PHIA News Digest – Vol. 81

June 27, 2016

Transportation options are expanding, but can they reach the urban poor?

Much has been made over the last few years about new trends in transportation. Americans—particularly millennials—are buying fewer carsdriving less, and turning to public or alternative transit more. A boom in transportation options, investment in transit in dense urban areas, and a growing sensitivity to the impact of cars on the environment has allowed some people to make fewer car trips and own fewer vehicles.

Yet, the households with the most to gain from expanded transportation options are also the ones most likely to be excluded from them. Whether it is car ownership, new forms of ride sharing, or traditional transit, low-income families may struggle to pay for reliable transportation, may be missing out on new options, and may have fewer fallbacks when their transportation falls through.

Government, Crowdsourced Data Might Help People with Disabilities Get Around

For someone in a wheelchair, directions to a place a few blocks away can be a whole lot more complicated than they might be for a person who has full use of their legs. There are stair-only pathways to consider, elevator locations, slanted sidewalks, curbs and hills.

But government data — and possibly crowdsourcing — might be able to help make those trips a little easier. In Seattle, one organization has put together a service called AccessMap that aims to provide routing around the hill-laden city for people with disabilities. The service uses data sets from several sources, including the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the U.S. Geological Survey, to show where bus lines are, where ramped curbs exist, which streets have steep grades and more.

Brandywine, Drexel Unveil $4.5B Plan for Philly Transit Hub

As the culmination of a two-year effort, the plan for redeveloping about 100 acres of downtown Philadelphia was released late last week by Amtrak,Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The partners also announced several early projects to improve the immediate station area and help trigger development throughout the 30th Street Station District.



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