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TRANSIT TCRP SYNTHESIS 75 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM Sponsored by Uses of Higher Capacity Buses the Federal in Transit Service Transit Administration A Synthesis of Transit Practice
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TCRP OVERSIGHT AND PROJECT TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD 2008 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE* SELECTION COMMITTEE* CHAIR OFFICERS ROBERT I. BROWNSTEIN AECOM Consult, Inc. Chair: Debra L. Miller, Secretary, Kansas DOT, Topeka Vice Chair: Adib K. Kanafani, Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering, University of California, MEMBERS Berkeley ANN AUGUST Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority MEMBERS JOHN BARTOSIEWICZ McDonald Transit Associates J. BARRY BARKER, Executive Director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY LINDA J. BOHLINGER ALLEN D. BIEHLER, Secretary, Pennsylvania DOT, Harrisburg HNTB Corp. JOHN D. BOWE, President, Americas Region, APL Limited, Oakland, CA PETER CANNITO LARRY L. BROWN, SR., Executive Director, Mississippi DOT, Jackson Metropolitan Transportation Authority--Metro DEBORAH H. BUTLER, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern North Railroad GREGORY COOK Corporation, Norfolk, VA Veolia Transportation WILLIAM A.V. CLARK, Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles NATHANIEL P. FORD DAVID S. EKERN, Commissioner, Virginia DOT, Richmond San Francisco MUNI NICHOLAS J. GARBER, Henry L. Kinnier Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, FRED M. GILLIAM University of Virginia, Charlottesville Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority JEFFREY W. HAMIEL, Executive Director, Metropolitan Airports Commission, Minneapolis, MN KIM R. GREEN EDWARD A. (NED) HELME, President, Center for Clean Air Policy, Washington, DC GFI GENFARE JILL A. HOUGH WILL KEMPTON, Director, California DOT, Sacramento North Dakota State University SUSAN MARTINOVICH, Director, Nevada DOT, Carson City JOHN INGLISH MICHAEL D. MEYER, Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Utah Transit Authority Institute of Technology, Atlanta JEANNE W. KRIEG MICHAEL R. MORRIS, Director of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority Arlington DAVID A. LEE NEIL J. PEDERSEN, Administrator, Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore Connecticut Transit PETE K. RAHN, Director, Missouri DOT, Jefferson City CLARENCE W. MARSELLA Denver Regional Transportation District SANDRA ROSENBLOOM, Professor of Planning, University of Arizona, Tucson GARY W. MCNEIL TRACY L. ROSSER, Vice President, Corporate Traffic, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, AR GO Transit ROSA CLAUSELL ROUNTREE, Executive Director, Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority, MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY Atlanta Motor Coach Industries HENRY G. (GERRY) SCHWARTZ, JR., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, MO FRANK OTERO C. MICHAEL WALTON, Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, University of PACO Technologies Texas, Austin ROBERT H. PRINCE, JR. LINDA S. WATSON, CEO, LYNXCentral Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Orlando DMJM+Harris JEFFREY M. ROSENBERG STEVE WILLIAMS, Chairman and CEO, Maverick Transportation, Inc., Little Rock, AR Amalgamated Transit Union MICHAEL SCANLON EX OFFICIO MEMBERS San Mateo County Transit District THAD ALLEN (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, DC BEVERLY SCOTT JOSEPH H. BOARDMAN, Federal Railroad Administrator, U.S.DOT Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority JAMES S. SIMPSON REBECCA M. BREWSTER, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, FTA Smyrna, GA FRANK TOBEY PAUL R. BRUBAKER, Research and Innovative Technology Administrator, U.S.DOT First Transit GEORGE BUGLIARELLO, Chancellor, Polytechnic University of New York, Brooklyn, and Foreign FRANK WILSON Secretary, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, DC Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris SEAN T. CONNAUGHTON, Maritime Administrator, U.S.DOT County LEROY GISHI, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department EX OFFICIO MEMBERS of the Interior, Washington, DC WILLIAM W. MILLAR EDWARD R. HAMBERGER, President and CEO, Association of American Railroads, Washington, DC APTA JOHN H. HILL, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator, U.S.DOT ROBERT E. SKINNER, JR. JOHN C. HORSLEY, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway TRB and Transportation Officials, Washington, DC JOHN C. HORSLEY CARL T. JOHNSON, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrator, U.S.DOT AASHTO J. RICHARD CAPKA J. EDWARD JOHNSON, Director, Applied Science Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space FHWA Administration, John C. Stennis Space Center, MS WILLIAM W. MILLAR, President, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC TDC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NICOLE R. NASON, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator, U.S.DOT LOUIS SANDERS JAMES RAY, Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S.DOT APTA JAMES S. SIMPSON, Federal Transit Administrator, U.S.DOT SECRETARY ROBERT A. STURGELL, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S.DOT CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS ROBERT L. VAN ANTWERP (Lt. Gen., U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, TRB U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC *Membership as of January 2008. *Membership as of May 2008.
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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 75 Uses of Higher Capacity Buses in Transit Service A Synthesis of Transit Practice CONSULTANTS BRENDON HEMILY Toronto, Ontario, Canada and ROLLAND D. KING Columbus, Ohio S UBJECT A REA Public Transit Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2008 www.TRB.org
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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 75 The nation's growth and the need to meet mobility, environ- Project J-7, Topic SA-16 mental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit ISSN 1073-4880 systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of ISBN 978-0-309-09804-5 upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, Library of Congress Control Number 2008892353 and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is nec- © 2008 Transportation Research Board essary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Pro- COPYRIGHT PERMISSION gram (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for meet demands placed on it. obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce Report 213--Research for Public Transit: New Directions, pub- material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. lished in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Federal Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or recognized the need for local, problem-solving research. TCRP, practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document modeled after the longstanding and successful National Coopera- for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment tive Highway Research Program, undertakes research and other of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the technical activities in response to the needs of transit service provid- material, request permission from CRP. ers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, fa- cilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and ad- NOTICE ministrative practices. The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Transit Coop- TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. erative Research Program conducted by the Transportation Research Board Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Coun- authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Effi- cil. Such approval reflects the Governing Board's judgment that the project ciency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum concerned is appropriate with respect to both the purposes and resources of agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the National Research Council. the three cooperating organizations: FTA, the National Academy of The members of the technical advisory panel selected to monitor this Sciences, acting through the Transportation Research Board project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly com- petence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines appropri- (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a ate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are nonprofit educational and research organization established by those of the research agency that performed the research, and while they APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent govern- have been accepted as appropriate by the technical panel, they are not nec- ing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selec- essarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the Transit Develop- tion (TOPS) Committee. ment Corporation, the National Research Council, or the Federal Transit Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodi- Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. cally but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the technical the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the re- panel according to procedures established and monitored by the Trans- search program by identifying the highest priority projects. As portation Research Board Executive Committee and the Governing Board part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding of the National Research Council. levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, ap- pointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests The Transportation Research Board of The National Academies, the for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical guidance Transit Development Corporation, the National Research Council, and the and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for Federal Transit Administration (sponsor of the Transit Cooperative developing research problem statements and selecting research Research Program) do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers' names appear herein solely because they are considered agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative re- essential to the clarity and completeness of the project reporting. search programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminating TCRP results to the intended end users of the re- Published reports of the search: transit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. are available from: APTA will arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, and Transportation Research Board other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban Business Office and rural transit industry practitioners. 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can coop- eratively address common operational problems. The TCRP results and can be ordered through the Internet at http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore support and complement other ongoing transit research and train- ing programs. Printed in the United States of America
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished schol- ars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and techni- cal matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academys í p urposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scien- tific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both the Academies and the Insti- tute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisci- plinary, and multimodal. The Board's varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation depart- ments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org
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TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT J-7 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CHAIR CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research FRANK T. MARTIN Programs PBS&J, Tallahassee, FL EILEEN DELANEY, Director of Publications MEMBERS TCRP SYNTHESIS STAFF DEBRA W. ALEXANDER STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special Programs Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI JON M. WILLIAMS, Associate Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies DWIGHT FERRELL DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA DON TIPPMAN, Editor MARK W. FURHMANN CHERYL Y. KEITH, Senior Program Assistant Metro Transit, Minneapolis, MN ROBERT H. IRWIN TOPIC PANEL Consultant, Calgary, AB, Canada JANET DAVIS, University of South Florida DONNA KELSAY DAVID HULL, King County (WA) Metro San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA JOHN INGLISH, Utah Transit Authority PAUL J. LARROUSSE ROBERT H. IRWIN, Calgary, Alberta, Canada National Transit Institute, New Brunswick, NJ DAVID A. LEE, Connecticut Transit WADE LAWSON WILLIAM MENZIES, Winnipeg Transit System Jersey Transportation Authority, Atlantic City, NJ ROBERT PATTON, ChampaignUrbana Mass Transit District DAVID A. LEE PETER SHAW, Transportation Research Board Connecticut Transit, Hartford, CT MICHAEL MOLLOY, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) DAVID PHELPS LTK Engineering Services, Moneta, VA HAYWARD M. SEYMORE, III Q Straint, University Place, WA PAM WARD Ottumwa Transit Authority, Ottumwa, IA JOEL R. WASHINGTON Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC FTA LIAISON LISA COLBERT Federal Highway Administration TRB LIAISON PETER SHAW Transportation Research Board Cover figure: Quad articulated bus at student residence hall stop.
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FOREWORD Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which in- By Staff formation already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and Transportation practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a conse- Research Board quence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solv- ing or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such use- ful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Co- operative Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee author- ized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, "Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems," searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP re- port series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each re- port in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those meas- ures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE This synthesis explores the use of higher capacity (HC) public transit buses in trunk, express, long-distance commuter, Bus Rapid Transit, and special (e.g., sports and special events) services in North America. For purposes of this study, HC buses included articu- lated, double-deck, 45-ft, and other buses that have a significant increase in passenger capacity compared with conventional 40-ft buses. This study examined where and how HC buses were being deployed in regular and flexible public transit services and experiences with these buses. It drew on available technical information from APTA, CUTA, HC bus manufacturers, and the Altoona (PA) Bus Testing Center in comparing HC buses with con- ventional buses with respect to a wide range of planning, operational, and maintenance issues. This synthesis is intended for an audience of transit agency general managers, their operations, planning, maintenance, and procurement staffs, as well as other transit profes- sionals working with them in the deployment of HC buses. This synthesis contains information derived from survey data collected from selected transit agencies operating distinct HC bus fleets throughout the United States that provided information by e-mail, through telephone interviews, and by assisting in site visits. In addi- tion, this synthesis contains a literature review and, in documenting transit agency surveys, it identifies a number of applications of HC buses. Ad hoc conversations with transit agency staff and experts on specific aspects of the synthesis are also reported, as are more specific findings in three U.S. and Canadian transit agency case studies. Brendon Hemily, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Rolland D. King, Columbus, Ohio, col- lected and synthesized the information and wrote the report, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the pre- ceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.
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CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background, 5 Historical Perspective, 5 Scope, 7 Approach, 7 8 CHAPTER TWO USE OF HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES (SURVEY RESULTS) Inventory of Transit Agencies Using Higher Capacity Buses, 8 Survey Responses, 8 Types of Service Using Higher Capacity Buses, 8 Reasons for Implementing Higher Capacity Buses, 10 Deployment Dates of Higher Capacity Buses, 12 Different Wage Rates, 12 Legislative and Regulatory Impediments, 12 Facilities or Infrastructure Modifications, 12 Local Service Restrictions, 13 Actions Taken to Reduce Dwell Time, 13 Scheduling Procedures for Higher Capacity Buses, 15 Approaches to Mixed-Fleet Operations, 15 Experience with Higher Capacity Buses, 15 Ridership Impacts of Higher Capacity Buses, 16 Agency-Reported Customer Acceptance of Higher Capacity Buses, 16 Agency-Reported Operator Acceptance, 17 Issues or Concerns Raised with Use of Higher Capacity Buses, 17 Vehicle Features and Amenities, 18 Wheelchair Equipment and Passenger Experience, 20 Operating Experiences with Higher Capacity Buses, 21 Spare Ratios for Higher Capacity Buses, 21 Future Plans for Higher Capacity Buses, 22 23 CHAPTER THREE HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES IN VARIOUS APPLICATIONS Regional Transportation District (Denver, Colorado): Higher Capacity Buses as a Component of a Family of Services, 23 Victoria Regional Transit System/BC Transit: Search for Higher Capacity in an Older City Context, 26 ChampaignUrbana (Illinois) Mass Transit District: Small Systems Can Effectively Use Higher Capacity Buses, 35 39 CHAPTER FOUR HIGHER CAPACITY BUS TECHNOLOGIES Manufacturers of Higher Capacity Buses and Buses Offered, 39 Operating Performance of Current Higher Capacity Buses, 39 A Look at the Future, 44 Capital Costs of Higher Capacity Buses, 45
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47 CHAPTER FIVE EXPERIENCES WITH HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES Why and Where Are They Used (Driving Factors in Decisions)?, 47 Experience with Higher Capacity Buses, 47 Safety Issues, 49 Infrastructure Issues, 50 Legislative and Regulatory Impediments, 51 Other Operational Issues, 51 Trade-Offs in Using Higher Capacity Buses, 54 Vehicle Design Issues, 55 56 CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS 59 REFERENCES 61 APPENDIX A SURVEYS OF TRANSIT AGENCIES AND BUS MANUFACTURERS 69 APPENDIX B STUDY PARTICIPANTS 70 APPENDIX C REGULATIONS ON VEHICLE SIZE AND WEIGHT