News Roundup: Focus on Community in OKC and San Francisco

News Roundup: Focus on Community in OKC and San Francisco
News Roundup: Focus on Community in OKC and San Francisco
By Amanda Skeene, Project Analyst

In recent months, some agencies have focused on increasing the value that the transit system brings to the community overall – not just its riders. Many of our clients have also embraced community value as a measurement of success – some have even prioritized Community Value as the number one strategic pillar of success over Customer Experience. This is a reflection of the growing desire to transform the way we measure success across the transit industry. Today, both Oklahoma City and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) are taking steps to increase community value through economic development and increased safety.

Read on to see how these agencies are approaching community value.

In Oklahoma City, development rather than ridership has been the measure of success for the city’s electric streetcar service. Since the project’s inception, economic development has been one of the six guiding principles that led the study. Leaders in Oklahoma City have recognized that the industry should re-evaluate the use of ridership numbers as a measure of success. When it comes to the Oklahoma City streetcar project, there is a strong argument for using transit-oriented development as the main indicator of success – in other words, looking at the VALUE that the service brings to the community beyond ridership.

Similarly, in San Francisco, the SFMTA has made steps towards increasing traffic safety in the Tenderloin. In response to an increasing rate of pedestrian injury caused by vehicular collisions on the Tenderloin stretch of Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street, SFMTA implemented two (2) quick-build solutions. Calming traffic and reducing incidents caused by speeding are goals shared by both the SFMTA and the City of San Francisco; this is just one example of how a transit agency can partner with other stakeholders to directly impact non-riders and bring value to the wider community. SFMTA will continue to assess safety in this area, and work with their partners to develop infrastructure improvements.

As the industry continues to define the “new normal” post-pandemic, we should begin to see more agencies moving beyond ridership as the sole measure of success. Like Oklahoma City and SFMTA, many entities will choose to highlight instances of increased community benefits or economic development to demonstrate the value they bring to BOTH riders and non-riders.