Redesigning Public Transportation Networks for a New Mobility Future

Transit agencies are pursuing strategies to redesign public transportation in order to improve mobility. These efforts are being undertaken to better align services with markets and customer demand, reallocate system resources, respond to new technologies and travel options, improve customer experience, and support community goals. Strategies are needed because of various factors such as the following: (1) Travel patterns have shifted as activity locations have changed; (2) Many more people work from home; (3) Household and demographic compositions continue to be re-shaped; (4) New technologies have changed the way we communicate, work, and travel; and (5) In many communities, transit ridership has declined. In response to these and other factors, public transportation agencies have restructured their transit networks and redesigned their services to better meet the evolving needs of their communities. For example, transit agencies in such cities as Austin, Baltimore, Columbus (OH), Indianapolis, and Houston have taken varied approaches to redesign their networks, and others are seeking to do the same. The urgency to redesign public transportation is spurred by new mobility options such as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs); microtransit; shared cars, bikes, and e-scooters; and, in the future, connected and automated vehicles. The new and evolving options are creating a highly dynamic environment. Many transit systems and communities, in North America and globally, are pursuing these mobility options, sometimes in conjunction with various government and private-sector programs. (See Special Note A.) Traditional public transportation systems are faced with a critical need to rethink their roles in the mobility ecosystem. How transit systems respond will shape not only their futures but the futures of the cities and communities that they serve. There are lessons to be learned including: How have travelers responded to redesigned transit networks and the various new service options? How are markets being impacted – both positively and negatively? What has been the effect on transit agency budgets? How has efficiency and effectiveness of mobility, and, in particular, transit services, changed after implementation? What are the policy, institutional, and public perception implications? What more needs to be done for transit agencies to succeed in the "new mobility" environment? Research is needed to build on the experiences and knowledge available and to help guide transit agencies as they pursue change and improve mobility. The objective of this research is to develop guidance for public transportation agencies and their partners who seek to improve mobility by (1) redesigning and improving existing transit networks and (2) integrating new mobility options (e.g., public, private, vehicular, non-vehicular) that supplement and complement public transportation. The guidance should present: (1) Strategies for formulating goals, objectives, and priorities for Engaging decisionmakers and stakeholders, in particular the transit agency board members and Engaging the public in understanding and formulating opportunities for improving mobility; (2) Lessons learned from communities that have recently implemented a major transit system redesign that restructured services to meet emerging mobility needs including lessons regarding Methods and metrics for assessing which services to modify, Assessments of ridership and cost impacts of service redesign, Equity and accessibility considerations in the planning and implementation of redesigned transit services, Institutional and governance conditions that facilitate or inhibit the redesign of transit services, Organizational capacity and resource requirements, and Internal and external communication strategies that support transit system redesign; (3) Opportunities and challenges associated with planning and implementing new mobility options, including Resource allocation and potential for savings, Alignment of services with markets, Multimodal technology integration and data sharing, Congestion and right-of-way implications, Local and federal regulatory implications, Safety, liability, and enforcement considerations, Equity and accessibility, and Labor implications of mobility innovations; (4) Implementation process(es) to improve mobility to more effectively meet community needs. These processes should address the following: Integrating transit with other mobility options, Formalizing relationships, branding, and managing reputational risk, Ensuring mobility and access continuity, regardless of potentially volatile businesses, and Developing data, performance metrics, and criteria that measure efficiency, effectiveness, and quality.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $300000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project H-56

  • 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:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Start Date: 20190723
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01667917
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project H-56
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 30 2018 3:14PM