Pittsburgh Steadfast Towards TDM - GVF

I recently attended the 2018 PA TMA Summit in Pittsburgh. The Transportation Management Association (TMA) Summit is an annual event where Pennsylvania TMA’s come together for discussions focused on all aspects of Transportation Demand Management (TDM). This year, the Summit was hosted in Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Oakland Transportation Management Association and the Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA). It was fantastic to learn how Pittsburgh is working towards reducing congestion and single driver vehicles.

The Summit began with an overview of downtown Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership who had planned a walking tour to show some of the pilot projects aimed at improving mobility and livability within the downtown area. It was great to see creative infrastructure projects that worked to engage the public like artist painted patterned crosswalks, pedestrian only streets, also designed and painted by artists and bump out bus stops.

Port Authority, Pittsburgh’s public transit agency, sees over 62,000 riders per day in the downtown area alone. Bus stops along busy roads such as Liberty Avenue, which sees close to 3,000 riders daily, consistently become over crowded resulting in safety concerns along city sidewalks. To help this issue a pilot project has been implemented - bump out bus stops. This consists of temporary bump outs placed in front of bus stops, in the roadway, to accommodate the large number of transit riders waiting for their buses. The pilot is currently being privately funded and if determined effective will be replaced with permanent concrete bump outs in the future.

Each street that we walked along had eccentric designed bike racks. This was another project – artists had been asked to submit their designs to the City. All around the city you will find HealthyRide docked bike share systems.

During the Summit, we got to visit the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (CSTI) to hear about their latest research on the bike share system. CTSI initiated a research project called ‘Evaluating Bicycle, Pedestrian, Transit and Economic Data Collection Needs and Measurements of Effectiveness in Pennsylvania’. CTSI is conducting research into the ‘Benefits of the HealthyRide Bike share System’ which will determine the air quality benefits based upon the travel characteristics of bikeshare users.

Did you know employers along the Airport Corridor in Pittsburgh provide over 76,000 jobs? We had the chance to travel to the Airport Corridor to experience how commuters from downtown commute to their jobs along the Corridor. On the way we got to stop at the West Busway Stop in Carnegie. Assistant Manager of Special Services for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Chuck Rompala, talked to us about the Port Authority’s West Busway. The West Busway allows commuters taking public transit to avoid the daily peak congestion by using dedicated bus lanes along the highways. RideACTA is an on demand, last mile transportation shuttle operated by the Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA). The shuttle runs along Campbell Road at the Airport Corridor, providing commuters with a connection from public transit stops to their place of employment. The shuttle was developed over 8 years ago and provides nearly 80,000 rides per year.

While at the Airport Corridor we also got to check out the Super Stop. The Super Stop is a fully enclosed bus shelter that provides seating, tables and chairs outside, bike racks and a bike repair system. The Super Stop was developed and implemented by a partnership between ACTA, the townships, employers and developers that surrounded the area. It was inspiring to see and hear from many of the partners who worked together to make the Super Stop project become a reality and make an impactful improvement to the amenities for commuters in this area.

In Oakland we heard more about the Oakland TMA and visited both Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University to hear about their involvement with transportation and infrastructure in the city and their current transportation projects.

The Department of Computer Science-School of Computing Information at the University of Pittsburgh shared details about the Pitt Smart Living Project. Their goal is to develop a multimodal trip planning mobile app that provides commuters with real-time information on arrival and utilization of different modes of transportation.

At Carnegie Mellon University Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21-Smart Cities Institute shared insights into some of the projects Metro21 are currently working on including; ‘Can Ridesharing Help the Disadvantaged Get Moving’, ‘Implementation of Smartphone-Based Road Inspection Systems in the City of Pittsburgh’. Karen also spoke about Carnegie Mellon’s Traffic21 which is one of five national transportation research centers, and one of their projects -the benefits of ‘Adaptive Traffic Light Technology’.

At the end of the Summit, we took part in a vehicle demonstration and discussion including the

following entities: The City of Pittsburgh’s Electric Vehicle fleet and solar charging stations, Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities Electric Vehicle, STAR Transportation Group’s Autonomous Tesla, and a discussion regarding the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program. It was amazing to see the level two autonomous vehicle being summoned through an iPhone and really showed how mobility is advancing.

Overall, the Summit was a great experience showing me just how passionate and dedicated Pittsburgh is towards TDM.

For information on how GVF can help implement TDM in our region visit www.wearetdm.com. Click here for more pictures from the event.