Assessing and quantifying public transit access.
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Assessing and quantifying public transit access.

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    Measuring access to transit services is important in evaluating existing services, predicting travel demands, allocating transportation investments and making decisions on land development. A composite index for assessing accessibility of public transit is described. It involves use of readily available methods and represents a more holistic measure of transit accessibility integrating developer, planner and operator perspectives. The research reviews previous and current methods of measuring accessibility and selects three methods for application in a case study in Meriden, CT. Inconsistencies are noted across the methods, and a consistent grading scale is presented to standardize scores. This research proposes weighting factors for individual methods to formulate a composite measure based on individual accessibility component measures.

    Integrating transit needs into transit accessibility indexing is considered in this research for the evaluation of existing transportation systems and service gaps and for the identification of priority areas for future investments in transportation infrastructure. An accessibility-based transit need indexing model is detailed that focuses on the necessity of evaluating transit needs and transit accessibility simultaneously. A need index is developed to identify areas in high need of public transit services using economic and socio- demographic information. The need for transit service is then modeled as the lack of transit accessibility and correlates different access indicators with their ability to predict transit service need. This model maps areas with different levels of transit accessibility and transit needs using a single score, which may be easily interpreted by planners examining transit equity. The model has been applied to the city of Meriden and New Haven, CT and results have been compared with a general approach for consistency and effectiveness. The research also highlights the model’s usefulness through a representative example of its application.

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