Category Archives: Benefits of Transit

Set yourself up for a happy, healthy year—We can help!

A new year can inspire us to set resolutions and make better choices. Here are just a few ways transit can help you achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle and a cleaner environment.

Want to improve your health this year? Try taking public transportation!

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend that adults average at least 22 minutes of daily moderate physical activity, such as walking, to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Incorporating transit into your commute encourages you to walk or bike as part of your daily routine. TriMet ridership studies show that bus riders will walk as much as a quarter mile to their bus stop, while MAX riders will walk up to a half mile to connect to light rail.

Watching your figure? Transit helps with that, too.

walk
According to the Federal Transit Administration, light rail commuters are 80% less likely to become obese over time, and studies have found that men who commute to work on public transportation are 44.6% less likely to be overweight or obese because they are more active.

Become more zen this year: Public transportation reduces stress.

zenThe average American driver can spend up to 450 hours each year behind the wheel, resulting in rising levels of frustration and stress that can really take a toll on one’s health and quality of life. Transit provides riders with the opportunity to relax—something not available to drivers stranded in traffic.

Clean the air with transit.

cloudMore than four tons of pollutants are avoided every day when people choose to ride TriMet instead of drive cars. Electric-powered transit such as MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar, along with our clean-running diesel buses, make transit a benefit to public health and help us all breathe easier.

Learn more about the health benefits of public transportation.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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December 3rd is International Day of Persons With Disabilities

TriMet100915TJ094
You probably didn’t know it, but today is International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The day was established in 1992 by the United Nations to highlight the importance of inclusiveness and accessibility in our society and development.

This year’s theme focuses on the opportunities for technology to improve the lives of the more than 1 billion people who live with some form of a disability. (That’s about 15% of the world’s population!)

When we design products, buildings, cities and vehicles in a way that is accessible and inclusive, it can make a huge difference to someone with a physical or mental disability. But it’s really much bigger than that: Accessibility makes the world a better place for everyone.

Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users.

According to the UN, “Evidence shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits.”

That’s certainly true for transportation. If you can get around, you have an opportunity to fully participate in your community.

And when it comes to building an accessible transit system, TriMet is fortunate to have the guidance of the Committee on Accessible Transportation (or “CAT,” for short). The CAT is a 15-member citizen committee that advises the TriMet board and staff on plans, policies and programs with the goal of improving access to transit services.

“Anything you can do to improve accessibility is a benefit to all users,” says Jan Campbell, the committee’s chairperson.

“When you hear the next stop being announced on the bus, or you see a family use the boarding ramp—these are features that were designed to help people with disabilities get around,” Jan adds. “But in the end, they make transit easier for all riders.”

TriMet service is a lifeline for many of us who can’t drive due to our age or a disability. Each year, 12 million rides are taken by seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise have few options for transportation.

“That’s what’s good about TriMet,” says Jan. “We really do have one of the best transit systems here, and we have put a lot of effort into making it totally accessible for everybody.”

In partnership with the World Affairs Council, TriMet has recently hosted visitors from Canada, Turkmenistan, Egypt and Korea who wanted to learn about the accessibility of the Portland area’s transit system.

Here are a few of the accessibility features on TriMet that you might use every day:

  • Buses, MAX trains and streetcars have ramps that extend for easier boarding if you need it, and most buses can “kneel,” lowering the first step closer to the curb. Just ask the operator.
  • All vehicles have priority seating areas inside by the door for seniors and riders with limited mobility, plus space for mobility devices.
  • At MAX, WES and Streetcar stations, there are textured tiles along the length of the boarding platform to warn you when you’re near the platform edge. You can feel these tiles with your feet or a cane.
  • Many bus stops and MAX stations have digital displays that show you when the next bus or train is expected to arrive. At some stations, including those on the Portland Transit Mall, you can also hear an audio announcement of the next arrivals by pushing a button.
  • MAX trains and buses announce their line name and destination over an external speaker system as they pull up to a stop. Inside, major stops and transfer points are announced over the speaker system and displayed on a reader board.
  • For riders who have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from riding regular buses or trains independently, TriMet’s LIFT paratransit service can help keep them moving.

Learn more about accessibility features on TriMet

Learn more about the International Day of Persons With Disabilities

It’s easy to combine bike and transit trips

In honor of Bike Month, we’d like to highlight a commute that combines biking with TriMet.

Matthew Hampton starts his commute in the Boring area, southeast of Gresham, and after a short stretch riding on Highway 212’s wide shoulder, he joins the trailhead for the Springwater Corridor in Downtown Boring.

After the “best 8-mile ride you can imagine,” which is slightly downhill, he rolls into the recently renovated Gresham Main City Park and grabs coffee and a freshly made bagel from Jazzy Bagels.

Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.
Typical shot from the Springwater Trail, linking Boring to Gresham.

Then it’s a little hop over to the Gresham Central MAX Station where he checks his bike into the secure BikeLink parking room, then boards MAX to enjoy a nice ride to Portland without the hassle of dealing with hanging and un-hanging his bike. Matthew works in the Lloyd District so he walks only a couple of blocks from the MAX station.

His favorite part of the commute is seeing the variety of folks on the trail in the morning: “Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

“Everyone has a smile and it’s like we have this little secret. I feel incredibly grateful this path is still providing mobility for the region’s population and it fits in my commute.”

Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”
Matthew’s favorite spot along his commute. He calls it “Clackanoma Park.”

Other things Matthew likes about his commute? The physically separated biking paths and the locked bicycle storage. He can even get supplies or repairs from the Gresham Bicycle Center which is conveniently located in the same structure as the TriMet BikeLink parking room.

Keep enjoying the ride, Matthew. We’ll keep an eye out for you both on the trail and on MAX. Happy Bike Month to you!

TriMet resources for cyclists:

Bikes and TriMet: How to get there by bike, bus and train

Plan a bike/transit trip at trimet.org

Park & Ride Locations: Free 24-hour parking for riders

Get your own “I ride” TriMet bicycle messenger bag

 

TriMet does not endorse and is not responsible for any business, product or services mentioned in this blog article.

 

Jeff Owen

Jeff Owen

I’m TriMet’s active transportation planner. I work with our regional partners to improve conditions for combining transit trips with walking and biking, including sidewalks, crossings, trails, bikeways, and bike parking. Away from work, I can be found walking, riding my bike, hiking or cheering in the Timbers Army.

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Since her office moved, Sarah has a new perspective on her work commute

Sarah McCloskey
Sarah McCloskey

Until six months ago, my work commute between Beaverton and my office in Lake Oswego had consisted of driving a stretch of Hwy 217 during peak rush hour traffic each day. I tolerated the slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic in exchange for the convenience of driving my own car.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed.

When I first learned that my firm would be relocating to Downtown Portland, I knew that I would need to make some major changes to my commute. If I were to continue driving to work, it would mean spending twice the time in rush hour traffic on two notoriously congested highways each day. I estimated that my monthly costs for driving and parking would amount to more than double the cost of a 1-Month Pass. Since I did not need the extra stress or expense of driving, the decision was simple: I would take public transit.

My new commute begins with a short ride on WES—now in its 5th year of service—to the Beaverton Transit Center. I enjoy comfortable seats, wide aisles, free Wifi and the friendly WES conductors. I also enjoy getting to know other regular riders that I see each day. After transferring to MAX, I have 25 minutes to get a jump on my morning email or catch up on news, books and crossword puzzles.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed. I save money and I’m happy that I am doing my part to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. When I began riding, I assumed I’d miss the convenience of driving, but, with frequent arrival times, a MAX stop right outside my office and no traffic jams, I’ve found it to be much more convenient than driving!

Sarah McCloskey is a marketing coordinator at Otak, Inc. She is a new TriMet rider and commutes from her home in Beaverton to her office in Downtown Portland.

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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For Katrina, her phone is her fare, and she couldn’t be happier

Why I Ride - Katrina
Whenever I tell people that I don’t have a driver’s license they’re always shocked. And when I tell them that prior to moving to Portland from Arizona, I didn’t have a car, they ask in horror, “How did you get around?” My answer: I took the bus, of course! I tell them my infamous work commute consisted of four miles of cycling, plus an hour-long bus ride.

Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here…

Thankfully, I now live in a dense urban environment where I have a myriad of transit options. As someone who doesn’t drive, it’s not just a luxury to have access to frequent bus or train service, it’s a necessity. Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here for graduate school three years ago.

Needless to say, when the TriMet Mobile Ticketing app was released, I literally jumped from my seat to start the download. I admit that I was a late adopter from my “dumb phone” to an iPhone, but I quickly made the transition into total digital reliance.

Since that day, the ticketing app has been the perfect addition to my transit repertoire, alongside PDX Bus and Transitive. I said goodbye to having to keep track of paper stubs and of how many tickets I had left before having to buy the next pack. Not at a grocery store or near a transit stop? Not a problem!

For me, the best thing about the app is that it’s basically foolproof. Buying tickets is easy because it remembers my card information, so even if I realize at the last moment that my pass is up, I can buy another in minutes. Whenever I see the bus on the horizon, I simply load up my app and prepare to board.

With over 60,000 downloads, the app has proven to be intuitive and easy to understand. And, when using the app for the first time, a simple explanation guides you from the get-go.

My phone literally is my fare, and I couldn’t be a happier transit rider.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is a recent master of Urban Studies graduate from Portland State University and prides herself on being a pedestrian in Portland. She is currently the project Intern at DHM Research and has a blog called Think Urban. 

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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Access to transit is important to two local eateries in Southeast Portland

Becky Doggett
Becky Doggett

Becky Doggett and her husband, Scott Krombein, own two successful restaurants in Southeast Portland, Ford Food and Drink and Detour Café, both of which are served by Frequent Service Bus Line 4-Division/Fessenden.

“We specifically chose these locations because of their access to transit,” says Doggett. “These are neighborhoods have limited street parking, so good transit is essential. Half of our employees also take transit to work, the other half either bikes or walks. Only a few drive.”

Ford Food and Drink

Ford Food and Drink is situated at the corner of SE 11th & Division and is part of the historic Ford Building, which was built in 1915. A spacious coffee house with comfortable seating and huge tables, Ford Food and Drink is known for its homemade desserts and pastries.“Scott was the head baker at Pazzo Restaurant, Bar and Bakery downtown and now makes all our pastries and breads,” Becky says. “They are worth the visit.”

Ford Food and Drink also recently added a full bar to its offerings, has beer on tap and as a result now is bustling from early mornings through evening. Doggett is building an evening crowd with events and entertainment, including live music every Friday.

“We specifically chose these locations because of their access to transit,” says Doggett.

Ford employee Hannah Mizer moved here in December 2012 from San Diego and became car free. She has worked at Ford for the last seven months and takes great pride in her employer. “Ford Food and Drink has the best vegan brownies and the baristas are well trained in Stumptown and know how to make the perfect coffee—tasty and strong,” says Hannah.

Ford can be reached by Line 4 and Line 70-12th/NE 33rd Ave and is within walking distance of the future Clinton/SE 12th Ave MAX Station, which will open with the MAX Orange Line in September 2015.

Detour Café

Detour Cafe
Detour Cafe

Detour Café is a cozy breakfast and lunch place that caters to the neighborhood with choices like the Division Street Farmer’s Breakfast with organic potatoes, blanched kale with toasted seeds, homemade bread, choice of meat/faux meat, and an egg. It also has housemade granola, a variety of sandwich options made on their own focaccia bread, frittatas and bagels. The menu is befitting of Portland, which loves a great brunch. Detour also offers self-service Stumptown coffee and its own chai. Needless to say, lines of waiting customers are common on weekends.

Ford Food and Drink and Detour Café are easy destinations for Southeast Portland transit riders. Learn more about fordfoodanddrink.com and detourcafe.com.

TriMet does not endorse and is not responsible for any business, product or services mentioned in this blog article.

Marisa Scheidegger

I'm TriMet's marketing communications coordinator. I write content for TriMet's web and social media, and customer-facing print materials. When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my husband and two incredibly bright and funny kids.

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