Research

Iseki, Hiroyuki and Mathew Tingstrom

A New Approach in the Bikeshed Analysis with Consideration of Topography, Street Connectivity, and Energy Consumption

In recent years, bike planning has gained the attention of planners and the public as a sustainable and active mode of transportation that can reduce traffic congestion, vehicle emissions, and health risks. Following the success of public bikesharing programs in cities in France and Canada, multiple US cities have initiated similar programs. With this background, spatial analysis has been applied to produce heat maps of bike-travel demand, and identify suitable areas for bikeshare infrastructure. Existing research considers a variety of factors, such as resident demographics, land use, street types, and availability of bike facilities and transit services. However, few studies fully account for topography and street connectivity. The study proposes a method to combine topography and presence of intersections with estimates of energy used to bike, and incorporate the resulting travel-impedance factor, as well as street connectivity, into a spatial analysis. Using the case in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, where elevation and street connectivity differ substantially among neighborhoods, this study shows how the size and shape of bikesheds (or bike demand catchment area) originating from the proposed light rail stations vary in the analysis with or without taking into account these critical factors. The analysis results have significant implications for various bike planning efforts using spatial analysis.

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Iseki, Hiroyuki and Robert P. Jones

Analysis of Firm Location and Relocation Around Maryland and Washington, DC Metro Rail Stations

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is commonly adopted in regional transit plans as a tool to
achieve economic growth, sustainable land use patterns, and pedestrian-friendly communities.
Some critics, however, have questioned TOD as an agent for net job creation. While some
research has used case studies and agglomerated regional datasets to examine changes in
employment near transit with positive results, there is a paucity of literature examining the
relationship between rail stations and employment by industry at the transit station level.
This is a descriptive study that seeks to address three key questions about the effects of
station proximity: 1) What is the overall distribution of firms in relation to metro station
locations? 2) What industries, if any, are more likely to locate near transit stations? 3) Does a
new transit station result in a net gain of firms within the station proximity and for the region or
does it merely redistribute existing firms? This study applies GISs to examine the National
Establishment Time Series (NETS) dataset within the region comprising Washington DC,
Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. The NETS dataset contains
longitudinal and cross-sectional firm-level data for the years 1990 - 2010, which allow us to look
at changes in the number of firms within relatively small geographic areas around Metro stations,
several of which were constructed during the 21-year period. The NETS dataset also provides
firm-level relocation information for the same time period to assess firm movement within and
outside of the study area as they relate to transit stations.
First, we identify firms within station buffers and conduct a location quotient analysis.
Second, we conduct a spatial analysis of firm locations over time, applying choropleth maps,
descriptive spatial statistics, and hot spots analysis. Third, we plan to apply a space-time cluster
analysis that visualizes the distribution of spatial- temporal data, taking into account the time
dimension, and enables us to identify clusters of events constrained by both space and time.
Finally, using NETS firm relocation data for the period of 1990 to 2010, we conduct an analysis
of firm locations before and after each relocation. The analysis is conducted for all industries as
a group and a few specific industries that show a strong presence in the region, including finance,
insurance, and real estate (FIRE) industries, which have been found to predominate in dense
economic centers.
This study contributes to the literature on the effect of transit investment and TOD on
economic development, particularly addressing the question of net effects for locations beyond
the immediate station area, which is an important implication from a regional planning
perspective.

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Hiroyuki Iseki

Empirical Analysis of Pricing Structure of Toll Facilities Based on Social Costs of Driving by Vehicle Class and Its Effects on Traffic, Toll Revenue,

This study develops an analytical method to obtain toll rates for thirteen vehicle classes for seven
toll facilities in Maryland, taking into account various social costs of driving automobiles. The
model is comprised of two parts: (1) an equilibrium model to obtain non-peak period tolls that
incorporates capital and maintenance costs of toll facilities, vehicle emission costs, and
operating/maintenance costs incurred to vehicles due to uneven road surface, and (2) a model to
estimate optimal congestion tolls for three facilities that currently experience congestion. The
models are not a simple forward-moving model, but instead take into account the feedback
effects of revised toll rates on traffic volume and social costs of driving.
The analysis results show some expected results in the estimated tolls and their effects on
vehicle traffic, toll revenue, emission, and ESAL. While congestion tolls clearly show positive
effects across three facilities, results related to estimated non-peak period tolls and their effects
are not consistent across all facilities, depending on the relative magnitude of each social cost
factor as well as the relative levels of current tolls. Results from the sensitivity analysis
generally support the main results. These results reveal a lack of clear pattern in the current toll
structure in relation to vehicle classes among facilities, and indicate possible cross-subsidies
among facilities as well as among vehicle classes. Further research is warranted in order to
achieve road pricing schemes that are more efficient and equitable.

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Charles Rivasplata, Hiroyuki Iseki, and Adam Smith (2012)

Transit Coordination in the U.S.: A Survey of Current Practice

As cities expand and travel patterns become more complex, transit passengers are becoming increasingly dependent on multiple systems to satisfy their daily travel needs. To facilitate seamless travel, comprehensive service planning, design, and operation are essential. In some cases, regional entities have integrated routes, timetables, and ticketing based on a common set of planning, investment, and marketing principles. The authors administered a nationwide survey of transit operators to explore the following areas of integration: fare policy/media, service scheduling, information coordination, facility and vehicle coordination, and interagency agreements. According to survey results, the nature and extent of integration varied by size of region and type of integration. Respondents identified challenges to coordination, including financial and political commitment. Furthermore, for integration to be successful, regional and local transport entities must work together to ensure that service providers participate in coordinative strategies, balancing the interests and needs of passengers, operators, and residents.

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Allison Yoh, Norman Wong, Michael J. Smart, and Hiroyuki Iseki (2012)

Tool for Assessing Station Characteristics (TASC): Identifying Service Quality Improvements at Transit Stops and Stations

This particular poster presentation describes a web-based analysis tool that is hosted by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and is publicly available to transit agencies interested in identifying which service quality changes (e.g. amenities, information, lighting, etc.) to transit stops/stations are most important for improving levels of transit users’ satisfaction.
 
This program is based on a series of research projects funded by California Department of Transportation since 2005 (see www.its.ucla.edu/research/EPIC/) in collaboration with researchers from multiple universities, including Hiroyuki Iseki from the National Center for Smart Growth.  This phase of research—TASC project—is groundbreaking in that it provides planners an analysis of the relative importance of various improvements, uses community-based input, and can be applied at the level of individual stops/stations, across a group of stops/stations, or across the transit system as a whole.  The program provides a graphical representation of users’ levels of satisfaction juxtaposed on top of the importance of various service qualities.  In short, it provides a clear indication of how best to invest increasingly scarce transit resources to improve customer satisfaction in attributes that matter to transit customers.
 
The poster focuses on a description of the process for using the tool – downloading the survey forms, conducting a user survey, uploading survey results, and downloading analysis results – and highlights examples of how the analysis can be performed at different levels of analysis to meet different needs.

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Hiroyuki Iseki and Rebecca Houtman (2012)

Evaluation of progress in contractual terms: Two case studies of recent DBFO PPP projects in North America

With continuous demand for transportation infrastructure and chronic funding shortfalls, public-private partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure provision have garnered attention in recent years in the U.S. and abroad. High profile concession deals in Chicago and Indiana have raised concerns about the protection of public interests in PPPs. Such concerns have ignited heated debates, partly driven by ideology and vested interests, but also by questionable decisions made previously. While public agencies at all levels are interested in identifying successful PPP arrangements, the variety and complexity of PPP deals, combined with local factors unique to each project, make the development of a universal evaluation framework practically infeasible.

In order to improve our knowledge of the best PPP approaches for transportation infrastructure, we examine two recently completed Design-Build-Finance-Operate (DBFO) PPP deals in North America on six critical factors identified in the literature review: 1) pre-construction and construction risks; 2) asset valuation, traffic demand, and revenue risks; 3) non-compete provisions; 4) facility performance standards; 5) early termination terms; and 6) public and political acceptance. The case studies exhibit evidence of improved balances of risks, responsibility, costs, and benefits between the public and private sectors, incorporating knowledge from past experiences, and suggest an increasing sophistication of governmental decision-making and a move toward what we call a “middle-ground approach” to successfully addressing key issues of PPP implementation. As technical experience and familiarity with PPPs grow among transportation officials in the public sector, it is likely that success with and acceptance of PPPs will increase in coming years.

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Hiroyuki Iseki and Alexander Demisch (2012)

Examining the linkages between electronic roadway tolling technologies and road pricing policy objectives

The surge of road pricing projects in the U.S. and around the globe over the past 15 years has been enabled by a variety of new communication and transportation technologies. While all of these technologies increase the efficiency of roadway tolling vis-à-vis manual collection, no “best” configuration has emerged. Rather, optimal configurations depend on the objectives of the tolling effort, such as facility type, geographic scope, desire to price externalities, integration with other operations, and so on. While such policy objectives for road pricing have been examined extensively, little has been written on the explicit links between tolling technology configurations and policy objectives. This paper addresses this gap in the literature through an examination of eight road pricing programs. For each program we evaluate the conduct of the three technical tasks via the nine technology sets in light of six principal policy objectives of road pricing.

We find that two policy factors most often determine the type of roadway tolling technologies adopted: (1) the geographical scale of the road network tolled, and (2) the complexity of calculating the fee to be charged. The combination of these two factors can vary greatly – from flat fare tolling on individual facilities, to nationwide road networks priced with dynamic tolls that vary by vehicle class, time of day, and congestion level. We conclude that the challenge to the expanded implementation of road pricing is less about either pricing technologies or the objectives of pricing, but the politically and economically effective linking of the two.

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Hiroyuki Iseki, Michael Smart, Brian D. Taylor, and Allison Yoh (2012)

Thinking Outside the Bus

This is a short, accessible article that provides a synopsis of findings from the research titled “Tool Development to Evaluate the Performance of Intermodal Connectivity (EPIC)” in collaboration with UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. This research has examined various factors that can substantially influence transit users’ perception of service quality at bus stops and trains stations, and also what factors transit managers think important to improve customers' satisfaction. Recently, the project has developed a tool for transit agencies to identify service quality improvements at transit facilities, which has been presented in the American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference in Los Angeles, April, 2012. Publications related to this research are listed under " FURTHER READING" on page 15.

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Iseki, Hiroyuki and Mike Smart

How Do People Perceive Service Attributes at Transit Facilities? An Examination of Perceptions of Transit Service by Transit User Demographics and Tri

Given the well-known fact that transit users perceive out-of-vehicle travel (walking, waiting, and transferring) as more onerous than in-vehicle travel, understanding what makes travelers’ perceptions of the out-of-vehicle travel experience better is important for transit planners who seek to make public transit more attractive. Original survey data collected from 2,122 transit users regarding their perceptions of various attributes of service at 36 transit stops and stations in California were used to examine which attributes are important to transit users, as well as their satisfaction levels with each attribute, and to ascertain the relative needs for improvement of these attributes. The paper also examines how different sets of attributes that determine overall satisfaction vary by transit users’ trip characteristics and demographics, such as age, sex, income level, race and ethnicity, auto availability, mode of travel, and frequency of transit use. In a series of ordered logit regression analyses, satisfaction levels for safety- and access-related variables were found to be more aligned with overall user satisfaction than were information- and reliability-related attributes and amenities. A similar result was found for various subpopulations—men, those making less than $15,000 per year, frequent riders, commuters, and those with an alternative mode of travel—but not for others. The analysis indicates that while safety is certainly the number-one priority for all transit users, travelers with different backgrounds on different modes of transit have different priorities for services and attributes to improve their transit experience.

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Hiroyuki Iseki

Examination of Regional Transit Service Under Contracting: A Case Study in the Greater New Orleans Region

Many local governments and transit agencies in the United States face financial difficulties in providing adequate public transit service in individual systems, and in providing sufficient regional coordination to accommodate transit trips involving at least one transfer between systems. These difficulties can be attributed to the recent economic downturn, continuing withdrawal of the state and federal funds that help support local transit service, a decline in local funding for transit service in inner cities due to ongoing suburbanization, and a distribution of resources that responds to geographic equity without addressing service needs.

This study examines two main research questions: (1) the effect of a “delegated management” contract on efficiency and effectiveness within a single transit system, and (2) the effects of a single private firm—contracted separately by more than one agency in the same region—on regional coordination, exploring the case in Greater New Orleans. The current situation in New Orleans exhibits two unique transit service conditions. First, New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) executed a “delegated management” contract with a multinational private firm, outsourcing more functions (e.g., management, planning, funding) to the contractor than has been typical in the U.S. Second, as the same contractor has also been contracted by another transit agency in an adjacent jurisdiction—Jefferson Transit (JeT), this firm may potentially have economic incentives to improve regional coordination, in order to increase the productivity and effectiveness of its own transit service provision.

Although the limited amount of available operation and financial data has prevented us from drawing more definitive conclusions, the findings of this multifaceted study should provide valuable information on a transit service contracting approach new to the U.S.: delegated management. This study also identified a coherent set of indices with which to evaluate the regional coordination of transit service, the present status of coordination among U.S. transit agencies, and barriers that need to be resolved for regional transit coordination to be successful.

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Allison Yoh, Hiroyuki Iseki, Mike Smart, and Brian D. Taylor

Hate to Wait: Effects of Wait Time on Public Transit Travelersí Perceptions

A large and growing body of research suggests that transit users hate to wait. Given broad policy goals to increase public transit use in U.S. cities, this research sheds light on cost-effective ways to increase transit use by decreasing the perceived burdens of waiting at stops and stations. The goal of this study was to determine (a) the relative importance of stop and station amenities and attributes and (b) how the importance of these amenities and attributes varies with wait time. For this goal to be accomplished and for the duration of wait time when amenities become important to be determined a transit user survey that asked more than 2,000 travelers to rate both the importance of amenities at their stops or stations and their wait times was analyzed. Regardless of wait time, safety and on-time performance were paramount to riders; these also ranked highest relative to all other station and stop amenities examined. Lighting, cleanliness, information, shelter, and the presence of guards were less important to travelers when waits were short, but were more important with longer wait times. Thus, improving service frequency and reliability reduces the need for amenities at stations. This end suggests that when transit managers have a choice and when riders feel safe and secure managers should favor service improvements over station and stop amenities. Finally, some amenities become more important with long wait times, such as restrooms and food and drink facilities. Although provision of basic needs amenities is intuitive, restrooms and food and drink sales are most likely present at high-passenger-volume, high-service-frequency stops and stations, where they are valued least by travelers.

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