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									Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies
 TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria
                              Surface Transportation Infrastructure
                          Discretionary Grants for Capital Investments II
                         Funding Opportunity Number: DTOS59-10-RA-TIGER2
                                     Notice of Funding Availability
                     http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-04-26/pdf/2010-9591.pdf




                                                    Table of Contents

1     PROJECT OVERVIEW ...................................................................................................... 2
2     INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 2
3     TIGER II GRANT PRIMARY SELECTION CRITERIA ............................................... 3
    3.1      ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS ......................................................................................... 3
    3.2      LIVABILITY ...................................................................................................................... 3
    3.3      ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.................................................................................. 5
    3.4      JOB CREATION AND ECONOMIC STIMULUS ....................................................................... 5
4     TIGER II GRANT SECONDARY SELECTION CRITERIA ......................................... 6
    4.1      INNOVATION..................................................................................................................... 6
    4.2      PARTNERSHIP ................................................................................................................... 6
5     CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................................... 6




Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                                                          June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                                                                   Page 1 of 6
1 Project Overview
Caltrain, the commuter rail line from San Francisco to San Jose, California, encourages bicycle
commuting in two main ways. First and foremost is Caltrain’s nationally renowned onboard
bicycle program: cyclists bring their bikes onboard the train to enable biking at both ends of
their commutes. Second is Caltrain’s wayside improvement program as described in its already-
adopted Bicycle Access and Parking Plan.

Caltrain’s onboard bicycle service is so popular that cyclists are routinely turned away due to
insufficient bike capacity, although every train has empty seats as peak load. Cyclists denied
service are forced to find other commute methods, and most resort to driving alone.

The grant funding will be used to upgrade all train sets to consistent, sufficient bike capacity, and
also to accelerate implementation of wayside improvements as described in the Bicycle Access
and Parking Plan. By increasing bike capacity to meet demand, cyclists who have abandoned
Caltrain will return, and new cyclists will come aboard.

2 Introduction
In the San Francisco Bay Area, motor vehicles are the single largest contributor of greenhouse
gas emissions. Almost half of all regional greenhouse gas comes from our use of the automobile
as the primary mode of transportation. Environmental and social ills from air pollution to traffic
congestion, oil dependence and distorted foreign policy, urban sprawl and unhealthy
neighborhoods, and a host of other problems can be traced directly to our dependence on the
private auto for mobility.

One possible transportation alternative is the bicycle, one of the most energy efficient machines
invented. When reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is considered, the bike veritably shines as
an example of planet-friendly transportation. In urban areas of high and moderate density (like
most of the bay-side Peninsula and San Francisco), bicycles can be faster and more convenient
than public transportation. For most people, distances up to five miles are easily covered on a
non-athletic bike ride.

For bicycle commuters, a multimodal approach that combines the bicycle with another
transportation method enables a cyclist to cover long distances in a short time. On the San
Francisco Peninsula, we have one of the world’s best multimodal transportation systems,
Caltrain’s onboard bicycle service, which allows cyclists to bring their bikes with them onboard
the trains. Cyclists can ride their bikes to the station, take the train for a fast trip to cover long
distances, and then ride their bikes to their final destinations. The bike plus train combination
rivals the automobile in convenience and flexibility, made possible by Caltrain’s outstanding
service model of bikes onboard the train.




Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                    June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                             Page 2 of 6
3 TIGER II Grant Primary Selection Criteria
3.1 Economic Competitiveness
Enhancing Caltrain’s bicycle program will improve our economic competitiveness in the
following ways:
    1. Increased employment opportunities, especially for lower income workers without access
       to an automobile. By combining bikes and Caltrain, employment opportunities are
       increased by both the increased practical travel distance and providing access to areas not
       served by public transit. Eliminating the need for additional bus transit to or from the
       Caltrain station is a significant cost savings which is especially valuable to lower income
       workers.
    2. Reduced capital and operating expenses. By providing for bicycle use to and from the
       Caltrain station, the need for additional bus or shuttles service is reduced. Bus and shuttle
       service require significant capital cost and ongoing operating expenses for fuel and
       maintenance. Conversion of rail cars to allow bicycle storage onboard is a one-time
       relatively low cost of $70,000 per car with essentially no additional operational costs.
    3. Reduced automobiles parking requirements. Automobile parking facilities are expensive
       to build and expensive to maintain. Parking fees do not cover the capital or operating
       expenses. Each driver requires a parking space for the entire working day, while bikes
       onboard spaces are shared numerous times throughout the day. Bikes onboard users
       require no long-term parking provisions, saving the local communities or transit agencies
       significant amounts of capital and operating expenses.
    4. Supports the long term goals of the cities along Caltrain to develop high-density transit
       oriented development centered at the Caltrain stations. The major goal of these transit
       oriented developments is reducing automobile use by providing for alternatives to
       driving. Bikes onboard complements this goal by making the use of public transit more
       efficient and allowing more people to use the existing Caltrain service. By reducing the
       need for automobile parking, the land surrounding the Caltrain stations can be used for
       higher value residential or business uses. This will bring in additional revenue on a long-
       term basis to the region while parking facilities are an ongoing expense to the region.
    5. Increased revenue to Caltrain. Caltrain is currently losing passengers due to insufficient
       onboard bicycle capacity. Increased ridership would be realized if onboard capacity is
       increased.
    6. Significant growth potential. Currently onboard capacity is inconsistent with 40, 48, or 80
       bikes per train, with 40 and 48 bike spaces often insufficient to handle the current
       demand and significantly lower than the possible demand. With increased onboard
       capacity, significant increase in ridership is expected.
    7. Long term improvement. Bikes onboard is an improvement that will be more valuable
       over the next few decades and beyond. It supports and complements the current efforts to
       reduce operating expenses for our transit systems, improves land use, uses existing transit
       equipment more effectively, and is a vital part of developing effective transit oriented
       developments.

3.2 Livability
Caltrain’s bicycle service enables customers to bike both to and from stations. Cycling enables a
more personal interaction with neighborhoods, and does not add to noise and air pollution the
Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                   June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                            Page 3 of 6
way motorized transportation does. Communities in which cycling is a predominant mode of
transportation are also safer for pedestrians, who are endangered by automobiles traveling at high
speeds on neighborhood streets. Hostile, unfriendly streets frighten parents, who discourage their
kids from walking or biking to local schools and neighborhood destinations, resulting in less
active, less healthy children, and costing ever-larger sums to treat sick teens and adults. The
inactivity from sitting in automobiles furthers the obesity epidemic; more than 34 percent of
American adults are obese and another 33 percent are overweight.

Caltrain’s bicycle program is the agent of change, making our communities more livable.
Commuters can complete their daily commutes without use of an automobile at all. This results
in reduction in traffic congestion and gasoline consumption, quieter and safer streets, reduction
in air pollution with healthier and calmer neighborhoods.

Customers traveling to Caltrain by bicycle share a social equity that encourages friendly
interaction. Cyclists are not hidden behind the armor of large vehicles, but are readily visible and
slow moving, both of which make cyclists part of the community. In contrast, those in motor
vehicles pass though at high-speeds, disconnected, on the way to somewhere else.

Many Caltrain stations are located in suburban downtown centers. These areas, in particular,
become more enjoyable and more walk-able with fewer automobiles, less traffic congestion, and
less traffic noise. By providing the option for commuters to use a bicycle instead of motorized
transportation, Caltrain enhances the livability and economic vibrancy of downtown
communities along the Caltrain line.

Caltrain’s bicycle program satisfies the Department of Transportation’s livability principals as
shown in the table below.

 #   Livability Principal                                                Caltrain’s Bicycle Program
 (1) Will significantly enhance or reduce the                            Commuting to Caltrain by bicycle is
     average cost of user mobility through the                           significantly less expensive than by private
     creation of more convenient transportation                          automobile or public transportation, if
     options for travelers                                               available.
 (2) Will improve existing transportation                                Caltrain’s bicycle program enables an
     choices by enhancing points of modal                                intermodal bike/train commute, eliminating
     connectivity, increasing the number of                              the need for motorized transportation and
     modes accommodated on existing assets, or                           associated traffic congestion.
     reducing congestion on existing modal
     assets
 (3) Will improve accessibility and transport                            The bicycle is a common mode of
     services for economically disadvantaged                             transportation for the economically
     populations, non-drivers, senior citizens,                          disadvantaged, and disabled persons who
     and persons with disabilities, or will make                         have difficulty walking can often
     goods, commodities, and services more                               comfortably ride a bicycle for enhanced
     readily available to these groups                                   mobility.




Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                                     June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                                              Page 4 of 6
    #   Livability Principal                                             Caltrain’s Bicycle Program
    (4) Is the result of a planning process which                        Caltrain’s bicycle program is supported by
        coordinated transportation and land-use                          communities and bicycle coalitions.
        planning decisions and encouraged                                Caltrain has reached out to the community
        community participation in the process                           for both its Bicycle Access and Parking
                                                                         Plan and its onboard bicycle program for
                                                                         public input.

3.3 Environmental Sustainability
Caltrain’s bicycle program contributes to environmental sustainability by eliminating the need
for motorized transportation to and from Caltrain stations. Most Caltrain riders live and/or work
beyond walking distance to Caltrain, but do live and work within biking distance. By allowing
bikes on board, Caltrain users can ride to and from Caltrain, eliminating the need for
automobiles, buses or shuttles to complete their commutes, reducing our use of fossil fuels.

The number of weekday bike boardings on Caltrain in February 2010 was 2659a. We estimate
that Caltrain is currently losing 1000 bike boardings per weekday due to insufficient bicycle
capacity onboard trains.b The average Caltrain passenger trip length is 23 milesc, and the average
bicycle commuter rides three miles each wayd. Therefore, up to 29,000 automobile miles could
be eliminated each weekday by increasing onboard bike capacity to meet demand. This equates
to 7,500,000 automobile miles eliminated per year, and CO2 emissions would be reduced by over
4000 tons annually.

The elimination or reduction of demand for parking facilities further enhances environmental
sustainability through reduced construction requirements for multi-level, ugly parking garages in
quaint downtown communities. Less demand for parking structures allows more desirable and
attractive land development such as parks and green spaces for better utilization of the available
land.

3.4 Job Creation and Economic Stimulus
Near-term economic benefits include promoting creation of jobs to convert trailer cars to bike
cars and to implement wayside improvements according to Caltrain’s Bicycle Access and
Parking Plan.

Long-term benefits include more operating income to help sustain Caltrain as a commuter rail
service. Caltrain has declared a fiscal emergency, and the future of the railway is in jeopardy. By
improving bicycle infrastructure, Caltrain will be able to provide reliable service to all
passengers and to attract new riders to increase badly needed operating revenue.

The long-term success of Caltrain is critical to provide transportation for workers to access and
retain jobs. This is particularly important for the disabled and economically disadvantaged, who
may not have access to a private automobile as an alternative to commuting by Caltrain.

a
  Key Findings, Caltrain February 2010 Annual Passenger Counts, p. 7.
b
  San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Plan for Bicycle Carriage on Caltrain, p. 13, http://tinyurl.com/SFBC-Plan
c
  Key Findings, Caltrain February 2010 Annual Passenger Counts, p. 5.
d
  Osborn, Lynn, (2003), “TDM Cost Effectiveness, How VMT Reduction Translates to Congestion Mitigation and
Improved Air Quality”, ACT International Conference, TDM Cost Effectiveness White Paper, p.7.
Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                                    June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                                             Page 5 of 6
4 TIGER II Grant Secondary Selection Criteria
4.1 Innovation
Innovative technologies can improve efficiency with respect to energy, time, and labor-hours.
However, early adoption of “bleeding edge” new technologies is no assurance of a project's
success and may increase project risk. An alternative is to consider innovative use of existing
technologies to realize the desired effects. Caltrain’s onboard bicycle program incorporates
readily available proven technologies, but implements them in an innovative way.

Caltrain provides an essential transit service, but that service is rarely door-to-door. Commuters
must find a way to get to the train station from their starting points, and to their destinations after
exiting the train. Particularly on the Peninsula, public transportation does not provide 100%
coverage, so proximity to transit is an important consideration. The average person can walk a
half mile in about ten minutes. In that same time, the average bicyclist can cover about two
miles. Therefore, bicycling results in a 16-fold increase in the number of people within ten
minutes of a train station without resorting to the use of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse
gas emissions.

Caltrain has found an innovative method to solve the problem of a sparse public transportation
network, that is, by allowing bicycles onboard trains The combination of bicycle and train
represents a practical and environmentally friendly intermodal transportation solution.

4.2 Partnership
Caltrain’s partnership with the cycling community began with Caltrain’s inception in 1992.
Cycling advocates were successful in identifying and allocating funding that allowed Caltrain to
remove cab car seats and provide bike racks, resulting in 8 bike spaces per train in 1992. Caltrain
continued to work with cyclists over the years, gradually increasing bike capacity to the current
maximum of 40 bikes per gallery bike-car and 24 bikes per Bombardier bike-car. Some trains
have two bike cars, so capacity varies from 40 to 80 bikes per train.

This legacy of partnership and collaboration has served Caltrain's and our communities'
fundamental interests in reducing traffic congestion on highways and local streets and protecting
our environment (particularly climate-change concerns), as well as providing a regional
transportation option that rivals the automobile in convenience and flexibility.

Caltrain’s Bicycle Access and Parking Plan describes projects that partner with local
municipalities to improve bicycle infrastructure and improve safety for station access routes.
Caltrain collected extensive public input when developing its Bicycle Access and Parking Plan.

5 Conclusion
Caltrain’s bicycle program is a service success that built Caltrain's ridership, enhanced its
reputation, and has been studied and admired by transit systems all over the nation. Caltrain is
deserving of funding to enhance and continue its outstanding bicycle program, because it
achieves the desired outcomes of economic competitiveness, livability, sustainability, job
creation and economic stimulus, innovation, and partnership.


Caltrain’s Bicycle Program Satisfies TIGER II Grant Selection Criteria                     June 30, 2010
Prepared by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition                                              Page 6 of 6

								
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