Posted by: John Lam
Scoop one for Reconnect Rochester! Several days ago we noticed Mapnificent.net (a new site for visualizing transit reachability) hadn’t included Rochester among its cities. Clicking into its support forum led me to a post also seeking support for Rochester. A quick search told us our bus company had just announced the public availability of their General Transit Feed Specification, so in response we posted the location of this feed and within an hour Rochester debuted in Mapnificent.
This wonderful site shows what points are reachable via walking, or transit, plus cycling, at and within any given time. Real estate investors and property managers, take note. When you list a property and claim it’s only 10 minutes by bus to Strong, renters can not only easily check, but also drop the mark at Strong and see exactly what other addresses Strong could reach in 10 minutes. Ditto for potential homeowners and those thinking of moving. While we don’t yet have transit-oriented development with fixed guideway modes, such as streetcars, wide adoption of tools such as Mapnificent would cause exactly the same effect in the market.
The two illustrations above shows fifteen minutes travel from the Amtrak station and the proposed bus station, and how reach would differ using current bus routes and schedules; of course, once the new stations were built and routes changed, their reach would also change.
One caveat currently with Mapnificent: it cannot yet show maximum headways. In Rochester our problem lies less in how far folks can go in X minutes, but how long they must wait until the next bus. Much of the time here, when headways exceed travel time on our uncongested roads, folks care less about travel time and more about how long they must wait. When evening headways hover around an hour and folks realize driving an hour could get them almost to Buffalo, they continue to drive. But there’s hope. Popularity of tools such as Mapnificent could steer people to live closer to transit and places they want to go, and in effect, begin to induce transit-oriented development and build demand for more frequent service, a virtuous cycle.