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3. Mobility

DOT's Progress in 2017

Every day, New Yorkers make decisions about how they travel. Is the trip to the doctor fastest by walking or subway? Will there be a place to park? The reality is that most New Yorkers use a variety of modes depending on the time of day, trip purpose, convenience, and cost. And DOT’s job is to make sure that New Yorkers, regardless of where they live or of disability, have a range of options to safely and efficiently navigate their city.

For pedestrians, improving mobility means expanding sidewalks, adding pedestrian ramps, and installing accessible pedestrians signals (APS). DOT has been upgrading pedestrian ramps throughout lower Manhattan and is working on citywide plan, which will include a major increase in capital funding and a significant expansion of the agency’s in-house pedestrian ramp crews.  As of the end of 2017, there are APS units installed at 286 intersections citywide. The agency is also expanding the bike network and adding bus lanes to speed up bus service. At the Staten Island Ferry, DOT brought back lower level boarding so that the ferry can load larger crowds in a shorter period of time. These changes all make it easier for people to walk, bike, and take transit around the City. For a complete list of the agency’s progress on Mobility Initiatives, refer to

Community Feedback

A photo of a woman who uses lower level boarding at the Staten Island Ferry

It is much more convenient to use lower level boarding. I don’t worry as much about missing the boat because I can go right on rather than having to go all the way upstairs.“

Rosalind, Staten Island Ferry rider

Bike Network

DOT continues to increase and upgrade its bike network. After installing a record 18.5 lane miles of protected bike lanes in 2016, DOT had another record setting year in 2017, completing 25 lane miles of protected lanes. Altogether, DOT implemented over 75 lane miles of bike projects.

As cycling grows, the agency is focused on expanding neighborhood bike networks, especially in the outer boroughs. An example of this effort is Community Board 12 in the Bronx, where DOT recently added 12 lane miles of bike lanes. This project improved bike and pedestrian access to waterfront parkland and a major greenway route. It is just one of several neighborhoods where DOT is building out the bike network; we are also expanding the bike networks in Jamaica, Glendale, and East New York.


Bridge and Greenway Connections

New York is a city of islands, so DOT focuses significant effort on integrating its bridges into the overall bike network. One example is the Centre Street/Park Row two-way protected bike lane, which DOT completed in September 2017. Before this project, cyclists had to take a circuitous route from Lower Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, a new two-way protected connection to the Brooklyn Bridge bike and pedestrian path provides a safer and more direct route for the over 1,500 cyclists who use the bridge on a daily basis. The project also created a more pleasant pedestrian environment with new crossings and expanded medians on Park Row.

Before and after photos of the Centre Street redesign

The City is taking advantage of its waterfront space by building out the greenway network. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a planned 32-mile waterfront pedestrian promenade and bicycling path around the whole of Manhattan that is moving towards completion. DOT has worked closely with the community to close the gap in the network between the Harlem River and Hudson River and, in November 2017, implemented parking protected bike lanes along Dyckman Street that connect the Hudson River Greenway with the Harlem River Greenway.

This project is in addition to other major investments in the greenway that occurred in 2017. In September, Mayor de Blasio announced the kickoff of the formal design process for a $100 million investment to close the largest gap in the East River Greenway: the section between East 53rd Street and East 61st Street. Design of the new esplanade will begin this year and construction will commence in 2019, with completion expected in 2022. Lastly, in December, the City committed $83 million towards the development of a new park in East Harlem that will advance construction of a new section of the greenway between East 125th and East 132nd Streets. When this segment and the East Midtown expansion are complete, there will be a contiguous waterfront esplanade and bikeway for nearly 100 blocks along the east side of Manhattan.

Congestion Plan

In October 2017, the Mayor announced a series of initiatives to help ease congestion in the city. Working with the NYPD and other city agencies, DOT will modify curb regulations and signage, install block-the-box markings, and expand its signals-based congestion management system called Midtown in Motion. The tool kit of congestion management strategies will also be applied to outer borough hotspots such as downtown Flushing and downtown Jamaica.

Transit Improvements

DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) work in close partnership to improve bus service throughout the city. A major component of this partnership is Select Bus Service (SBS), New York City’s version of bus rapid transit that offers fast, frequent, and reliable service on high-ridership bus routes. DOT and the MTA have jointly implemented 15 SBS corridors, including three in 2017.

A photo of the Q53 SBS approaching a bus stop

Select Bus Service

SBS uses transit signal priority (TSP), off-board fare collection, and enforcement via bus lane cameras to achieve better service. For example, TSP is implemented along several key sections of nine SBS corridors. The technology facilitates bus movements through intersections by either holding the green light or shortening the red light to reduce the amount of time buses are stopped at intersections. It has contributed to an average reduction in bus travel times of about 12 percent during weekday peak periods. Riders also appreciate the real-time passenger information (RTPI) signage that is included along SBS routes and some local bus routes. It lets riders know when the next bus is arriving so they can make more informed travel decisions. As of the end of 2017, DOT has installed 381 RTPIs, which include both wayfinding totems and pole signs, citywide.

The Bx6, a recent SBS route launched in September 2017, serves nearly 25,000 daily riders and connects the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan. The design for each SBS route is customized to the specific corridor, and the Bx6 SBS is no exception. DOT converted the East 161st Street tunnel—which was originally built for streetcars—to bus only in the eastbound direction and created a center-running bus lane with stops at the median rather than the sidewalk. By using a center lane, the bus avoids getting stuck behind double-parked vehicles. DOT also built two bus boarding islands that provide pedestrians with a safe space to wait for the bus and added amenities such as shelters, benches, and leaning bars.

The Q52/53 SBS along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards in Queens was implemented in November 2017. The new SBS route is nearly 15 miles, making it the longest SBS corridor in New York City. The Q52/53 SBS has a combined daily ridership of 20,000 riders, but altogether, over 45,000 daily riders of Queens bus routes, including express bus passengers, will benefit from improvements along the corridor. The project area also contains eight Vision Zero Priority intersections, which were redesigned as part of the SBS project. Overall, more than 30 intersections were upgraded for pedestrian safety and traffic flow as part of the DOT’s largest street improvement project of 2017.  

Community Feedback

A photo of a woman who benefits from Select Bus Service

“I ride the Q44 to work in Flushing. Before the Q44 was a Select Bus, it was hectic. It was always overcrowded; it was always late. Now it seems like since we have the SBS and the schedule, they’re on time. Since this has started, I haven’t had any problems. If [the real time arrival display] says two minutes, it’s two minutes.”

-Mari, Q44 SBS Rider

Planning for the Future

DOT and the MTA select SBS routes based on a combination of data analysis and public input. Both the Bx6 and Q52/53 were identified as potential routes in the Bus Rapid Transit Phase II: Future Corridors report, which was released in June 2010. With many of the routes in that report nearing completion, DOT, with input from the MTA, decided to undertake a new planning and public engagement process to identify the next generation of SBS routes. In October 2017 the agency released Bus Forward, its blueprint for the next generation of bus improvements. The plan targets more than 21 new bus corridors, commits to expanding bus-priority treatments to local routes across the city, and when implemented will almost triple the number of commuters served by SBS.  

Bus Forward is part of DOT’s Citywide Transit Plan (CTP), a visioning process for the future of transit across the five boroughs. In mid-2018 DOT will release a companion report to Bus Forward that will focus on improvements to existing services, how to best prioritize existing resources to meet transit needs, and what the City’s priorities are for transit system expansion. The agency received public input for the CTP through a robust outreach process. Between fall 2016 and summer 2017, DOT held six public workshops and surveyed people on the street at 19 locations. The agency also created a website where transit riders could take a survey online. In total, DOT received feedback from 5,996 transit riders: 191 at public workshops; 1,693 on-street; and 4,112 online.

L Train

The upcoming closure of the Canarsie Tunnel will have a major impact on how New Yorkers move throughout the city. A total of 400,000 daily riders use the L train:  50,000 within Manhattan, 225,000 between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and 125,000 within Brooklyn. At peak hours, the L train carries as many people into Manhattan as all six East River bridges and tunnels together carry in vehicles. DOT is therefore working closely with the MTA to support alternative travel options during the 15-month closure. The preliminary mitigation plan includes implementing high occupancy vehicle (HOV3) restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge during rush hours, creating a busway in the core of the 14th Street corridor during peak hours, and installing a new two-way protected crosstown bike lane along 13th Street. DOT and the MTA will hold further community meetings to discuss the proposed plans and receive additional input.

Shared-Use Mobility

A map showing the agency's 14 carshare pilot zones

New Yorkers are more and more taking advantage of new mobility services, such as carshare and bike share. On March 21, 2017, Mayor de Blasio signed two carshare-related bills into law. One requires DOT to establish a carshare pilot program allowing qualified carshare companies to apply for designated on-street parking spaces, while the other mandates that the agency allow carshare companies to apply for designated parking spaces in municipal parking facilities. These two bills create the framework for DOT’s carshare parking pilot, which aims to provide an affordable and practical alternative to car ownership for New Yorkers.

The carshare parking pilot will launch in 2018 in 14 neighborhoods (see map). DOT designated zones where on-street carshare vehicles would most enhance mobility and reduce personal car ownership, and with community input, identified on-street carshare parking spaces in each zone. In addition, DOT will reserve at least 10 percent or 10 spaces for carshare (whichever is less) in any municipal parking facility where there is demand from carshare companies. DOT will evaluate the success of the pilot. It is partnering with researchers from the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley to conduct a survey of carshare members and is requiring data sharing from all participating companies.

Community Feedback

A woman standing next to a Citi Bike

As a NYCHA resident, paying $5 a month to unlock a bike and ride has been the key to my success and livelihood as a struggling New Yorker working full-time, […] studying law, and babysitting in my spare time.”

-Shaquana, Citi Bike member

DOT is also progressing with its goal to expand bike share. In December 2017, the agency released a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) soliciting ideas and information from dockless bike share providers. Dockless bike share bikes have internal locking mechanisms and do not require a network of docks, allowing the bikes to be parked anywhere within a designated geography. Through the RFEI process, DOT plans to evaluate the feasibility of operating dockless bike share in the city and whether to pilot the new technology in areas not currently served by Citi Bike.

2016 Overview

To sustain the City’s growth and expand mobility, New York City, the MTA, and other agencies must work together to increase the capacity and efficiency of our transportation system. For DOT, that means allocating more street space to the most efficient modes of travel on our streets: walking, biking, and buses. These affordable travel options move the greatest number of people while using the least amount of space, as well as generate the least amount of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. DOT must also take advantage of new technologies to better manage our streets and prepare for disruptive innovations, like autonomous vehicles and the shift towards shared-use mobility.

DOT will continue its efforts to expand and enhance our 1,000-mile bike network, to increase bike parking opportunities, and to bring bike share to all five boroughs. The agency will also continue to improve the pedestrian environment through Vision Zero (as detailed in Chapter 2: Safety) and by making our streets more inviting (as detailed in Chapter 6: The Public Realm). In terms of transit, DOT will continue its SBS partnership with the MTA to improve bus travel times and reliability. We will also integrate bus priority treatments for local routes into our street redesign projects and continue to rollout transit signal priority. Together these efforts will also help ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, have access to affordable and convenient transportation choices.

Looking to the future, DOT will explore new technologies and approaches that may help us better accomplish our mission. The agency will explore new sensor and camera technology, curb regulations, and pricing strategies to better manage our streets and curb space, so trucks can make deliveries and customers can reach their destinations.

Finally, DOT will adapt proactively to shared-use mobility services and autonomous vehicles. The world of shared-use mobility services, which includes ride-hailing, ridesharing, carsharing, and bike share are changing the ways that New Yorkers get around. Autonomous vehicles, once considered the stuff of science fiction, are closer to becoming a reality. These services and technologies present both opportunities and challenges. DOT, with the TLC and others, will explore how these services could help the City improve street safety, mobility, quality of life, and the environment. For example, DOT will explore how rideshare services might improve “last mile” connections to transit in neighborhoods underserved by the subway system.*

*In this document, the term rideshare is defined as traditional carpooling and van pooling, as well as TLC-licensed app-based car services that enable a single vehicle to carry multiple riders making separate trips.  


Secure Bike Parking Stations

Photo of double decker bike racks that allow for high capacity bike parking.
© Harrie van Veen

Across the world, cities are encouraging bike use by providing secure bike parking to cyclists at transit hubs and major destinations. In Chicago’s Millennium Park, the McDonalds Cycle Center offers 300 bike parking spaces with showers, lockers, and towel service. Visitors to Chicago can also purchase bike rentals and tours at the center. In California, six BART rail stations feature adjacent bike stations to facilitate bike-to-rail commutes. The stations offer 24-hour controlled access parking and free daily valet service.

European cities have taken bike stations to the next level. Malmö, Sweden, for example, has an underground facility with 1,500 secure bike parking spaces located below its rail station. Utrecht in the Netherlands recently completed a 4,200-bike facility. These bike parking stations fill a gap in bike infrastructure by providing amenities that make it convenient to bike to work or transit, or to use a bike to get from a transit station to a nearby school or activity center. Cyclists do not need to worry about finding an open secure rack near their destination or having their bikes stolen or vandalized.

The Benefits of Shared-Use Mobility

Photo of a man getting into a carshare vehicle.

In the past decade, shared-use mobility services, like bike share and carsharing, have emerged as mobility options in a number of cities. Carshare programs, in particular, have multiplied in New York City and across the country. Researchers have begun to analyze the impact of these services: a 2010 review of several studies found that 23 to 32 percent of carshare members had given up a vehicle since joining a carshare service. Similar results have been found in studies of Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Recognizing these benefits, cities are adopting policies to encourage carsharing. Seattle offers one-way carshare organizations permits that allow members to park vehicles in metered spaces and within residential parking permit areas. San Francisco has created an on-street permit program for round-trip carshare organizations. For a fee, carshare organizations can purchase an annual permit for an on-street space. In return, San Francisco requires the company to maintain the parking space and to station vehicles in all neighborhoods to ensure equal access. 

Shaheen, Susan, Caroline Rodier, Gail Murray, Adam Cohen, and Elliot Martin (2010). Carsharing and Public Parking Policies: Assessing Benefits, Costs, and Best Practices in North America. Mineta Transportation Institute Report 09-09.
Increase travel by walking, biking, and bus transit to support the continued growth of New York City, including doubling the number of regular cyclists in the five boroughs by 2020 (based on the 2013 level).
Increase bus travel speeds by the year 2020, especially on bus corridors with high ridership and on streets where bus speeds fall below 5 miles per hour.
Work with the MTA to reduce commute times in low- and moderate-income communities underserved by transit.
Make steady progress in creating a roadway and sidewalk network that is accessible to all New Yorkers regardless of disability status.
Working with partner agencies, expand the availability of shared-use mobility services, including bike share, carshare, and rideshare, that support safe, affordable, and sustainable travel choices.
Increase the efficient use of curb space in busy commercial areas with smarter curb regulations and innovative pricing strategies.
Working with the NYPD, use sensor technology and data analytics to better enforce traffic and parking rules to reduce double parking, congestion, and air pollution.

Pedestrian Network

Pedestrian Network icon

Make walking safer and more convenient

As laid out in Chapter 2: Safety, DOT will continue to implement at least 50 Vision Zero safety projects a year and invest in our Great Streets program. As laid out in Chapter 6: Public Realm, the agency will continue to implement streetscape improvements including benches, wayfinding signs, and leaning bars.


Bike Network

Bike Network icon

Expand the City’s bike network 

DOT will create or enhance at least 50 miles of bike routes a year and expand the network of protected bike lanes by at least 10 miles, double our previous target. The agency will focus on expanding the bike network in neighborhoods with limited bike infrastructure, including Jamaica, Soundview, and East Flatbush. As part of our Great Streets projects, DOT will integrate protected bike lanes into sections of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Queens Boulevard in Queens. As resources permit, DOT will accelerate the rate of bike lane expansion, especially of protected lanes.

Improve bike access to and on bridges

DOT will continue to develop bike access plans to its bridges and will implement four bridge access projects in the next two years. The agency will continue implementation of its Harlem River Bridges Access Plan and develop a plan for a protected bicycle lane on Delancey Street to better connect cyclists to the Williamsburg Bridge, the busiest East River bike crossing.



Accessibility icon

Strive to make all sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and spaces, and bus stops accessible

DOT will continue to install at least 75 accessible pedestrian signals each year. The agency will expand its in-house pedestrian ramp program, and invest about $245 million over the next four years for contractor pedestrian ramp upgrades and new installations. DOT will update its Street Design Manual and capital project standards to reflect the principle of universal access.


Transit System

Transit System icon

Expand Select Bus Service (SBS) and improve local bus service

With the MTA, DOT will expand the SBS network to 20 routes citywide, with a focus on neighborhoods underserved by the subway and corridors with high bus ridership. The agency will continue to advance the quality of SBS and local bus service through improved bus lane and design treatments, bus countdown clocks, fare collection methods, and transit signal priority.

Implement the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX)

Working with NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), other City agencies, and the community, DOT will plan and implement the BQX, a streetcar linking Brooklyn to Queens along the waterfront.


Street System Management

Street System Management icon

Complete the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Project

With USDOT, DOT will continue to test a range of CV safety applications in up to 10,000 vehicles. CV technology enables vehicles to communicate with each other, pedestrians and cyclists with mobile devices, and the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) network.


Shared-Use Mobility

Shared-Use Mobility icon

Expand bike share

DOT, with its private-sector partner Motivate, will continue to expand Citi Bike over the next 18 months. By the end of 2017, Citi Bike will have 12,000 bikes at 750 stations. With Motivate, DOT will encourage participation in the discount membership program for NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents. In partnership with Motivate, DOT will explore the feasibility of a Phase 3 expansion of the program that would reach all five boroughs.



Bike Network

Shared-Use Mobility icon

Improve the pedestrian and bike promenade on the Brooklyn Bridge

Demand for the shared cyclist and pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge often exceeds capacity. DOT will assess the feasibility of expanding and reconfiguring this popular path to better serve both groups.

Advance the East and Harlem River waterfront greenway in Manhattan

In the near term, DOT will advance on-street bike lane projects to fill gaps in the East River and Harlem River greenways. In the medium term, DOT will work with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and EDC to develop a funding strategy for the full build out of the greenway.

Launch secure bike parking pilot program near transit

Building on best practices from other cities, DOT will plan and develop secure, affordable, and attractive bike parking at major transit hubs and activity centers across the five boroughs, including ferry terminals, key subway and commuter rail stations, and local commercial districts.

Improve and expand bike access in commercial and residential buildings

Expanding on the success of the City’s Bikes in Buildings law, DOT will work to pass City Council legislation to further broaden bike access in commercial buildings, extend bike access provisions to residential buildings, and allow folding bikes in all passenger elevators.

Improve maintenance and availability of public bike parking

To free up space for operable bikes, DOT has worked with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to finalize revised DSNY rules to streamline removal of derelict bikes from DOT bike racks. DOT will being inspecting all racks twice a year and work with DSNY and community and merchant groups to proactively remove derelict bikes.

Appropriately regulate low-speed electric bikes

DOT will work with its agency partners to advocate a sensible legal framework to regulate growing e-bike use and improve safety. 

Develop new citywide measure of cycling to measure progress

DOT will adopt new measures of citywide cycling, which will be used to track the growth of bicycling over time. These indicators will capture the number of New Yorkers who bike regularly and the average volume of daily biking trips across the five boroughs. DOT will continue to conduct bike counts at strategic locations.


Transit System

Shared-Use Mobility icon

Complete a citywide transit study

Working with our partners at the MTA, DOT will conduct a study of unmet transit needs in communities across the five boroughs and develop a set of recommendations to meet these needs. Possible recommendations include SBS, rail system, and streetcar expansion.

Develop and Implement an L Train Mitigation Plan with the MTA

In collaboration with the MTA, DOT will develop a plan to mitigate the impact of the closure of the L train tunnels under the East River, which carry the same number of passengers into and out of Manhattan each day as the Long Island Rail Road. DOT will consider transformative traffic management and bus priority treatments on 14th Street and the East River Bridges, as well as expanded bike routes and bike parking facilities on both sides of the river.


Street System Management

Pilot multi-purpose sensor and camera technology

DOT will pilot the installation of sensor and camera technology that can be used for multiple purposes, including better understanding how streets are used and better managing traffic flow. DOT will also explore enforcement strategies with the NYPD and the Department of Finance, including targeted deployment of traffic enforcement agents, use of cameras and sensors for parking and loading regulation enforcement, and the replacement of the City’s paper parking placards with an electronic system.

Develop an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Strategic Plan

Building off goals in this plan, DOT will develop an ITS Strategic Plan that describes our ITS vision and goals within the following six areas: enhancing operational capabilities, advancing operational planning, emerging technology readiness, lifecycle management, professional capacity building, and outreach and communication.


Shared-Use Mobility

Explore the potential for shared-use mobility services to expand travel options, increase mobility, and improve the efficiency of the transportation system

  • DOT will develop a shared-use mobility plan to identify the opportunities and challenges posed by new transportation services and models.

  • DOT, with the TLC, will explore the potential of ridesharing services to meet travel needs in areas underserved by the subway and to reduce traffic volumes. 

  • DOT will explore the potential for carshare to reduce car ownership and improve parking availability, and develop a set of pilot projects to expand carsharing outside of Manhattan. This will include consideration of opportunities for electric vehicles and charging stations.

  • DOT, with the TLC, will examine the potential safety, congestion, social, environmental, and economic impacts of autonomous vehicles and develop a set of policies for federal and state advocacy and to guide future pilot projects.

  • DOT, with input from the TLC, will conduct a comprehensive study of the commuter van industry to better understand the role of commuter vans in the City’s transportation system and to explore potential policy changes to improve safety and travel choices.   



Pilot new wayfinding technology for visually impaired pedestrians

DOT will conduct a pilot test of electronic beacons, which can assist visually impaired pedestrians in navigating the City, at indoor and outdoor transportation facilities. DOT will also test tactile guide-ways for visually impaired pedestrians on sidewalks and at outdoor public spaces.


Curb Management

Develop a 21st century parking management strategy for New York City

DOT will complete a comprehensive analysis of the availability, regulation, and use of metered parking spaces and develop a pricing strategy to increase curb availability for deliveries and customer parking, focusing especially on congested commercial districts.

Modernize the regulation of sight-seeing buses

DOT will work to pass City Council legislation to tighten the approval requirements for sight-seeing buses to better manage their stops.