SAFE ROUTES 2 TRANSIT
- The Transportation Trifecta -

OVERVIEW

Safe Routes to Transit (SR2T) was initiated in 2004 with the adoption of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Measure2, which established a $1 increase in Bay Area bridge tolls. The intended purpose of this funding was to support various transportation projects within the region in order to reduce congestion along the seven state-owned toll bridge corridors. Consistent with this purpose, the SR2T Program was $20M to fund enhancements to increase walking and cycling to regional transit stations. SR2T funds were used for the following improvements, among others: secure bicycle storage at transit stations; safety enhancements for pedestrian and bicycle station access to transit stations/stops; removal of pedestrian/bicycle barriers near transit stations; and system-wide transit enhancements to accommodate bicyclists or pedestrians.

Project Team

Submitted by:

Rebecca L. Sanders, David Weinzimmer, Heidi Dittrich, and Jill F. Cooper

We sincerely thank the many people who made significant contributions to this evaluation research. First, funding for this research was provided through a contract from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants. Fehr & Peers issued a subcontract to the UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. We want to thank Sean Co from MTC for his leadership and collaboration. Robert Schneider was a post-doctoral researcher at SafeTREC when this study began, and was instrumental in obtaining this contract. He designed the evaluation, developed the forms, conducted initial training and performed initial analysis. Mid-way through the research, though, he departed for a position at the University of Wisconsin, where he remained readily available to the team for questions. Student data collectors conducted interviews and observed traffic. We thank Ashley Lara Clark, Vanessa Hernandez, Wai Ho Yung, Man Ho Yuen, Kayla Wang, Kimberly Wong, Brandon Lee, Meia Matsuda, Mitchelle Ray Peterson, Chong Hong, Greg Lau, Sean Gin, Nili Ovaici, Janice Wu, Kawai Mang, Rohan Bhatia, Daniel Boeck, Keith Hines, Ferdinand Flores, Marta Pinilla, Stephen Hom, Jeffery Rugley, Whitney Wong, Jean Fabius Mugisha, Andre P. Tu, Brenly Stapley, Sandeep Sabu, Garrett Strang, Sandra Lee, Carmen Chen, Katie Evans, and Michele Williams. We also thank intern Paula Rubira for her work in entering data and conducting analysis. Maureen Wetter and Robert Lockhart assisted us in getting letters of authorization from BART. Thank you to BART station agents for allowing us to perform interviews on station platforms.

Study Sites & Acknowledgements

Study Sites & Acknowledgements

Transit stations were chosen based on key variables associated with travel behavior and mode choice – including population density, employment density, and the percentage of households living beneath the poverty line. The before-and-after study included the Balboa Park, Bay Fair, Civic Center, Glen Park, Lafayette, and Pittsburg BART stations, as well as the Palo Alto transit station. The Fremont and Rockridge BART stations served as the control stations.

Methodology

Methodology

Baseline data was collected in the fall of 2011 and follow-up in the falls of 2012 and 2013. Data included postcard surveys that were completed by transit users and intercept surveys that were conducted by trained field workers. Postcard surveys captured basic information about travel done by the participant on the journey from home to the entrance of the BART station (e.g. home location, intermediate stop locations(s), travel time by mode, out-of-pocket costs). Intercept surveys included the same questions as the postcard survey and additionally inquired about the user’s perceptions of pedestrian and bicycle safety and air quality, and about awareness of changes to the roadway environment in the area around the station. In addition to the surveys, intersection observations were conducted to record driver, pedestrian, and bicyclist travel behavior at each site. Behavior observations were conducted at intersections or street segments. Data collectors observed all pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers who approached the intersection.

Background on Safe Routes to Transit

Background on Safe Routes to Transit

SR2T was initiated in 2004 with the adoption of the San Franisco Bay Area’s Regional Measure 2 (RM2) which established a $1 increase in Bay Area bridge tolls. The intended purpose of this funding mechanism was to support various transportation projects within the region in order to reduce congestion along the seven state-owned toll bridge corridors. Specifically, RM2 established the Regional Traffic Relief Plan and identified specific transit operating assistance and capital projects and programs eligible to receive RM2 funding. Consistent with this purpose, the SR2% Program was awarded $20 million to focus on enhancements that will facilitate walking and cycling to regional transit stations. The local advocacy organizations TransForm and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition were responsible for administering these funds. The Regional Traffic Relief Plan explains that project improvements must either provide direct access to regional transit or that a “transit service associated with the project has to connect with, cross, or provide the same geographic connection as a state-owned Bay Area bridge” (TransForm, 2014). Regional Transit was defined as transit that serviced inter-county trips. In reference to this SR2T evaluation, these associated transit services included Caltrain, Muni, Bay Area Regional Transit (BART), AC Transit, and other public transportation services. SR2T funds may be used for the following improvement types, among others:

  • Secure bicycle storage at transit stations/stops/pods
  • Safety enhancements for pedestrian and bicycle station access to transit stations/stops/pods 
  • Removal of pedestrian/bicycle barriers near transit stations 
  • System-wide transit enhancements to accommodate bicyclists or pedestrians

MTC Safe Routes to Transit >

MORE WALKING, BIKING & TRANSIT

Walking and bicycling, whether as the sole access to transit or as part of a multi-modal trip to access the various stations, increased from the pre- to the post-period at the treatments sites.

 

Mode Shift Details

The data suggests that the streetscape and roadway improvements made through the SR2T program positively influenced the propensity to walk, bicycle and take the bus to transit stations. Of note is the fact that the mode shift to walking and bicycling did occur. When averaging responses among the treatment sites, results show that walking increased just over 3%, compared to control sites. Bicycling also increased 3% at treatment sites, although it also increased at control sites, indicating a general societal shift. Further, driving decreased 2.5% at treatment sites. The projects 3% increase in active modes and 2.5% decrease in driving would translate to 3,780 additional walk and bike trips and 37,524 fewer driving trips.

INCREASED SENSE OF SAFETY

Perceptions of traffic risk while bicycling or driving decreased significantly around transit stations with SR2T improvements when compared to control sites, which may reflect a greater sense of safety from sharing the road improvements.

Increased Safety Details

Perceptions of traffic risk were measured on a 5-point Likert scale, with higher scores indicating a great level of concern while walking, biking, or driving to the station. As such, decreases indicate improvements in perceptions. Improvements in bicycling perceptions of safety were the strongest, with levels of concern decreasing 0.8 Likert scale points overall and 1.2 points at urban stations when measured as difference-in-difference. Seeing improvement in perceptions of traffic risk is a promising finding, as these perceptions factor into mode choice. These changes support mode shift to walking and biking.

IMPROVED LOCAL ECONOMY

People on foot or bike were more likely than drivers to stop for food or drink.

Improved Local Economy Details

Those whose main mode was driving were slightly over-represented among those who made any stop at all. Drivers were particularly under-represented regarding stopping for food and drink (33.3% compared to their overall mode share of 46.0%). By contrast, those with a main mode of walking were much more likely to make stops on the way to transit. They were over-represented both in making any stop at all (37.1% compared to and overall mode share of 30.3%), and amongst those who stopped for food and drink (42.1%), which is a type of stop with direct neighborhood economic benefit. Interestingly, while respondents with a main mode of bicycling were slightly under represented within the group of those who made any stop at all, they were over represented among those who stopped for food and drink (6.3% compared to overall mode share of 4.9%). In general, all users of sustainable access modes (walk, bike, and bus) were more likely than drivers to generate local economic activity through stops for food and drink on the way to transit stations.

To download this infographic, click here.