As Houston's overhaul draws new riders, other cities mulling bus changes
Houston's bus overhaul, planned for years but rolled out literally overnight in 2015, has led to an increase in bus ridership, bucking state and national trends. Many are taking notice.
BY BRANDON FORMBY DEC. 8, 2016
... Houstonians who rely on the regional transit agency more frequently since it dramatically retooled its bus routes and stops last year. That massive overhaul decreased the amount of wait times between buses and simplified route geography so maps were easier to understand and read.
...urban planning experts say system improvements can actually have broader, more dramatic impacts on residents’ quality of life, job access and living costs. They say better public transportation, especially in car-centric urban areas like those in Texas, can also help people pull themselves out of poverty.
“It should go beyond functionality and mobility concerns,” said Shima Hamidi, director of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Institute of Urban Studies. “It should be planned as enablers.”
Dallas has among the highest levels of extreme poverty in the country. More than half of households earn less than $50,000, their median incomes are falling and more than 80 percent of jobs can’t be reached by public transportation in less than 90 minutes, according to a presentation given to the council’s housing committee this week.
The Dallas City Council voted unanimously last fall to make overhauling the bus system a top priority. That decision was cited in a recent effort to replace several of the city’s DART board representatives.
“If we start heading more toward a gridded system, there is an opportunity for more intuition to be built in the network,” he said.
DART officials say they’re working to speed up their long-term plans.
In August, DART will begin tinkering with bus routes that currently have poor on-time performance, mostly during the middle part of the day. Those changes will focus on off-peak times for now because the agency is awaiting the delivery of about 41 new buses.
Tivo_Kenevil wrote:Dallas needs to look at Seattle. They prioritize buses and get people where they need to go on time via buses. Take note Dart.
DART Demos New Proterra Zero-Emission, All-Electric Buses
The seven zero-emission all-electric buses are partially funded by a $7.6 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo Program). The grant also helps fund the infrastructure to charge and maintain them.
DART plans to use the electric buses on D-Link, a downtown circulator route currently subsidized by the city of Dallas and Downtown Dallas, Inc. This smaller Proterra vehicle will be easier to navigate through busy city streets and reduce noise pollution downtown. The electric battery technology is similar to what is used on the Dallas Streetcar.
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