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Young Professionals in Transportation http://ypt.transportation.org

Volume 4, Issue 1 Summer 2011

In this issue: •

LaHood and Porcari: Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Innovation ......................1

Making the Case for Waterborne Transportation in the New York Metropolitan Region.......3

Freight Transportation Gaining Attention............5

YPT Chair’s Column..........7

YPT Austin Chapter: A Quick Success...............7

Atlanta Looks to Elected Leadership to Draft a ProTransit List for Local Sales Tax Funding................10

Spotlight Jakarta...........11

Beyond Transit Coverage: Access............................13

East Side Access: The Stealth Construction Project to Improve Transit Accessibility, Capacity, and Travel Times...................16

YPT Participates in the Road Gang’s 5th Annual Tony Kane Golf Tournament...18

YPT Photo Album..........20

YPT Sponsors.................21

LaHood and Porcari: Transportation Financing and Infrastructure Innovation By Manasvi Menon, Associate, Parsons Brinckerhoff She is on the board of Young Professionals in Transportation, New York Chapter. This article originally appeared on the Urban Omnibus blog: http://urbanomnibus.net/2011/08/lahoodand-porcari-transportation-financing-andinfrastructure-innovation/ On Wednesday, July 20th, members of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) gathered at the US Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters in Washington, DC to hear Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy Secretary John D. Porcari speak on current transportation issues in the US and their intersection with politics. The DOT headquarters, a brownfield redevelopment of a former gun barrel manufacturing factory on the Anacostia waterfront, provided the backdrop for an hourlong exchange on transportation and economic recovery. The event, loosely titled “Leadership Seminar,” attracted a hundred or so YPT members working in transportation in both the public and private sectors. It was one of a series of networking and educational events held throughout the summer in Washington, DC, where YPT is based. Both Secretary LaHood and Deputy Secretary Porcari appeared at points to be preaching to the choir — an audience of transportation enthusiasts — but nonetheless they painted with broad brushstrokes an engaging, 30,000-foot view of the current transportation landscape. Deputy Secretary Porcari began his talk with a theme driving much of political discourse today: economic recovery. Explaining the role of the Recovery Act in promoting jobs growth, Deputy Secretary Porcari stressed that the Recovery Act and grants programs such as Transportation In-

Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood | Photo courtesy of Andrew Bossi

vestment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) had “reestablished connections we had lost” between the federal government and local agencies. He pointed out that programs such as TIGER, which was the source of $83 million in funds for the first phase of Moynihan Station in New York City, and the recently announced Federal Transit Authority Livability Grants, which encourage local agencies to incorporate transportation improvements early into the planning process, provide direct funds to mayors and to local and regional governments to deliver transportation services to their communities. The TIGER program, which was allocated $1.5 billion in the Recovery Act, was conceived as a national competition to spotlight multi-modal solutions to drive economic recovery on the local scale. Deputy Secretary Porcari argued that these connections with municipal and local-level agencies through direct funding have been quietly shifting public perception away from the idea that the US DOT’s primary relationship is with State-level DOTs. His analysis suggested that metropolitan areas, municipalities and local communities have become incubators of transportation innovation with a broader impact on state- and national-level transportation initiatives. The Deputy Secretary identified two factors that define an effective funding strategy: consistency and predictability, both of which are lacking in current policy. Due to reauthorization

M obility Matters uncertainty and myopic strategies built around short-term budget and political cycles, many argue that the government lacks a systematic, long-term solution to transportation financing. While President Obama devoted one-third of the last State of the Union speech to infrastructure innovation, no specific funding sources have been identified for much of these proposals. A federal infrastructure bank is still in its gestational stages and a surface transportation bill is stalled while Congress remains mired in the deficit debate. Deputy Secretary Porcari, sharing President Obama’s affinity for letter grade self-evaluations, assigned the current federal financing policy a D-/F grade.

stressed Deputy Secretary Porcari’s point that the future of transportation comes down to options and providing a growing population with more modes of transport from which to choose, whether this is through a streetcar system (manufactured in the United States, he noted) in a single metropolitan area or a high speed rail system connecting several areas. In discussing how high speed rail has become highly politicized, Secretary LaHood responded to an audience member’s question — “why are Republicans against high speed rail?” — by using himself as an example of a Republican who supports the initiative and citing that only three Republican governors have turned down high speed rail funds (thus far, it should be noted). He advised the audience not to be dissuaded by partisan politics and stated that transportation has always been a bipartisan issue, a viewpoint many are sure to challenge.

Deputy Secretary Porcari concluded his remarks with the observation that “transportation is fundamentally a generational challenge” and that high speed rail will be one way in which the current generation secures a legacy for subsequent generations. He emphasized that the government is not seeking to replace current infrastructure with high speed rail or prioritize it over other modes, but rather is responding to the demographic reality of 2050, when the US population is slated to increase by 100 million in largely urban or rapidly urbanizing areas. Secretary LaHood reinforced the ideas set forth by Deputy Secretary Porcari and, as a mouthpiece for the administration on transportation issues, reiterated President Obama’s goal to provide 80% of all Americans access to high speed rail in the next 25 years. The idea that high speed rail is the future of transportation in the US has become highly politicized and hotly debated; three states — Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida — have already turned down federal funds for high speed rail. These funds have been redistributed to fifteen states and Amtrak, which has identified the NYC-DC corridor as an underutilized asset for which rail can serve commuters in the region.

YPT Board of Directors | Photo courtesy of Andrew Bossi

Secretary LaHood and Deputy Secretary Porcari were aligned in their message that Americans want high speed rail and that the DOT is seeking to “reconnect transportation to qualities that Americans hold dear,” such as economic growth and improved quality of life. The whirlwind hour-long synopsis of current transportation issues that was cohesive in message but scant on specifics concluded with the administration’s achievements in the past two years, including a $48 billion stimulus plan which has put 65,000 Americans to work on 15,000 projects. The elephant in the room during this analysis was the debt ceiling debate currently raging in Congress. The significant role that the federal government plays in funding local, state and regional projects cannot be discounted, but with the government’s long-term discretionary spending plan under scrutiny, transportation funds are specifically at stake. Moving forward, fare increases, taxes and the privatization of transportation projects may be some ways in which local and state agencies will have to make up for the shortfall in federal funds. While Congress continues to debate the debt ceiling, the future of transportation funding remains in limbo. However, both officials made it clear that infrastructure financing needs to be more than a short-term priority.

Secretary LaHood drew a parallel between President Eisenhower’s implementation of the interstate highway system in the 1950s, considered to be one of the most massive public works projects in US history, and President Obama’s blueprint for high speed rail today. Secretary LaHood observed that there was no established funding mechanism for the interstate program when it was first authorized but the project still moved forward. Ultimately the federal government agreed to pay 90% of the required funds, reducing the amount required by individual states, because state governors were wary of increasing taxes. But with impending spending cuts by the federal government, especially in light of the current deficit, a largely federally-funded solution seems uncertain, if not unlikely. Secretary LaHood envisions high speed rail as an infrastructure project that, despite current opposition, will eventually become an integral part of transportation in daily life. He 2

M obility Matters Making the Case for Waterborne Transportation in the New York Metropolitan Region

of Urban Planning program, one of my professors asked me to serve as a research student for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s Ferry Parking and Landside Access Study. The goal of the Ferry Parking and Landside Access Study was to assess and evaluate potential sites suitable for the development of facilities to support waterborne transportation. Specifically, the study reviewed previous research about waterborne transportation needs of the region, developed criteria to assess the viability of existing and potential sites, and, using a GIS-based tool, evaluated and prioritized potential sites for development.

By Stephanie Camay, Transportation Planner, URS Corporation There is no denying the importance of transportation system alternatives to the New York metropolitan region. Despite a complex roadway network, rampant congestion creates an urban nightmare for drivers. According to the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard 2010 Annual Report, the New York metropolitan area ranks second in peak period traffic congestion, home to both the most congested corridor and bottleneck in the Nation. Traffic congestion is a major impediment to mobility, not to mention the many associated negative effects.

Passenger ferry service has continued to be one of my preferred research topics throughout the past years, as I have explored the relationship of ferry terminals and smart growth principles, and most recently on the economic impacts of ferry systems. Earlier this year, I was invited to become a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Ferry Transportation Committee. As I engage in discussions with fellow committee members, my awareness of the benefits and challenges of passenger ferry systems is further heightened. I am not alone in this sentiment. In fact, the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) recently funded a synthesis statement to investigate whether ferries could become a more significant mode if the services were integrated better in the public transit matrix. One of the challenges associated with implementing passenger ferry services is ensuring service is integrated into a seamless comprehensive, public transit system, as opposed to existing as a stand-alone operation.

Congestion is not limited to roadways, however. Although the New York metropolitan region is the most transit intensive region in the United States, accounting for one-third of mass transit usage and two-thirds of commuter rail ridership nationally, its transit systems are aging and overcrowded. New York lags behind strong global competitors, such as London, Singapore, and Tokyo that have recognized that providing more transit options creates a cleaner, healthier, and more efficient urban environment.

In response to congestion and mobility issues, communities are working to implement multimodal coordinated transportation-land use approaches to increase the availability of high quality transit service, create redundancy, resiliency, and connectivity within transportation networks, and ensure connectivity between pedestrian, bike, transit, and road facilities. But how do passenger ferries fit into this picture? Moreover, the transportation-land use relationship has been bolstered by policy, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21), and Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which require metropolitan and statewide transportation plans to be integrated with land use plans. How does this coordinated land use and transportation planning relate to ferry-oriented development in the New York metropolitan region?

Photo Source: The New York Times

Building more roads is certainly not the answer, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is not only in the midst of a financial crisis, but is largely invested in major capital infrastructure projects, including the 7 Line Extension, Second Avenue Subway, and East Side Access. The reality leaves a transportation planner, such as me, a bit discouraged. But perhaps there is another option! Looking back to the yesteryears of early New York and considering the region’s geography and premier waterfront, there is one overlooked mode – passenger ferry service.

Throughout history, waterborne transportation has been a critical component of the City’s transportation system. Modes shifted, with the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964. With the age of the automobile and the building of an extensive transportation infrastructure system of railways, subways,

My interest in waterborne transportation first began while a student at Hunter College. During my tenure in the Masters 3

M obility Matters bridges, and tunnels, passenger ferry service dramatically declined. One iconic route was able to endure – the Staten Island Ferry, which provides service between St. George Terminal on Staten Island and Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan and has been in municipal service since 1905. Its longevity can be attributed to well-coordinated rail service on Staten Island. Today the Staten Island Ferry carries over 19 million passengers annually on a 5.2-mile run. Passenger ferries saw a rebirth in the 1980s when Arthur Imperatore, Sr. purchased an accessible property in Weehawken, New Jersey with plans to redevelop the land. As a mechanism to spark interest and increase land value, in 1986, he began ferry operations to 38th Street, Manhattan. Ferry service expanded with the realization that river crossings could provide significant time and distance savings. Particularly this was the case in the New Jersey Highlands, where a vehicular trip can take over 45 minutes and a waterborne trip takes less than half that time. Moreover, with increased overcrowding on the PATH service, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) sought to remedy congestion by adding ferry service from Hoboken to the World Financial Center.

Photo Source: www.batteryparkcity.com

In fact, in many waterfront neighborhoods throughout the City, residents are calling for using the waterways to expand available transit options. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a non-profit with a mission to transform the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Waterways to make them cleaner, more accessible and create a place to work, play, and learn, affirms there is a general consensus that expanded ferry service could help connect various points on the waterfront in a more direct way than the existing network of bridges and tunnels. As reported in the recently updated PlaNYC 2.0, ferries are a critical part of the region’s transportation network, carrying over 90,000 people each day between Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey. The busiest route, the Staten Island Ferry, is the nation’s largest passenger-only ferry operation. However, overall privately-operated ferry service has played only a limited role in transportation. Up until recent months, there was limited commuter service on the East River, and a pilot service between Rockaway and Lower Manhattan was unsuccessful.

Not surprisingly, during this same period, after decades of decline, New York City began to reclaim its waterfront. Since the 1980s, waterfront growth has accelerated due to increased population in the region, rezoning of waterfront neighborhoods, major investments in adjacent parks, transportation, and environmental infrastructure, and private investment in new residential, commercial, and recreational development. In tandem, the revitalization of the waterfront further emphasized that waterborne transportation is a viable approach to improving transportation in the New York region.

Recognizing that ferry service is a feasible solution to the serious transportation issues in the region, PlaNYC 2.0 listed ‘Expand and improve ferry service’ among 14 transportation initiatives. To ferry enthusiasts, like me, this reality came to fruition on June 13th, the inaugural ride of the city’s new three-year pilot East River Ferry service. The East River Ferry, as reported in the New York Times, as the biggest experiment yet for a watery commute long seen as a cure for overcrowded subways and roads, connects East Midtown at 34th Street in Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens, various points in Brooklyn, including Williamsburg and DUMBO, Governors Island, and South Manhattan at Wall Street / Pier 11. This pilot service, operated by NY Waterway, not only improves interborough transportation, but also provides an opportunity to evaluate intermodal integration, as well as the long-term feasibility of ferry service along the East River and other parts of the city.

In some locations throughout the metropolitan region, ferry terminals have contributed to robust residential and commercial developments. Battery Park City, a prime emblem of New York’s rediscovery of its waterfront, was built with an esplanade as its spine supporting residential buildings, commercial uses, open space, memorials, educational and recreational facilities, and a state-of-the-art ferry terminal. In part due to transit options connecting it to New York City, including ferry service, Jersey City, NJ, underwent an amazing transformation from an old downtown with a long-blighted waterfront to a preferred urban location. And perhaps the best example of “ferry-oriented development,” Port Imperial, after existing as a desolate, barren, and burdensome wasteland for several years, became a thriving waterfront to serve a market of City workers who pay less for housing and take advantage of a ten-minute ferry ride to work. Transportation planners can use these examples to identify or create paradigms that explain how ferry terminals can be used to provide high-density, pedestrian-prioritized urban places.

The East River Ferry service is a product of the recently issued Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study through com-


M obility Matters bined efforts of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYHarborWay, and NYC Department of Transportation. As also identified in NYMTC’s earlier Ferry Parking and Landside Access Study, the New York City region has numerous locations with ferry market potential. However, one of the challenges in expanding ferry service is the existing business model. Private operators have limited access to public funds; and are therefore, limited in their ability to expand service. This leads to the question on how better to fund future ferry operations. Or more fittingly, how can we make the case for passenger ferries? How can the impacts of passenger ferry service – both positive and negative – be measured? New York City has one of the world’s premier waterfronts (a total of 578 miles), which has played an integral role in shaping the region. During the next twenty years, revitalization of the region’s waterfront will continue to influence where New Yorkers live, work, and play. Geographically speaking, ferries are advantageous as they require little infrastructure, use existing space (the waterways), and make use of the business district’s compactness and proximity to the water. Ferries have also served as catalysts for waterfront growth, and as the local economy revives, residential development will likely resume in waterfront neighborhoods. What other benefits can be realized from improved passenger ferry service? How can the benefits of improved mobility and reduced congestion be quantified to make the case for increased waterborne transportation in the New York region? I’m already convinced. But answering these types of ques-

Source: www.transportationnation.org

tions will set the stage to allow for increased waterborne transportation in the New York region – from the East River and beyond…

Freight Transportation Gaining Attention

Why Freight is Important? Freight demand is driven by population and economic growth. As the economy grows, so does the demand for more goods, and the increased reliance on freight transportation to move these goods. The National Capital Region forecasts a 22 percent growth in population and a 29 percent increase in employment between 2010 and

By Karin Foster, Transportation Planner, Freight Program, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Freight is defined as “goods and cargo transported for pay, whether by water, land, or air.” When we go to the grocery store with our shopping list, we get upset when a desired item is not on the shelves. When we buy coffee beans for our morning java, we rarely think about the journey it took, often an international journey and by multiple transportation modes. Our grocery stores, office buildings, schools, and hospitals are all supplied by daily freight deliveries. Our nation depends on the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the efficient movement of goods. As freight transportation increasingly crosses paths with our everyday lives, freight policy issues have begun to receive more attention. Federal government, states, and metropolitan planning organizations have begun to put together freight plans and identify freight priorities.

Panama Canal Locks


M obility Matters 2030.1 Right now, on average, the freight system must move 40 tons of freight per person, per year.2 With more people and jobs predicted for the future, the transportation impacts will be felt by all.

overhead obstructions, Post-Panamax cranes, over a mile long wharf, and a critical rail link to the Midwest, the completed Norfolk Southern Heartland Corridor. Many of the nation’s Class 1 railroads (railroads with more operating revenues of $250 million or more) are also improving their infrastructure in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion. In order to be competitive, they need to be well positioned to receive and transport shipping containers. Additionally, both projects provide new opportunities for truck to rail diversions that would lead to reduced emissions.

A region’s industry and employment characteristics play a large role in its freight economy. For example, the National Capital Region is a service driven economy. Federal, state, and local governments employ 21 percent of the region. Professional and business services employ another 21 percent of the region. Because of this, the region primarily consumes goods rather than produces goods.

Norfolk Southern’s Heartland Corridor connects the East Coast to Chicago. The Heartland Corridor eliminates 200 miles of travel to the Midwest vis-à-vis a West Coast port of entry, provides greater rail efficiencies, and allows for double-stack train service from the East Coast to the Midwest. Norfolk Southern is currently working on another major initiative, the north-south Crescent Corridor. This is an effort to link 13 states, 2,500 miles, between Louisiana and New Jersey.

Reliable freight deliveries are important to maintain this active consumer economy. Shippers, suppliers, and consumers all rely on the efficient movement of goods across the transportation network. Shifting Tides At present, four out of every ten freight containers entering the United States move through the Port of Los Angeles/ Long Beach.3 The upcoming Panama Canal expansion is scheduled to be complete by August 15, 2014, the centennial of its original opening. The larger “Post Panamax” ships will be able to accommodate 12,000 containers (twenty-foot equivalent, TEUs). This more than doubles the present 5,000 TEU container limit at the Panama Canal. This move has potential to shift the tide of sea freight toward the East Coast.

CSX Transportation, another Class 1 railroad, is making major investments in the National Gateway corridor project. This is an effort to clear 61 obstructions in six states across the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, in addition to five new and two upgraded facilities. While the Port of Virginia at Norfolk may be the best positioned port on the East Coast, all East Coast ports are making major infrastructure investments in anticipation of the Panama Canal expansion. Ultimately, while the East Coast may capture new markets with ships travelling from Asia, all port traffic is expected to grow, be it on the West Coast or the East Coast.

Thus, as West Coast facilities reach capacity, the impending opening of the updated Panama Canal may impact shipper route selection considerably. Travel from Asia to the East Coast by ship will inevitably be slower than the direct route to the West Coast, but it may end up being cheaper than hauling a container via train and/or truck from the West Coast to markets east of the Mississippi. Cost savings estimates vary widely; however, there is wide consensus that shipper cost savings will make a huge impact on East Coast ports.

Speculation About Federal Regulation Support for freight investment is increasingly evident in several report findings and legislative proposals. For example, a General Accounting Office study4 recommends “[a] national strategy to transform the federal government’s involvement in freight transportation projects. This strategy should include defining federal and non-federal stakeholder roles and using new and existing federal funding sources and mechanisms to support a targeted, efficient, and sustainable federal role.” Additionally, three freight-focused bills have already been introduced in 2011. They include:

East Coast ports are scrambling to be able to accommodate the “Post-Panamax” ships. They are racing to dredge their ports for the 50-foot draft required, remove overhead obstructions such as bridges, and to purchase cranes that would be able to extend the width of these ships. At present, the Port of Virginia at Norfolk is ready for the increased traffic and large barges. It already has the required draft, no 1

1. Focusing Resources, Economic Investment, and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2011 (S.371)

National Capital Region Freight Plan 2010.

Daniel Machalaba, The Future of Rail, Wall Street Journal quoted Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo. 2

National Policies and Strategies can Help Improve Freight Mobility, General Accounting Office, 2008

State of Logistics Annual Report, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, 2009. 3



M obility Matters •

Sens. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Cantwell (D-WA), Murray (D-WA)

passed and President Obama signed multiple Continuing Resolutions (CRs) for SAFETEA-LU. The CRs extend funding from the general fund for all federal programs and includes the extension of transit and highway authorization law. Successor legislation to SAFETEA-LU is long overdue to emerge. With new influence from report findings, congressional hearings, and legislative proposals, the next transportation authorization is expected to at least maintain and will likely expand upon its funding, prioritization, and emphasis on freight programs. As former Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Mortimer Downey noted during his keynote address at the recent National Capital Region Freight Forum, “Will federal legislation carry the goods?” There are hopeful signs for freight; however, federal transportation legislation is a wait-and-see game.

2. Our Nation’s Trade, Infrastructure, Mobility and Efficiency (ON TIME) Act (HR 526) •

Reps. Calvert (R-CA) & J. Jackson (D-IL)

3. Freight is the Future of Commerce in the United State (FOCUS) Act of 2011 (HR 1122) •

Rep. Richardson (D-CA)

The most recent transportation legislation, Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), was signed into law in 2005. Following the September 30, 2009 expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress

YPT Chair’s Column By Katherine Kortum, Chair of YPT Austin Chapter

starting a chapter, and we’d love to talk to anyone else who wants to start a chapter and help you through some of the initial confusion. Take advantage of our experience!

Howdy from Austin! As the chair of the YPT Austin chapter, I’m excited to be a part of the rapidly-expanding YPT network around the country. I’ll be the first to tell anyone who’s interested in starting a chapter that it’s not a straightforward and painless process, but when you get the right board members together and the chapter Katherine Kortum begins to take off, it’s worth all of the effort. Candace (Boston), Jeff (New York), and I have come across and worked through many of the initial challenges of

Perhaps the most important issue we have had to address in Austin is the concern that we are exclusive because of the “Young” in our title. Several times, we have been asked whether mid-career professionals would be welcome at our events as they don’t fit any traditional definition of young. Our answer has always been a resounding YES! Anyone who is young at heart and dedicated to advancing the next generation of transportation professionals is always welcome. Whether you are young or young at heart, please contact us at yptcontact@gmail.com to join our ranks and help us expand by starting a chapter in your hometown.

YPT Austin Chapter: A Quick Success

Keep Austin Weird.

Austin residents are - on average - young, socially conscious, well-educated, well-informed, and anxious to make their mark on the world. It seemed a natural fit for one of the first branches of YPT, even though Austin and DC have very little in common besides a startling number of highly-educated (and highly-opinionated) denizens.

Visit us in Central Texas (you know you want to) and you’ll find these signs on every third corner. The city’s unofficial slogan has spawned a variety of similar themes, from the anti-litter campaign “Keep Austin Beautiful” to the Keep Austin Weird 5K, which encourages contestants to run dressed in costumes. Certainly, other cities have residents who commute by bike, scooter, and skateboard, but how many cities can claim to have a significant “pogo stick” commute mode share? Does any other city shut down several city blocks on an annual basis to celebrate Eeyore’s birthday?

Millie Hayes and Katherine Kortum are the founding members of YPT Austin. It all started when Katherine met Andy Palanisamy, YPT’s Vice Chair for Communications, at a YPT happy hour while visiting DC, and within just a few minutes, she learned that - a) he knew Austin well, b) his wife is a graduate student here at the University of Texas, c) he thought Austin needed a branch of YPT, and d) she ought to get involved in the startup process of this branch. Andy’s legendary enthusiasm might have been intimidating if she hadn’t had the very same set of ideas. In the summer of 2010, YPT asked all of its non-DC members to consider start-

By Sowmya Chandrasekhar, Millie Hayes, and Katherine Kortum, YPT Austin Board of Directors


M obility Matters ing branch chapters in their cities, and Katherine added her name to the list of those interested.

Sowmya has a gift for elegant and professional phrasing, and she worked to standardize our communications with speakers, potential sponsors, and members. Her ability to streamline all of our communications has really helped us to come across much more professionally. We have also obtained our two sponsorships since Sowmya came on board – coincidence?

To her relief, Katherine learned that someone else in Austin wanted to help start a branch chapter – Millie Hayes. Both met at a local restaurant to determine what they wanted to do about this fledgling idea. They had approximately a zillion ideas, but knew they needed the help of others to make even a few of the ideas into reality.

The board also organizes regular meetings to plan events and discuss general organization business. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month, using one of Austin’s many (free!) community centers. Establishment of a regular board meeting time and place has helped us to be more efficient in our behind-the-scenes work and sessions allowing us to brainstorm ideas to acquire additional members and sponsors.

Millie and Katherine reached out to their coworkers and colleagues and managed to convince Luis Lopez, Wenxing Liu, and Migdalia Carrion to join us in our attempt to create a full board for the YPT Austin Chapter. Our search for a secretary took a little longer – the keeping of files and taking of minutes might have been a little intimidating to many of those we approached. After several weeks, April Sandoval joined us as Vice Chair for Administration, and her organizational skills and detail-oriented approach to given tasks has made her a perfect match for the position.

Volunteering at Engineer’s Day at Austin’s Children’s Museum

YPT Austin Gets Going After our first event with only chapter members, we decided that the meetings would be more interesting if we invited a notable figure from the transportation community; several enthusiastic twenty-something YPT board members didn’t quite fit the description we had in mind. Hence, we introduced a series of speaker events, wherein we invited experience transportation professional to have interactive discussions on trending topics in transportation as well as career guidance, beginning in January 2011 with Mr. Al Alonzi, the Assistant Division Administrator for FHWA-Texas. As the boss of two of our board members, he was amenable to be our first speaker. Mr. Alonzi talked with us about marketing ourselves as young professionals and provided tips for us on building successful careers.

December Happy Hour at Flying Saucer

Our first official chapter meeting was held at a local Italian restaurant on the edge of downtown. Soon enough, our boisterous group attracted the attention of two men sitting at the adjacent table. Little did we know through the entire course of our meeting that we had been sitting next to two senior engineers from TxDOT. On learning about our nascent organization, they wished us luck on the chapter’s development. Being a group of young professionals, we knew that happy hours are likely to draw a crowd. As a result, our first event was a joint happy hour with the Austin chapter of WTS shortly before Christmas of 2010. We met at Flying Saucer - a popular local drafthouse, collected donations for the Austin Children’s Shelter, and played a few games of surprisingly challenging trivia.

The Austin Children’s Museum hosts an annual Engineer’s Day, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Greater Austin Contractors and Engineers Association. Several hundred children attend this free event. Volunteers from the engineering community provide a wide

In early 2011, we acquired another board member – Sowmya Chandrasekhar as our Vice Chair of Communications.


M obility Matters variety of activities for the kids to try, from building bridges out of popsicle sticks to designing the tallest possible structure with only newspaper and (a limited amount of ) masking tape. Several YPT members joined the volunteer forces for the day, encouraging kids to consider engineering as a viable career choice.

rion took a leave of absence to focus on her comprehensive doctoral exams. In return, however, we gained a new Vice Chair of Programming in Steve Ratke, who has been an enthusiastic and involved member since YPT Austin’s beginnings.

In March and April, YPT hosted two more happy hour events. These were held at Third Base and Flying Saucer (popular drafthouse indeed!). Both of these events brought a large number of newcomers to the organization. In April, we also held another speaker event at which Mr. Gary Schatz, Assistant Director for the Austin Transportation District, talked to us about context sensitive solutions and emphasized the use of roundabouts as a practical intersection improvement alternative.

May speaker event: Mr. Brian Van De Walle and attendees

Who doesn’t like bowling, especially at a retro bowling alley that also serves adult beverages? June’s social event was a bowling happy hour at The Highball in Austin, an oldfashioned bowling alley that also serves as a popular happy hour location for those who have no particular interest in bowling. While there are no apparent championship bowlers hiding in our midst, we had a wonderful time and plan to incorporate additional bowling events into our future plans. We aren’t slowing down, even in the heat of the Texas summer, and have several more events planned in upcoming months. July’s speaker event will feature Ms. Lisa LoftusOtway, a researcher at the University of Texas’s Center for Transportation Research. Ms. Loftus-Otway is well-versed on a wide variety of topics, from megaregional planning to freight rail analysis, and hails from London, so she has a delightful British accent to boot.

April speaker event: Mr. Gary Schatz and attendees

April, our secretary, spearheaded the development of YPT Austin’s first quarterly newsletter in April 2011. The newsletter featured a letter from the chair, profiles of the board members, a member spotlight which focused on our active member Nick Wood, a summary of the quarter’s events, and an article on a “hot topic,” which in this issue was Austin’s proposed urban rail system. This newsletter was sent out to all of our members and potential sponsors, and has since gathered extremely positive feedback.

In early August, we will have a social hour at Austin’s longstanding Blues on the Green concert series, a series of free concerts at the city’s flagship Zilker Park. Additionally, we are planning a tour of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport later in August. Ms. Jana McCann will be our speaker for September; she is an urban designer with a great deal of experience working with transit-oriented development and transportation planning.

Mr. Brian Van De Walle, a senior traffic engineer with Kimley Horn, was our featured speaker for May. Mr. Van DeWalle is known to provide lively commentary on any subject. For this event, he engaged us in lively discussion on the topic of alternative intersection designs. We also recorded our highest-yet turnout (seventeen YPT members) during this event, and hope to continue the trend of increasing attendance during future events.

And of course, we are thinking about October’s elections and the new board members we can welcome to our ranks. For an organization that hasn’t even reached its first birthday, we’re delighted to see the progress we’ve made in becoming a key part of Austin’s transportation world. Come down to Central Texas to visit – we will be sure to lend you a pogo stick for all your mobility needs.

At the end of the spring semester, we lost two of our board members, our Vice Chairs of Programming: Wenxing Liu graduated and returned home to China, and Migdalia Car-


M obility Matters Atlanta looks to elected leadership to draft a pro-transit list for local sales

bus service for Clayton County, which was cut in 2010 due to budget shortfalls. Following a request by the Roundtable to reduce the list of projects more manageable size, Atlanta Regional Commission staff whittled the unconstrained list to a list of just $11.5 million worth of projects, eliminating projects such as the light rail line up I-85 and the commuter rail line which was later added back to the list. Following this semi-constrained list, the ARC staff released three proposed projects lists, one that has a road emphasis, one that is balanced and a third transit oriented list. These lists respectively allot 37%, 47% and 58% of the funds to transit. Notably, all three lists contain the Beltline, a MARTA heavy rail expansion along the Doraville line, and MARTA state of good repair funding. The transit emphasis list adds a portion if the Cobb light rail line as well as light rail along I-20 in south Dekalb County.

tax funding By Ashley Robbins, President, Citizens for Progressive Transit, Atlanta, Georgia Thirty years ago Atlanta was seen as a progressive city when it came to transit. In fact, President Reagan came to Atlanta in June 1981 to tour the MARTA system in celebration of the system’s second anniversary. However, while MARTA started off with a bang by taking advantage of federal money that Ashley Robbins had been intended to fund a transit system in Seattle, it fell behind without support from the surrounding region and the state of Georgia. The Atlanta metro region now stands at a crossroads. For the first time in our state’s history, the 2012 elections will give us the opportunity to vote to fund transportation within the metropolitan region. Georgia was divided up into twelve regions by House Bill 277 and charged with drafting project lists to be offered to the voters next July. The bill dictates that a one cent sales tax can be levied in the region to fund roads, bridges, and transit improvements and capital. The Atlanta region was defined as the ten county core of Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Cherokee, Douglas, Henry, Rockdale, and Fayette. Including the city of Atlanta, this region is home to 4.5 million people and will generate $7.5 billion in tax revenue if the referendum is passed. Fifteen percent of the funds will go to the local jurisdictions to be spent as they choose and the remaining $6.4 billion will go to the region to fund the project list that will be created by local officials.

Members of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable. Photo Source: Atlanta Regional Commission Transportation Spotlight Blog: http://transportationspotlight.wordpress.com/.

The five member executive committee of the regional roundtable has until August to present their draft project list to be funded by the referendum. This list must be approved by the entire roundtable by October 15th for the list to be put to vote. As an incentive to agree to a project list, HB 277 dictates that state match for local transportation funding from the Georgia DOT will be cut from 90% to 15% if the roundtable can not agree on the list.

A twenty-one member Transportation Investment Act Atlanta Regional Roundtable was assembled by the region and given the task of creating a list of projects to be funded by passing a referendum. One county commissioner and one mayor from each county sit on the roundtable along with the Mayor of Atlanta. On June 1st, this roundtable was presented with an unconstrained project list totalling over $23 billion worth of the local jurisdictions transportation wish lists. Transit projects on this list include MARTA heavy rail expansions and state of good repair projects, light rail into Cobb and Gwinnett counties, commuter rail, segments of the Atlanta Beltline (a 22-mile network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit circling downtown Atlanta) and

Two campaigns have formed in respect to the referendum. The first, a creation of the Atlanta Chamber, is referred to as the First Friday campaign, so named because the group meets on the first Friday of the month. The $6 million campaign, a coalition of chambers, developers, and road builders, claims to be neutral as the make-up of the list. Be it roads or transit, this campaign is for a bill that must pass, being seen as the solution to Atlanta’s traffic woes and a way to attract new businesses to the region as we at least appear


M obility Matters to be addressing our congestion problems. Notably the campaign hosted a group of lawmakers from Colorado, including Governor John Hickenlooper to discuss their recent successful transit referendum. A second campaign was created by a coalition of grassroots and nonprofit organizations as well as area transit operators and Community Improvement Districts called the Fair Share for Transit campaign. The Fair Share campaign, spearheaded by the Livable Communities Coalition and funded by federal grants, is working to ensure that quality transit projects receive a fair share of the referendum. The coalition is seeking a minimum of 40% to 60% of the revenue directed towards transit with an additional 5% going to “last mile” bike and pedestrian safety improvements. To date the campaign has hosted two rallies and a series of community meetings in the core metropolitan counties.

Photo taken by Matt McWilliams at the Moving to Opportunity Community forum sponsored by the Fair Share for Transit Campaign.

We still face many obstacles to create a strong, passable referendum including the questions of regional governance and the equity of Fulton and Dekalb counties, the only two counties that pay into the MARTA system and would face double taxation on transportation. The region now looks to

its leaders to provide us with a list of projects that we can be proud to support. HB 277 represents what could be a new era in the growth of Atlanta, seeing her catch up to her own legacy and become the world-class and progressive city we demand her to be.

Spotlight Jakarta

least 1.5 hours for the 34.6 km or nearly 21.5 mile trip from the airport. Experiencing the reality of that calculation cannot be fully appreciated until locked inside a taxi, inching along as the fare ticks endlessly upwards.

By Nikki Rudnick, Bipartisan Policy Center and YPT National Vice Chair for Membership

Blame it on the E. coli induced traveler’s illness or my diminished tolerance nearing the end of my incredibly stunning tour of this exotic land. Either way the traffic in Jakarta was claustrophobic hell. Lane after lane on the highways jammed. Cars were literally resting bumper on bumper with motorbikes and pushcarts somehow gracefully navigating their way through any available millimeter of space. I thought to myself – where are all these people going at 10 o’clock at night? How devastating must the number of traffic fatalities be with travel patterns like this? How much is this congestion debilitating the city’s economic growth potential? How much petroleum is being needlessly consumed while vehicles idle on this highway? And why isn’t that 3-year old, sandwiched between his mother and father on a motorbike, wearing a protective mask to prevent at least some amount of the particulate matter emitted around him from entering his developing lungs? This experience crystallized the importance of transportation planning, policy and regulations for me in a way I could have never appreciated having not stepped outside my industrialized world-view context.

Summary: Upon quick glance the city of Jakarta is suffocating its population with emissions and paralyzing its potential for economic growth creating unbearable commutes that cause young aspiring professionals to relocate to less congested locales and a slower pace of life. Relief cannot come soon enough to this city. If you are planning a trip to South East Asia in the future immediately bump Indonesia to the top of your list of must see places. I had the fortunate experience of traveling for nearly two weeks through two of the nation’s 17,000 islands, Java and Bali. Transportation, as always when traveling, but most especially while traveling in a developing nation, came up in nearly every conversation throughout my trip. Spotlight Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia. Jakarta is the most populous city in South East Asia, and at last count the tenth-largest city in the world1. Having only visited one city more populous than this, New York City, it would have taken little effort from any travel demand modeler to convince me that this city holds the first-place title of most clogged arterials on the planet. I was forewarned by my hotel to allow at 1

Prior to my arrival in the sprawling urban environment of Jakarta I met a lovely young Indonesia woman. She and I



M obility Matters discussed her recent decision to uproot from life in Jakarta, as a successful young professional with dreams of a career in lights, for the shores of Bali. Her decision was made with much trepidation about leaving the life she built in the big city, but she was motivated and finally acted due to her horrendous commute. She was tired of being stuck - wasting time in traffic. Though she realized at the time of her decision and still holds close the fact that leaving a dense urban environment full of opportunity may have come at the cost of a swift climb up the career ladder, she simply could not stand the stress of watching the days of her life pass laboriously through asphalt, metal, and heavily polluted air. She, like countless other energetic, entrepreneurial young people, decided to leave Jakarta city life behind.

congestion, where the police register an average of 890 new motorcycle and 240 private cars per day3, the BRT system is simply not enough to solve travelers’ woes. Nor does it ease the minds of young aspiring professionals that the traffic situation is improving – other solutions are needed.

What do these micro-economic decisions mean for the macro-economy of a city like Jakarta – and further an industrializing nation like Indonesia? Logic would dictate that they have the potential to be extremely detrimental on emerging fragile economies. These are the questions that institutions like the World Bank, USAID, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and EMBARQ heroically spend resources trying to identify and help mitigate. The efforts of these organizations, among others, with a broad vision for improving quality of life around the globe often result in increased economic activity and gross domestic production for these underserved markets. What cannot be underestimated, and is my most significant take-away from traveling in this archipelago nation, is the entrepreneurial spirit of the natives. The ingenuity and drive of the Indonesian people as a factor coupled in the formula with the good work being done by the aforementioned agencies is bound to be a recipe for success, especially in a dynamic city like Jakarta.

Congestion Pricing in Southeast Asia. Photo Courtesy of Nikki Rudnick

Enter electronic road pricing (ERP). A dilemma currently facing Jakarta city administrators is how to replicate a transportation partnership success story, such as that of TranJakarta, through the implementation of a congestion pricing scheme. Jakarta, positioned in the almost literal shadows of the Singaporean congestion pricing system is being pressed by Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry to implement an ERP system in Jakarta. Numerous debates are currently waging among city officials, including the police, around the enumerable facets of implementing a pricing system, making its future less than certain. Current discussions include familiar questions that most cities looking into this type of scheme must confront: what is the most reasonable, yet effective rate to charge drivers entering the demarcated congestion zones; what types of vehicles will be charged at what rates; who will manage the system; toward what purpose will the revenues be dedicated; and perhaps most critically, how to accommodate the travel demand of those priced out of the system. There are concerns among city officials that should the ERP system be effective, as it has been in other major cities around the world, reducing congestion by upwards of 40 percent, that Jakarta does not in fact have the public transportation infrastructure to accommodate increased demand in ridership4.

The effectiveness of this equation has been witnessed most readily with the successful implementation and now expansion of the BRT system in the city. ITDP helped to, among other things, secure the political support for the Indonesia’s BRT system, TransJakarta, the first of its kind in SE Asia, opened in 2004. The system currently made up of 10 lines, slated to add 5 more over the next few years, is arguably the quickest, most secure way to travel around the city. TransJakarta operates in a dedicated lane on city streets and utilizes elevated high-platform stops to speed passenger loading and accessibility. The ridership on this system is around 280,0002 per day with a majority of those travelers having made the mode-shift from private automobiles. The implementation of this system, touting the longest routes of any BRT system in the world, has helped curb emissions and cut travel time in Jakarta. In a city with such incredible

Another innovative solution that demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the citizens of Indonesia is a new small http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/motorists-routed-aroundroadworks-in-south-of-jakarta/415971 3

http://www.itdp.org/documents/TransJakarta%20Final%20Report%205.pdf 2




M obility Matters business start-up, GO-JEK. This system optimizes the existing Jakarta Ojek service, essentially a motorbike taxi service, to create a more user-friendly, reliable travel experience. Ojek drivers traditionally operate independent of one another. Drivers informally agree to cover a certain territory and negotiate fares with each passenger depending on the trip. The current Ojek system is unbranded, unregulated, and at times unreliable for both drivers and customers.

ing fares, as the rates are preset. Through a robust branding effort GO-JEK drivers are easily recognizable. Users of the system become repeat customers drawn to the recognizable brand and standardized service. The company makes a deliberate effort to ensure drivers wear standardized uniforms, have a spare helmet available for passengers, carry business cards, and offer a grade-A level of service. Customers can expect reliable, responsive service that is safe and hassle-free. Drivers can expect exponential wage increases due to a higher number of trips. GO-JEK makes money by splitting revenues based on a commission negotiated with their drivers.

GO-JEK was started by three young Indonesia entrepreneurs. These visionaries set out to help relieve their city from the stranglehold of traffic congestion. The GO-JEK system is catching on quickly in Jakarta, GO-JEK Drivers as reliable means of moving both passengers and goods. The founders of this company saw incredible unmet demand and exponential benefits to a passenger and goods courier service that could give travelers a reliable lift, offer companies an immediate courier service with deliver guarantees, and deliver late night snacks to city residents. This company is a system engineer’s dream come true. A truly genius means of using technology to enhance existing resources in a way that produces exponential social, environmental, and economic benefits for all Jakarta residents, as well as for the Ojek drivers.

The Go-JEK system, as well as potential for ERP, and expansion of the TransJakata BRT system are just a few of the many reasons to be optimistic about the congestion in Jakarta. A comparatively low cost of doing business coupled with minimal regulation in an environment with ever-increasing religious and social freedoms has seemingly spawned a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit in Indonesia. The creative energy was evident in nearly every person whose path I crossed during my travels. The most remarkable thing I took away from my journey and the thing that may in fact save the Indonesians from themselves are individuals’ incredible desire and ambition to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing their nation together. The challenges facing rapidly industrializing cities are however monumental – life and death. I left the country in a conundrum - will the city of Indonesia and others like it around the world suffocate and shrivel as a result of congestion, gridlock, and immobility or will these cities take a lead role, as grounds for innovation and experimentation, devising solutions to which the rest of the world can aspire? The answer in this case is not likely to be somewhere in the middle, anything less than an extreme solution will likely not solve the problem.

By calling into the GO-JEK call center users are immediately connected to the nearest motorbike driver available to meet their transportation needs. There is no hassle over negotiat-

Beyond Transit Coverage: Access

Most recent discussions on how to improve public transportation access focused on how to encourage people to live in higher density areas and limit sprawl. It was suggested that shorter distances to transit stops would make it more appealing for many potential riders. While decreasing the distance to transit stops and limiting sprawl have positive impacts on public transportation access, our position is that the focus must switch for now on an issue that is more important than distance for any discussion about accessibility to public transportation -- pedestrian safety.

By Ana Bayne, Outreach Committee Chair and Technology Committee Member, Allegheny County Transit Council Mobility-based measurements (such as person-miles, doorto-door traffic times and ton-miles) evaluate person and freight movement. Accessibility-based measurements (such as person-trips and generalized travel costs) evaluate the ability of people and businesses to reach desired goods, services and activities.

The recent Brookings Institute research “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America” has sparked quite a debate among transit bloggers, advocates and journalists. Yet the actual goals of the study were misunderstood

Todd Litman - “Measuring Transportation -Traffic, Mobility and Accesibility” - http://www.vtpi.org/measure.pdf


M obility Matters by most of its critics as well as some supporters, notes Kaid Benfield in his article for the Atlantic1. The study does not attempt to identify metro areas that have quality transit service and high ridership already. Its goal is to identify those metro areas presenting the best potential for public transportation investments – the missed opportunities-- as well as to find ways to increase ridership and transit service in US metro areas by improving access to transit services. Thus the Brookings analysis is focused on three key areas: transit coverage, service frequency and share of metropolitan jobs accessible by transit2.

the topics to be further developed is that of “coverage” defined as “the share of working-age residents living in block groups that are considered «served» by transit (i.e. block groups with access to at least one transit service stop within ¾ mile of their population weighted centroid).” (Tomer, Kneebone, Puentes & Berube, 2011) However, it seems that better “coverage” does not entail higher transit ridership (Table A). In fact there seems to be no correlation between transit ridership and “coverage” (Table B). Switching Transportation Paradigms However after years of working exclusively towards improving mobility in urban areas, we should know that better mobility does not necessarily lead to better access. And the way in which the Brookings study defines “coverage” is still stemming from this obsolete paradigm. Thus it assumes that to improve transportation access one has to improve mobility (i.e. shorter distances and/or travel times). When in fact the solution is to move away from this paradigm and re-consider access independently from mobility. In his comparative study between German and US transit, Buehler (2009)3 notes that Germans are more likely to use public transportation even when they reside further from a transit stop because they have better accessibility to transit. Transit riders regard the distance to the nearest stop to be of a lesser value for them than sidewalks, and thus distance will have a lesser impact on their transportation choice than pedestrian safety.

Utility Pole Blocking Access to a Bus Stop. Photo by Ana Bayne

A better way in which we can determine what metro areas have better access to transit is to look at them from the perspective of pedestrian safety. Since all transit riders are pedestrians as well, one has to consider that the ability to walk safely to the nearest transit stop is more valuable than the actual distance traveled. And we note from Table A that metro areas with a higher pedestrian safety rank are also more likely to have higher transit ridership numbers. And, even though the correlation between pedestrian safety and ridership is low to moderate, we can state that improving pedestrian safety will result in higher Blocked Sidewalk. Photo by Ana Bayne transit ridership.

No Sidewalk, Boulders Blocking. Photo by Ana Bayne

The Brookings research deserves credit for leaving a door open for future research and constructive critique. One of Benfield, Kaid (May 2011) – The 10 Best Cities for Public Transportation?” in the Atlantic, retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/life/ archive/2011/05/the-10-best-cities-for-public-transportation/239376 on June 28, 2011 1

Tomer, Adie, Kneebone, Elizabeth, Puentes, Robert and Berube, Alan (2011) – “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in America” , Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, retrieved from http://www.brookings. edu/reports/2011/0512_jobs_and_transit.aspx 2

Buehler, Ralph (2009) - “Promoting Public Transportation: Comparison of Passengers and Policies in Germany and the U.S.,” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2110 3


M obility Matters Limitations, Further Research and Recommendations

Annex 1

Pedestrian safety is not the only factor that should be considered when looking at ways to improve public transportation services in the United States. Factors such as job access, service frequency, reliability and dependability are equally as important when one focuses on improving the value that transit services could have for the potential rider. However, the research has shown that clearly the first point of focus should be on ways to improve pedestrian safety to and from transit stops, before pursuing strategies that would shorten the distance to the nearest transit stop.

Table A

Metro Area New York-Northern NJ-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA San Francisco-OaklandFreemont, CA Washington-ArlingtonAlexandria , VA Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Chicago-Napeville -Joilet , IL-IN-WI Philadelphia-CamdenWilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Baltimore-Towson, MD Los Angeles-Long BeachSanta Ana, CA Portland-VancouverBeaverton, OR-WA

To maximize the potential of transit service in a metro area, addressing pedestrian safety issues at and near transit stops is paramount; but in order to determine the impact of pedestrian safety on actual transit ridership levels we need to engage in comprehensive research on the topic. The data that we currently have is useful, but limited. The Pedestrian Danger Index that was used to rank metro areas based on their pedestrian safety is only considering those pedestrians who are actually walking to work according to Census data4. To get a more accurate rating we should also consider the number of people who are walking to transit stops or shopping facilities.

Actual Pedestrian Ridership Safety Rank Rank

Brookings Transit Coverage Rank
















6 7 8

14 7 21

24 11 38







Actual Ridership Ranks based on data provided by the American Community Survey for 2007-2009 Pedestrian Safety Ranks based on data provided by Transportation for America - Dangerous by Design (2011) The Brookings Transit Coverage Rank based on data provided by the Brookings Institute – “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America” (2011)

Transportation for America’s Dangerous by Design report (2011, pp. 31-32) identified a number of key known pedestrian safety issues present in communities across the nation, and a comprehensive set of recommendations on how to address them. Among these recommendations are increasing funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to Schools programs, re-directing a fair amount of the general funds for Highway Safety Improvement Programs to pedestrian infrastructure and the adoption of the Complete Streets Policy. Another recommended improvement is redesigning transit stops in order to comply with the new ADA Title II requirements, which would make transit access safer for all pedestrians. Should these recommended improvements be made, there would be a shift in transportation infrastructure from a focus on enhancing mobility to increasing accessibility for all transportation system users. Only after all transit stops are accessible to pedestrians, distance to the nearest transit stop should become the primary concern.

Correlation Coefficients Table B actual ridership / coverage = 0.099

Transportation for America (2011) “Dangerous by Design” – retrieved from http://t4america.org/resources/dangerousbydesign2011 4


actual ridership /pedestrian safety = 0.389

M obility Matters East Side Access: The Stealth Construction Project to Improve Transit Accessibility, Capacity, and Travel Times

ground freezing and jet grouting, sequential excavation, hard rock tunnel boring machines [TBMs], drill-and-blast, roadheaders, and mechanical excavation).

By Stephanie Camay, Transportation Planner, URS Corporation Of the 750,000 commuters traversing Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal on a daily basis, very few know that one of the largest public works projects ever undertaken is happening right below their feet. Through a tour organized for the Women’s Transportation Seminar – Greater New York chapter on June 8th, I had the opportunity to travel through track 115 for a first hand glimpse at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project.

This complex array of tunneling technologies was needed due to the challenging New York bedrock (ranging from hard Manhattan Schist to soft ground in Queens), logistics (how and where to transport 420,000 cubic yards of muck), and coordination of constructing 14 floors below Grand Central Terminal, as well as under some of New York’s iconic buildings (Waldorf Astoria, The Met Life Building).

Led by Mark Rhodes, MTA Capital Construction and Jeff Vladyka, URS Corporation, tour attendees marveled at the construction of seven miles of tunnels, twenty-four miles of track, and a 350,000 square foot concourse that will stretch from 43rd to 50th Street (about the size of the Empire State Building if you placed it on its side). As the largest passenger rail terminal built in the US since the late 1930s, the sheer coordination of this project is hard to fathom. Construction has utilized nearly every mining expertise available (slurry machines, microtunneling, shaft sinking with

One of 4 escalators, which will connect the concourse with the train platform

What are the project benefits? As the recipient of the largest Federal full funding grant to date, the East Side Access project will connect the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Main and Port Washington lines in Queens to a new terminal beneath Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. The new connection, the first LIRR expansion in over 100 years, will provide a one-seat ride from Long Island to Man-


M obility Matters hattan’s East Side, increasing capacity into Manhattan and dramatically shortening the travel time for Long Island and eastern Queens commuters. Thousands of Long Islanders work on the East Side of Manhattan, which requires a transfer to a crowded subway or bus line, or an ambitious crosstown walk to reach their place of employment. Eliminating this additional mode, an estimated 160,000 LIRR riders will reap the benefits of a daily travel time savings of 40 minutes. Many more New Yorkers will enjoy reduced rush hour congestion on various modes (auto, train, and pedestrian) throughout Midtown Manhattan.

Construction is progressing and dramatically changing each month, with a scheduled completion date in 2016. The next time you travel through Grand Central Terminal, take a minute to think about how the biggest mined underground terminal ever built in the United States is happening right beneath you!

Rendering of mezzanine

Rendering of escalator to concourse

Rendering of lower platform

Rendering of concourse and retail


M obility Matters YPT Participates in the Road Gang’s 5th Annual Tony Kane Golf Tournament By Aaron Zimmerman, Loudoun County, VA Office of Transportation Services and YPT Vice Chair for Administration Each July, a number of Washington, DC area transportation professionals come together for a fun day of golf and great food to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House charity.  This year, the Road Gang’s 5th Annual Tony Kane Golf Tournament was held at the beautiful University of Maryland Golf Course in Adelphi, MD.  YPT was proud to field a team in the tournament for the third straight year.  The final numbers aren’t in yet for 2011, but thanks to a combination of generous donations, tournament entrance fees, sponsorships, and auction sales, Road Gang has been able to raise around $10,000 in past years for this great charity.  While YPT’s team score of 79 strokes was a vast improvement from past years, there is still a lot of putting, chipping, and driving practice needed if YPT wants to catch the winning team next year. The team of players from CH2M HILL and Wilbur Smith Associates shot an impressive 57 to take home the trophy.

Pictured from left to right: Aaron Zimmerman (Loudoun County Office of Transportation Services), Joung Lee (AASHTO), Hank Webster (ARTBA), and Rudy Barry (Whitmer & Worrall).

Young Professionals in Transportation Upcoming Events

6 PM outside South Station; can join networking happy hour at 7 PM), Networking Happy Hour at Boston Beer Works on Canal Street (networking happy hour begins at 6 PM) Sign up/Info URL: http://bit.ly/noEtY0

YPT - Austin Chapter Event Title: September Roundtable with Jana McCann, AIA, McCann Adams Studio Date: 9/12/2011 Place: Austin Public Library Cepeda Branch Sign up/Info URL: https://sites.google.com/site/yptaustin/

Event Title: YPT Boston Elections and Networking Event Date: 10/25/2011 Place: Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 3rd Floor, 60 Temple Place, Boston MA. Sign up/Info URL: http://yptboston.org/

Event Title: General Elections Meeting Date: 10/17/2011 Place: George Washington Carver Museum Sign up/Info URL: https://sites.google.com/site/yptaustin/

YPT - National Event Title: YPT Baseball Game Date: 09/07/2011 Place: Nationals Stadium, Washington, DC Sign up/Info URL: http://yptbaseballsept2011-eorg.eventbrite.com/

Event Title: October Happy Hour Date: 10/27/2011 Place: Icenhauer’s on Rainey street Sign up/Info URL: https://sites.google.com/site/yptaustin/

YPT - NYC Chapter

YPT - Boston Chapter

Event Title: YPT-NYC Happy Hour Date: 08/25/2011 Place: The Galway Hooker, 7 East 36th Street (Between 5th and Madison) Sign up/Info: yptnyc@gmail.com

Event Title: YPT Boston Technical Tour of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Networking Happy Hour Date: 09/15/2011 Place: Walking Tour of the Rose Kennedy Greenway (meet at


M obility Matters YPT National Board of Directors Chair: Chris Smith

Vice Chair for Finance-Treasurer: Nick Perfili

Deputy Chair: Nate Smith

Vice Chair for Membership: Nikki Rudnick

Intermodal Policy and Program Manager, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

Transportation Planner, Fairfax County Department of Transportation

Associate Director of Government Relations, American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)

Senior Policy Analyst, Bipartisan Policy Center

Vice Chair for Programs: Jeffrey Ensor

Vice Chair for Administration-Secretary: Aaron Zimmerman

Consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff

At-large Director: Shana Johnson

Senior Transportation Planner, Loudoun County Office of Transportation Services

Transportation Planner, Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning

Vice Chair for Communication: Ananda “Andy� Palanisamy

At-large Director: Brittney Kohler

Senior Transportation Management Specialist, Citizant, Inc.

Associate, Dynamic Pro, Inc.

Board of Advisors Mary Peters, Former Secretary of the United States

Janet Friedl Kavinoky, Director of Transportation

Jack Basso, Chief Operating Officer, AASHTO

Donna McLean, Vice Chairman of the Board, National

Department of Transportation

Infrastructure, US Chamber of Commerce Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak)

Mortimer Downey, Chairman, Parsons Brinckerhoff

Bill Millar, President, American Public Transportation

Emil Frankel, Director Transportation Policy,


Bipartisan Policy Center

Emeka Moneme, Managing Director, Carmen Group

Jane Garvey, North American Chairman,

Mary Peters, Former Secretary, United States Department of

Meridiam Infrastructure


Jonathan Gifford, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, George Mason University Transportation Policy, Operations, & Logistics Masters Program

Gloria Shepherd, Associate Administrator for Planning,

John Horsley, Executive Director, AASHTO

Stephen Van Beek, Chief of Policy and Strategy at

Environment, and Realty, Federal Highway Administration LeighFisher

Tony Kane, Director of Engineering and Technical Services,

Bob Skinner, Executive Director, Transportation Research



Mobility Matters Editor: Shana Johnson

Transportation Planner, Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning

Mobility Matters Design and Layout: Alpha Wingfield Visual Information Specialist, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, United States Department of Transportation

Mobility Matters is a quarterly publication of Young Professionals in Transportation. The views expressed in the articles published in Mobility Matters represent only the views of their authors, and not those of YPT. YPT strives to incorporate articles in Mobility Matters that represent a diverse range of perspectives on transportation and cover all transportation modes. If you are interested in contributing to Mobility Matters please email Shana Johnson, YPT At-large Board Member at sjohnson@civicsynergyllc.com for more information.


M obility Matters

YPT Photo Album! YPT National Summer Events

YPT Happy Hour at Blackfinn 8.4.11 (more photos)

YPT Leadership Seminar with US Secretary LaHood 7.20.11 (more photos)

YPT Happy Hour with Eno Fellows at RFD 6.6.11 (more photos)

YPT Event with TRF & WTS at the Reason Foundation 8.10.11. (more photos)


M obility Matters

YPT Sponsors Trustee Level

Partner Level

Corporate Level

YPT would also like to thank our other partners: APTA, TransUrban, Cambridge Systematics, and High Street Consulting Group

Special thanks to NIC for their generous sponsorship of this year's YPT Nationals Baseball Game Outing! The NIC family of companies provides eGovernment solutions for more than 3,000 federal, state, and local agencies across the United States. For the transportation industry, NIC Technologies administers the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) on behalf of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agency, found at www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov. More information about NIC can be found at www.egov.com.


Profile for YP Transportation

YPT Mobility Matters - Summer 2011 (V4 I1)  

I n thIs Issue : V olume 4, I ssue 1 s ummer 2011 ▶ She is on the board of Young Professionals in Transportation, New York Chapter. This art...

YPT Mobility Matters - Summer 2011 (V4 I1)  

I n thIs Issue : V olume 4, I ssue 1 s ummer 2011 ▶ She is on the board of Young Professionals in Transportation, New York Chapter. This art...