and experts about data sharing and getting value out of the data transit agencies collect. We have discussed challenges, including data quality, standardization, and privacy. Many agencies share General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) data openly and appreciate the value that private app developers add to this value by producing trip planning apps that transit customers benefit from. Other agencies provide data to researchers whose analysis guides transit agency decisions. While many transit agencies see benefits, there are concerns as well. What information is presented by external data users? Is it accurate and in the transit agency’s interest? How can transit agencies best leverage the power of the data they...
Continue reading
  568 Hits
Tags:
TRB
568 Hits

Investing in Climate Resilient Cities (Resiliency Series-Part 1)

shutterstock_289331288-2
resilience_assessment_graphic.JPG
About 85% of the U.S. population lived in cities in 2015 (Census FactFinder). These urbanites are subject to unique impacts of climate change, as highlighted by the Fourth National Climate Assessment , released in November 2018. The Climate Assessment provides an update on indicators of climate change, including rising average global temperatures, extreme high temperature events, and more frequent heavy precipitation. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was record-breaking with four high-intensity hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria). And rainfall associated with hurricanes in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific is predicted to increase due to warmer temperatures. Some studies predict increased frequency and severity of thunderstorms across the United States. At the same time, sea level rise increases coastal flooding risks from weather events. More extreme and rising temperatures mean that in addition to flooding, drought and associated wildfires have also occurred in recent years, including the 2011-2017 California drought. City...
Continue reading
  573 Hits
Tags:
573 Hits

Defining Geographic Zones for Spatial Analysis

shutterstock_1134490277
Zones Blog Graphics
Spatial data is at the core of transportation analysis. Land use patterns, including the density of jobs and homes, and the locations of transportation infrastructure, such as stops, stations, and intersections, are frequently used to answer transportation planning questions. It is often useful to generate metrics at for a geographic zone. Not only does this allow for mapping and visualization, it often reflects the way that people use a transportation system – while a bus stop or rail station is located at a single point, passengers access it from the surrounding zone. In multi-modal analysis, considering zone-to-zone rather than point-to-point travel allows performance and accessibility assessments to compare or combine different modal options that serve the same areas. Given the importance of zones in transportation analysis, the next question is: which zones should be used? There are many existing zonal schemes including zip codes, census tracts, and transportation analysis zones (often...
Continue reading
  737 Hits
737 Hits

AMPO 2018: Planning for an Uncertain Future

AMPO-Annual-Conference-300x48.png
Uncertainty was a common theme at at AMPO’s annual conference , held in September in San Antonio, Texas. It was an opportunity to share strategies for dealing with an uncertain transportation future, ranging from scenario planning to collaboration and data-driven and technical solutions. I presented on cross-agency information sharing in the context of project prioritization, sharing lessons learned from EDR Group’s work with MassDOT on evaluating economic impact. My take home message was that information sharing across agencies makes planning and prioritization more effective and efficient.  In the Boston region, CTPS (the Boston region MPO) and the MBTA (the transit agency) each develop metrics and data products around accessibility that can be used for data-driven evaluation of potential projects. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, agencies can use interactive platforms to consolidate data products and make them usable across agencies. Throughout the conference, I learned about other planning efforts across the United...
Continue reading
  876 Hits
876 Hits

Using New Data to Improve Transit Networks

shutterstock_172414874

The transportation ecosystem is changing rapidly. Individuals have new transportation options, and nationwide trends show transit ridership in decline . New technologies, such as automated vehicles, are expected to continue to reshape mobility in the future. In this environment, transit system owners and operators are seeking to adapt their network design and services. Improved data availability and new processing methods can identify ways to improve transit service. Compared to rail systems, bus networks can be altered at relatively low cost to accommodate changes in demand. Bus network revisions include large-scale overhauls, such as recent redesigns in Houston and Columbus , as well as incremental approaches to bus network change, such as route additions, deletions, and realignments. To make these changes, planners need to understand how the current system is used and where there is potential for improvement. In recent years, contactless smart card-based automatic fare collection (AFC) systems have become increasingly...
Continue reading
  1869 Hits
Tags:
1869 Hits

New Data and Techniques for Transportation Economists

CV-blog-graphic1.jpg
Highway link speed data from vehicle GPS probes has become the standard for performance measurement, available free to state DOTs through the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS). This data can add value across transportation planning and policy-making. At EDR Group, we think it extends the potential for informed economic analysis. For Missouri DOT, EDR Group conducted benefit-cost and economic impact analysis of an Incident Management System (IMS) on the rural sections of I-70 and I-44. To evaluate the impact of MoDOT’s proposed IMS, we needed to understand the pattern and costs of incidents along the rural highways. To do so, we used vehicle speed data from HERE. We queried 5 years of speed records at 15-minute intervals for every link on rural I-70 and I-44: approximately 143 million rows of data in total. That’s a lot of data!  Figure 1 Schematic of incident identification. Using heuristics and a spatial...
Continue reading
  1838 Hits
1838 Hits

Latest Blogposts

Twitter Feed

Dispatches from the Consortium for Scenario Planning 2019 Conference https://t.co/zG6uOehft5
Now available - Economic Impact of San Francisco International Airport 2019 https://t.co/afxtg1KmiP https://t.co/FySWsilNlI
EDR Group, an EBP Company, is proud to announce that Jonathan (Jon) Lee has joined the firm as a Principal.… https://t.co/qOphraaheL
 

Telephone: 1-617-338-6775 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© 1997-2019 Economic Development Research Group, Inc; 155 Federal St. 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02110 USA