Sunday, May 10, 2009

Who Rides BART?

Update: More from Pedestrianist and Transbay Blog.

Lots of different people! The next question is how do they get to and from BART, and the answer is interesting. BART recently released a that releases data about who uses the system. I picked out some of what I feel is interesting data from the report:

1. The Majority of trips (88%) during peak hours were for work related trips. They break them out for mid day which is more even for other types of trips but certain stations have certain trip patterns such as shopping at Powell or medical at Rockridge and MacArthur.

2. 68% of BART riders have a car available to them and 21% of riders have parking available to them for free at their destination. However 42% of the folks who travel on BART only in the East Bay have access to free parking.

3. 58% of riders have been doing so for over a year.

4. What I found the most interesting, BART which was designed for the Automobile gets a large amount of car trips from home as the origin. Some places have less such as 18th Street which gets 81% of passengers from walking. 12% of people at Ashby bike to the station(Berkeley is full of more bikers to BART in general).

The reason the origin is interesting is the reason why the destination is interesting as well. The design of the system tells how it is being used. While designed for cars from the burbs, the areas that are urban get more walking trips. And the destinations are walking destinations too meaning that the more places we can connect with BART, the more people will take the line if close to employment. Also, if you have more urban stations, people use them for short trips.

5. BART Customers follow the makeup of the region in terms of income and ethnicity.

So there is much more information in there, but these were what I found most interesting. I think really it teaches us that we need to be intelligent in how we design systems. If we put more stations near destinations, more people will use the system.


Rob Pitingolo said...

Has BART released this data in SAS or CSV or any kind of manipulatable format? This looks like a statistician and transit enthusiast's dream, but the PDF format just isn't cutting it..

njh said...

It would be good to know the baseline statistics (what the incomes and race and what not of the people in the catchment)

Alon Levy said...

No, BART is somewhat whiter and richer than the region on the whole. The difference isn't very big, but it's there.

John said...

"...the more places we can connect with BART, the more people will take the line if close to employment."

Seems obvious, but it's good to have data to back it up.

Cavan said...

John, you want data? How about the Metro? That's some data. The Metro has between twice and three times the ridership of BART because it connects more walkable places.

The biggest ridership gains on the Metro during the last decade have been during non-rush hours. Why? Because everything you could ever dream of is on the Metro. There is a wide variety of walkable places each with different character and amenities on the Metro.

Pedestrianist said...

"58% of riders have been doing so for over a year."

That means 42% haven't! I knew ridership had grown, but that's a surprising number... I guess I'll have to be easier on those swoopers who don't understand how to get on a train.

Alon Levy said...

Cavan: or, the Metro has 2-3 times the ridership of BART because it's a garden variety subway, whereas BART is a subway-commuter rail hybrid; the subway in San Francisco is Muni, and when you combine Muni and BART the situation looks less favorable to WMATA.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Alon even if you add the 150,000 riders on the Muni Metro with the 350,000 on BART that is still 300,000 short of the ~800,000 on Metro. What San Francisco and Oakland need is a Garden Variety Metro. Oh how I wish that would happen. I imagine we could have even more ridership than Metro in the SF and Oakland we had a real Metro Subway. Imagine 1 Million riders a day with almost zero carbon footprint because of the Hydro power we use here.

HeyHayheyyyELO said...

WMATA is an interesting comparison because BART and Metro were built in the same era. Having lived in both regions I agree that Metro can connect you to just about everywhere and anywhere you need to go whereas BART often requires an extra transit hop, a friend to pick you up, a bike ride (WHEN will we have regional bike sharing already?), or some hikes up and down some hills (unless you spend ALL your time drinking in the Mission, shopping Westfield, or going to Raider's games).

I think, however, that this speaks just as much to character differences between SF and DC as to the public transit supply. DC is a super duperly planned city - as such it has a lot of meaningful vistas, traffic circles, and architectural features and meaning. Most streets have either stores...or no stores...a strip, so-to-speak. Its easy to find, and easy to provide transit to. San Francisco, however, has a random assortment of tiny shops, offices and townhomes...walking down the street you never know what you will find (there are some exceptions, obviously). While at first I was frustrated by not knowing where to find "everything" in a neighborhood...I have come to appreciate the fact that just by walking down a different block I could find a new cool shop a couple blocks from my house.

I think a good example of the differences in the city can be exhibited by the layouts of two similar in character neighborhoods (i have lived in both): the Mission in SF and Adam's Morgan in DC.

Alon Levy said...

Pan, are you sure it's 150,000? Wikipedia says the figure is only for the parts that aren't in subway. Either way, having more subway rather than commuter rail should do the trick. The BART extension to SJ is stupid; a second Transbay Tube, preferably feeding into Geary rather than Market, would be smart.

Matt Fisher said...

BART is more like one of these S-Bahn/RER type operations, but in the form of a "regional" metro. It's a kind of "rare breed". The Washington Metro is a kind of garden variety metro, as most others are normally. In Moscow, Metro stations have an average spacing of 2 km, somewhat higher than in Prague, and a little less higher than in Washington D.C.

The Muni Metro draws 150,000. BART draws 350,000. Put together, that's five in eight riders of the Washington Metro.

By comparison, in Toronto, the subway, including the orphaned Scarborough RT, draws about a million riders, about as big as your ideal metro subway in San Francisco and Oakland, which I wouldn't rule out. And in Montreal, the Metro draws a ridership about as big as the Washington Metro.

Oh, and in Calgary, the C-Train draws about 270,000 riders a day.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

@Rob I think there is some more info on the website about how you can access the data.

@Alon I don't think I've ever seen a separated figure from in the subway and outside of it. Problem is all the surface lines feed into the Market Street Subway. Currently its about 156K

As you know I would love to have more of a real Subway, and I think that a Metro from Berkeley to Broadway in Oakland down to Alameda and through Geary would be amazing. No one likes to spend money though.

Cavan said...

Just to correct one thing about our Metro...

It is not quite what you call a "garden variety subway." It's a mixture of a BART-like commuter oriented system and an urban subway. Also, the distinction between city and suburb are blurred in our region. There are a lot of suburban places in the District proper and lots of urban places in the surrounding counties.

The Metro does have arms that go out into car-dependent suburbia, but not as far as BART. A lot of that ridership every day is from park-and-ride commuting.

On the other hand, the stations inside the old L'Enfant city (the part that was the original planned city) are roughly 3-6 blocks apart. Also, there are many urban places outside the District that were either created due to the Metro (Bethesda, Rosslyn-Ballston) or were revitalized due to the Metro. (Wheaton, Silver Spring, Old Town Alexandria).

The key to the high ridership is the mix of different uses and wide variety of urban places.

On the horizon, the ridership could face a wall by a lack of a separated blue trunk line downtown. We also need a secondary system other than buses. Finally, we need more density in the suburban sections of the District and suburban-to-urban retrofits at suburban stations where that hasn't happened yet.

The big thing is that the Metro has fundamentally changed the land and transportation use patterns in the region. Without it, the region would still be a sleepy afterthought of a city. With it, we have been able to achieve enough CENTRALIZED economic critical mass for a vibrant amenity-heavy place.