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Introduction to Transit Planning

This asynchronous online course provides an overview of procedures and techniques for transit planning, with an emphasis on how transit planning is different from planning for other activities. Short-range planning is discussed in the context of a realistic case study. This course includes methods to predict service costs, fleet size and scheduling considerations, ways to find areas of potential demand as well as an overview of procedures used to develop new starts for major transit investments.

Course schedule and emphasis will be modified based on participants’ needs.

Benefits and Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the material, students should have an understanding of the:

  • Differences between highway and transit
  • Characteristics of transit use and benefits of transit
  • Procedures for conducting a comprehensive short-term transit plan
  • Transit project development process including the development of alternatives analysis and major investment studies
  • Use of performance indicators for transit planning and management
  • Alternative technologies for public transportation
  • Principles of route location and design
  • Procedures to estimate transit demand
  • Cost analysis procedures

Prerequisites by Topic:

  • Understanding of fundamentals of planning and transportation systems
  • Written and graphical skills
  • Mathematical preparation to understand basic algebraic relationships and financial analysis
  • Computer preparation including office software (understanding of geographical information systems is desired)

Course Outline/Topics

Topics Covered:

Week 1: Background Information

  • Course Overview, Student Needs
  • Differences Between Highway and Transit Planning
  • Transit Benefits
  • Understanding Transit Demand
  • A Profile of Public Transit Riders (from APTA)
  • Transit Capacity and Level of Service
  • Transit Planning Examples
  • Glossary of Transit Planning Terms
  • Introduction to the Belle Transit Crisis

Week 2: Transit Operations Planning for Operations

  • Transit Operations Decisions
  • Transit Performance Measurement
  • Use of Performance Data
  • Transit and Geographic Information Systems – Case Studies

Week 3: Transit Route Location and Analysis

  • Alternatives: Strategies for Transit System Change
  • Transit Route Location

Week 4: Analysis Procedures for Operations

  • Demand Analysis for Transit Operations
  • Basic Fleet Size Relationships
  • Transit Scheduling

Week 5: Transit Demand Analysis

  • Route Level Demand Analysis
  • Transit Demand in Long Range Planning
  • Transit Cost Analysis

Week 6: Transit Planning for New Starts

  • New Starts/Alternatives Analysis/Major Investments
  • Transit Technology Alternatives
  • A Transportation Modeling Primer

Week 7: Land Use and Environmental Issues

  • Transit and Land Use
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Environmental Justice and Transportation Planning
  • Belle Crisis Presentations

Week 8: Course Wrap-Up

  • Belle Crisis Presentations

Dates and locations to be announced.

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