SRRA conducts Forums where partners, associates and experts convene a conversation informed by the most current research by SRRA.
Held annually and occasionally more frequently these gatherings allow decision makers and experts from many parts of government and the private sector to express ideas and solutions without the constraints day to day mandate fulfillment.
The Forums encourage participants to give unbiased validation or repudiation of findings from the research and offer insight. Guests presenters and SRRA partners introduce subjects, offer their insights, followed by discussion. Consensus expressed by participants help to direct research following each Forum.
The exchange of ideas leads to a better understanding of the complexities of long term investment process and the many factors which can impact positively or negatively on the high quality of life and international competitiveness of the Region.
The following is a brief description of the principle themes discussed at each Forum.
Public Confidence in Transit
Eighth Forum - Spring 2018
Putting the Consumer First
The travelers on roads move seamlessly from one part of the region to another. They don't notice borders or who owns and maintains the roads. Regional Transit users, however, have to navigate 10 transit operators, pay double fares for short trips and transfer between operators to cross municipal borders. Governments should rethink the delivery of transit service without the constraints regional transfers, punitive fares and initiate the integration of service planning.
Affordable Places to Work and Live Near transit
Affordability is not just the price of a home or office space but the complete total cost of the location of a home or business. Transit's value to residents and business is the reduction of cost. The advantage of locating near transit can be erased without rethinking public policy surrounding transit. Provide developers with a better policy environment to intensify around transit and transit locations can be considerably more affordable.
Prioritizing High Value Transit with Non-Government Funding
Transit projects with limited ridership/revenue and high capital cost are not attractive to private sector entities nor should they be to tax payers. Testing the viability of transit projects with the discipline of high ridership should be the first step in prioritizing projects, and certainly the only way to attract other sources of funding capital.
Changing the Delivery of Transit in the Region
Seventh Forum - January 2018
Why do we need Non-Government Funding of Transit?
Recently governments have committed $50 Billion over the next 25 years to capital expansion of transit capacity, but will that be enough to provide the needed transit to manage congestion and growth. SRRA's research suggests that there needs to be considerably more invested to have the region transit network capable of managing a population of 10 million people in the next 30 years.
Reducing the Subsidy of Transit.
The Subsidy of public transit exceeds $1.2 Billion per annum. By generating more revenue out of the transit in place now, the subsidy reduction could be used to build more capacity. Is this realistic? Ideas from the Forum suggest that it is.
Multiple operators create a conflict of Interest
The region's multiple agency model limits operators from facilitating much needed regional transit service. A reorganization of who does what and a new focus on funding transit as a regional model will allow for a deeper focus on transit use throughout the region and will generate operating efficiency and more network ridership.
Optimizing Transit to produce more Public Value
Sixth Forum - 2017
Transit Through the Eyes of the Consumer”
Hiding in plain site are many adjustments in service levels and fare optimization are not possible when agencies are constrained by the mandates of individual operators. Making inter-regional travel more convenient, cost effective and faster will attract many who now do not use transit, but to do this planners need to know more about where people are travelling and recognize opportunities which arise from seeing service through the eyes of consumers.
Investing in New Transit Projects with Measurable Public Benefit.
New transit must be preceded by a transparent case for value. Evaluating transit requires a clear understanding of the life cycle cost of the project, net new ridership revenue within the network served by the new project and the financial benefits of agglomeration, social and cultural value.
Land Value Capture or Land Value Creation
Land and development values are increased by transit proximity. How that value is maximized by transit operators and developers requires a new approach to Transit oriented development. Without development transit suffers suboptimal ridership. Creating conditions where development actually occurs is of mutual benefit to both transit operators and investors. Reducing the risk that development doesn't occur has many benefits, not the least of which is reducing transit subsidy.
Big Data and Analytics to anticipate new ridership and plan new capacity.
Transit planning needs considerably more information about who uses and who could use transit. Are we investing enough in the data and analytics to enable planners to prioritize new transit investment. Governments are investing billions of dollars in transit, are they spending enough on market knowledge?
Business invest significant amounts on new product research. Why then do transit planners spend relatively nothing on data and analytics? The "build it and they will come" moto of traditional transit planners simply isn't enough anymore.
Summaries of previous Forums will be posted shortly.