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Transportation Studies 
in the 21st Century- 
Incorporating All Modes 
Michelle DeRobertis PE 
Transportation Choices for 
Sustainable Communities 
Oakland CA
1950’s till now, goal of Traffic Impact 
Studies (TIS) was: 
Accommodate Auto Traffic
Absurd Results of Tipping Scales in 
Favor of Autos: 
1. Inequitable Development Conditions 
▫ First in pays least 
▫ Last in pays most (or 
changes project)
2. SPRAWL
3. Huge wide swaths of asphalt unused 
for 22 hours a day
22 hours of the day, roadway capacity is 
unused
4. Double Standard-
21st Century Setting- 
Political & Social Landscape is Changing
Fewer Teen Drivers 1983-2010 
90 
80 
70 
60 
40 
30 
20 
10 
0 
50 
16 
17 
18 
19 
1983 
2010 
17 18 
16 19
21st Century Setting-: 
CAR FREE Households 
Are Increasing
Even State Laws Are Changing 
▫ Many States now have GHG reductions targets 
▫ California has a state law that prohibits vehicle 
congestion from being considered significant 
impact in Environmental Documents
Our Speakers 
▫ Peter Albert, City of San Francisco 
▫ Patrick Lynch Transpo Group, 
Bellingham, Washington 
▫ Doug Thompson, City of Boulder CO 
▫ Michelle DeRobertis, ITE Transit Council
Michelle DeRobertis P.E.
Purpose of ITE Committee on Transit 
and Traffic Impact Studies 
Document whether and how: 
▫ Transit Quality of Service is addressed. 
▫ Traffic impacts on transit service and 
operations is addressed. 
▫ Transit providers are involved in the TIS 
process.
State of the Practice Study 
Methodology 
▫ Survey practitioners on the state of the 
practice on Transit and Traffic Impact Studies. 
▫ Review of known traffic impact studies and 
TIS guidelines to see how well they address 
transit. 
▫ Write a “State of the Practice” report to be 
published by ITE.
Problem – 
• Undue attention is given to the LOS of the 
surrounding freeways and arterials 
• Very little attention to the Transit Service 
▫ Report may mention the number and frequency of 
busses, but does not rate whether the existing transit 
service is “good” or “adequate” 
• Conclusion often is that Roadways are operating at 
LOS F and “need improving” whereas the Transit 
service just “is”.
Result of Lopsided Analysis 
MORE CAPACITY FOR AUTO NO CHANGES TO TRANSIT
Current Transit QOS Measurements* 
• Service Availability 
▫ Spatial- where the routes are 
▫ Temporal – hours of service, headways 
▫ Capacity- function of vehicle size and headways (2) 
• Comfort and Convenience 
▫ Passenger load 
▫ Average Speed -Travel Time (1) 
▫ Reliability 
▫ Safety and security 
▫ Stations and stops
Possible Metrics for use in TIS 
1. Travel time- 
▫ Compare transit travel time to the site to auto-travel 
time 
Mitigation measures to improve travel 
time 
• Transit signal preemption 
• Bus only lanes
Possible Metrics for use in TIS 
2. Capacity 
• compare capacity of traffic lanes serving a site to 
the capacity of transit service 
Mitigation measures to improve capacity 
• Decrease headways 
• more./larger train cars
SAN FRANCISCO MUNI-Frequency 
Standards 
Weekday PEAK BASE EVENING OWL 
RADIAL 10 15 20 30 
EXPRESS 10 - - - 
CROSS-TOWN 
15 15 20 30 
FEEDER 20 30 30 --
GOAL: ITE TRANSIT & TIS COMMITTEE 
STATE OF THE PRACTICE 
RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 
BETTER TRANSIT SERVICE 
1 
2 
3
21st Century Way of Thinking: 
▫ System is not “failing” when there is auto 
congestion; it is an indicator of a thriving 
economy. 
▫ Congestion indicates that more/better transit 
is needed as well as bikeways/walkways. 
▫ Level of Service Scale of A-F is wrong: 
 Implies LOS A is optimal where as in fact it is means 
there is excess capacity. 
 In fact V/C ratio of 1.0 LOS F could be considered 
ideal in the demand and capacity are balanced

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Transportation Studies in the 21st Century: Incorporating all Modes

  • 1. Transportation Studies in the 21st Century- Incorporating All Modes Michelle DeRobertis PE Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities Oakland CA
  • 2.
  • 3. 1950’s till now, goal of Traffic Impact Studies (TIS) was: Accommodate Auto Traffic
  • 4. Absurd Results of Tipping Scales in Favor of Autos: 1. Inequitable Development Conditions ▫ First in pays least ▫ Last in pays most (or changes project)
  • 6. 3. Huge wide swaths of asphalt unused for 22 hours a day
  • 7. 22 hours of the day, roadway capacity is unused
  • 9. 21st Century Setting- Political & Social Landscape is Changing
  • 10. Fewer Teen Drivers 1983-2010 90 80 70 60 40 30 20 10 0 50 16 17 18 19 1983 2010 17 18 16 19
  • 11. 21st Century Setting-: CAR FREE Households Are Increasing
  • 12. Even State Laws Are Changing ▫ Many States now have GHG reductions targets ▫ California has a state law that prohibits vehicle congestion from being considered significant impact in Environmental Documents
  • 13. Our Speakers ▫ Peter Albert, City of San Francisco ▫ Patrick Lynch Transpo Group, Bellingham, Washington ▫ Doug Thompson, City of Boulder CO ▫ Michelle DeRobertis, ITE Transit Council
  • 15. Purpose of ITE Committee on Transit and Traffic Impact Studies Document whether and how: ▫ Transit Quality of Service is addressed. ▫ Traffic impacts on transit service and operations is addressed. ▫ Transit providers are involved in the TIS process.
  • 16. State of the Practice Study Methodology ▫ Survey practitioners on the state of the practice on Transit and Traffic Impact Studies. ▫ Review of known traffic impact studies and TIS guidelines to see how well they address transit. ▫ Write a “State of the Practice” report to be published by ITE.
  • 17. Problem – • Undue attention is given to the LOS of the surrounding freeways and arterials • Very little attention to the Transit Service ▫ Report may mention the number and frequency of busses, but does not rate whether the existing transit service is “good” or “adequate” • Conclusion often is that Roadways are operating at LOS F and “need improving” whereas the Transit service just “is”.
  • 18. Result of Lopsided Analysis MORE CAPACITY FOR AUTO NO CHANGES TO TRANSIT
  • 19. Current Transit QOS Measurements* • Service Availability ▫ Spatial- where the routes are ▫ Temporal – hours of service, headways ▫ Capacity- function of vehicle size and headways (2) • Comfort and Convenience ▫ Passenger load ▫ Average Speed -Travel Time (1) ▫ Reliability ▫ Safety and security ▫ Stations and stops
  • 20. Possible Metrics for use in TIS 1. Travel time- ▫ Compare transit travel time to the site to auto-travel time Mitigation measures to improve travel time • Transit signal preemption • Bus only lanes
  • 21. Possible Metrics for use in TIS 2. Capacity • compare capacity of traffic lanes serving a site to the capacity of transit service Mitigation measures to improve capacity • Decrease headways • more./larger train cars
  • 22. SAN FRANCISCO MUNI-Frequency Standards Weekday PEAK BASE EVENING OWL RADIAL 10 15 20 30 EXPRESS 10 - - - CROSS-TOWN 15 15 20 30 FEEDER 20 30 30 --
  • 23. GOAL: ITE TRANSIT & TIS COMMITTEE STATE OF THE PRACTICE RECOMMENDED PRACTICE BETTER TRANSIT SERVICE 1 2 3
  • 24. 21st Century Way of Thinking: ▫ System is not “failing” when there is auto congestion; it is an indicator of a thriving economy. ▫ Congestion indicates that more/better transit is needed as well as bikeways/walkways. ▫ Level of Service Scale of A-F is wrong:  Implies LOS A is optimal where as in fact it is means there is excess capacity.  In fact V/C ratio of 1.0 LOS F could be considered ideal in the demand and capacity are balanced