Research Project: An Exploration of Fixed Guideway Transit Criteria Revisited, 2010-2013

Final Report: TCRP 167 "Making Effective Fixed-Guideway Transit Investments: Indicators of Success Volume 1: Handbook; Volume 2: Research Report"

There is a separate spreadsheet tool for download.

Chapman Research

This study was undertaken to develop a relatively sophisticated data-driven “indicator-based” method for predicting the potential success of proposed light rail and heavy rail transit services in the United States. The research was focused on two measures of usage as compared to projected capital cost: project-level ridership, and regionwide person miles traveled (PMT). The study team assembled a geographically detailed station-level database of nearly all recently developed light and heavy rail projects in the United States: about 55 projects from 27 metropolitan areas, along with supplementary information and guidance from elite interviews and focus groups, and six case studies. The goal was a method that would predict the likelihood of project success based on the conditions present in the corridor and within the metropolitan area as a whole, including industry-specific employment information, parking prices and availability, levels of road congestion, and other spatial measures ranging from the station-area level to the level of the metropolitan region.

The project includes the development of a handbook and spreadsheet tool developed to help policymakers and laypeople evaluate potential light and heavy rail alignments, as well as better understand how potential changes in land use and other factors might make projects more cost-effective. While the indicator-based method will not provide a final answer on whether to make any particular rail investment, it should guide decisions on whether a proposed project merits investing in more detailed planning and analysis. It is anticipate to be completed and posted on the web in the coming months.

(Funded by the Transit Cooperative Research Program of the National Academy of Sciences; with Robert Cervero of UC Berkeley and Don Emerson of Parsons Brinckherhoff, and current and former DCRP students Ian Carlton, Emily Moylan, Erick Guerra, Dana Weissman, Jin Murakami, and Paolo Ikezoe, with contributions from Dan Tischler, Daniel Means, Sandra Winkler, Kevin Sheu, and Joe Zissman).

An Exploration of Fixed Guideway Transit Criteria Revisited, 2010-2013 (Transportation Research Board Summary)

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