JW+A News

2022 JW+A Recent News

The years of Covid-19 have been stressful all of us, but we’ve stayed busy, mostly completing bus network redesign plans and starting new ones. We’ve been especially focused on helping agencies deal with the sudden uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and to make plans that show a path to a better network on the other side.  Meanwhile, Jarrett Walker’s writing, in Bloomberg Citylab and other venues, has focused on sustaining the case for fixed route service both during the crisis and beyond it.

We’re proud of our leading role in bus network redesign. Our redesigns for Cleveland and Dallas are both implemented and doing well, and our Dublin network is beginning implementation.  We are now in the midst of similar projects in Atlanta, Madison, Norfolk, Columbia, and Suffolk County on New York’s Long Island, as well as Cork, Galway, and Limerick in Ireland.   We continue to be proud of our work in many smaller communities.

Here are some of our most recent highlights!

Bus Network Design


Our network redesign for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) went into effect on January 24, 2022.  It’s going well so far.


The National Transport Authority of Ireland (NTA) hired us back in 2016 to lead a complete redesign of the bus network across Ireland’s capital.  Our work finished in 2019 and the first three phases have now been implemented.   The project is part of the larger BusConnects effort, which includes parallel work addressing bus infrastructure.  More here.


The Better Buses project in Miami is unusual in that the client was a well respected advocacy group Transit Alliance, which raised much of the funding for the work and took the lead in presenting and consensus-building locally, with Miami-Dade Transit as active partners.  Our network design study took the community through thinking about alternatives, and then developed a draft network plan.  You can learn more about the project at Transit Alliance’s website here.  Our reports can be downloaded here.—

Other Recent and Current Projects

Bus network design isn’t all we do, and we have been branching out.  We are doing more long-range planning, including the Tucson Long Range Transit Plan last year. We’re helping universities and private companies think about transit and working on corridor-level bus-priority studies.  Some of these projects include:

Princeton University Mobility Plan

We’re currently working with Princeton University analyze their campus’ mobility needs, and think through how transit, walking, and bikeshare can play complementary roles in helping people get to and around campus.

Portland Rose Lane Project

In our own hometown, we’re working with the Portland Bureau of Transportation on the Rose Lanes Project- the first citywide effort to study potential transit speed and reliability improvements in the city.  The initial concepts for a network of transit priority lanes throughout the city were presented in December 2019 and using our analysis, city staff are currently refining the design of these transit priority measures and will bring this to project to city council early this year.  See more on PBOT’s project website here.


New GRTC Network Improved Job Access for Disadvantaged Populations

On June 18, 2019, Jarrett Walker + Associates released a memo showing that the GRTC Reroute, implemented in the summer of 2018, has

  • increased by 6% the number of jobs that the average resident can reach in 45 minutes
  • increased by 10% the number of jobs that low-income or minority resident can reach in 45 minutes.

Quite simply, Richmond’s bus network is now useful to more people to go more places in a reasonable amount of time. While our calculation uses jobs because they are easiest to count, access to many other opportunities (shopping, medical, social) has almost certainly also improved.

Our memo is a rebuttal of a report by the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at VCU, published in December 2018, which purported to show that disadvantaged residents were negatively affected by the new network.
To reach this finding, CURA looked only at whether transit was near people’s homes and jobs, but did not care about whether that transit was actually useful. In many cases, the Reroute increased walking distances to transit, but offered total trip times (including the walk) that were faster than in the old system, thereby opening up more places that could be reached in a given amount of time. CURA absurdly describes this situation as totally negative for the customer. The Reroute also included a significant expansion of weekend service. This is especially important to low-income people because low-wage jobs are more likely to require weekend work. CURA assigned zero value to this huge expansion in useful access to jobs.

Even in the context of their assumptions, the most striking numerical findings in the CURA report are incorrect, the result of basic calculation errors. For example:

  • CURA used a roadway network that excluded many potential walking paths. As a result, they calculated many walks as being longer than they actually are.
  • CURA excluded large parcels on the edge of their miscalculated walking distance areas entirely, even if only a small portion of the parcel was outside the walk area.
  • CURA made manual adjustments to the results for dwelling units in low income areas to attempt to address the large parcel problem but only for the old bus system and not for the new one, thus skewing the results in favor of the old network.

Our memo documents these and numerous other calculation errors and methodology flaws in the CURA report, and shows that the report’s conclusions have no validity as a basis for public policy.

In the nine months since the GRTC Reroute was implemented, Richmond has seen ridership growth of 17%. That growth stands in sharp contrast to trends of ridership decline across the U.S. Ridership is going up because in the new network, more people can get to more places, so that they have more opportunities in their lives. While this improvement affects most of the city, it is especially positive for low-income and minority residents.

2018 Updates from Jarrett Walker + Associates

It’s been a busy year thus far in 2018 at Jarrett Walker + Associates! We are engaged in major projects in cities across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and we’re also excited to announce the relocation of our East Coast office to Arlington in the D.C. metro area. This will enable us to more easily serve our clients located in cities on the Eastern seaboard, and throughout the South and Midwest.

Learn about some of the highlights of our recent work below.

Richmond, VA

In Richmond, the network redesign plan JWA developed for the City of Richmond and Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) in partnership with Michael Baker International was implemented in conjunction with the region’s first BRT line, the Pulse, in June 2018. You can learn more about this project by reading Jarrett’s post over at the Human Transit blog.


Over the last year, we’ve been assisting Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) develop a new network design for the capitol’s extensive and very heavily used bus network. This project is part of the agency’s larger BusConnects program. Without an underground metro system, the commuter, light rail and bus networks handle a huge portion of the region’s trips.

As Jarrett wrote over Human Transit, “The plan revises the entire network, creating a much simpler pattern that people can learn, remember, and explain. As usual, fewer routes mean more service: the number of routes falls from 130 to 102, as a huge high-frequency network, in a spiderweb grid pattern, extends across most of the city.”

This isochrone map shows an example of the type of travel improvements this plan is designed to produce, with the blue area of the map highlighting areas that would be newly accessible in 45 minutes of travel time from Dublin City University. Find out more about this exciting project on Human Transit, or at the project website. The network is out for public comment now, with revisions to come later this year.


Finally, our work over the past year for SEPTA in Philadelphia produced a report, released in June. This report makes no recommendations.  We studied the network in great detail, and then made statements that all implicitly start with if.  We present options, show their consequences, and invite the community to think about the trade-offs these options imply. The next step that we recommend is to encourage some public conversation about these and other choices, before a recommended network is designed. Our work has ended on this project, but we certainly hope to be involved in the future.

Other Updates

In the second half of 2018, JWA will begin work on new transit planning efforts in several cities, including Tucson, Savannah, Salt Lake City, and here at home in Portland. As always, we are thrilled at the chance to help elected officials, planners and public in each of these cities facilitate a robust conversation around their goals and options for public transit.