Debating the Merits of New Intermodal Hubs
Following the tested example of New York's Penn Station, cities like North Charleston, Amarillo, and Anaheim are phasing in new "intermodal hubs" that combine rail, bus, and bike access to facilitate trips consisting entirely of non-auto modes. Supporters like Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, argue that by improving the quality of transit trips on existing lines, cities can increase transit patronage.
Citing Anaheim's new ARTIC station, critics like UCI's Michael McNally call attention to costs ($188 million in ARTIC's case) and "the fact that ridership has not risen as dramatically as planners forecasted." Moreover, ARTIC includes luxury amenities like an oyster bar, which may be of questionable utility to transit patrons.
Litman disagrees, calling parking lots—especially those that are lit or covered, with courtesy signage—hubs for cars. "To encourage a true modal shift, he adds, 'we have to prioritize that level of convenience and comfort.'" Those who could afford to drive might then choose public options instead.
Note: Todd Litman is a longtime contributor and blogger for Planetizen. Check out his articles here.