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current congestion in the project corridor.  Each of the measures will be weighted equally to determine the general mobility rating.  


Average weekday ridership - indicates whether the project provides benefits for a large number of people.  All else being equal, projects that benefit more people are better than projects that benefit fewer people.  The evaluation of general mobility tries to determine to what degree the proposed New Starts project provides substantial benefits for a large number of people.  


User benefits per project passenger mile - indicates whether the New Start is projected to result in significant benefits for the average passenger.  Some projects can result in very large total benefits, but when spread over very large numbers of people, the benefits may not be significant for the user.  This measure seeks to determine whether a passenger is likely to have a noticeably better service after the project in implemented.  “User benefits” is defined to include all changes in mobility that are measured by local ridership-forecasting methods and defines the scope of those benefits to include both existing and new transit riders compared to the baseline alternative.  (The definition also includes benefits to users of the highway system but measurement of those benefits is not yet available due to the current state of the practice for predicting changes in highway speeds.)  Consequently, the user-benefits measure credits transit projects with reductions in transit travel times (including time spent walking, waiting, transferring, and riding in transit vehicles), any other service characteristics (such as the number of transfers) included in local forecasting methods, and the availability of multiple competitive travel options, again as represented by local forecasting methods.  The user-benefits measure also captures credit for other project characteristics that improve the quality of transit service including changes in reliability, span of service, safety and security, passenger stations, passenger information, permanence of the facilities, and other characteristics not represented by travel times and costs, which are represented by the mode specific constants included in the travel model.  


Current congestion - is meant to serve as a proxy for the benefits to users of the highway system that result from the project.  Current travel forecasting models do not provide accurate forecasts for changes in highway speeds; hence, measurement of the benefits to users of the highway system resulting from implementation of the transit project is not yet available.  Therefore, FTA seeks to determine the extent of current congestion in the project corridor under the assumption that corridors with significant congestion are more likely to experience congestion relief benefits from the proposed project than corridors without much current congestion.  The measures used to determine current congestion will include: the percent deviation in peak period average speeds vs. free flow speeds for private vehicles and buses, person hours of delay in the corridor, the level of service for highways and major arterials that serve the project corridor, and the ratio of daily vehicle miles to lane miles. Economic Development / Land Use

FTA proposes that the economic development/land use rating be based on five measures: 1) the extent to which proposed station areas can be further developed;  2) the extent to which plans and policies encourage transit-oriented development; 3) local economic conditions; 4) increased

Federal Transit AdministrationPage 5

Guidance on New Starts Policies and ProceduresJuly, 2007

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