Integrating Premium Transit Alternatives at FSU into the Multi-Modal Transportation District

Semesters:  Spring 2014

Lead Faculty:  Lindsay Stevens, Planner in Residence

Student Members: Daniel Crotty, Jackie Drouin, Richard Fetchick, Eddy Galindo, Kristin Gladwin, Zachary Hallock, E.I., Michael Larimore, Ana Thomas, and Michael Wallick


Project Overview:

Nine students within the Spring 2014 Florida Planning and Development Lab (FPDL) Studio conducted a feasibility study (the “Study”) for modes and alignments of premium transit running through the Florida State University (FSU) campus and connecting the campus to the City’s larger Multi-Modal Transportation District (MMTD) for StarMetro. This Study is part of a larger project being completed for StarMetro by HDR Inc.  As a result, the Studio Team worked closely with HDR Inc. in a similar way that a subconsultant would work with a lead consultant in the professional world.  This direct interaction with HDR Inc. resulted in a high quality, professional Study that will ultimately be integrated into the overall project’s final deliverable.

The definition of “premium transit” utilized by the Studio Team is: “a high quality transit, either rail or bus, that reduces transit travel times, enhances regional connectivity, and provides improved vehicles and transit amenities to attract new customers” (RTS, 2010).   The Studio Team researched case studies and premium transit mode options (light rail, streetcar, and bus rapid transit) as part of the Study’s analysis.  The Studio Team evaluated multiple alignments for premium transit through and around the main campus of FSU with the primary goal of connecting university transit riders to the larger MMTD.  The MMTD is an overlay to Tallahassee’s zoning map that includes the greater downtown area, Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M University, Governor’s Square Mall and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. (Tallahassee Leon County Planning Dept., 2008).

Modern Streetcar, Light Rail, Bus Rapid Transit

Premium Transit Modes

The Studio Team developed multiple transit alignment alternatives through FSU’s main campus.  The Studio Team utilized a Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) to refine, rank, and ultimately determine the recommended alignment alternative.  The MCA is an analytical tool that utilizes the values of participating stakeholders in order to recommend an alternative which best meets the needs and desires of all parties involved. The MCA started with two primary data sources: (i) raw data based on evaluation of twelve indicators for each of the alternatives developed by the Studio Team and, (ii) stakeholder outreach to determine each stakeholder’s weighted valuation of the indicators. From there, both data sets (raw data and stakeholder values) were standardized and combined, generating a weighted score for each individual alternative according to each stakeholder’s values. The final result, known as the appraisal matrix, is determined by adding up the scores for each alternative across all stakeholders. The alternative receiving the highest score, the “X-alternative,” best aligns with the values of stakeholders and is the Study’s recommended alternative. 

Recommended Alternative

Recommended Alternative

In conjunction with the Studio Team’s analysis of transit modes and alignment alternatives, the FSU Campus Master Plan was evaluated to determine whether updates were needed to be supportive of the premium transit “X-alternative.”  Evaluation revealed that several updates to the FSU Campus Master Plan are needed and the Study specifies refinement in parking, logistical, and bicycle-pedestrian infrastructure.  In the end, the Study developed a premium transit alternative and proposed supportive policy refinements to enhance the success of university and community transit ridership in Tallahassee. 

Final Document

FPDL Spring 2014 Studio Final Document (pdf, 31.6 MB)