Just back from a great trip to Tucson, at the invitation of ten local organizations, including the transit agency, all put together by the University of Arizona's Drachman Institute. (Thanks to everyone I worked with there, including everyone in the crowd of 200+ who turned out on a Friday night to talk transit with me. I had a great time.)
For reasons that I first explained here, I always encourage transit agencies to map their frequent network — the network of services coming every 15 minutes or better all day. Since there wasn't one for Tucson, I asked our graphics expert PJ Houser to draw one, which I also shared at several of my events.
This map is important! It shows where transit is useful to people in a hurry, people who don't have time to wait long. It's also usually the backbone on which future expansion will be built, and a logical focal point for location choices, and thus development, for people and organizations that want or need to rely on transit. The network includes several major bus lines as well as the soon-to-open streetcar. It also shows the promising beginnings of a high-frequency grid.
So here it is! For a sharper one: Download Tucson Frequent Network
Is this their actual services, or your plan for one?
My parents met getting off a city bus in Tucson, Arizona, so it’s good to see my hometown getting some time in the sun—er, spotlight—for its transit initiatives. 🙂
Is it frequent evenings and Sundays too?
The map shows Tucson’s current service and no, it’s not so frequent evenings and weekends. The #8 has our most frequent service: headways of 15 minutes or less from 430A to 630/700P weekdays (depending on origin point; Jarrett, do you have a standard way to determine the span?) and 530A-700P Saturday (our ONLY frequent service on weekends by this definition), with 20-min. headways on Sunday. The #16 meets the definition from 630A-630P, the #15 from 500A-5:30P; the #4 from 700A-700P, the #7 from 630A-530/600P, and the #11 from 500/600A-600/700P. Next-best weekend service is 30-min headways; many are an hour. Also, 4 of the routes on this map (all but the #7 and #16) are trunk routes that have alternating extensions. Of the 27 “regular, local” fixed routes, only 2 (or 3, depending on how you measure) have trips in both directions initiating after 11 pm; and an additional 18 have service initiating after 9 pm. Five routes have headways better than an hour on Sundays. Jarrett’s visit was timely because we’re fighting to retain even this level of frequency throughout the system (while rolling out on 7/25 a new downtown-area streetcar offering more frequency over longer spans). Thank you, Jarrett–we are plotting your return!
Looks like that street car is doomed to low-ridership. It’s too short, crosses too many existing lines, turns too many corners.
Jase. The streetcar connects the university with Downtown, and it will be sort of useful for travel between those points. But the #4 bus is faster than the streetcar between their common points.
Suzanne. For frequent network maps, I start by using the worst headway that occurs anytime between the AM and PM peaks on a weekday. Saturday and Sunday are another struggle.
For comparison purposes, here’s where it stands now: https://www.suntran.com/FTN.php