First Mile/Last Mile Guide for Expanding the Reach of Transit
This is a good example of:extending and improving access to transit stops and stations by focusing on pathways and connections.
Transit trips (e.g., rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit, bus) are comprised not only of the journey on a transit vehicle, but also those trips (1) from origin to the transit stop and (2) from the end station to the ultimate destination. These end trips to/from station areas are often made on foot, by bicycle or car/vanpools. Cities are beginning to improve these first mile/last mile pathways in order to increase the “transit-shed” of riders.
As Los Angeles expands mobility offerings in the region, the city recognized that access to transit stops and stations was a limiting factor. From incomplete sidewalks to dangerous road crossings to poor wayfinding, the city decided to pay special attention to safety and convenience for accessing stations and stops.
Key concepts in the first/last mile
Access sheds – Access sheds are defined by the distance people travel in a set duration of time. For example, if a pedestrian is willing to walk 15 minutes to a transit station, and they walk 4 miles per hour, the access shed is roughly 1/2 mile. However, this is an “as the crow flies” distance; the directness of roads, paths and sidewalks influence the actual distance.
Pathways – A Pathway is a series of active transportation improvements that extend to and from Los Angeles’ Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations. Put together, the Pathway network is designed to reduce the distance and time it takes people to travel from their origins to stations and from stations to destinations, while simultaneously improving the user experience. This experience is intuitive, safe, efficient, universally accessible and fun. The Pathway expands transit user access sheds through
- Increasing the average speed of active transportation users – decreasing wait times at intersections, increasing speed along walking/rolling routes, reduced crossing distances, improved facilities that cater to a growing range of mobility devices and inventions.
- Decreasing point to point distances – strategic short-cuts, increased crossing opportunities, opportunistic diagonal routes through large parking lots or parks
- Supporting multi-modal transfer activity – Improved links between modal access points (i.e. bus stops and stations, or bike share kiosks and stations) and integration of other mobility solutions (i.e. car share).
- Enhancing communications – improved signage and wayfinding, unique communications such as graphic novel-type handouts.
Taxonomy of Mobility Devices – For first/last mile access, METRO cataloged the growing universe of active transportation modes and devices, such as wheeled shoes, electric scooters and small electric vehicles.