Park and Ride Linkage to Public Transit Service Productivity

In the current era of fiscal challenge for transit agencies it's important to understand how to achieve transit ridership cost-effectively. Park and Ride (P&R) configurations in theory provide a system for efficiently interfacing transit vehicles with geographically dispersed customers. P&R works like this: In order to save time and money by not driving to their ultimate destination, some commuters, rather than walking to bus stops near their homes, drive themselves a few miles to a specially-designated car parking lot where buses stop. Across America, P&R lots with frequent bus service have often proven to be so popular that available commuter parking is regularly filled to capacity. In some cases a fee for parking is charged to modulate demand. Preliminary evidence indicates two important benefits accrue from the P&R service model. The first is stimulation of demand among discretionary riders by providing appropriately-priced or even free parking and frequent express transit service. Second is increased efficiency of transit operations by reducing the need for multi-stop local service to collect commuters. The fundamental questions this study seeks to answer are: How does the provision of P&R capacity influence transit productivity? And, how does the effectiveness of Park and Ride investment compare with other transit improvements as a means of increasing transit productivity?