MOVING PEOPLE VIA ROADWAYS
Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) measures the total volume of vehicle traffic on a roadway for a year divided by 365 days. These levels can help transportation planners and other agencies anticipate where roadway resurfacings and reconstructions are going to be needed in the upcoming years. Looking at this particular measure on the region’s roadways, almost all federal aid system roadways measure as high volume, seeing 3,001 or more vehicles on the roads per day.
Capital Area Transit (CAT) provides fixed route transit service to Cumberland and Dauphin Counties, with the City of Harrisburg serving as the major hub in the system. The Market Square transfer center, located at the intersection of Market and 2nd Streets, is the primary transfer center. The Derry Township Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Hershey is a major park and ride location, providing over 600 parking spaces and access to both CAT and Lebanon Transit service.
The table above shows CAT ridership trends over five years. Since FY 2012/13, CAT has experienced a significant 17 percent drop in ridership. Conversely, CAT ridership had increased in the previous five years (2007/08 to 2012/13), which was attributed in part to increased fuel prices and the economic downturn. The recent decreases in ridership may be partly attributable to relatively low fuel prices and an improved economic/employment environment. However, a comprehensive review of CAT service and adoption of a transit development plan are crucial to ensuring the long-term success of public transit to Harrisburg and the surrounding communities.
The urban areas of York, Lancaster and Lebanon are served by their own transit authorities. York County’s rabbittransit provides express service to and from downtown Harrisburg. Lebanon Transit provides service to downtown Harrisburg and Hershey. Lancaster County’s Red Rose Transit Authority does not provide service to the HATS region. Improving service and coordination with surrounding transit providers is a high-priority goal for the HATS region.
Park & Ride Facilities
The CAT fixed route system is supported by 35 park and ride facilities. Some are formally identified and maintained by PennDOT and/or CAT; some are established through agreements with retailers and shopping centers; and some are informal locations near popular transit stops. Not all park and ride facilities are dedicated to transit use; locations outside the CAT service area serve car- and van-pool users.
Published in December 2010, the HATS Upper Dauphin and Perry Counties Park and Ride Project study examined existing and potential park and ride facilities and provided recommendations. A similar study should be conducted to identify possible park and ride locations in the more developed areas immediately surrounding the City of Harrisburg, possibly as part of the recommended long-term transit system planning or transit development plan.
Private intercity bus companies provide service to State College, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh from the Harrisburg Transportation Center. These companies include Greyhound and Trailways. Additionally, Megabus provides direct service to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and State College from their stop located in the Harrisburg Mall parking lot.
Shared Ride / Paratransit
Shared Rid/Paratransit service is provided in Dauphin County by CAT and in Cumberland and Perry Counties by rabbittransit. These services, with recommendations for each geographic subregion, are covered extensively in the HATS Coordinated Public Transportation – Human Service Transportation Plan.
The map at right shows shared ride pick-up/drop-off locations. Both pick-ups and drop-offs are evenly distributed throughout the HATS region. Improving the coordination between the centrally managed and located shared ride hubs and the geographic dispersed location of their users will be key to improving efficiencies in the shared ride system.
Commuter Services of PA is a professionally staffed organization whose purpose is to reduce traffic congestion and pollution by helping commuters find alternatives to driving alone. Their service area covers 13 counties, including Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties, from south-central to northeastern Pennsylvania, and 1.3 million commuters living or working in these areas. The organization is funded by federal Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) funds and overseen by the Susquehanna Regional Transportation Partnership, which consists of local chambers and transit and planning agencies. Their many services include assisting employers and individuals with information and/or coordination related to car- or van-pools, transit and trains, walking and biking, and telecommuting.
For more information on Commuter Services of PA, click here.
Road Diets are becoming increasingly popular in communities across the country as a way to address critical transportation needs without significant capital investment. While the exact design and configuration can vary based on a variety of factors, the typical Road Diet involves converting a four-lane, undivided roadway to a three lane roadway with improved accommodations for non-motorized road users. Road Diets represent excellent “bang for your buck”, often requiring little investment beyond repainting for implementation, yet significant safety benefits by calming traffic through the reduction of travel lanes and reducing collisions by providing a dedicated left turn lane. Additionally, the space gained by eliminating one travel lane can be used to provide dedicated, buffered bicycle lanes or wider shoulders, depending on the characteristics of the road.
Road Diets are not effective for all roads, particularly those with average daily traffic exceeding 20,000 vehicles. Further study and cooperation with municipalities will be required to identify implementation opportunities.
- Consider access to transit -- and related bicycle and pedestrian accommodations -- a high priority in areas identified for growth in the RGMP;
- Work with CAT and other area transit providers on long-term planning efforts to improve service access and efficiency within the HATS region and surrounding communities;
- Identify and pursue additional park and ride facilities throughout the HATS region;
- Conduct system-wide analysis during next update of Coordinated Public Transit -- Human Service Transportation Plan;
- Continue supporting Commuter Services of PA and other community organizations providing transportation services to residents of the HATS region through funding, coordination or planning assistance.
- Conduct further analysis and work with municipalities to identify opportunities for Road Diet implementation