Category: Transportation

Ride-share, Ride-hailing Services Transforming Transit

Metro magazine takes a comprehensive look at the game-changing ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, that are meeting the needs of commuters and reducing operating costs for public transportation. The article by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, “Mobility-On-Demand: The Future of Transportation,” was posted on December 26, 2017, and can be accessed online here. It examines examples around the nation of how transit agencies are partnering with on-demand services, for first-mile/last-mile transportation, paratransit and carpools.  Public transportation ridership rates have been decreasing for years, and unless transit agencies adapt their service to embrace this innovation, they will lose even more riders. The University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies reported in October that urban ride-hailing passengers decreased… View Article

Don’t Miss the Bus on Transit

By Benita M. Dodd Most of the large-scale development in Atlanta in recent years has been near transit stations, The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. According to the narrative, corporations are being motivated to move close to MARTA stations because millennial employees prefer staying off the highways and living closer to their jobs.   Interestingly, none of these moves have resulted in improved MARTA ridership. Unlinked rail passenger trips dropped 1.16 percent in the first half of 2017 over the same period in 2016, while bus ridership dropped 3.31 percent. (An unlinked passenger trip is a trip on one transit vehicle; each transfer is counted as a separate “trip.”) This decline is not temporary. It’s a national trend, a result of lower… View Article

New Report Lauds Transit Contracting

By Baruch Feigenbaum In late September, the Eno Center for Transportation released “A Bid for Better Transit,” a report focused on improving transit service via contracted operations. I recommend reading this well-written report, which provides a snapshot of contracting throughout the world. U.S. transit service has long been among the worst in the developed world. One of the biggest differences between U.S. and European agencies is the prevalence of contracting for services. In Europe contracting out is a normal procedure. But in this country, contracting is bitterly fought by unions, urban Democrats and some transit rider groups as inherently inferior to directly operated service. The Eno report starts by providing a history of U.S. transit operations. It reminds… View Article

Commonsense Recommendations for SPLOST Reform in Georgia

By Ron Sifen and Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an optional 1 percent county sales tax used to fund local capital projects for a county and participating municipalities. Thirty-two years after lawmakers passed the SPLOST law, lessons learned prove the SPLOST is sorely in need of some updates. Implemented in just 12 counties in the first year it was established (1985) and 15 more the next year, today the tax is imposed in all counties except DeKalb, Fulton and Muscogee, according to the state Department of Revenue. (DeKalb and Fulton have a MARTA tax; all three have an education SPLOST). The tax, which can last up to six years, is routinely renewed;… View Article

Transit Needs a Ticket to Transparency

By Benita M. Dodd In March 2017, the Georgia House of Representatives voted to establish a Georgia House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding that sunsets by December 2019. The resolution cites the need to study developing a “unified regional governance structure;” “creating efficiency and coordination among providers;” “regional, integrated and comprehensive mass transportation,” and, “an analysis of potential methods of funding.” The commission is charged with undertaking “a study of the conditions, needs, issues and problems mentioned above or related thereto and recommend any action or legislation.” The commission met in June and August 2. Two meetings in, it seems the only problem is funding. The state’s alphabet soup of transportation agencies shared their progress and plans for… View Article
study by the Mineta Transportation Institute should make policymakers, lawmakers and taxpayers question why streetcar projects are being funded through transportation agencies and grants. The institute examined streetcars in Little Rock, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Tampa, Fla. “[T]here does seem to be a real disconnect between enthusiasm for the streetcar and its transportation performance,” the authors found. “In most cities, streetcar ridership is very low and compares quite unfavorably with the ridership on a local bus route operating in the same general area. A strict transportation assessment would tend to regard a streetcar that had lower ridership than a typical bus route as a misuse of scarce transportation resources. “But few of the informants tended… View Article
Georgia is moving toward dynamic tolls and a network of express toll lanes in the metro Atlanta area. The I-85 high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes allow vehicles with three or more occupants to travel free; the I-75 express toll lanes have no high-occupancy mandates but on both, the tolls increase with as the level of congestion increases. Road pricing has its supporters and detractors. In its first fully digital edition, ACCESS Magazine carries an article by Brian D. Taylor on the opportunities in using road pricing to manage and reduce traffic congestion.  ACCESS covers research at the University of California Transportation Center and the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness. The goal is to translate academic research into readable prose View Article
What promise do metro Atlanta’s express toll lanes hold for congestion relief, mobility, quality of life and affordability? In a nutshell: NewGeography.com describes the need for “affordable proximity” – enabling a growing regional population to live, work, shop and play without breaking the bank on housing or transportation costs. We need to acknowledge that in “decentralized, post-WW2 Sunbelt cities built around the car, commuter rail solutions don’t work and an alternative is needed, especially as we see autonomous vehicles on the horizon.” The solution lies in managed express lanes (MaX lanes), which leverage existing infrastructure, writes Tory Gattis of The Center for Opportunity Urbanism. He addresses this approach in his new report, “A Next-Generation Mobility Strategy for Affordable Proximity View Article
By Robert Krol President Trump and Congress seem poised to boost spending on highways, bridges, and mass transit. Yet if this increase in spending ends up being funneled through the existing transportation funding system, the results will be disappointing. Instead of increasing Washington’s influence over infrastructure spending, it makes more sense to leave most funding responsibilities with the states. That approach would result in better project selection and a superior transportation infrastructure. As things stand, Washington plays a significant role in highway funding. The 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act contains five formula-based surface transportation funding programs that will cost about $45 billion per year from 2016 to 2020. Although this and previous transportation funding bills have increased state and… View Article

AJC Publishes Op-Ed on Atlanta, MARTA TSPLOSTs

The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 2, 2017, published an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the new transportation special purpose local option sales taxes for MARTA and Atlanta. Her op-ed is published in its entirety below; the AJC link is here: http://www.myajc.com/news/opinion/opinion-look-future-not-past-gain-most-from-atl-splost/5h0CTF5gG9cK2ppp2ZRL4O/. OPINION: Look to future, not past, to gain most from ATL T-SPLOST By Benita Dodd April marks the full implementation of two transportation special-purpose local option sales taxes (TSPLOSTs) overwhelmingly passed by Atlanta voters in November 2016. A 0.4-cent, five-year Atlanta TSPLOST to raise $300 million has joined the 0.5-cent, 40-year TSPLOST begun in March to raise $2.6 billion for MARTA projects. The massive support is no surprise, given lofty campaign promises… View Article

The Foundation’s positions are well thought out and are often ahead of their time.

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes