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Civil Engineering and Surveying Department University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus

“PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS: IMPLEMENTATION FOR NEW COMMUNITIES”

David Santiago-Bonilla Undergraduate student

Presented to:

Mr. Ismael Pagán-Trinidad Professor

INCI-4019 Civil Engineering Seminar- Section 100 December 15, 2011


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Index: 1. Introduction

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2. The public transportation system

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3. Problems of the automobile city

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4. The architecture of the urban

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5. Types of public transportation systems

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5.1 Central Bussiness District Distributor

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5.2 Intra-urban Rapid Transit

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5.3 Urban-Suburban Rapid Transit

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5.4 Conurban High Speed Ground Transit

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5.5 Special Services

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6. Implementation problems

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7. Urban Successes

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8. The future of the public transportation system

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9. Results

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10. Conclusions

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11. Recommendations

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12. References

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Figure List Figure 1, Buses from The Metropolitan Authority of Buses, San Juan, PR.

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Figure 2, Inauguration of the Shinkansen, September 1964, Japan

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Figure 3, Traffic jam in China

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Figure 4, Pedestrian Mall and cargo handling and service schedules in San Francisco Street, Old San Juan, 1964

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Figure 5, Construction of “Doña Fela” parking lot, 1964

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Figure 6, Transmilenio, Bogota, Colombia

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Figure 7, Metro Urbano

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Executive Summary Watching the changes that our urban centers had suffered with the rise in population and a higher demand of automobiles and highways, this report details how a public transportation system can help to reduce the traffic jams and encourage the development of the city. Knowing the different types of successful models used in the past, their development process and the types of systems that better suits the needs of the city, the best options can be determine based on concepts that directly affect to the passenger, so traveling can be as reliable and comfortable as possible and the traveler can keep supporting the system. The crisis allows us to re-evaluate the concepts to solve the transportation problems, sometimes with outstanding results, and thus becoming models to be used in other cities or countries. The cities that do not own a public transportation system should make the pertinent transportation studies to implement a system that can be reliable and have a clientele that support and use the system. As a preliminary program, the people can be oriented and be familiarized with the routes and the advantages to travel in a public transportation system. Cities that own a public transportation system should also maintain the system in optimal conditions and update it with the most modern technology so the user service can be faster and more accessible.


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1. Introduction Even though the public transportation system exists from centuries ago -when the railroads are being constructed during the Industrial Revolution of the XIX Century- its use to solve transit problems in the cities is more notorious nowadays in which the rise of the population of many places affects the cities’ life quality. Contrary of other economic aspects in the city, increasing the Gross Domestic Product, increases the demand for more private automobiles and a higher demand of road use that causes traffic jams. In the past years we have seen how the traditional urban center had lost their public spaces and lost their commerce and population. The concept of measuring the progress with cars and houses in the suburbs -back in the XXth Century- had changed and now we see the efforts of some visionaries leading society to an infrastructure that uses these resources properly. The concept of Town Planning emphasizes that the cities should invest in a public transportation system to improve life quality in such cities, and how to invest in a public transportation system that suits the user’s needs can generate profits that can be measured in the economic, health, engineering, and social aspects. This report seeks to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages that imply to invest in a public transportation system in different communities, with their respective designs and processes. The communities that do not own one can be involved and be able to establish an adequate system that suits their needs to improve the economy of the community, decreasing the traffic jams and the pollution. This report also seeks to encourage the communities that do have a public transportation system to invest in upgrading and improve their systems. To determine common models of public transportation system that had been used in different cities will demonstrate the success of these models being implemented in the cities, because they will be used as stimulant so the community can invest in their own public transportation system. To stimulate the implementation of an accessible public transportation system that can be used by the commuters, this report details how the need of implementing a system arises to solve the urban problems, and how cities and countries got involved to reach the desired success. This report also details the process of how to design a system that can be suitable for the city, due to the different types of systems for different purposes, according to the passengers’ needs. Lastly, this report will study the successful models that had come and how these public transportation system models had improved life quality in the cities where they operate.

2. The public transportation system The public transportation system (also known as mass transportation system), can be defined as every transportation system that help the passenger to travel without his or her private vehicle. There are various types of public transportation systems-depending on their uses, but all share similarities: they are designed to mobilize huge amounts of people, and they are configured in fixed or established routes -in circuit mode- to provide programmed services in a schedule. Example of these are the trains that travel in fixed railroads, or the buses that travels along an established route with a number of stops where the passengers wait for the service to go to their destiny or to take another transport.


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Figure 1, Buses from The Metropolitan Authority of Buses, San Juan, PR. (Reference: Department of Transportation and Public Works, Puerto Rico )

Even though public transportation systems had been moving people since the XIX Century Industrial Revolution, the initial idea to use them to mobilize us in the city to avoid the use of private cars is not that recent. The idea of a reliable transportation system to move us trough the city can fit the new sustainable design movement of nowadays, the concept as a solution to transportation problems in high density population areas comes after the Second World War, depending on which country. One of the first countries that used a public transportation system to recover from the post-war economic crisis -by being defeated by the Allied Forces at World War II- was Japan. Before 1945, the railroads that the Japanese government controlled were basically steam locomotives, even thought some private city trains started to be electrified. After the war, the electrification of the railroads was sponsored to modernize the obsolete system, and from there new electric railroads had been developed that increase from 2966 km (13%) in 1960, to 6021 km (29%) in 1970, to 8414 km (39%) in the 1980’s. However, for Japan, one of the most memorable moments was when the Toukaido Shinkansen was started to be built back in 1959. Completed in 1964, it started to set velocity records, and Japan was positioned as a leader in the implementation and development of bullet trains. Other countries saw Japan as a model to implement bullet trains to make reliable and secure transcontinental travels, like France and other European countries.


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Figure 2, Inauguration of the Shinkansen, September 1964, Japan (Reference: Transportation Museum, Japan)

However, in the Western World -especially the United States- the idea of using mass transportation systems as an urban transportation solution was not a priority until the 1970’s. After the World War II, the United States of America was placed as the most powerful country of the world, and the economic boom achieved the rise of a developed consumerist population. They were stimulated to acquire a car for every trip: driving to their jobs, business and recreational trips, among others. The federal government of the United States invested in the construction of the Interstate Highways, and the suburbs were being developed outside the traditional city centers. However, in 1973, the Yon Kippur War was started. This is a decisive war, due the majority of countries that are involved in the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) are Arabian countries, and they did not support Israel, unlike Western countries. The politics in between made the Arabian countries that are in the OPEC to reduce their oil production, suspending the supply to those countries whose policies were not favorable and greatly augmented the barrel price, which in a span of months tripled. The United States was severely affected by the Arabian oil embargo, not having any short-term solutions for the crisis. Long lines were made at the gas stations, fuel had to be rationalized, and the commerce and industry had to close to save the heating and energy costs -seeing how the fuel gallon increased almost to double. While the United States were submerged in the oil embargo crisis, Japan did manage to overcome the crisis easily. This is because the Japanese car manufacturers were producing small cars with better gas mileage; and high-density population cities were being developed with reliable public transportation systems that easily managed the impact. The Oil Embargo was lifted in 1974; however the urban planners saw the risks and mistakes of having designed cities for the cars.


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3. Problems of the Automobile city In the United States and other countries, the car is a symbol of progress that people desire to have mobility wherever you want to go. However, many of the cities were designed originally for the pedestrian, because they were constructed way before any mechanic transportation device existed. It was after the commercial success of the automobile, that pedestrian cities started to be modified to fulfill with facilities that can manage the vehicular transportation. In the XXth Century, the cities started to lose their public spaces, and the proliferation of the suburbs far away from the center of the city caused that moving on foot or bike would be virtually impossible. Now the new spaces, like the suburbs, malls and department stores, and other places with low-dense population will require the construction of facilities designed to accommodate the car for its use: such as parking lots, gas stations, and highways. This started to be a problem when the population growth rose; the amount of cars also rose. These cities that transformed to be car oriented tried to solve the traffic congestion problems adding more highways. This is not always the better long-term solution, and sometimes big enterprises and politics interfere to eliminate any developments that do not generate any profit. According to Philip Gillespie, cities oriented to cars, by their infrastructure demand to be functional and by the long distances and time that is required to travel, the public transportation system has a minor role. The traffic jams during peak hours worsen the life conditions of the users, by being trapped in a vehicle and driving at a very low or no speed, which increases stress and crashes when the impatience overwhelms the driver. Even in cities with a quick public transportation system, citizens are affected by traffic jams that go beyond the normal parameters. In the City of Boston, a traffic congestion that happened on December 30th, 1963 lasted from 4:45pm up to 9pm; and recently in China, a traffic congestion that started on August 11th, 2010 set a record with having a car line measuring 60 miles for eleven days. In these times China had neglected their roads, and the overuse of these roads by vehicles that exceeded limits the load that is not permitted, had left the Asian country’s roads in such poor conditions. Traffic congestions bring other consequences that affect society: such as pollution, waste of productive time and reduction of the local economy-affecting the commercial appeal of the cities.


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Figure 3, traffic jam in China. (Reference: Daily Mail Newspaper).

If the traffic congestions were not a problem by themselves, the chaos that started in 1973 (when the Arabian countries that were members of the OPEC), imposed the oil embargo to the Western World throug their policies that favored Israel. The United States was forced to rationalize the fuel, closing industries and businesses to save fuel, and to wait in long lines in gas stations due to the dramatic increase in the gas prices. The crisis from the oil embargo affected the American economy, and began to debate about the energy crisis. Then the planners were forced to rethink in the sense of city, and in the mobility of the people in an efficient way to avoid any future major crisis.

4. The urban architecture After the Second World War, the world sees a new revival as a society, and the Modern Architecture movement starts to be developed. This architecture breaks with every past tradition; they no longer are based in previous styles and they do not try to imitate other styles. Now is the architecture based on scientific facts, in the study comfort. The generation of architects that follows after the Modernists, the Post-Modernist, rebel against the previous movement. The postmodernists stated that Modern Architecture was too simple, and that the human being and life were more complex. The Postmodern architecture searched for the masses of people and return to the symbol concept, and they return to traditional concepts of architecture that the modernists had left. Postmodern architecture has a special interest in the city; it searches the city with a smaller scale for pedestrians. This architectural movement emphasizes the use of public transportation systems to revive pedestrian and historical areas. The process of urban transformation achieved an enrichment of the urban life, recovering the pedestrian and public spaces, with the development of public transportation systems that improved the life quality of the city, such as the cases of cities around the globe like Copenhagen, Bogota, Melbourne and San JosĂŠ de Costa Rica.


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In Puerto Rico, a Pedestrian San Juan is being considerated since the 1960’s. The first attempt was the General Neighborhood Renewal Plan for Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra (GNRP), a proposal by Peter W. Amato. This plan recommended an urban revival plan that comprehended the neighborhoods of Old San Juan, La Perla, and Puerta Tierra; in a ten year period to attend housing and traffic problems and the deterioration of the neighborhoods. Even thought the plan recognized the historic value of the zone, one of the most polemic proposals was the expropriation of the neighborhood of La Perla to transform the area into an amphitheater. The GNRP plan was not implemented. However, the idea of a Pedestrian San Juan did not had much support, and it was decided to build the multi-story parking lot “Doña Fela”, in 1964, demolishing nearly 100 linear meters of old Spanish fortification walls that still remained in the Recinto Sur Street.

Figure 4, Pedestrian Mall and cargo handling and service schedules in San Francisco Street, Old San Juan, 1964 (GNRP).

Figure 5, Construction of “Doña Fela” parking lot, 1964


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Between the years 1984 and 1985 some studies were made to improve living conditions in the traditional center of Old San Juan, but to accommodate more and better parking spaces. The plan made it possible to use an alternate transportation system like Agua Guagua and the trolleys. Also the plan had implementations to improve the public spaces like the Plaza de Armas, and the Plaza Colón. Nevertheless, after two years and the constant protests of the businesses during election time, the plan failed. Other attempts of the next city mayors had also encountered obstacles in the implementation by part of the traditional commerce and a private sector with political links in the government of turn.

5. Types of public transportation systems The city and its population have different needs that have to be evaluated and attended so a public transportation system implementation plan can be effective and obtain the success to continue offering the services. To attend the needs in the proper way that a public transportation system requires, some key questions have to be made in order to know what type of system is feasible: 

The first step is to know the level of demand the city has, and the characteristics of the trips. To do this the cities have to make traffic studies each five or ten years.

The authorities must know the budget that is available to establish an effective system, and understand that a good plan can stimulate the economy, giving more opportunities to people to have transportation to work or go to study, decreasing poverty and improving the life quality.

The time available to plan an adequate public transportation system may be affected by politics; in case a political figure implemented it, the chances that the political figure loses the election and the opponent candidate decide not to implement is high. Many ideas and proposals have been disposed of having been from adversary groups or political parties.

It is necessary know the political, social, and cultural context in which the decision is made. There has to be a vision of the city, and a goal to reach with sustainable transportation system.

Knowing the energy sources the city counts for fuel storage.

Beside these considerations, the plan has to know what services are being offered, because the key to success for the implementation of a public transportation system is the performance. According to the system’s performance, at least five different systems can be classified.


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5.1 Central Business District Distributor Also known as CBD Distributor, this type of public transportation system is common in central urban areas. Among its characteristics are: they offers a frequent service for distances out of the rage of walking, and the same service should be available at any time, rush hours and regular hours. They should be safe and relatively comfortable for short distances that they operate, and they should go at low speeds due to the multiple stops, and the process of boarding and leaving passengers should be easy. The system should be only one unit, without attaching to others. Also, they should be free of charge. Examples of this type of public transportation system are the trolley cars that run in the traditional urban centers of Puerto Rico (like the Old San Juan Trolley) and the San Francisco Cable Car 5.2 Intra-Urban Rapid Transit The Intra-Urban Rapid Transit (also known as Intra-Rapid RT), is a system that serves to the city by connecting the urban centers and financial districts with other centers that surround them, to densely populated suburbs nearby. In this system there is a maximum route for a trip of ten or fifteen miles, a trip that cannot take more than 30 minutes. What matters most in these types of public transportation system is the time. That is why a better performance (depending of the distance, stops and time lapses required) is sought. For a trip with a 20 minute limit to travel ten miles, an average travel velocity of 30 miles per hour (mph) is required, which means that the system has a limited amount of stops and durations (an average estimate of one stop per mile and 30 seconds each stop). Speed can go up to 50 or 60 mph in the highway, but it cannot go faster by lack of capable equipment that can handle those conditions. A good example of this type of system are the articulated buses that can ride more passengers than the CBD Distributor, and which are nowadays implementing with success in Latin American countries, specially thanks to the success shown by the Transmilenio Bus System in Bogota, Colombia. 5.3 Urban-Suburban Rapid Transit It is a system that helps bring people from communities, suburbs and other distant urban centers at high speed. It requires faster speed, which can be competitive against the car, travelling 50 to 80 mph; the travel time can be reduced, especially when the highways are congested. They are systems that have few stops, and have a longer track to ride them the IntraUrban Rapid Transit; therefore better facilities and comfier seats are required for a pleasant trip throughout long periods of time. Example of this type of systems is the Tren Urbano (Urban Train), in the Metropolitan Area of Puerto Rico. It serves various tracks between the City of Bayamon, Guaynabo and San Juan, with speeds up to 50 mph, and serving in high social and economic activity that helps to maintain its constant demand.


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5.4 Conurban High Speed Ground Transit This is one of the most effective systems to travel from one city to another in long distances. They are High-speed rail systems that travel long distances at a speed that go beyond 100 mph. The criterion that evaluates the service is time, and not speed. For the Conurban high speed ground transit to be effective, it requires to make it competitive with the highways between cities, like the Tokaidou Railroad for the Shinkansen. The Toukaido line requires a speed up to 100 and 130 mph over 320 miles to keep travel time of the express service from Tokyo to Osaka in 3 hours or less. The interiors of the train cars, where passengers go, should be comfier than any public transportation system named earlier, and they should be equipped with food, beverages and sanitary facilities. Distances between trains to avoid any setbacks are nearly 15 to 30 minutes, and the station should be spaced in a range of 25, 50 or 100 miles separated. Other successful examples of this type of system is the French TGV ( Train à Grande Vitesse) in Europe and the new Acela Express that offer service between Washington, D.C. , Philadelphia, New York and Boston in the United States. 5.5 Special Services This type of transportation is used majorly to connect the other systems previously mentioned. This type brings private services, in other words, they can only be used if there is an agreement among the vehicle’s owners or with the passengers, not like the public transportation system that provides regular services to the general public. They might have some few inconveniences or fees, lack of comfort and use, but that is because they are used in special occasions. Examples of these are the shuttles that some institutions use to take passengers to another place while they wait for a service.

6. Implementation problems Even thought now there are city models that had integrated an efficient and self-sustainable public transportation system, there are still communities that are wary with the implementation of a system by lack of orientation. In the case of the Old San Juan, there is evidence of how in the last years planners had tried to establish a system where they emphasize in transforming centric areas into pedestrian urban centers, but failed the attempt. Most of the time is caused by the poor planning, unfortunately due to some designers that use traditional techniques and concepts- nowadays obsoletesto solve problems that require a new perspective. The result of poorly conceived design is, maybe, due to the ambiguity or separation of chores of the people that are responsible for the work. According to the former mayor of the City of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa, whose administration implemented the Transmilenio buses system: “The first thing that we need to do is to free ourselves a little of the traditional vision of what we think what is the city and, specially, of the traditional vision of the American city which, rather than a city with highways, is a highway with a city”(Lambada-Nieves, 2005). This traditional vision can prevent the


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adequate implementation to solve the mobility problem in the city. According to Peñalosa: “In Puerto Rico they think that the progress is a city like Miami or like Houston, when it is exactly what a city should not be. And, on the other hand, there is so poor contact with cities that can be better examples of what a city should be: Zurich, Amsterdam or Copenhagen” (Lambada-Nieves, 2005). Since the suburbs have begun started to be built, the suburb can work effectively with the car because from its concept, the suburb was designed for the car. Another problem with the implementation of new systems that can be solutions suitable to the new economic and environmental expectations is the division of professionals that are involved in the town planning. For a public transportation system to be successful, it should be integrated with the transportation area of civil engineering. However, because the concept is developed more in town planning and landscape architecture; there is an ambiguity in the responsibility of who should design an efficient system: the engineer or the architect. These careers with totally different disciplines may cause setbacks in the implementation of the system, because the engineer and the architect do not necessarily share the same vision of the project, or the same approach to obtain a winning design. In the case of Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras has the Laboratory of Sustainable planning and Human Environment (Laboratorio de Urbanismo Sostenible y Ambiente Humano), which approach urban landscape to improve life quality. And also in the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, it has the Center of Transference in Transportation Technology, with an approach to highway construction, parking lots and improving traffic, etc. This difference in the approach makes the engineer and architect to work in separate processes, dealing with mobility and urban planning as separated issues, and because of that an only solution is hard to implement. Another problem that avoids the public transportation system implementation is the money. It is not the lack of government funds, but the commerce. We have records, most of them in the Old San Juan Neighborhood, in which businessmen and businesswomen of the traditional urban center protest the implementation plans for a pedestrian area. Unfortunately the concept of the local commerce is wrong because their perception of how to solve the mobility problem in the city is with more highways and parking lots. And the excuse that an area cannot be for pedestrian use is because the streets may be used if any emergency occurs; this argument lacks fundamental logic because the pedestrian streets can be designed with access control for vehicles with permits to attend the emergencies. The General Neighborhood Renewal Plan for Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra of 1964 attended this issue, providing loading, unloading and services schedules proposals for vehicles that the commerce and the people could need. The negative reply of the commerce, insisting not to implement a pedestrian area plan affects them economically to them. The ignorance that the Old San Juan neighborhood had lost a 73% of its population since 1960, according to the census of 1960 and 2000, is a loss of population that could have consume and invest in the local commerce that businessmen and businesswoman are trying to protect, but with the wrong methods. Another reason why these plans have not yet been implemented is the politics, due to some contributors that sponsor a political candidate or political party, and can favor the personal interests of a few and not of the people who are seeking a more habitable city.

7. Urban Successes Cities that had invested in a public transportation system that suits the city’s needs achieve outstanding results in the urban aspect as well as in the traffic. Better results can be achieved thanks to the system that can replace the amount of cars that make traffic jams in the highways. An articulated


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bus can carry nearly 160 passengers, which is equivalent to 130 cars. The reductions of cars in the roadways shorten travel time, which also improves the local economy. Nevertheless the major achievement of a public transportation system is the improvement of social aspects of the city. With a public transportation system, the city can reduce poverty -allowing more people to access the transport, to seek for jobs, and have better options to go study. Other achievements are the significant reduction in car accidents, and a reduction in cars improve the healthreducing the amount of pollution that comes with the automobile (such as the CO2 and other chemicals) that can affect the pavement and the runoffs.

Figure 6, Transmilenio, Bogota, Colombia. (Reference: Radio Santa Fe).

The most renowned example in Latin America is the implementation of the Transmilenio, in the capital city of Colombia: Bogota. The former city mayor of Bogota, Enrique PeĂąalosa, chose an articulated bus system with metro characteristics -instead of a metro system like in Medellin- for economic aspects. The infrastructure required in a bus system was more affordable. However, the Transmilenio gives services to different areas of the city (like the neighborhoods, urban centers and business centers) in a faster way. The Transmilenio has some records that certify its success since its beginnings: starting with a reduction of 89% of deaths due to cars accidents; a 40% reduction of contaminants; and a 32% reduction of the traveling time (an average saving of 14.7 minutes). The Transmilenio has a high productivity, nearly 750,000 passenger per day, which generates jobs (almost 95% in the private sector) and incomes approximately $100 million dollars to the economy of the city and Colombia. An example in to Puerto Rico is the Tren Urbano (Urban Train). The Tren Urbano, contemporary to the Transmilenio of Bogota, was placed in 2011 as the most secure and efficient transportation system in the United States, according to the FTA (Federal Transit Administration). The Tren Urbano achieved an efficiency of 99.6%, in other words, from each 10 trips, in 9.6 times the train arrives to the station at the scheduled time. The Tren Urbano outperformed other systems more complex and from


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more populated cities in the United States; the Washington Metrorail reached second place, followed by the Los Angeles Metro, the Miami Metrorail and the Metro of Pennsylvania. Also the statistics show that the passengers of the Tren Urbano increased a 20 % in 2010, reaching 47,114 passengers daily, which show how people are supporting the use of the Tren Urbano, due to the high cost of fuels and waste of time in the metropolitan roadways during the peak hours of traffic congestions. In addition, the Tren Urbano has also succeeded because the stations are in strategic spots that help the pedestrian to move from an urban center to another without the use of cars - like the Río Piedras, Universidad, and Hato Rey stations- avoiding vehicular congestions. An example of the benefits of the Tren Urbano is in the Universidad station, located at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. If the 3,200 people that come to the Campus by train came in their cars, they would occupy half of every parking lot available in the University; but in the Old San Juan, if those 3,200 people came by car, they would fill the parking lots of Covadonga, La Puntilla, Doña Fela and Paseo Portuario.

8. The future of public transportation systems Now there are cities that had invested in a public transportation system, having results that meet the needs of the city and its population, and receiving a positive result in the engineering, architectural and social aspects. Also, the improvement of technology can help people to better understand the need of investing in a public transportation system. In addition, organizations such as the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) emphasize the need to use a public transportation system to support sustainability, and at the same time emphasize the integration of design teams with different majors to work together towards one objective, instead of having the designers working separately with their respective areas. In Puerto Rico, the Metro Urbano is being developed. The Metro Urbano is an articulated bus system that will impact the west region of the metropolitan area of the Island. Cities like Arecibo, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Dorado, Toa Baja, Manatí, and others will benefit thanks to the Metro Urbano will connect them with the Bayamón City area and the Tren Urbano, with other metropolitan areas. 350,000 people will benefit, creating nearly 990 direct and indirect employments, and with an initial investment of $76,314,000.00, it is estimated that the first phase will conclude in October 2012.

Figure 7, Metro Urbano. (Reference: DTOP)


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Another public transportation system project that is in the design phase is the Tren Liviano de San Juan (Light rail transit of San Juan). This light rail transit will complement the Tren Urbano, and will take passengers from the Sagrado Corazón station in Santurce up to the Old San Juan neighborhood. The reasons for the light rail construction are broader than just decreasing the travel time; it is to improve the city and the habitability of the city. The municipal government used as a model for the Tren Liviano the Portland Streetcar, in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Streetcar had a cost $100 million dollars, but developed techniques to install the rails that could be completed from the start up to three weeks for a 600 feet span. Among the achievements acquired, as Rick Gustafon, Portland Streetcar Director said: “The most significant achievement was to support a broader development in the city with $2.5 billion dollars in new developments, with the new 750 feet streetcar line. The second achievement was to show that the streetcars can operate in traffic with cars. The third was to develop a more affordable and quick construction” (Nogueras, 2007). Another city in Puerto Rico: Caguas, seeks innovation to distinguish itself by searching practical and reliable solutions. Caguas is in process of developing a magnetic levitation train (or Maglev) between the Las Catalinas Mall and Centro Mall, and to connect to a station in the Cupey Neighborhood in the north to decrease travel time between San Juan and Caguas at least to a 50%. The American Maglev Transportation (AMT) submitted the final proposals to start the different construction phases of the Maglev train. With an investment of $400 million dollars, the project is estimated to be concluded by the year 2013, with the train connecting San Juan and Caguas, along with the modernization and expansion of the public transportation systems that will connect the maglev train with eleven towns of the region and with the urban center of Caguas.

9. Results With this report, statistic evidence and data is presented to certify that advantages that involve an investment of a public transportation system, and how a well designed system can transform the city for the enjoyment of everyone that lives in it. It is seen how the crisis can help engineers, planners and the general public to rethink and search for solutions that can tackle the problem from its start, and a vision of how to solve the problem at short and long-terms. Like the Shinkansen of Japan, when after the Second World War Japan designed the first bullet train that nowadays extends throughout the whole Asian country’s archipelago. Like the city of Bogota that invested in a system that met the social and economic needs of the city. Instead of investing in a metro rail type system-like Medellin- , they chose an easier and affordable system to operate like the articled bus system of the Transmilenio, that achieved to position itself as one of the most successful models that are studied and promoted by different governments in Latin America as a solution to traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl. The Transmilenio is now being modernized to operate in more routes, with cleaner energy, and attending the growing demand of passengers, which help improve the management of time and recover public spaces for the enjoyment of the city. The data that the Transmilenio reveals shows the success in security level, with a significant reduction of car accidents, a significant reduction of contaminants, and decreasing the travel time to arrive to the destinations on time. In Puerto Rico, the Tren Urbano had also positioned itself as an efficient alternative system, surpassing train systems in more populated cities in the United States, like the Washington Metro rail and the Los Angeles Metro. Thanks to a good design that was prepared to satisfy the demand of transportation, the population can see how the cities that


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had invested in a public transportation system had recovered the investment -not only in economic income- but also in the citizens’ welfare.

10. Conclusions Implementing the process for a public transportation system implies a process that should be carefully studied on what type of system the city requires. Even thought it depends on distances and measurable parameters, a good public transportation system to be successful depends more on travel time, and the comfort the passengers feels during travel. For short trips at business centers, trolleys or Central Business Distributors are used to help to move within the zone. Whenever the trip and time increases, the systems should be equipped adequately according to the function needed so that the passenger desire to use and support the system, instead of traveling in their private car. Also, an adequate orientation with the community can help ease the implementation process of the system, because personal interests may affect the process, and the transportation plan may be considerate as a failure or left unattended by the authorities. Nevertheless, the future looks promising, now there are cities with public transportation systems that are investing in upgrading the actual systems and bringing the technology to ease the transactions and the trips.

11. Recommendations The cities that have not invested in a public transportation system are delaying their progress and can be severely affected in the economic aspects, without mentioning the dangers that it can cause in emergency situations. Detailed studies of the traffic behavior in the city can help perceive the problems within that should be attended with engineering and planning knowledge. The work to achieve progress within the city by making more pedestrian facilities and implementing a public transportation system should be coordinated with civil engineering and urban planning disciplines, and not being dealt as different disciplines because the project requires both disciplines to work at maximum capacity. Another recommendation is that a pilot program should be established so it can stimulate the people of the city to use the public transportation system, learn how to use it, and then officially establishing it. In the summer of 2010, the Central American and Caribbean Games were held in the City of Mayaguez, in the west region of Puerto Rico. Among the infrastructures made for the enjoyment of the games, the State government of Puerto Rico sent to Mayaguez the AMA Buses (AMA: Metropolitan Authority of Buses, they are buses that serve the metropolitan area of San Juan) to move people to different activities, games and shows held in the host city. The route of the buses ran through all of the PR2 Highway, from the Mayaguez Mall, the Parque del Litoral and up north to the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. The bus service had a great impact connecting the most populated centers, and gave opportunities by using it to go to the urban center and to the mall. Unfortunately, when the games ended, the buses returned to the Metropolitan Area, and Mayaguez was left without an efficient system that would connect the different important zones in the municipality. The City of Mayaguez has only three trolleys for the urban center, and as we speak, there is only one trolley functioning. Mayaguez’s case, the success of the use of buses in the Central American and Caribbean Games of 2010 should be a catalyst for the city’s government to comprehend that the city requires a system


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that can ease the traffic in their most important highway, the PR 2, and that people can arrive to their destinations beyond the urban center. An Intra-Urban Rapid Transit, taking passengers to different communities and suburbs will be a relief to the passenger budget and will incentive to the local economy, especially in these times of recession.


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12. References American Public Transportation Association. (2011). Transits benefits. Retrieved on December 15, 2011, from http://www.publictransportation.org/benefits/Pages/default.aspx Bates, D. (2010, August 25). Great crawl of China: Vendors cash in on 60-mile traffic jam that’s lasted 11 days-with no end in sight. Mail Online. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1306058/China-traffic-jam-enters-11th-day- officialsadmit-weeks.html Bonnin, J. (2005). Andemos San Juan… ¿Quiénes? Entorno, Dossier, 1, 2-3 Delgado Mercado, O. (1994). Historia general de las artes plásticas en Puerto Rico (Tomo 1). San Juan, PR: Editora Corripio, C. por A. DTOP. (2011). Metro Urbano. Retrieved December 15, 2011 from http://www.dtop.gov.pr proyinf_metro.asp Gillespie, P. (1968). Ground transportation, a matter of performance. In D. Lewis (Ed.), Urban structure (pp. 72-91). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Lamba-Nieves, D. (2006). El mago, el urbanista y el político: Entrevista con Enrique Peñalosa. Entorno, 3, 12-14. Moreno, G. (2005). Se hace ciudad al andar: Experiencias internacionales. Entorno, Dossier,1, 4-7. Municipio de Mayagüez. (2011). Trolley de Mayagüez. Retrieved December 15, 2011 from http://www.mayaguez.pr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=157&Itemid= 143&lang=es Nogueras, C. (2005). Movilidad y cultura en el Viejo San Juan. Entorno, Dossier, 1, 1. Nogueras, C. (2007). Entrevista a Rick Gustafon. Entorno, 4, 49. Ortiz Menchaca, J. (2011, September 24). El Tren Urbano, el más seguro y eficiente; una agencia federal reconoce el sistema como el mejor de Estados Unidos. El Nuevo Día, p. 5 Peña, N. (2007). Urbanismo, “El país entero pide pon”; Reflexiones sobre la propuesta del Tram para San Juan. Entorno, 4, 46-47. Red de Transporte Ambientalmente Sustentable para Latinoamérica y el Caribe. (2003). Transmilenio; Un sistema de transporte masivo de alta capacidad y bajo costo. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from http://nestlac.org/Consulta/TransmilenioBogota.pdf Rogat, J. (2009). Planificación e implementación de un sistema de bus rápido en América latina: resumen orientado a tomadores de decisiones. Retrieved December 14, 2011, from


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http://nestlac.org/Publicaciones/Planificacion&ImplementacionBusRapidoAmerica Latina.pdf Velasco San Pedro, J. A. (1981). La crisis energética: ayer hoy y mañana. El País. Retrieved November 11, 2011, from http://www.elpais.com/articulo/economia/ORGANIZACIÓN _DE_PAISES_EXPORTADORES_DE_PETROLEO_/OPEP/crisis/energetica/ayer/hoy/manana/ elpepieco/19810115elpepieco_2/Tes Wakuda, Y. (1997). Railway modernization and Shinkansen. Japan Railway & Transportation Review,10, 60-63

Public Transportation Systems: implementation for new communities  

Undergraduate research about the public transportation systems and its advantages to improve life quality within the city.

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