Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reaction to ECTS and ECTS-TA

The Eastern Corridor Transit Studies, or ECTS (2003) and ECTS-TA (2006), are studies whose goals were to investigate public transportation needs for the Pittsburgh metro area and to recommend implementing several transit investments. The studies evaluate cost effectiveness, ridership, convenience, and TOD opportunities.

The area examined is “bounded by the Golden Triangle in downtown Pittsburgh to the west, the western suburbs of Westmoreland County on the east, the Allegheny River to the north, and the Monongahela River to the south.”

Study Area
Source: ECTS-TA

The principles in the study include:

            -Consideration of public opinion through targeted outreach
            -Coordination with other study efforts including:
                        -Oakland Transportation Study
                        -Six Point Plan (2006)
                        -Mass Transit Alternatives (2005)
                        -Transit Oriented Communities and the Regional Transit Vision
                        -North Shore Connector
            -Evaluation of cost effectiveness, ridership, driving alternatives and TOD
            -Identification of Potential Funding
           
Final recommendations of the study:

Most of the six main alternatives were well received by outreach programs. These alternatives include extending the East Busway Extension, the construction of Allegheny Valley Commuter Rail, and construction of Mon Valley and “Spine Line” Light Rail systems.
Final Recommendations
Source: ECTS-TA
My thoughts:

The ECTS is a complete and comprehensive study for the region. The study is highly believable and encouraging, making it seem desirable and feasible to build many different forms of public transportation in the area.The study even outlines potential funding.  

While it does examine many modes of transportation, and it rates public responses, the study is not discriminating with its final recommendations. If all of the final recommendations were to be built, the region would be much better connected, however, the current lack of regional continuity between modes of public transport would persist. 

I would push for one major mode of public transportation with a clear identity and purpose for riders. This approach would stress the use of one form of ticketing and easy access and interconnectivity of the stations. My initial reaction would be to implement a light rail system throughout the region that would connect to current "T" and ongoing North-shore connector. The study clearly proves its feasibility.

Sources:

ECTS http://www.alleghenyplaces.com/docs/SupportingDocuments/Transportation/ECTS%20Study%20Summary.pdf 

ECTS-TA
http://www.spcregion.org/ECTS/pdf/ta-final/ECTS-TA%20Final%20Report.pdf

Final Map
http://www.spcregion.org/ECTS/pdf/RecAlt.pdf

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