ReThinking the region from Manhattan-centric toward a connected whole
“Transport, more than anything, changes a place.”
ReThink Studio’s Regional Unified Network (RUN) is a multi-stage program to build a world-class regional network for the New York City Metropolitan Region. When fully built, it will allow you to get from anywhere in the region to everywhere else via mass transit, either directly or with seamless and easy connections.
Our plan is motivated by a simple premise: rather than invest in costly projects with limited benefits, we make a few targeted, critical investments, and improve the system in a holistic way. We call this project the Regional Unified Network (RUN).
RUN will improve today’s system by improving transit access throughout the region. It also lays the groundwork for further growth and expansion in coming decades. By creating new transit hubs and more useful transit patterns, the Tri-State area will be able to develop as a connected whole rather than a series of disconnected parts.
RUN is built on a series of tried and tested principles in use in cities across the world
1. Terminals don’t belong in central business districts.
Trains should “run through” central business districts to connect secondary destinations to connect secondary destinations. This approach is more efficient: it provides new links and makes far more trips possible. Businesses want to be where people can get to, and people want to live where they can access jobs. Bringing trains through central business districts allows people on both sides of the downtown stations to use the line. The improved service makes outlying areas more attractive.
2. Services should provide seamless connectivity and easy transfers.
The equation is simple; passengers are less likely to make a trip that requires harder transfers. Easier transfers between nodes increases ridership.
3. Planning should be done on the regional scale.
When small projects only address limited urban issues in isolation from one another, the region does not benefit. Discrete projects fail to deliver comprehensive solutions to systemic issues that face the region. Instead, urban projects should be coordinated with each other, in order to collectively contribute to better the region.
RUN applies these guiding principles to the Tri-State Region’s unique challenges:
AN AFFORDABLE AND FEASIBLE PLAN
RUN re-purposes existing infrastructure, and in general every constituent part of RUN replaces or modifies an existing proposal. It reallocates proposed spending, and fits within the overall fund raising capacity of the region. Counterintuitively, one large project is both more feasible and more efficient that a series of smaller ones — and can provide benefits at a far greater scale.
IMPACT AND BENEFITS
RUN is the only proposal that applies the general principles used by our peer cities to build world-class regional networks to the specific challenges facing our region. Because it modifies and improves on existing proposals and reuses existing assets whenever possible, it is achievable on the same time frame as current proposals that achieve less.
Because it better coordinates a series of otherwise disconnected priorities, it can be built for less money than one might expect. And because it takes a holistic view of our entire region, it delivers benefits at a far greater scale than could be achieved with current approaches.