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Evaluation of the Safe Routes to Transit Program in California 

  • Author(s): Weinzimmer, David
  • Sanders, Rebecca L.
  • Dittrich, Heidi
  • Cooper, Jill F.
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper elaborates on findings from an evaluation of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Safe Routes to Transit (SR2T) program, which funded enhancements to increase walking and cycling to regional transit stations. To understand how the program influenced travel choices, behavior, and perceptions of safety and local air quality, researchers surveyed transit users and observed driver, pedestrian, and bicyclist behavior in the periods before and after the enhancements were made at multiple transit stations.

Data from the treatment and control stations suggest that the streetscape and roadway improvements made through the SR2T program positively influenced the propensity to walk, bicycle, and take the bus to transit stations as reported through surveys. In particular, results show that walking and bicycling increased by 3% among treatment sites compared with control sites. Bicycling also increased at control sites, indicating a general societal shift. Further, driving decreased 2.5% at treatment sites. Perceived air quality, in general, improved in the post-period. When asked about perceived traffic risk, bicyclists more than pedestrians reported feeling safer on the road, with 10% of the bicyclists, on average, feeling safer after the improvements. There were also economic benefits from this project—pedestrians and bicyclists were overrepresented in those who stopped en route to transit for food and drink.

The evidence suggests that the SR2T program positively impacted the decision to walk and bicycle to access transit. It is recommended that the program be expanded to additional sites in the future.

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