EPIC Intermodal Tool Evaluation - Phase 2
The overall research objective is to develop a statistical analysis formula or set of formulas, guidelines and handbooks (tools) that can reliably predict the most efficient and effective design for an intramodal and/or intermodal transfer facility. Under the initial development task, an initial analytical tool is being designed for transit transfer nodes. This initial tool will be tested and evaluated to determine its validity and usefulness. Adjustments may be necessary and will be identified, incorporated and validated. Expansion of the tool to incorporate multimodal transfer node analysis will be studied and changes will be incorporated or recommended, depending upon the scope of the effort to do so.
The EPIC Intermodal Connectivity Tool project is comprised of a series of research tasks and activities that started with the Tool Development to Evaluate the Performance of Intermodal Connectivity (EPIC) research activity in FY 2004-05.
Efficiency, in this case, is defined as the ratio of user value received for a unit of cost expended and considers tangible costs (i.e. maintenance cost, construction cost, and operation cost). Effectiveness is determined by a statistical analysis of several factors that incorporate user perceptions of value (i.e. transfer time, wait time, safety, convenience, etc.). The users considered in this analysis are both the transportation users and the transportation providers. As envisioned, the EPIC Intermodal Connectivity Tool will be an expansive analysis and far surpasses the simple universal list of “good things to do” now commonly used by transportation providers during the planning, design and upgrade of transportation transfer facilities.
5. - Relationship of Next Research to Previous Research Findings (Information): The EPIC Phase 1 project completed the following four primary research activities and provided deliverable reports detailing the outcomes described in the following subsections:
5.1. - Determined the state-of-the-practice for evaluating intermodal/intramodal connectivity. From this review a conceptual evaluation framework was developed to consider (i) facility access, (ii) user information, (iii) safety and security, (iv) connections and reliability, and (v) provision of amenities. This framework was used to guide the subsequent analysis of user perceptions of walking, waiting, and transferring experiences.
5.2. - Identified institutional factors affecting transit system design. During this activity the research team:
5.2.1. - Compared transit managers’ ideas about the most important walk, wait, and transfer experiences with those of their passengers,
5.2.2. - Identified important non-user perceptions as factors (such as required vehicle queuing space) to be considered in the design of major stops and stations, and
5.2.3. - Determined that other stakeholders (specifically local government entities) control the design and location of most transit stops and stations. It also found that adjacent businesses and residents exert significant influence over the location, design, and operation of stops and stations.
5.3. - Surveyed over 700 transit users to determine the factors affecting their perceptions of waiting, walking, and transferring during a trip. Within each category of attributes, the users’ satisfaction level was correlated with data from a detailed inventory of 12 stops and transfer facilities in southern California to identify significant linkage between users’ perceptions and transit services and built environment at stops, stations, and transfer facilities. Lack of variability of factors in the inventory data caused difficulty to obtain statistically significant results, which is to be addressed in the next phase of research.
5.4. - Identified and analyzed the factors most important to riders and determined their levels of satisfaction with existing amenities and services, such as reliability, safety, information provision, and access.
Section 5.2 above found that local governments play a significant, and often central role in the location, design, and operation of transit stops and stations. In this role, considerations such as competing uses for sidewalk space or the concerns of local residents and businesses can exert far more influence over transit stops and stations than the concerns and needs of either transit users or transit operators. Accordingly, the next phase of this research should incorporate these stakeholders and more systematically analyze the factors that local governments consider when locating transit stops and stations. This may enable more effective collaborative stop and station planning among transit users, transit operators and local governments.
Section 5.4 above focused on the role of stops and transfer facilities in determining the connectivity of transit systems and how this connectivity (as well as other service attributes) influence travelers’ satisfaction with transit services. To make the findings of this effort more generalized to cities and transit operators around California, the analysis of transit facilities and users should be extended beyond Los Angeles County. Doing so will allow a wider variety of transit stops and stations to be analyzed in a wider array of settings and substantially increase the robustness of the findings.
The research tasks develop tools/guidelines that are associated with the analytical framework developed in the previous stage of research. In qualitative terms, these tools may be used to improve customer satisfaction with the intermodal and intramodal connectivity experience, with the overall goal of increasing ridership. The envisioned product will provide a means to measure the performance of transit connectivity, provide specific recommendations for relative effects of changes and improvements that can be made to improve customer satisfaction. In the public transportation arena, individual transit agencies customarily conduct on-board and/or stop/station surveys to elicit information from their passengers on the performance of their system, but rarely are passengers’ views and assessment of their travel connectivity experiences (from the more holistic perspective) solicited. The goal here is to help close this gap using this research.
Contract is currently underway.