Transit Planning

The DVRPC region is served by nearly every mode of public transit, from historic trolleys along Girard Avenue in Philadelphia to the Amtrak Keystone Corridor. This multimodal public transit network remains a tremendous asset around which to anchor growth as we plan for a more sustainable future. Supported by the Federal Transit Administration, PennDOT, NJDOT, and our county and local governments, DVRPC staff participates in a variety of transit planning work on an ongoing basis, typically in coordination with or on behalf of our transit agency partners: SEPTA, NJ Transit, and DRPA/PATCO. We support local transit planning efforts through data collection, specific planning projects, and the identification of emerging national and international best practices.

Current Studies

Mobility Choices Study

DVRPC’s Mobility Choices Study is researching how residents in three communities in the DVRPC region make their transportation choices, These communities include:

  • Mantua & East Parkside in West Philadelphia
  • North Trenton in New Jersey; and
  • Norristown, Pennsylvania 

This research, which includes surveying and focus groups, will be done in collaboration with local partners to tell us more about the lived experience of community members. The results will be used by DVRPC to help identify future studies, programs, services, and infrastructure needs in these communities.

Planning Tools

To support effective transit planning, DVRPC develops planning tools to understand more about what is happening in the region and how to plan for the future. 

Regional Transit Screening Platform

This platform contains a set of screening tools that shed light on public transit needs and opportunities in the DVRPC region. Use it to generate and evaluate ideas for service, operational, enforcement, and capital improvements that could be considered for further study.

Park & Ride Passenger Origins

In partnership with SEPTA and PennDOT, DVRPC has a longstanding program to assess public transit station market areas by surveying license plates of the vehicles that are parked at stations and mapping the addresses that are associated with those plates. By exploring the distribution of mapped records, one can get a sense of where a given station’s highest concentrations of park-and-ride customers are located, as well as typical drive-access distances.

Equity Through Access Map Toolkit

The Equity Through Access (ETA) project is an update to the region's Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP). This interactive web-based tool demonstrates disparities in access to essential services like hospitals, health clinics, recreational spaces, senior centers, and more in the Greater Philadelphia region.

RideScore

RideScore is an on-line database that assesses the physical and demographic characteristics around transit stations that relate to how supportive of bicycling the area is, or could be. The database focuses on commuter rail stations outside of Center City Philadelphia as well as trolley and subway terminals where having direct, safe, and nonmotorized access between transit stations and a person's origin and/or destination is a challenge.

Recent Publications

DVRPC routinely publishes a number of transit specific studies. Listed here are the most recent publications.

Trolley Modernization Route 11 and Route 13: Delaware County Alternatives

SEPTA is preparing for a complete replacement of its trolley fleet, Trolley Modernization. This report uses Trolley Modernization as an opportunity to evaluate service on Trolley Route 13 in Delaware County, which provides limited service to Darby Transportation Center.

Direct Bus Feasibility Study

DVRPC worked with SEPTA and a Steering Committee of regional partners to identify corridors within its service area where future Direct Bus service would be valuable and successful. Each corridor was created by combining existing datasets and scoring them in three weighting schemes. Corridors with high population and job density with connections to transportation centers with a strong ridership base and multiple transfer opportunities scored well in all three weighting schemes.

Equity Through Access Gaps and Bridges: 2020 Update to the Greater Philadelphia Region’s Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan

The 2020 Equity Through Access (ETA) project is the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s (DVRPC’s) update of the region’s Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP), which seeks to improve economic and social opportunity in the region by

improving access to essential services for vulnerable populations. “Gaps and Bridges” is an outline of issues and needs that vulnerable populations face in accessing essential services in the DVRPC region. This document was informed by research on best practices for accessibility and feedback from stakeholders during the project outreach process. 

This project responds to the changing CHSTP funding landscape and looks for new ways to promote accessible, affordable, and safe mobility. A planning tool called the Equity Through Access Map Toolkit you can view information about the overarching program. 

SEPTA Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy Research

Transit-oriented development, TOD, SEPTA, joint development, land use, development, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), real estate, value capture, TRID, design guidelines, replacement parking, legacy deeds. In recent years, transit agencies have come to view agency support for Transit-oriented development (TOD) as a promising strategy to address declining ridership levels and the prospect of decreasing public funding.

This report identifies strategies that SEPTA can employ to enhance its support for TOD in Greater Philadelphia. This document summarizes the information DVRPC has gathered through literature review, research, and interviews and is designed to serve as a resource that can help SEPTA and its local partners strengthen the connections between transit, land use planning, and development decisions.

South Philadelphia Transportation Center

This study investigates the best location for a transit facility in South Philadelphia where SEPTA-owned property is limited. Bus operations analyses and conceptual site designs were conducted for sites that were favored.

Exton Station Concept Plan

This study evaluates existing and ongoing plans and projects at and in the vicinity of Exton Station. This includes, but is not limited to, new access points for vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian movements, as well as safe bus stops and layovers, and expanded parking.

Modern Trolley Station Design Guide – SEPTA Suburban Transit Division: Routes 101 & 102

The Modern Trolley Station Design Guide: SEPTA Suburban Transit Division provides practitioners with design guidance on creating accessible stations, and introduces Trolley Modernization's benefits and constraints.

Modern Trolley Station Design Guide – SEPTA City Transit Division: Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36

The Modern Trolley Station Design Guide provides practitioners with guidance on the design parameters needed for modern trolley stations along SEPTA's six City Transit Division trolley lines (Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36).

Concept Development for Transit on Delaware Avenue

Analysis shows that adding rail transit along the waterfront has real challenges--lower existing population and employment density than typically justifies rail investment, relatively low bus ridership, an active freight line operating within most of the corridor's median, and capacity demands stemming from its proximity to the I-95 interstate. Given those challenges, implementing near-term improvements to existing bus service could build public transportation ridership and foster the multimodal corridor envisioned in the Delaware River Waterfront Corporations Master Plan for the Central Delaware. 

Radnor Station Connectivity

This project evaluated the feasibility and benefits of consolidating two rail stations to improve the connection between the Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail Line and the Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) in Radnor Township, Delaware County.

Ivy Ridge Station – Creating a Hub for Multimodal Development

DVRPC analyzed existing conditions at Ivy Ridge Station in Philadelphia. Proposed recommendations include a series of phased physical improvements around the station to improve multimodal access to the station parking lot and platforms, as well as coordinated policy initiatives to encourage mixed-use development. The recommendations seek to realize the neighborhood vision of Ivy Ridge Station as a local transportation hub that is attractive, safe, and accessible for all users.

Enhanced Bus Service on West Chester Pike

This study was conducted by DVRPC to improve the quality and effectiveness of bus service on West Chester Pike between West Chester Borough and the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby. This report describes an operational concept for Enhanced Bus Service (EBS) along the corridor that includes consolidated stops, improved passenger amenities, and branded service. Localized pedestrian improvements are also identified for 12 priority stops along the route.

Analysis of Modernization Scenarios for SEPTA Route 34

This project used microsimulation software to test the travel time and delay outcomes of various trolley modernization scenarios for the street-running portions of SEPTA Route 34. In general, higher levels of intervention resulted in higher levels of projected cumulative travel time benefit.

Vehicle Technology Analysis for SEPTA Routes 29 and 79

This report compares the costs and benefits of: (1) trackless trolley service restoration; (2) continued diesel-electric hybrid bus service and removal of trackless trolley infrastructure; and (3) a battery-electric bus pilot program. This analysis informs a feasibility determination based on costs as well as nonmonetary factors.

Programs

Below are programs where DVRPC staff provides technical assistance or guidance to local governments on a wide range of topics.

Safe Routes to Transit (SRTT)

This technical assistance program matches eligible municipalities and counties with DVRPC staff to navigate the often-complex process of designing and funding pedestrian and bicycle improvements around rail stations.

Coordinated Human Service Transportation Planning (CHSTP)

DVRPC is responsible for facilitating the CHSTP process for the Greater Philadelphia region. DVRPC's regional plan coordinates and prioritizes investments under three programs: Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program, New Freedom Initiative, and Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities. In 2016, the Equity Through Access (ETA) project was first published as DVRPC’s update of the region’s CHSTP. ETA seeks to improve economic and social opportunity in the region by expanding access to essential services for vulnerable populations - those who are more critically impacted by barriers and gaps in infrastructure, service coordination, and policies.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)

TOD is compact, mixed-use development within an easy walk of a transit station. Its pedestrian-oriented design encourages residents and workers to drive their cars less and ride mass transit more. DVRPC has developed a number of analyses that track existing TOD in the region and evaluate where it may be best to invest in this type of development. 

Betsy MastaglioAssociate Director, Multimodal Planning
Air Quality Partnership
Economic Development District

190 N Independence Mall West, 8th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1520
215.592.1800