TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Assessing the Impacts of Commuter Shuttles in San Francisco

Corresponding Author: Joe Castiglione, San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Presented By: Joe Castiglione, San Francisco County Transportation Authority


Commuter shuttles have become an important, and controversial, regional transit mode in The San Francisco Bay Area. In San Francisco, there are almost 17,000 weekday shuttle boardings and alightings, primarily transporting workers to employment locations in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Originally these shuttles were largely unregulated, but concerns about the impacts of shuttles on traffic congestion, neighborhood safety, the environment and public transportation led to the creation of a commuter shuttle program that limits commuter shuttles to approximately 120 designated locations throughout the city. Despite these limits, San Francisco residents have remained concerned with the impact of commuter shuttles, and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) was tasked with investigating the potential outcomes of further limits to shuttle stop locations, including alternatives with as many as 17 shuttle hub locations and as few as a single hub location.

A critical component of this analysis was the estimation of the impacts of stop consolidation on the mode choices of existing commuter shuttle users. However, little data on existing commuter shuttle users was available, and the shuttle providers and sponsoring employers were unwilling to share information on commuter shuttle destinations. In cooperation with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, SFCTA staff assembled information on shuttle ridership, route alignments, and potential destinations. SFCTA staff then adapted a work trip mode choice model to predict the effects of different hub scenarios on shuttle user travel impedances and mode choices. The travel impedances input to the model for each scenario were developed using the Google Directions API for specific travel times, origins, and imputed destinations.

This presentation will outline the commuter shuttle hub issues in San Francisco, describe the approach to assessing, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the impacts of shuttle stop consolidation, identify data limitations and opportunities, and summarize model application and conclusions.


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