Prioritizing Public Transit for Speed, Reliability, and Rider Satisfaction
This paper identifies the public transit priority features — public policy and technological improvements that favor public transit over private auto traffic — that are successful in Munich, Germany, and Zurich, Switzerland, and that have relevancy to improving transit performance in Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a city that has the potential to achieve a world-class transit system that is easy to navigate for riders, that offers numerous ways to reach a wide range of desired destinations, that is convenient, comfortable and safe, and that demonstrates fiscal efficiencies, and has recently taken significant steps toward reaching that goal. In fact, Seattle is now positioned to make transit investments of a magnitude not seen since the city’s “historic” streetcar and cable network, developed originally by private firms and later purchased by the city.
Munich and Zurich are excellent case studies for this research because while each city has a mature and highly developed public transit system, they face demands and challenges, such as the allocation of increasingly limited street space in the face of continuing competition from other travel modes, that are very similar to those in Seattle. At the same time, while Seattle has much to learn from Munich and Zurich in mobility policy and technical applications, these cities share a common goal of pursuing excellence in public transit.