This is CapMetro’s proposal for a centralized transfer facility in Downtown Austin (starting on page 9)
Is this a good idea? And why?
(source) “Evidence underlines that the emergence of hub-and-spoke networks is a transitional form of network development rationalizing limited volumes through a limited number of routes. When traffic becomes sufficient, direct point-to-point services tend to be established as they better reflect the preference of users.”
(source) “Metro areas that have integrated their rail transit into a decentralized network structure are found to enjoy higher riding habit, higher service productivity, and better cost-effectiveness than metro areas with other network structures or modal combinations.”
Transit is moving from its traditional centralized hub-and-spoke model to one that follows the point-to-point (no centralized hub) model, where multiple “nodes” are distributed around a city (examples: Providence, Seattle, Tallahassee, Orlando, Atlanta). In input/output economic parlance, they are disaggregating clusters by increasingly expanding and diversifying their operations to locations where their investments will be most profitable. Cities that are remodeling their public transit network but are sticking to the hub-and-spoke model are creating X number of hubs throughout the city; thus these hubs are becoming, in effect, nodes (example: Los Angeles).
Advantage of point-to-point system: It minimizes connections and travel time (the more that passengers use it, the more intuitive it becomes) and increases accessibility (and greater accessibility is good).
Advantage of hub-and-spoke system: They are simple; new ones can be created easily; scheduling is convenient for passengers since there are few routes, with frequent service, so they may find the network more intuitive. An example of technology that obviates this advantage: The Chicago Transit Authority’s Bus Tracker
Disadvantages of hub-and-spoke system:
- Because the model is centralized, day-to-day operations may be relatively inflexible. Changes at the hub, or even in a single route, could have unexpected consequences throughout the network.
- Route scheduling is complicated for the network operator. Scarce resources must be used carefully to avoid starving the hub, and traffic analysis and precise timing are required to keep the hub operating efficiently.
- The hub constitutes a bottleneck in the network. Total capacity of the network is limited by the hub’s capacity. Delays at the hub can result in delays throughout the network. Delays at a spoke can also affect the network.
- People must pass through the hub before reaching their destination, requiring longer journeys than direct point-to-point trips. This is often desirable for freight, which can benefit from sorting and consolidating operations at the hub, but not for people.
- In a spoke-hub network the hub is likely to be a single point of failure.
Filtering people through a hub or a series of hubs is wasteful and inefficient compared to the direct point-to-point model, which can reduce transport emissions and operational costs…Are the five sites CapMetro identifies desirably positioned and reasonably purchasable land for this to be in any way an achievable endeavor?