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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.

JWA is hiring!

JWA is excited to announce our next round of hiring, beginning today!

JWA is seeking a transit planner/analyst to work in our Arlington, Virginia office (Washington DC area), currently located in Crystal City.  The position offers the potential to grow a career as a consultant in transit planning.  As a small firm, we can promote staff in response to skill and achievement, without waiting for a more senior position to become vacant.  Everyone pitches in at many different levels, and there are many opportunities to learn on the job.

Duties include a wide range of data analysis and mapping tasks associated with public transit planning.


Position:
Transit planner/analyst

Applications due by:
This application is now closed.

About JWA

Jarrett Walker and Associates is a consulting firm that helps communities think about public transit planning issues, especially the design and redesign of bus networks.  The firm was initially built around Jarrett Walker’s book Human Transit and his 25 years of experience in the field.  Today, our professional staff of nine leads planning projects across North America, with an overseas practice including Europe and Australia / New Zealand.

You can learn about us at our website (jarrettwalker.com) and at Jarrett’s blog (humantransit.org).  For a sense of our basic approach to transit planning, see the introduction to Jarrett’s book Human Transit, which is available online.

Required Skills and Experience

For this position, the following are requirements.  Please respond only if you offer all of the following:

  • Two or more years professional experience using the skills listed in this section, or formal training in these skills (such as at a college or university). Directly-applicable coursework is valuable but not essential.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English. In particular, an ability to explain analytic ideas clearly.
  • Understanding and experience with analysis and visualization of quantitative information.
  • Experience in spatial data analysis (GIS).
  • Experience working in Adobe Illustrator, particularly in applications related to mapping or cartography.
  • Experience in cartography, evidenced in at least one mapping sample that is clear, accurate, and visually appealing.
  • Availability to start training in our Portland office the week of July 15, and full-time work in our Arlington office soon after, at least 32 hours per week.
  • Willingness to travel occasionally for projects.
  • Legal ability to work in the US

Other Desired Skills and Experience

The following are desirable but not essential, and candidates with the required skills listed above but none or few of these desired skills are still encouraged to apply.

If you have any of the following skills, please note them in your application.

  • Experience with public transit issues, especially related to planning. Please describe any such experience.
  • Experience and skill level using data analysis programming languages (particularly R). If you can, please share some details on projects to which you have applied data analysis programming skills, and how long you have been working with the language.
  • Experience and skill level working in GIS, particularly QGIS.
  • Experience and skill level in Adobe Creative Suite, particularly Illustrator and InDesign. If you can, please tell us about the types of documents you have created in either software, and how long you have been using them.
  • Experience using Remix or other transit planning software.
  • Experience in database analysis. (Postgres/PostGIS, MySQL, etc)
  • Expertise with transit-focused routing software, such as OpenTripPlanner or Conveyal.
  • Experience describing issues from multiple points of view, including the perspectives of different types of people, and different professions.
  • Graduate degree in urban planning, transportation, or a related field.
  • Foreign language ability. Spanish is especially useful but other language skills are valued as well.
  • Experience managing small groups.
  • Experience working with minority and disadvantaged communities.
  • Experience and comfort in public speaking. If this is a strong point, please share a link to a video of you giving a presentation to a relatively non-technical audience.

Compensation, Benefits and Place of Work

Compensation will depend on skills, but will start in the range of $25-40/hour depending on skills and experience.  Large raises in the first year are typical for excellent work. Our benefits program includes medical, dental, and disability insurance; a 401(k) program; subsidized and pre-tax transit benefits; paid sick leave; and paid time off.

This position will require working out of our Washington, D.C., area office, located in Arlington, Virginia’s Crystal City area. JWA does allow employees to set work schedules that include working from home or other locations for some of their work time, but employees will be expected to work in the Washington, D.C., area office for most of their work hours. This position will likely require occasional travel, to work with clients directly, a few times per year, and a trip to Portland to work with staff in our main office once or twice a year.

How to Apply

To apply, please send the following materials to hiring@jarrettwalker.com.

  • 1-page cover letter, explaining your interest in the position.
  • 1- or 2-page resume, describing your relevant experience and skills.
  • Links or electronic files for up to three (3) samples of your work. If possible, please include a map, a piece of writing, and a demonstration of a spatial analysis. (A single sample may satisfy more than one of these requests.)
  • Contact information for 1 to 3 references who can attest to your experience with the skills listed above.
  • Please do not include any information about your prior compensation.

On your applications materials, please remove or redact any explicit information about your name, gender, or sex.

Diversity and inclusion

JWA follows an equal opportunity employment policy and employs personnel without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.

This policy also applies to management of staff with regards to internal promotions, training, opportunities for advancement, and terminations. It also applies to our interactions with outside vendors, subcontractors and the general public.

Timeline

The deadline for applying is 11:00 pm Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, May 17h. Submitting earlier is advantageous as we will review applications as we receive them.

We will ask a select group of applicants to perform a simple analysis and mapmaking test on their own, and then to join us for an interview. The test will likely be assigned on May 24 and due on May 31. We wish to hold interviews (in person or by phone/web) the week of June 3-7.

Thank you for reviewing this listing. Please share it with others you know who might be interested. We look forward to hearing from you.

JWA Recent News

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.

Dublin

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.

Philadelphia

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.

JWA is growing!

JR headshot

Joey Reid, Senior Associate

Scudder Wagg, Senior Associate

Scudder Wagg, Senior Associate

Our tiny firm is delighted to announce that we’ve hired our first East Coast senior planner and project manager.

He’s Scudder Wagg, a versatile transit planning consultant formerly with Michael Baker International.  Scudder has been embedded with us for a year, working on the Richmond Transit Network Plan, so he already knows everything we do better than we do ourselves. He is based in Richmond for now, but he expects to move up to the DC area to establish a full East Coast office.

We’re also happy to welcome a new senior analyst and associate to our team, Joey Reid. Joey is a skilled transit analyst who most recently worked as senior data scientist at Metro Transit, the transit agency serving the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. With the addition of Joey, we are looking forward to continuing to develop innovative new methods of understanding how transit networks operate, and relate to their cities.

You can read more about our staff over at the team page.

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we’ve just completed moving offices, and are now comfortably established in our new home in inner Southeast Portland!