39 episodes

Most humans now live in growing cities where increasing traffic congestion risks liveability, the environment and economic productivity. Public transport is now widely seen a solution for mega-city growth due to its social, economic and mass travel efficiency. However the industry faces significant challenges. Infrastructure, systems and even thinking in the industry is old and out of date. Policy and regulatory structures are ‘path dependent’ on historical approaches and lack progressive thinking. There is a global need to revitalise public transport with new knowledge and thinking to build a progressive future for the industry.

Researching Transit introduces listeners to the latest thinking in global public transit research. It aims to engage the industry, researchers and the wider community in shared learnings about the latest innovations in public transport research providing a platform for research communication. Professor Graham Currie and Laura Aston talk to some of the world's leading researchers in a podcast series brought to you by the Monash University Public Transport Research Group.

Researching Transit Public Transport Research Group

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Most humans now live in growing cities where increasing traffic congestion risks liveability, the environment and economic productivity. Public transport is now widely seen a solution for mega-city growth due to its social, economic and mass travel efficiency. However the industry faces significant challenges. Infrastructure, systems and even thinking in the industry is old and out of date. Policy and regulatory structures are ‘path dependent’ on historical approaches and lack progressive thinking. There is a global need to revitalise public transport with new knowledge and thinking to build a progressive future for the industry.

Researching Transit introduces listeners to the latest thinking in global public transit research. It aims to engage the industry, researchers and the wider community in shared learnings about the latest innovations in public transport research providing a platform for research communication. Professor Graham Currie and Laura Aston talk to some of the world's leading researchers in a podcast series brought to you by the Monash University Public Transport Research Group.

    RT 38 – Andrew Nash – Implementing transit priority in Zurich

    RT 38 – Andrew Nash – Implementing transit priority in Zurich

    In this episode Dr James Reynolds talks to Andrew Nash about implementing priority for buses and trams in Zurich, Switzerland. Mr Nash is a Senior Researcher at the St Pölten University of Applied Sciences in Austria. He is also a Lecturer at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and a widely published transport researcher

    The episode starts with a brief discussion of Mr Nash’s background in transportation and politics. This includes him having stood for election to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District Board of Directors. It is this history of involvement in the politics of transport that has helped shape Mr Nash’s interest in researching implementation, including that of the Citizen’s Transit Priority Initiative in Zurich.

    The Citizen’s Transit Priority Initiative provided funding and a mandate to prioritise buses and trams in the City of Zurich. It was passed by voters in a 1977 ballot, having been submitted by members of the public after a proposal to build an underground (metro) system was rejected by the electorate in 1973. Approximately 20 years ago, Mr Nash undertook a research project into the Citizen’s Transit Priority Initiative. He and Dr Reynolds initially discuss this research, how the Initiative has led to much success for Zurich’s transit system, and the lessons that can be applied to implementing transit priority in other cities.

    Mr Nash has recently revisited the topic of Zurich in a new paper written with Professor Dr Francesco Corman and Professor Dr. Thomas Sauter-Servaes. In the latter part of this episode he and Dr Reynolds discuss the motivation for looking at Zurich again now, and the city’s current efforts to prioritise transit and improve conditions for other road users. The discussion also touches on the political challenges of reallocating road space, and how experimenting with trials and pop-ups can help demonstrate and build support for change.

    Find out more about Andrew Nash and his work at:
    His website https://andynash.com/

    In his 2003 paper on Implementing Zurich’s Transit Priority Program https://www.andynash.com/nash-publications/Nash2003-ZRH-PTpriority-TRR-1835.pdf
    and In his 2020 paper revisiting Zurich https://www.andynash.com/nash-publications/2020-Nash-Zurich%20Transit%20Priority%20-%20TRA2020-30092019_Nash.pdf

    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

    • 44 min
    RT37 – Jeff Brown and Joel Mendez – Paying for Public Transport

    RT37 – Jeff Brown and Joel Mendez – Paying for Public Transport

    This is the fifteenth episode in Researching Transit’s Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

    In this episode Professor Graham Currie talks to Professor Jeff Brown and Dr Joel Mendez about funding public transport. Professor Brown is from the College of Social Sciences & Public Policy at Florida State University. He is Department Chair, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and the Interim Associate Dean for Research at the Department of Urban & Regional Planning. Dr Mendez is Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas’ Urban Planning Program.

    The episode starts with a brief discussion of Professor Brown’s background in transportation finance and policy, planning history, and public transport. He talks about how he got into research and early work with Donald Shoup on using unlimited transit passes to help reduce parking demand at universities. Professor Brown also discusses his research on streetcars and the influences on US cities to invest in this mode.

    Professor Currie then talks to Dr Joel Mendez about his background and research about equity and public transport, including recent work about a zero fare policy in Kansas. This is followed by a discussion about the eleventh chapter of the Handbook of Public Transport Research: Paying for public transport, which was authored by Dr Mendez, Professor James Wood, Assistant Professor Dristi Neog and Professor Brown. The chapter includes material about the benefits and cost of public transport, transit subsidies, and the challenges of providing sufficient resources to support operations and capital improvements.

    Dr Mendez, Professor Brown and Professor Currie discuss how paying for public transport is linked to its purpose, and how there are often many benefits of providing transit that accrue to non-users. This is part of the reason that many US services are supported by local sales taxes or other revenue streams, instead of just passenger fares. They discuss systems, such as the U-Pass, where a university makes a bulk payment to an operator in return for all students receiving free or subsidised travel. Payroll taxes, intergovernmental grants and transit funding through the US highway trust fund are also covered in the episode.

    Professor Brown emphasises the importance of having diverse funding sources. This might involve non-traditional forms of financing, which Dr Mendez discusses towards the end of the episode. They could also include joint development, revenue and cost sharing agreements, and other ways of capturing the property value benefits that occur when transit services are provided.

    Find out more about:

    This research in Chapter 11 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html.

    Professor Jeff Brown and his work at https://coss.fsu.edu/durp/faculty/jeff-brown/; and
    Dr Mendez and his work at https://kupa.ku.edu/joel-mendez


    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

    • 45 min
    RT36 – Juan Carlos Munoz – Public Transport Operations Control Technologies

    RT36 – Juan Carlos Munoz – Public Transport Operations Control Technologies

    This is the fourteenth episode in Researching Transit's Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

    In this episode, Professor Graham Currie talks to Professor Juan Carlos Munoz from the Department of Transport and Logistics Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Professor Munoz is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CEDUS) and also the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. At the beginning of this episode, Professor Munoz talks about these two organisations and how they differ in scope and focus. He also discusses his research in public transport operations and the management of headway, demand and capacity.

    Professor Munoz is the lead author of the seventeenth chapter of the Handbook of Public Transport Research: ACES technologies and public transport operations and control. The chapter discusses Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) vehicles and how they are expected to disrupt public transportation. In this episode, Professor Munoz and Professor Currie talk about these emerging technologies and some of the opportunities and threats that they pose for transit operators. This includes discussion of autonomous buses, and how vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications might help to improve service provision. Towards the end of the episode, Professor Munoz highlights policy and governance issues related to these new technologies, and some of the future challenges that may be faced as ACES vehicles are introduced into cities.

    Find out more about this research in Chapter 17 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html.

    Find out more about Professor Juan Carlos Munoz and his work at https://jcmunozpuc.wordpress.com/
    Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics at https://www.ing.uc.cl/transporte-y-logistica/
    Institute for Sustainable Development at www.ids.uc.cl
    at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CEDEUS) at https://www.cedeus.cl/
    And in a video on innovative ‘Out of the Box’ ideas in transport from Juan Carlos’s research team at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2PcgDt4cFs (in Spanish with English subtitles)

    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

    • 36 min
    RT35 – Niels van Oort – Public Transport Reliability

    RT35 – Niels van Oort – Public Transport Reliability

    This is the thirteenth episode in the Researching Transit Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

    In this episode Professor Graham Currie talks to Assistant Professor Niels van Oort from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft). Assistant Professor van Oort is the Co-Director of the Smart Public Transport Lab in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The Smart PT Lab has previously been discussed in Episode 24 of this podcast, when Professor Graham Currie spoke to the other Co-Director, Associate Professor Oded Cats (see http://publictransportresearchgroup.info/portfolio-item/rt24-handbook-of-public-transport-research-network-resilience-and-the-smart-public-transport-lab/).

    Assistant Professor van Oort is the author of the thirteenth chapter of the Handbook of Public Transport Research: Service reliability: a planning and operations perspective. This chapter discusses the elements of service reliability, the impact of service reliability on passengers, indicators that are used to measure reliability and variability, and how to make improvements. In this episode, Assistant Professor van Oort talks about the research behind the handbook chapter, including his PhD thesis and subsequent work. Some of the topics discussed are: the factors that can impact service reliability; the need for perspectives across strategic, tactical and operational levels; and bridging the gaps between front-line staff, management and researchers. Data sets, modelling and the practicality of optimal solutions are also discussed.

    The podcast episode closes with a discussion of current research topics in public transport reliability. Assistant Professor van Oort notes the growing importance of demand side perspectives to better understand passenger experiences. This includes greater consideration of access and egress to transit systems, and understanding the different impacts that are experienced by passengers when a service is running slightly early versus slightly late.

    Find out more about this research in Chapter 13 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html.

    Find out more about Assistant Professor Niels van Oort and his work:
    at TU Delft at https://www.tudelft.nl/en/ceg/about-faculty/departments/transport-planning/staff/personal-pages/oort-n-van and
    at the Smart Public Transport Lab at http://smartptlab.tudelft.nl/

    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

    • 32 min
    RT34 – Wijnand Veeneman – Public Transport Governance

    RT34 – Wijnand Veeneman – Public Transport Governance

    This is the twelfth episode in Researching Transit's Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

    In this episode Professor Graham Currie talks to Associate Professor Wijnand Veeneman from the Technical University of Delft (TU Delft). Associate Professor Veeneman is part the Organisation and Governance Section in TU Delft’s Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. He is also:
    the Scientific Director of Next Generation Infrastructure, a cooperation between six major infrastructure managers in the Netherlands;
    a member of the TRAIL research school, which is an organisation for Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics across six Netherlands Universities;
    on the advisory council of the Netherlands Institute of Government; and
    on the editorial board of Tijdschrift Vervoerswetenschap (Netherlands Transport Science Magazine).

    Associate Professor Veeneman has been researching governance in public transport since undertaking his PhD. In this episode he and Professor Currie first briefly discuss his thesis, which is titled Mind the Gap: Bridging Theories and Practice for the Organisation of Metropolitan Public Transport. Links to the thesis are provided below.

    This episode of the podcast focuses on the eighth chapter of the Handbook of Public Transport Research: The governance of public transport: towards integrated design, which is authored by Associate Professor Veeneman. He and Professor Currie discuss rule sets, which support the decision-making of the many actors involved in transit. The book chapter provides details about the four levels of rule sets (culture, laws, arrangements and transactions), and how these are relevant to transit governance. In this episode, Associate Professor Veeneman and Professor Currie also discuss how a good starting point in designing a governance system for a public transport network is to first understand the context and local culture.

    Find out more about this research in Chapter 8 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html.

    Find out more about Associate Professor Wijnand Veeneman and his work at:
    TU Delft at https://www.tudelft.nl/tbm/over-de-faculteit/afdelingen/multi-actor-systems/people/associate-professors/dr-ww-wijnand-veeneman
    the TRAIL Research School for Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics at http://rstrail.nl/ and
    Next Generation Infrastructure at https://www.nginfra.nl/english/

    Associate Professor Wijnand Veeneman’s PhD thesis Mind the Gap: Bridging Theories and Practice for the Organisation of Metropolitan Public Transport is available at:
    https://www.academia.edu/667427/Mind_the_Gap and
    https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Gap-organisation-metropolitan-transport/dp/9040723087

    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

    • 38 min
    RT33 – Selby Coxon – Design Research Innovations in Public Transport

    RT33 – Selby Coxon – Design Research Innovations in Public Transport

    This is the eleventh episode in Researching Transit's Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

    In this episode, Professor Graham Currie talks to Associate Professor Selby Coxon of Monash University’s Department of Design. Associate Professor Coxon is the Director of the Mobility Design Lab and also the Associate Dean Graduate Research for the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. He has been involved in industrial design in both academia and the commercial sector for around 30 years.

    Professor Currie and Associate Professor Selby Coxon discuss the work of the Mobility Design Lab, which is focused around two themes: decarbonising transport; and developing mobility solutions for dense urban environments. The Mobility Design Lab builds on Monash University’s long history of educating students who went on to work in the automotive industry, but adopts a broader focus to also consider public transport and other forms of mobility, not just personal cars. Examples of research from the Mobility Design Lab have previously been discussed with Dr Robbie Napper on episode 21 of this podcast.

    This episode focuses on the sixth chapter of the Handbook of Public Transport Research: The power of design to enrich the public transport experience. The chapter was authored by Associate Professor Coxon, Dr Robbie Napper, Dr Ilya Fridman and Dr Vincent Moug. It discusses how design processes can be used to improve transport systems, and takes the reader through the British Design Council’s “Double Diamond model”. This model involves iterative steps based on 4Ds: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver, as shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1 - Double Diamond design process, based on British Design Council. Source: Coxon et al. (2021, p. 94)
    In this episode Associate Professor Coxon discusses how the design process involves both divergent and convergent thinking. In the first step (Discover) designers seek to gain a broad understanding of the issues to be addressed. The second step (Define) involves synthesising collected data, developing an understanding of the key issues to be addressed, and ultimately converging back to create a design specification. This is followed by a return to divergent thinking in the third step (Develop) as designers seek to draw, explore and test potential solutions. In the final step of the process (Deliver) the designer seeks to converge the potential solutions into a design output.

    Overall the design process is a form of action research, where the research is done through the production of a new design, process or object. Towards the end of this episode Associate Professor Coxon discusses some of the challenges for research in industrial design, and also some of the benefits that can be gained through adopting design approaches more broadly in practice. While these have already been widely applied to increase the attractiveness of private automobiles, there appears to be much opportunity for such approaches to be used more generally to improve transit and mobility systems.

    Find out more about this research in Chapter 6 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html.

    Find out more about Associate Professor Selby Coxon and his work:
    https://www.monash.edu/mada/about-us/people/selby-coxon

    Find out more about the Mobility Design Lab:
    https://www.monash.edu/mada/research/labs/mobility-design-lab

    Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

    Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com


    References:

    Coxon, S, Napper, R, Fridman, I & Moug, V 2021, 'The power of design to enrich the public transport experience', in G Currie (ed.), Handbook of Public Transport Research, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, pp. 9

    • 38 min

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