Tidbit Tuesday | SEPTA Daily Ridership

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.

This week, we looked at the most recent transit ridership data published by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) this spring. The graph below illustrates SEPTA’s daily average weekly ridership by mode. Buses, with over a hundred routes across Philadelphia, constitute the majority of transit mode share. The two subway routes — the Market-Frankford Line (MFL) and Broad Street Line (BSL) — account for one-third of total daily ridership.

Let’s take a look at routes and ridership spatially. The city’s trolley lines and some bus routes, such as Route 23 and Route 47, have very high ridership and are depicted with thicker lines in the third map. The two subway lines, which have an average daily ridership of 320,000, are similarly prominent. The Market-Frankford Line has the highest ridership per day of any route in the city, with almost ten times as many daily riders as Route 23 bus, which has the third highest ridership (after the Broad Street Line).  Not surprisingly, these high volume routes correspond spatially to the SEPTA routes that provide 24 hour service, shown in the middle below.

More SEPTA route statistics can be found here.

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Tidbit Tuesday | A 3-D look of where public transit commuters live in Philadelphia

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.

Just about a year ago, MOTU mapped where Philadelphians are most likely to live if they commute to work by public transportation (you can find this map here).  We updated this map with the most recent release of American Community Survey 5-year estimates AND we decided to also map it in 3-D!  The 3-D model shows relative heights of Philly’s block groups based on the percent of residents who commute by public transportation.

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According to the 2008-2012 ACS, 26% of Philadelphia residents who worked commuted by public transportation.  While this is the total for the entire city, there are smaller subsections that have higher and lower public transportation commute rate, as can be seen in the above maps.  All data for these maps was pulled from the US Census’ American Factfinder.

You may be asking yourselves, why include a 3-D map in addition to the 2-D map?  In addition to looking interesting, the colors we show each have a range attached.  For example, even though 90% is greater than 82%, it will have the same color green.  This is where the height comes in — the height of the blockgroup shows relative percentage within the range specified by color.

Tidbit Tuesday | How Philadelphia’s different age groups commute to work

Every Tuesday, 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.

This week we are looking at how Philadelphians in different age brackets get to work.  Of all Philadelphia workers, 50% drove alone, 9% carpooled, 26% took public transit, 12% commuted by “other” (taxicab, motorcycle, bicycle, walking, etc), and 3% worked from home.  It is interesting to see how similar/different the various age groups are from this overall trend.

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This data comes from the US Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.  It is important to note that the age brackets reported by the US Census Bureau are not at equal intervals and the above age brackets reflect those reported by the US Census Bureau.

The Urban Street Design Guide: a guidebook for complete streets nationwide

In recent years, cities have been leading innovators in shaping complete streets that accommodate the needs of pedestrians, transit vehicles, bicyclists, freight and motorists, all while considering the businesses and residents located along the street.  The Urban Street Design Guide (USDG) is a new compilation of the design concepts and the lessons learned in the complete streets movement.  Published back in September by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the handbook offers detailed guidance on all sorts of complete street retrofits, such as reimagining the urban boulevard, installing a raised intersection, or tightening a turning radius.  It also advises on how to use limited resources to make improvements through incremental, interim progress.

An Urban Street Design Guide illustration of an interim public plaza. (Credit: http://nacto.org/usdg/interim-design-strategies/interim-public-plazas/)

The USDG is grounded in the philosophy that streets in cities and town are not merely for conveying traffic but are also public spaces that should be safe, sustainable, economically beneficial, and enhance the quality of life.  Roadway design in the U.S. has traditionally been oriented toward moving lots of cars safely, quickly, and over long distances. However, urban areas also need walking, transit, bicycles, and freight to maximize the efficiency of their transportation system.  The USDG is the first comprehensive national guidebook to emphasize city street design as a unique practice with its own set of design goals, parameters, and tools.  NACTO believes that this guidance will help allay the political and legal concerns over trying out new roadway design standards.

As a founding organizer of NACTO, Philadelphia has been a key part of the complete streets conversation.  The city’s 2012 complete streets ordinance led to the development of the Philadelphia Complete Streets Design Handbook, a document that communicates design guidance for engineers, architects, and planners and helps communities understand the tools available for creating better streets.  Today, development proposals and roadway projects that meet certain thresholds are required to fill out a Complete Streets Checklist demonstrating consideration and compliance with complete streets guidance in Philadelphia.  Find out more at the Streets Department Complete Streets website.

Urban Street Design Guide before-and-after example of a “Slow Zone” street. (Credit: http://nacto.org/usdg/streets/neighborhood-street/)

MOTU@5 | How We Got Here Online Exhibit | Good Bones and Big Infrastructure

Throughout October, MOTU and the Free Library of Philadelphia will be showcasing unique archival images from Philadelphia’s transportation and utilities history in an on-line exhibit called “How’d we get here?”.  Every and Monday and Wednesday in October we will be showcasing a certain segment of the exhibit (all photographs are from the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Print and Picture Collection).

On Monday we took a look at the history of the people who built/maintained Philly’s transportation system and the tools they used.  Today we’ll be taking a brief look at the history of the construction of the El and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge by selecting three of our favorite photos from the “Good Bones and Big Infrastructure” portion of the exhibit.  You can check out all of the historic images online here and in person at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Branch (1901 Vine Street).

Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, Rina Cutler likes to say that “Philadelphia has good bones” meaning that under girding of our transportation network we have an impressive infrastructure system that is the envy of cities across the United States. These photos take us back to the days when it was first built.

Market Frankford Line Under Construction, 1906

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The Market Frankford Line under construction in 1906.

Wooden Street During Construction, 1908

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As shown in this photograph, there were wooden streets with trolleys during the original subway construction under Market Street.

Benjamin Franklin Being Built, Southeast View

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This image from the 1920s shows a southeast view  of “Tower A” of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge being constructed.

Donated by J.B. Abbott

Image source and credit: Delaware River Port Authority, http://www.drpa.org/

Tidbit Tuesday | How do men and women in Philadelphia get to work?

Every Tuesday, 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.

This week we combed through some 2012 American Community Survey data (the ACS’ website is currently down due to the government shutdown, we actually pulled the data a month ago) to see if men and women use different modes to commute to work at different rates.  This week we illustrated how men and women drive, carpool, and use public transit at different rates.  Next week we will publish a follow-up graphic about other modes, including walking, biking, and working from home!  Note, the below graphic’s scale is based on a 100% maximum.

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Tidbit Tuesday | Which mode do Philadelphia public transit users take to work?

Every Tuesday, 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.

Based on the 2011 American Community Survey, approximately 25% of working Philadelphians commute to work via public transportation.  Here in Philly we have a wide-range of public transportation options, and so we decided to take a look this week at which mode Philadelphia public transit users take to work.

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At 71.6%, those who take the bus (including trolley bus) to work make up the largest portion of public transportation users.  Next are subway (Market Frankford Line and Broad Street Line) users at 16.1%.  Following are regional rail users at 10.7%.  Finally, trolley users bring up the rear at 1.6%.

Tidbit Tuesday | How do Philadelphians in 2010 commute to work compared to those in 1960?

Every Tuesday, 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.

This week we are taking a look at how Philadelphians in 2010 commuted to work compared with those in 1960.tIDBITtUESDAY_COMMUTEOVERTIME-01

Our data is taken from the 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 Census, and the 2010 1-year American Community Survey.  It is important to note that in 1960, there was no “Bicycle, Taxi, Etc” category just an “Other and Unknown” category.  For the purposes of this graphic, that category was left out in 1960 as it did not directly align with our “Bicycle, Taxi, Etc” category.  In fact, if those counts that were “Unknown” were known, other transportation mode rates may have been higher.

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