MOTU Announcements | New Green Conflict Zone Markings


Bicycle Conflict Zone at Logan Circle/19th/Race

Bicycle Conflict Zone at Logan Circle/19th/Race

Have you seen Philadelphia’s new green bicycle conflict zone pavement markings?

Green conflict zones highlight locations where bicycles and motor vehicles must cross paths.  Bright green pavement draws motorists’ attention to these areas while providing cyclists with a clear place to negotiate a crossing.

MOTU and the Streets Department have been working to install new green bicycle conflict zone pavement markings as part of the City’s ongoing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements Program, which is funded through the Automated Red Light Enforcement (ARLE) program.  Certain green conflict zone areas also include improved white bicycle lane pavement markings as well as two-stage-left-turn boxes, to help facilitate left turns for bicycles at busy intersections.

Keep your eyes out for new green conflict zone markings at:

  1. 5th & Race
  2. 6th & Market
  3. Logan Circle & Vine
  4. 6th & Wood (I-676 ramp)
  5. 19th & Race
  6. 7th & Oregon
  7. 34th & Grays Ferry
  8. 54th & Christian
  9. Columbus Blvd & Morris
  10. Columbus Blvd & Oregon
  11. Columbus Blvd & McKean
  12. Columbus Blvd & Dilworth
  13. Columbus Blvd & Mifflin
  14. Columbus Blvd & Snyder
  15. Grays Ferry & Washington
  16. Penrose & Pattison
  17. 20th & Belfield
  18. Belfield & Wister
  19. Umbria & Domino
  20. Henry & Wigard
  21. Henry & Gates
  22. 19th & Ogontz
  23. 20th & Ogontz
  24. Champlost & Ogontz
  25. Kemble & Ogontz
  26. Olney & Ogontz
  27. Walnut Lane & Ogontz
  28. Byberry & Academy
  29. Woodhaven & Thornton
  30. Langdon & Oxford
  31. Kensington & Allegheny
  32. Cumberland & Aramingo
  33. Westmoreland & Aramingo
  34. 52nd & Parkside
  35. Washington & Water
  36. Washington & Moyamensing

Conflict zone at Logan Circle/19th/Race in action


Tidbit Tuesday | The Navy Yard Shuttles & Public Transit

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

Do you, or does someone you know, work at The Navy Yard? The Navy Yard is located at the waterfront in South Philadelphia where the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers meet. While most of the area is dominated by businesses, it also includes a port and many parks and fields that are open to the public. Though The Navy Yard is accessible to both bikes and cars, The Navy Yard’s shuttle buses also provide transportation to and from the area with stops at Market East in Center City and the Broad Street Subway’s AT&T Station.

The Navy Yard gates 2014 shuttle

To better service The Navy Yard shuttle users, Parsons Brinckerhoff, on behalf of The Navy Yard, conducted an anonymous survey of 765 individuals who travel to the campus on a regular basis. Of these individuals, 327 were regular shuttle riders. This week, we are examining some of the survey results regarding commuters to this area.

The charts below show the residences and ages of shuttle users versus those who do not use the shuttle. Based on these visualizations, the majority (96%) of people who take The Navy Yard shuttles are from Philadelphia or other regions of Pennsylvania.

Navy Yard2-01

To get some further insight into each of these groups, Parsons Brinckerhoff collected information on how riders arrive to the shuttle and what the barriers to use are for non-shuttle users. As can be seen below, a majority of shuttle riders arrive to the shuttle via regional rail, walking, or via the Market-Frankford or Broad Street SEPTA lines (the chart shows the number of respondents who took a particular mode to get to the shuttle).

The second chart on the bottom right focuses on barriers to transit use. Why don’t non-shuttle users use the shuttle or other public transportation to get to work? Based on this chart, convenience and time are the two main barriers to use of shuttles or other transit.

Navy Yard 3-02

For more information about The Navy Yard or The Navy Yard shuttles, please visit

MOTUnes Monday | Watching Airplanes

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re looking up the sky with Gary Allan.

MOTU Missives | Philly’s Novel Approach to Urban Forest Management

This past spring, several MOTU staff members and interns had the opportunity to tour one of Philadelphia’s largest forests, 30-acre Haddington Woods, located on Cobbs Creek in West Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s forests provide a number of benefits to the city, e.g., storm water retention, localized cooling, and recreational opportunities. The Department of Parks & Recreation recently launched a multi-year forest management pilot in Haddington Woods, which is consistent with broader efforts to make the city more resilient in the face of a changing environment. Haddington Woods is open to the public. Check it out, and before you go, read about what MOTU learned on its tour:

It is well known that ecosystems around the world have been drastically altered by human activities. Many of these changes stem from climate change and the introduction of foreign species into ecosystems. In some cases, such as that of the Asian beetle, which is destroying ash trees across the U.S., invasive species compromise the growth of local species and create environmental imbalances; however, in other cases, the foreign species are harmless. This observation, along with the difficulties of eradicating alien species from compromised ecosystems has led to a change in the way that some conservationists and ecologists are approaching restoration.

Rather than attempting to remove all invasive species from an area, which is costly and in many cases ineffectual, some experts have shifted their focus to removing only foreign invasive species that are causing destruction to the compromised area. Importantly, this requires a great deal of management; the proliferation of an alien species that was not previously considered destructive can cause imbalances which later require its removal or reduction. Nonetheless, this novel approach to conservation is considered to be one of the most economically viable and realistic among conservationists in the long term. Rather than spend resources continually removing certain species, this approach acknowledges that because of climate change, species that will be assets to our urban forests today and in 20 years may not be those that were here 100 years ago.


Our experts at the Ecosystem Management Group of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) have adopted this theory and are putting it into practice at three large forest restoration sites in the park system. Together with the US Department of Forestry, local universities, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and other partners, PPR is conducting experiments to better understand how the forest management approach can improve the state of Philly’s urban forests. The effects of these experiments will be measured and monitored to better understand which management and decision-making processes are the most beneficial.

One of the main sites of this research is the 30 acre Haddington Woods at Cobbs Creek, which came into the Philadelphia park system in 1910. The plot includes forest areas, or “stand types”, of various qualities, which include (1) high quality forest; (2) intermediate quality forest; (3) degraded forest; and (4) an area of Black Alder, a tree species native to Europe.

Haddington Woods -01

The high quality forest area has multiple layers of vegetation, including trees, shrubs, and a thick layer of leaves on the ground. The intermediate quality area features Buckeye and Catalpa trees, as well as Knotweed plants, which are an invasive species that will be removed. The degraded forest area is overgrown with vines which are severely compromising the trees and must be removed. For now, the area of Black Alder will remain as-is. Through these efforts, PPR is not only improving existing PPR assets, but also ensuring that Philadelphia’s park infrastructure remains resilient and sustainable.

MOTUnes Monday | All Aboard

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) brings you MOTUnes Monday, a selection of some of our favorite transportation related songs. This week, we’re boarding the train with Chuck Berry. *MOTU does not endorse any of the imagery associated with this video.

Research Rest-Stop | How does the public feel about higher taxes for transportation?

The transportation funding crisis has recently made the news (see here and here), although it is not a recent phenomenon.  For the past several decades, revenues from both the state and federal gas taxes have declined in relation to inflation, while transportation infrastructure continues to age and major upgrades become increasingly pressing (MTI, 2014). Faced with failing infrastructure, governments are forced to seek new means of funding transportation. The question is how?

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), based in San Jose,  recently published research investigating public support for increased taxes to fund transportation. Researchers surveyed the public’s reaction to three tax scenarios: (1) raising the federal gas tax rate, (2) creating a new mileage tax, and (3) creating a new federal sales tax. They surveyed 1,503 randomly chosen individuals nationwide in spring 2014 to test public support for the three tax options.

In general, the researchers found that a majority of people would support higher taxes for transportation. There are, however, some conditions. Respondents favored a gas tax increase over all other options, but only if they believed that revenues would be used for projects related to transportation maintenance, safety, and improvements such as upgrading to a newer technology. A gas tax to fund transportation improvements with environmental benefits, such as addressing local air pollution and global warming, was also well supported. When a gas tax increase was proposed without a clear purpose or with implications to driver’s annual costs explicitly cited in the survey questionnaire, researchers saw support for the tax decrease. In addition, a phased tax increase received more support than a one-time increase when no other information about tax purposes was provided to survey respondents.

MTI researchers found that in response to a proposed mileage tax, respondents much preferred variable rates tied to a vehicle’s pollution level over a flat-rate. In fact, a flat rate mileage tax was the least supported option of all. Interestingly, support for a new federal sales tax fell in the middle.


The Mineta researchers also investigated whether certain characteristics made individuals more likely to support higher transportation taxes.  They found that people who use transit and consider transportation as a key priority are more likely to support higher transportation taxes.


The study also suggests that the demographic subgroups most likely to support higher transportation taxes are Asians/Asian-Americans and blacks/African-Americans, registered Democratic voters, youths (18 to 24 years).

Additionally, the research explored public opinion on three options, shown below, for funding expansions and improvements specifically to public transit.


Research revealed that not all respondents were familiar with how transit is funded. In fact, only half of them were aware that fares do not cover the full costs of running public transit.

During the five years that MTI has been conducting this annual survey, it has found that support levels have not changed much. Public support for transportation taxes has generally risen slightly, with the largest boost in support for a variable-rate mileage tax.

Key implications of the study are that the basic concept of a gas tax increase or a mileage tax is not popular, but that modifying tax structures and linking taxes to safety and environment benefits can increase support. MTI highlights the fact that respondents of the youngest age group (18-24 year old) were much more supportive of any transportation tax option. They suggest that if this is reflective of a generational shift, rather than views at different life-stages, increased taxes for transportation could receive more public support in the future.

MTI’s questionnaire asked about support for tax proposals described in only general terms. Therefore, the results cannot indicate support for or against any specific proposal that may be put forward to fund transportation. The research instead indicates the public’s likely preferences and patterns of support vary in relation to how new taxes are both structured and how their benefits are described and “framed” in public debate. For more details about the research findings, visit here.

Tidbit Tuesday | Philadelphia Emergency Routes

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

Do you know which route you would take in the (very unlikely) event that you were asked to evacuate the city? Emergency management organizations generally recommend knowing nearby emergency evacuation routes to enable efficient and speedy travel in case of a city-wide emergency. This week, we took Emergency Route GIS data from OpenDataPhilly and looked at which evacuation routes in Philadelphia are designated for different transportation modes.

As some background, the Philadelphia  Managing Director’s Office of Emergency Management (MDO-OEM) began its planning process for evacuations in 2007. Working with more than 100  stakeholders, including the Streets Traffic Division, MDO-OEM designated evacuation routes for four mode types. These routes are illustrated below.


What would travel conditions be like during an emergency evacuation when people are leaving at once? Using 2008-2012 American Community Survey data, we cross-referenced the evacuation routes for private vehicles with private vehicle ownership data (see below, left). We also cross-referenced non-separated surface transit evacuation routes with private vehicle ownership data (see below, right). The thickest lines in the two maps below represent where the highest volumes of traffic are expected for drivers and transit riders if people are leaving at once to their nearest roads or emergency transit services.


You can find more details about your specific evacuation routes and close-ups of the map here.

While a city-wide evacuation has (thankfully) never occurred, the City generally experiences one “snow emergency” each winter season. Last winter, there were several snow emergencies. The record for the maximum snowfall during a 24-hour period earlier this year was the third highest during the last 15 years.

During a snow emergency, 110 miles of City Snow Emergency Routes, shown in blue below, receive priority for snow removal. These routes are plowed the fastest, ensuring that critical routes are opened as soon as possible. Snow emergencies also mean that vehicles and dumpsters on snow emergency routes must be relocated so the City can clear snow from curb-to-curb.


Remaining streets will be plowed after priority routes are serviced. More details about snow emergency routes can be found here.

MOTUnes Monday | Destination Anywhere

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re riding with the Commitments to anywhere the train goes.

Tidbit Tuesday | Residential Recycling Diversion Rates

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

To build on last week’s post about litter, we decided to take a look at residential recycling diversion data provided by the Streets Department. One of the main ways we can reduce the amount of waste going to Philadelphia’s landfills is by recycling.  But have Philadelphians gotten better at recycling over the years?

Tidbit Tuesday_Recycling [Converted]-01

The maps above show the residential recycling diversion rates for each recycling district during fiscal years 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2013.  A residential recycling diversion rate indicates the ratio of material recycled (in tons) to material sent to landfill (in tons) by residents in a given fiscal year. This means, for example, that in the recycling districts shaded the darkest blue above, over a year residents recycled roughly a third of what they threw away, by weight. Importantly, these figures do not include any commercial or construction & demolition recycling in the public and private sectors. They also do not include any waste to energy processing. As the maps show, in the past 13 years, residential recycling diversion rates have increased throughout the city. In 2001, only residential districts in the Northwest and Northeast had recycling diversion rates above 7%; in 2013, almost every recycling district had a rate of at least 14%.  Of course, these data tell only part of the story of waste management in the city. To dig into these data, and others on city waste, check out the recent EcoCamp data release here.

MOTUnes Monday | Chattanooga Choo Choo

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) brings you MOTUnes Monday, a selection of some of our favorite transportation related songs. This week, we’re taking the Chattanooga Choo Choo to Terminal Station in Tennessee.



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