Reducing US Transit Costs: An Empirical Review and Comparative Case Study of Portland, Manchester Rail Systems

The cost to build and operate transportation infrastructure, including mass transit, in the United States is consistently higher than it is elsewhere in the developed world. As America’s population becomes increasing urban, addressing this issue will become increasingly important. This study seeks to understand why this cost discrepancy exists, and what to do about it, through a review of existing cost data (using operations costs from the US and International governments, and capital cost data from prior studies) and a comparative case study analysis. Two light rail systems, MAX (in Portland, Oregon) and Metrolink (in Manchester, UK), share many design and operations characteristics, and recently completed two similar capital projects. While MAX’s operations and capital costs are lower than the national average, they remain above comparable costs for Metrolink. This similarity in specifications, combined with a divergence in cost, provides an opportunity to understand why US transit is comparatively expensive.

COVID-19’s Effect on Transportation: Developing a Public COVID-19 Data Dashboard

The COVID-19 outbreak has dramatically changed travel behavior in cities across the world. With changed travel demand, economic activity, and social-distancing/stay-at-home policies, transportation systems have experienced an unprecedented shift in demand and usage. Since the start of the pandemic, the C2SMART research team has been collecting data and investigating the impact of COVID-19 on mobility and sociability.

Urban Connector Year 3: Field Tests

Over the past three years, researchers at UTEP and NYU have collaborated on the development of a smartphone application, Urban Connector, which is designed to cater to the urban mobility needs and preferences of seniors in El Paso. A prototype of the application was developed and a follow-up survey was conducted to gather feedback. The app was improved to its beta version, and was tested by seniors in El Paso in their day-to-day travels.

Development of an Open Source Multi-Agent Virtual Simulation Test Bed for Evaluating Emerging Transportation Technologies and Policies

In previous years, the research team has developed and calibrated a base model implemented in MATSim and SUMO. This virtual testbed simulates an 8-million-person population and includes cars, trains, bus, bikeshare, taxi, and other for-hire vehicles calibrated to the year 2016. The team is building the architecture to host this virtual test bed and developing system design and user guide documentation.