Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices. Topic SA-44. Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign

Many American bus networks were designed and planned many decades ago to support populations, job locations, technologies and land uses that have, in most cities, changed dramatically. Network redesign can improve access to jobs, schools, healthcare, and other essential opportunities. Transit agencies with outdated networks might benefit from starting from scratch and designing and implementing an entirely new network, rather than using a piecemeal, route-by-route approach that could take decades to be implemented. Changing the network is, however, much more complex than a technical planning exercise—it represents significant political, regulatory and community engagement challenges, which are more strategic and communications-driven in nature. At the same time, it can be strategically efficient to undertake a wholesale network redesign rather than many small and ongoing tweaks to the network, which could carry significant political cost and incur relatively minor benefits. The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the current state of practice regarding network redesign. Topics to be studied include research and practice on the following items (not an inclusive list): (1) Decision making - (a) How do we determine whether bus network redesign is appropriate? (b) What is the impetus for the redesign? (c) What data was used? (d) What were the goals and objectives? and (e) What was the funding source for the process of planning the redesign? (2) Planning - (a) What was the network design approach used? ( Philosophy used); (b) What are the regulatory considerations? ( ADA, Title VI., etc.); (c) What were the equity considerations? (d) Which technical efforts/ analysis are used? (e.g. modeling forecasting, accessibility analysis, cost benefit, etc.); (e) What are the tradeoffs considered? (f) Rider perspective; (g) Local interests (municipalities, politics, advocates, etc.); (h) Private interests; (i) How were emerging mobility solutions and other transportation options considered? (j) How did financial considerations inform the process? (k) Were additional capital expenditures considered? and (l) Was existing transportation infrastructure considered? (3) Evaluation criteria or framework - (a) What metrics were used? Were they weighted? (b) What are the projected outcomes? and (c) How do the agencies measure success? (4) Stakeholders Engagement - (a) How are operators consulted or Involved in redesign? and (b) In what stages of the process and in what ways were the different stakeholder groups engaged? (5) Implementation - (a) What were the marketing and communication strategies? (b) Internal and external; and (c) Over what time period was the redesign implemented? ( phased vs. all at once). (6) Challenges and lessons learned - (a) What challenges were encountered in the process? (b) Scalability issues; and (c) What things would you have done differently? Information will be gathered by a literature review (e.g. agency reports, peer reviewed journal articles, web articles) and a survey on a broad range of North American transit agencies (diverse in terms of geography, socioeconomics, size, modes and governance) to identify the different strategies, the decision making process and the impacts of such actions. The report should include 5 case examples that will gather information on the state-of-the-practice, emphasizing lessons learned, challenges, and gaps. The needs for future research should also be discussed.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project J-07, Topic SA-44

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Performing Organizations:

    FourSquare Integrated Transportation Planning

    Rockville, MD  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Byala, Lora

  • Start Date: 20170914
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41621

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01634928
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project J-07, Topic SA-44
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 18 2017 1:01AM