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Thread: Small city transit

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Small city transit

    Who has examples of good small urban transit systems? I mean communities under 100,000, probably mostly bus-based. What is it that makes them work well? Is it land use patterns? Management?

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    Cyburbian
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    Would this include college towns or not? The only examples I can think of are college and tourist towns which obviously have a different dynamic than your average small city.

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Would this include college towns or not? The only examples I can think of are college and tourist towns which obviously have a different dynamic than your average small city.
    Going to side with Blide. My fair city (population of 45K) has an excellent transportation system, but it is an outlier due to being a college town. The town i work for is around 30K and has a sub-par transit system.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

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    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Masswich View post
    What is it that makes them work well?
    Federal Subsidies
    @GigCityPlanner

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Port Huron is not a college town (besides a county community college) and has an excellent transit system. Certainly one that stacks up against anyone. They were early adopters of bike racks on buses and have a near complete fleet of CNG busses and their own fueling station.

    http://www.bwbus.com/
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Port Huron is a good example. The routes look well thought-out although the headways seem long.

    As a Boston native, I love the small cities' route numbers (1,2,3,4, etc.) Makes it seem so simple.

    And I agree that the college and tourist towns have a leg up.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    One interesting approach to small town transit I've seen is the Clemson Area Transit system. The hub of the system is a university but it still enables a couple of small towns that don't have significant student populations to have public transit. The other nice is feature is the system is completely free to ride since it is supported by the university and federal subsidies. If I recall, it's the largest free system in the country.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Federal Subsidies
    That's the only thing that makes the road and highway system capable of functioning, so there's no shocker there.

  9. #9

    TRB/TCRP reports

    Have you looked at any TCRP reports?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute had a panel session that discussed transit in rural areas earlier this year. You can directly view the powerpoint in PDF format of Transit Success Stories in Montana.

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    I know I'm really late responding to this but I the area I live in has a surprising good system considering the largest town in the area only has 13,000 people. The system is free and is supported by Dartmouth College, Dartmouth Medical Center, subsidies from the towns it services and federal/state subsidies. There are 5 lines, 1 shuttle for the college and two shuttle routes for the medical center. The lines run every 10 minutes in some areas to up to only rush hour service on some sections. The system is supported by privately run commuter busses that transport people in from up to an hour working much like a commuter rail and subway system do in bigger cities. Link to their website: http://www.advancetransit.com/

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Doberman's avatar
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    There's transit in the town I just moved to of about 5,000 people. It's just two trolley buses but has seemed viable so far. The town isn't very large, there are 3 senior homes, Section 8 projects, and some apartments. So you have density, and demographic demands there. The city is also walkable sidewalks in the downtown area and along the main street. They also do a transit shuttle from this town to a nearby university two towns over.

    Your demographics will dictate your need for in town transit. What you're looking for are people living under a certain income to afford a car, above a certain age level or otherwise physically disabled to determine your transit demand. If your town has basic amenities and some walkability then you have the potential for a successful system. You can color code these areas based on percentile by block or what have you, to determine the percentage of transit dependents for a given area. This same formula also works for anyone working with an EMA in terms of prioritizing evacuation areas.The topography of your town will also dictate what you use. I believe street cars work better for hilly areas like San Francisco.

    If your town is a suburb then you are looking getting into a more quantitative analysis versus the qualitative one mentioned above. Your demand could be anywhere from a park and ride to a light rail system.

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