Midsize Cities on the Move: A Look at the Next Generation of Rapid Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, and Streetcar Projects in the United States


External link: http://reconnectingamerica.org/assets/Uploads/20121206midsizefinal.pdf

Publication date: December 1, 2012

Capsule summary: This report reviews innovative transit solutions from midsize cities across the United States.

Author(s): Kline, Sarah; Forbes, Sasha et al.

Publisher(s): Reconnecting America

Definition: Exploring methods of public involvement in transportation planning processes
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Definition: Planning practices for pedestrians, bikes and transit
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Definition: Financial strategies and techniques for transportation planning
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Definitions: Passenger transportation services
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Definitions: The movement of people
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Definition: A public agency that operates and maintains passenger transportation services
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Definition: Administrative subdivision of a state
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Definition: A large urban area
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Description: Transportation planners in midsize cities face a broad range of needs specific to their communities. In some cities, typical transit systems may not meet all the needs of the community, and additional services are necessary to ensure connectivity across the area. This report reviews innovative projects in practice in several midsize cities in the United States. Topics covered include planning processes, partnerships, investments, land use, and rapid transit.

Objectives: The objective of this report is to serve as a resource for transportation planners in midsize cities, looking to expand their transit network to meet the needs of their community. The report includes review of planning documents and the findings from phone interviews with practitioners in midsize cities.

Findings: The outcomes of the practices documented in this report varied depending on their purpose and the quality of the service offered. An example of a successful practice is the use of rapid bus systems, which have improved connectivity in Flagstaff and Albany alike. Many of the projects are still in development and their effectiveness cannot be evaluated without continued monitoring, but their existing progress may serve to guide planning decisions at other organizations.

Recommendations: Ensuring that funds are used effectively is a challenge for many midsize cities when implementing new transit programs. The research team recommends that in order to maximize the benefits of investment, transportation planners should focus on planning projects carefully in advance of implementation, and seek partnerships with other agencies. Considering the transit mode and route that will most effectively meet agency needs, and taking input from community members, land use planners, businesses, and investment partners, can improve the project development process.

Research Theme: Financial Strategies, Planning for Pedestrians, Bikes, and Transit, Public Involvement

Community Type: City, Medium City

Transportation Mode: Personal, Transit

Planning Scope:

Organization Type: City, County, Transit

Planning Subject: Facility or Land Use, Forecasting, Land Use Planning, Planning Methods, Strategic Planning, Transportation Planning