PlaNYC Team Releases Transportation Technical Report

The PlaNYC team has released the technical report providing the detailed background data for the transportation recommendations made in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s April 22 Long-Term Planning & Sustainability speech. It’s a big download — 25 megabytes and 166 pages — but if you are a New York City transportation policy wonk, it’s totally worth it. 

The report provides a comprehensive rundown, in one place, of all of the various transportation initiatives that are currently planned, underway or being discussed for New York City. Those who have been following the work of independent consultant Bruce Schaller will recognize some of this material. (Speaking of which: Is Bruce Schaller the Bill James of New York City transportation policy, or what? When is city government going to offer the guy a job?)

The report contains some really interesting maps and charts, like the one above, graphically depicting where Manhattan-bound car commuters come from. The map is broken down by census tract. Height represents the total number of single-passenger drivers and color represents the percentage of commuters who chose to drive alone to workplaces below 96th Street. A darker color means a higher percentage of single-passenger drivers and a lighter color means more people used transit, walked, carpooled or used a ferry or bike. It turns out that only 4.6% of New York City residents drive to work in the Manhattan core in single-passenger motor vehicle.

Here’s another great factoid from the report: If New Yorkers owned cars at the same rate as the rest of the nation, it would take 11,000 acres, or all of Manhattan below 136th Street, just to park them end to end.

  • I think height represents the total number of workers in the census district, not the total number of drivers.

    Breezy Point has a low height and brown color: not many workers, but a large portion of them drive to Manhattan. Mid-town Manhattan has high height and light green color: lots of workers, and a small percentage of them drive to Manhattan.

    “Height represents the total number of single-passenger drivers and color represents the percentage of commuters who chose to drive alone to workplaces below 96th Street.”

  • The negative correlation of drivers to availability of MTA service is obvious.

    If you build it, they won’t drive.

    However, the really dark strip on the western edge of Sunset Park is interesting. Is there simply no bus or subway service there?

  • Q.R.

    re Dope: Nah, but very few people live west of 3rd Ave… it’s probably one or two districts with

  • mappers

    Neat maps!

  • nimby pimby

    Re: “Those who have been following the work of independent consultant Bruce Schaller will recognize some of this material. (Speaking of which: Is Bruce Schaller the Bill James of New York City transportation policy, or what? When is city government going to offer the guy a job?)”

    Perhaps they will when his studies either a) are based on original research and data gathering and not just a compilation of other people’s work and b) aren’t so methodologically flawed as to be worthless.

    An ideological compatriot does not a smart consultant make…

  • Davis

    Nimby,

    Do not mess with my man Schaller. 

    1. Schaller has been offered jobs in city government. He has turned them down.

    2. If combing through census data doesn’t qualify as "original research and data gathering," then OK. But most people don’t expect researchers to go out and actually conduct the US Census.

    3. Schaller’s ideology, if he has one, seems to be "multi-modalism." Based on reading lots of his work, he seems to believe that New Yorkers should have multiple transportation choices and the more efficient and socially desirable choices — i.e. transit or bicycling — should be more competitive with motoring, especially in the outer boroughs.

    4. What’s Phil Habib’s ideology — Money Makinism? Or is he just a pure and righteous engineer in your book?

    5. It is a sign of the failing of NYC DOT that Schaller’s research niche even exists. Unfortunately, we have a city transportation agency that refuses even to set meager performance targets no less actually keep track of what is happening on city streets beyond traffic counts and the number of fatalities.

  • Performance

    Oh,”performance measures.” Yeah, those are good. Has anyone noticed there are not any in the 2030 plan? Lots of bike lane miles and new transit service and smart pedestrian planning but zero on actual targets for cycling, walking or deaths and injuries.

    Pimby re: Schaller. Let’s see you give a couple of specific examples of bad methodology by Schaller to back up your assertion. His stuff seems pretty solid and he seems to avoid assertions not backed by data. If you compare a Schaller study to the average EIS/EA done for large projects by the big consulting firms he looks pretty damn good. Those things, which are supposed to be the objective basis of big policy decisions, are typically riddled with problems.

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