Category Archives: Accessibility

MnPASS Accounts per Household

Incremental Accessibility Benefits and Choice of Subscriptions for High-Occupancy Toll Lanes

Recently published:

MnPASS Accounts per Household
MnPASS Accounts per Household

This paper presents the results of an investigation into the factors contributing to toll lane subscription choice by using data from the MnPASS high-occupancy toll lane system operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The paper estimates a binomial logit model that predicts, on the basis of aggregate characteristics of the surrounding area, the likelihood of a household having a subscription to MnPASS systems. Variables in this model include demographic factors as well as an estimate of the incremental accessibility benefit provided by the MnPASS system. This benefit is estimated with the use of detailed accessibility calculations and represents the degree to which a location’s accessibility to jobs is improved if HOT lanes are available. The model achieves a rho<sup>2</sup> value of .634, and analysis of the results suggests that incremental accessibility benefits play a statistically and practically significant role in determining how likely households are to hold a toll lane subscription.

Access Across America Pooled Fund Webinar

Access Across America is a state-of-the-art multimodal accessibility evaluation for transportation system performance management and planning. The webinar (recorded August 6, 2014) featured an overview of the Access Across America project and examples of accessibility calculation results, information about the request for participation in the Access Across America Pooled Fund project, and a question and answer session.

(Pooled Funds are the “Kickstarter” for transportation research, where participants are usually, but not only, state DOTs – notably this process was developed in transportation some 20 years ago, much earlier than Kickstarter formed … yet another example of transportation exporting technologies to other sectors).

Watch webinar

Speakers

Pooled Fund Proposal Draft

Accessibility and the Allocation of Time: Changes in Travel Behavior 1990-2010

Recent working paper:

Brosnan, M and Levinson, D. (2014)  Accessibility and the Allocation of Time: Changes in Travel Behavior 1990-2010

Network Distance to CBD
Network Distance to CBD
  • Using detailed travel surveys conducted by the Metropolitan Council of the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) Region in Minnesota for 1990, 2000-2001, and 2010-2011, this paper conducts a detailed analysis of journey-to-work times, activity allocation and accessibility.  This study corroborates previous studies showing that accessibility is a significant factor in commute durations. Adjusting land use patterns to increase  the number of workers in job-rich areas and the number of jobs in labor-rich areas is a reliable way of reducing auto commute durations. The finding that accessibility and commute duration have a large affect on the amount of time spent at work shows that activity patterns are influenced by transportation and the urban environment in very impactful ways. The descriptive results of this analysis show a measurable decline in the time people spend outside of their homes as well as the amount of time people spend in travel over the past decade. Although trip distances per trip are not getting any shorter, the willingness to make those trip is declining, and as a result fewer kilometers are being traveled and less time on average is being allocated to travel.

Accessibility and the choice of network investments in the London Underground

Recent working paper:

Levinson, D., Giacomin, D., and Badsey-Ellis, A. (2014) Accessibility and the choice of network investments in the London Underground. Presented at the World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research, June 2014, at Delft.

Accessibility in London in 1881
Accessibility in London in 1881

 

 

  • Abstract: In 1863, the Metropolitan Railway of what came to be known as the London Underground successfully opened as the world’s first subway. Its high ridership spawned interest in additional links. Entrepreneurs secured funding and then proposed new lines to Parliament for approval, though only a portion were actually approved. While putative rail barons may have conducted some economic analysis, the final decision lay with Parliament, which did not have available modern transportation economic or geographic analysis tools. How good were the decisions that Parliament made in approving Underground Lines? This paper explores the role accessibility played on the decision to approve or reject proposed early London Tube Schemes. It finds that maximizing accessibility to population (highly correlated with revenue and ridership) largely explains Parliamentary approvals and rejections.
    Keywords: Accessibility, Network Growth, Subways, Public Transport, Travel Behavior, Networks

Developing a Comprehensive US Transit Accessibility Database

Recent working paper:

Transit Accessibility in Minneapolis
Transit Accessibility in Minneapolis

Owen, A. and Levinson, D. (2014) Developing a Comprehensive US Transit Accessibility Database

  • This paper discusses the development of a national public transit accessibility evaluation framework, focusing on lessons learned, data source evaluation and selection, calculation methodology, and examples of accessibility evaluation results. In both practice and in research, accessibility evaluation remains experimental and methodologically fragmented. This heightens the “first mover” risk for agencies seeking to implement accessibility-based planning practices, as they must select a method which might produce results that can only be interpreted locally. Development of a common baseline accessibility metric could advance the use of accessibility- based planning. The accessibility evaluation framework described here builds on methods developed in earlier project, extended for use on a national scale and at the Census block level. Application on a national scale involves assembling and processing a comprehensive national database of public transit network topology and travel times. This database incorporates the significant computational advancement of calculating accessibility continuously for every minute within a departure time window of interest. Values for contiguous departure time spans can then be averaged or analyzed for variance over time. This significantly increases computational complexity, but provides a very robust representation of the interaction between transit service frequency and accessibility at multiple departure times.

Chicago Transit Accessibility 7–9 AM (Video)

Accessibility to jobs by transit for every Census block in the Chicago metropolitan area, between 7 and 9 AM. Based on CTA, Metra, and Pace schedules from January 2014.

Lighter colors indicate few jobs can be reached within 30 minutes; darker colors indicate more jobs can be reached within 30 minutes. At the highest levels, millions of jobs are accessibility by transit within 30 minutes. Travel times include walking, waiting, riding, and transfers.

Data sources: US Census Bureau, Chicago Transit Authority, Regional Transportation Authority, OpenStreetMap.

This is work of the University of Minnesota Accessibility Observatory.

Measuring Access

Big Data Week at Mississippi State University
Big Data Week at Mississippi State University

I visited Mississippi State University earlier this week as part of the Social Science Research Center‘s Big Data Week. I talked about Measuring Access, and our research as part of the Access to Destinations project and the new Accessibility Observatory.

The presentation can be viewed here (Keynote for iCloud).

I will be writing more about the Town of Starkville, Mississippi later.