9-line access access management access point accessibility ADA air quality alignment amenity antiplanner atlanta BART benchmark BID bike Blogs boston branded bus corridors brookings brt bus Bus Rapid Transit BYU capacity car pool car pool lane cars central link Centrality certification commuter rail condo congestion congestion pricing connections consistency coverage crossings CRT cycling DART dedicated dedicated right of way density denver depreciation developers development economics efficiency Envision Utah equity eugene exclusive extension FAQ favela Federal Funding Flex Bus florida free fare zone freeways frequent network frontrunner frontunner Gallivan garden cities gas prices geotagging goat Google grade-separation Granary District growth headway heavy rail hedonic High Speed Rail history housing housing affordability housing bubble housing prices HOV income infill innovative intersections intensity ITS junk science LA land use Land Value Economics LEED legacy city light rail linear park location LRT lyft M/ART malls mapping maps metrics metro MetroRail missoula mixed mixed traffic mixed-traffic mobile mode choice Mode Share multi-family MXD neighborhood networks news NIMBY office online op-ed open letter Operations parking parking meters peak travel pedestrian environment phasing Photomorphing planning Portland property property values Provo proximity quality_transit rail railvolution rant rapid rapid transit RDA real estate redevelopment reliability research retail Ridership ridesharing right of way roadway network ROW salt lake city san diego schedule schedule span seattle separated service branding shuttle silver line single family SLC SLC transit master plan slums smartphone snow sprawl standing stop spacing streetcar streetscape streetscaping subdivision Sugarhouse Sugarhouse Streetcar Tacoma taxi technology tenure termini time-separation TOD townhouse traffic signal tram transit transit agency transit networks transit oriented development Transit Planning transponder transportation travel time TRAX trip planning trolley tunnel uber university of utah urban design urban land UTA UTA 2 Go Trip Planner utah Utah County Utah Transit Authority value vmt walking distance web welfare transit Westside Connector WFRC wheelchairs zoning

Monday, April 25, 2011

Transit Benchmarks

Mountain Line Transit in Missoula, Montana has a benchmark that a bus trip should be "no greater than 200% of automobile trip time". While I initially found the idea ridiculous, I came to recognize while the benchmark may be set low, the idea of benchmarks was an excellent idea.

A co-worker once told me that the purpose of accounting is not fairness or equity in distribution, but a technique for detecting what produces value. There are a raft of possible improvements that transit agencies can spend their funding on. Many transit agencies spend far too little on tracking their own performance, and as a result are unable to assess the success or failure of their own efforts. Without rigorous accounting, there is a danger that transit improvements will be limited to what is politically palatable, or the 'flavor of the week'. Worse still, without metrics, when program and policy efforts prove ineffective, transit agencies have little justification for cutting them when faced by an active and vocal campaign by a narrow interest group.

How good is your transit? Has it gotten better? How will you know when it does?