Rising transit usage among Gen Z (left); HBLR extension TOD study (top right); Planning grants change cities (bottom right)
Article of the Week
IRELAND—Young People Now Use Public Transport More Often Than Three Years Ago, Says New Survey
Intelligent Transport, Dec 12, 2022
A survey by Expressway, a division of Bus Éireann, found that nearly 72 percent of young adults aged 19 to 23 in Dublin use public transit more now than in the past few years. According to respondents, efficiency, reduction in fare costs, and overall economic value of public transit were the leading reasons why they are more than ever ditching cars for transit alternatives.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Remote Work Flipped the Commuting Script. Now Transit Must Adapt.
Skip Descant, Government Technology, Dec 12, 2022
Transit ridership has changed drastically as the work-from-home movement that began with the pandemic has taken hold. Cities such as Washington, D.C., now must reconcile with this new paradigm and understand that transit must also adapt. For the future of transit to be sustainable, agencies must consider themselves as providers of a service of mobility for purposes beyond the typical rush hour commute.
NEW JERSEY—Transit Reports It Is Bouncing Back From Pandemic Ridership Slump
Tom Gantert and Brett Rowland, The Center Square, Dec 12, 2022
After facing an almost two-year ridership decline that began with the onset of the pandemic, NJ TRANSIT has reported that most peak hour trains have returned to 100 percent ridership levels. Some weekday midday trains have seen returns of up to 70 percent of pre-pandemic ridership levels as well. Federal Transit Administration figures recorded over 100 million fewer boardings between 2019 and 2020, but that number is growing again as 2022 ends.
CALIFORNIA—San Diego Trolley, Bus Ridership Nearing Pre-Pandemic Levels but Still Struggling
Joshua Emerson Smith, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dec 10, 2022
The opening of San Diego’s Blue Line extension on its trolley network, and the increased usage of that service, have helped ridership catch up to that of San Diego Metropolitan Transit System buses. Now drawing slightly more passengers than buses, trolleys are nearing ridership numbers seen pre-pandemic, but not enough to offset the overall decline in ridership over the last decade.
BOUND BROOK—Groundbreaking Set for 143-Unit the Rail at Bound Brook
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, Dec 14, 2022
A new six-story residential complex broke ground in Bound Brook. The project known as The Rail is part of plans to develop the area surrounding the Somerset County borough’s Raritan Valley Line commuter rail station. The area is designated as a New Jersey Transit Village and will open new real estate and capital opportunities to the neighborhood.
BERGEN COUNTY—9-Mile Light-Rail Extension into Bergen Co. to ‘Reduce Congestion’
Logan Williamson, Patch, Dec 12, 2022
Leadership at NJ TRANSIT and in Bergen County anticipate the proposed nine-mile northern extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Englewood to lessen congestion and improve mobility. Known as the Northern Branch, the proposed extension will run through the eastern part of the county and is expected to serve more than 5,600 new light rail customers. To advance planning for the extension, NJ TRANSIT has received a new Federal Transit Administration grant to study how to maximize ridership and support transit-oriented development (TOD) near it. The study will help engage local stakeholders and secure more equitable commute options for Bergen County residents.
TRENTON—Murphy Announces $24M to Expand Access to Public Transportation and Spur Transit-Oriented Development
Linda Lindner, ROI NJ, Dec 12, 2022
Governor Phil Murphy recently announced the award of more than $24 million to municipalities across the state through three different programs designed to expand transit access. Doubling the amount of line-item funding for Local Aid and Economic Development Grants, the three programs—the Transit Village Initiative, the Safe Streets to Transit Program, and Local Bikeway Program—will help promote Governor Murphy’s vision of a more fair, equitable, and environmentally friendly New Jersey. The Transit Village Initiative is multi-agency smart growth effort led by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ TRANSIT.
Transit-Oriented Planning Grants Begin to Change Cities
Jared Brey, Governing, Dec 16, 2022
Federally administered grants that focus on transit development have begun to alter cities in America that have long been without adequate car alternatives. Transit-oriented development planning in cities such as Birmingham, AL, Pittsburgh, PA, and Phoenix, AZ, has begun to change transportation in “car country” thanks to these grants. Building on the opportunity to introduce new forms of transit, such as bus rapid transit, also allows for better public coordination on urban planning proposals.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—Washington D.C. Is Making Public Buses Free Forever
Hope Yen, AP and Fortune, Dec 12, 2022
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) recently announced that, beginning in Summer 2023, buses within the District proper will be free of charge permanently. The D.C. Council unanimously approved the plan, also agreeing to make a dozen major downtown routes operate 24 hours a day, a step designed to serve passengers enjoying the area’s nightlife. Just under 70 percent of Washingtonians who use the buses are low-income and minority. The free bus services will benefit these residents while welcoming a new, affordable, and environmentally friendly option to WMATA customers.
NEW YORK—Adams’ First Two Neighborhood Rezonings Take Shape as Mayor Looks to Supercharge Development
David Brand, City Limits, Dec 9, 2022
Penn Station Access—the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plan to bring Metro-North Commuter Rail trains from Connecticut to the Bronx and Penn Station—has afforded Mayor Eric Adams (D-NY) the opportunity to introduce proposed rezoning in two Bronx neighborhoods. Adams intends to introduce a half-million new housing units throughout the outer boroughs of New York City as the city enters a new era of population growth and job availability, including in the East Bronx where three new Metro-North stations are expected to be built by 2027.
MINNESOTA—What Would Land Value Tax Look Like in Minnesota?
Ian R Buck, Streets MN, Dec 15, 2022
Streets MN sat down with Metro Transit’s Michael Krants to discuss the opportunity to introduce a land value tax (LVT) in Minnesota and how its adoption would affect transit in the state. Deriving a tax from the value of land may encourage those who occupy vacant land to sell and thus encourage building development and support economic development and efficient land use in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Has Micromobility Finally Rebounded from Its COVID Downturn?
Skip Descant, Government Technology, Dec 13, 2022
Micromobility forms of transit, such as e-scooters and bicycles, are becoming increasingly popular for quick and efficient travel for short distances. A report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) helps make the case for better infrastructure to enhance the safety and experience of bike and scooter users. Since a pandemic-induced downturn of utilizing micromobility options (bottoming at 60 million in 2020), more than 112 million trips have been taken in the last year across the United States.
CALIFORNIA—San Jose Becomes Largest Us City to Drop Minimum Parking Rules
Jack Rodgers, ALM|Globest, Dec 12, 2022
San Jose, CA, has become the largest American city to drop parking minimum rules to date. The San Jose City Council voted unanimously to abolish the practice, paving the way for new zoning that allows for the expansion of housing opportunities. With this change, the council has also increased flexibility for the size of parking lots, citing that new developers will be able to “right size” parking at each location. This vote reflects a continuing adoption of the practice among California cities, as places such as San Francisco and Los Angeles eliminate or reduce the use of parking minimums. Note: Access to this article may require a free online membership.
MINNESOTA—Minneapolis Wants to Be the ‘Bus Rapid Transit Capital of North America’
Jared Brey, Governing, Dec 9, 2022
Minneapolis Metro Transit recently opened its fifth bus rapid transit (BRT) line in the Twin Cities. The new $75 million D Line will mirror the local Bus 5 route, according to Metro director of arterial bus rapid transit Katie Roth. As transit systems such as the one in Minneapolis look to bring ridership back from the pandemic, bus rapid transit may be one way to boost ridership. In the Twin Cities, some routes have seen a 30 percent increase in passenger trips since the introduction of BRT.
NEW YORK—Governor Hochul Announces Groundbreaking for Metro-North Penn Station Access Project to Bring Four New Stations to the Bronx
Governor’s Office, New York State, Dec 9, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul held a groundbreaking ceremony on Penn Station Access in the Bronx with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The project will bring four new commuter rail stations to East Bronx communities and a second critical route from Coastal Connecticut to New York City. Over 500,000 Bronxites will live within walking distance of the four new stations in Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point. Amtrak, which owns the line, will contribute $500 million to the project and plans to improve infrastructure along the corridor as a part of the $3.2 billion program.
INDONESIA—Mrt Jakarta, Travelio Collaborate to Market Apartment Units Near Stations
Petir Garda Bhwana, Tempo.co, Dec 14, 2022
MRT Jakarta and Horizon Internusa Persada are collaborating to market property near the Jakarta MRT station, which includes nearly 540 apartment units located within 2.5 kilometers of the station. The partners will initiate affordable housing program as well as the introduction of technological advancements such as digital applications, which has become a common non-fare box revenue source of money for the agency.