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This paper discusses the relationships between traffic congestion and public transit within Tucson, Arizona in attempt to pinpoint the direct repercussions traffic congestion has on public transit operating systems and suggest potential solutions to these issues. This paper focuses on Tucson’s most recent public transportation development of the local streetcar system, also known as the SunLink. The significance of traffic congestion along the SunLink route was measured both currently and in the future in respect to estimated population growth and increased automobile dependency. In attempt to distinguish these potential traffic concerns along Tucson’s streetcar route, a case study analysis of two different cities was incorporated within this study. The reported traffic concerns along the streetcar systems of these two cities were compared with Tucson’s streetcar system by similarities in trends that created traffic issues along the routes. Both of these case studies presented in this paper initially implemented a streetcar plan where the public transit systems shared a lane with mixed traffic, similar to Tucson’s initial plan of the streetcar. Each of these cities identified the shared lanes as the underlying reason for traffic concerns along their streetcar routes and later adopted dedicated lanes for the streetcar to alleviate these concerns. Ultimately, this paper seeks to determine whether similar modifications should be adopted along Tucson’s streetcar route and if so, whether these modifications are even feasible for Tucson.
Sustainable Built Environments Senior Capstone Project
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