Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
22 This chapter describes an effective practice for developing and implementing a transit-supportive roadway strategy (or package of strategies) by drawing on the experiences of transit and roadway agencies that have successfully worked together to implement projects. While developing a project may be easier in some jurisdictions than in others, this chapter provides a pathway for making improvements regardless of the local policy environment and provides case study examples derived from the TCRP Project A-39 interviews (see TCRP Web-Only Document 66) that demonstrate how others have been successful. This chapter discusses the following topics: â¢ Developing agency partnerships, â¢ Working within the policy environment, â¢ Developing potential strategies, â¢ Working within the regulatory environment, â¢ Engaging project stakeholders, â¢ Implementing the project, â¢ Quantifying the results, and â¢ Building on success. 3.1 Developing Agency Partnerships This step takes the longest to achieve and may not be fully reached until well after the first successful project has been implemented. Nevertheless, it is the most important step since almost all of the transit-supportive roadway strategies identified in this guidebook require the participation of one or more other agencies. Even when all of the participating parties are housed within the same governmental body (e.g., a city transit department, a city public works department, a city planning department), they often will have competing goals and objectives that will need to be reconciled. Getting Started The interviews conducted during the development of this guidebook identified many different ways that partnerships can start. These include: â¢ Small steps. The transit agency engages the roadway agency in focused areas, such as pass- ing along information from bus operators about poorly timed traffic signals or when mak- ing improvements to bus stops related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This approach opens lines of communication that produce small, positive results and produces staff relationships that can be built on in the future with larger projects. â¢ Piggyback on other projects. The transit agency tracks paving, widening, water, sewer, and utility projects on streets with bus service that are contained in a roadway or public works C H A P T E R 3 Ingredients for a Successful Project
Ingredients for a Successful Project 23 agencyâs adopted capital improvement program that are located on streets with bus service. The transit agency works with the other agencies to identify transit-supportive roadway strate- gies that can be incorporated into the project, often at a lower cost than if they were performed as stand-alone projects. OC Transpo in Ottawa, Canada, works with the city department in charge of roadways to identify transit-supportive features that can be installed or undesired bus pullouts that can be removed whenever roadway projects are being planned. TransLink in Vancouver, Canada, worked with the provincial transportation ministry to incorporate bus-only ramps into a freeway widening project to support a freeway-based BRT route linking suburban communities to the regionâs rail system. â¢ Regional engagement. The transit agency is actively involved with local and regional planning efforts and existing interagency working groups and committees. The transit agency works to have transit priority corridors identified in local and regional long-range transportation plans, along with specific strategies or projects that could be considered or are desired in those cor- ridors. Partner agencies become aware of the transit agencyâs desires and proactively consider transit-supportive features when planning their projects. For example, bus lanes in the Las Vegas, Nevada; Jacksonville, Florida; and Salt Lake City, Utah, regions came about as a result of state DOTs approaching local transit agencies about incorporating bus lanes into upcoming projects; these projects had previously been identified in local transportation plans. Having a project identified in local and regional plans is often a pre-condition for obtaining grant funding. â¢ Political or agency leadership directives. The election of a new mayor or the appointment of a roadway agency director can provide opportunities for transit agencies to create or sus- tain interagency relationships when the new leaders view transit as a necessary and beneficial service in their community. For example, although the New York City DOT and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)âNew York City Transit (NYCT) had some experience working together, the Select Bus Service program really got going after both agencies got new leadership who were interested in aggressively pursuing BRT projects. â¢ Major project involvement. Major projects necessitate interagency partnerships, and these can sometimes leave a legacy of permanent organizational structures to facilitate interagency communication. Many agencies worked together to implement freeway-based BRT service in Los Angeles in conjunction with the development of tolled express lanes, and a formal proj- ect charter was developed describing each agencyâs role and responsibilities on the project. MalmÃ¶, Sweden, developed linkages at the political (city council/agency board), staff (agency leadership and planning and operations staff), and private-sector (consultants and contracted bus operators) levels originally to support the development of an underground rail link from MalmÃ¶ Central Station to the Ãresund bridge, leading to Copenhagen, Denmark. At the time of the interview with the group, it was working on its third joint activity, planning for transit improvements to implement by the year 2020. â¢ Times of crisis. Although it is not suggested that a transit agency wait until a crisis occurs to develop relationships with other agencies, crises can provide the impetus that forces agencies to work together to meet a near-term need, with the result that a long-term partnership is formed. For example, the shoulder bus lane network in Minneapolis began as a short-term response to flooding that closed a major freeway link and developed into a long-term âTeam Transitâ partnership involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions. Building Momentum Once lines of communication are open, taking some basic actions common to any successful project will help develop staff relationships and foster further agency interaction: â¢ Build leadership support. Obtaining the transit agency general managerâs support for transit- supportive strategies in concept is an important first step because without this support, few staff or financial resources will be made available to pursue opportunities as they arise. The general
24 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies manager can then work to build support among counterpart leaders at other agencies, who can help break down roadblocks that might be present at lower levels of their organizations. â¢ Develop staff interaction. Project staff from partnering agencies should have clear project roles and responsibilities. It is suggested that staff meet on a regular basis, even when no project is currently underway, as these meetings can also be used to identify potential locations for future projects. When transit staff and partner agency engineering and planning staff are comfortable working together and have strong relationships, projects are likely to go more smoothly. Staff familiarity will also help each agency keep its partner agenciesâ needs and interests in mind. King County Metro (Seattle, Washington) worked with its Seattle DOT staff partners to help it understand transit operations and to think of a bus route as a whole. â¢ Understand each otherâs needs. The needs and priorities of the partnering agencies may, at times, be at odds. Therefore, it is important for all involved parties to understand each otherâs needs so they can work toward mutually agreeable solutions. Most transit staff do not have an engineering background, and most transportation engineers do not have a transit background; therefore, staff may not be aware of the agency needs and policy environments that their counterparts operate under. Appendix A (for transit staff) and Appendix B (for engineers and planners) can help overcome these barriers by presenting basic transportation engineering and transit concepts related to transit-supportive roadway strategies. Of course, it is even better to talk directly with oneâs counterparts about their work and the constraints they operate under. Larger transit agencies may have enough projects to be able to support in-house traffic engineer- ing staff positions. Overcoming Resistance Partner agencies may not immediately say yes to transit agency proposals for implementing particular transit-supportive strategies. This is often not a sign that these agencies are opposed to improvements that benefit transit, but rather that they need more information to support saying yes. Successful approaches that transit agencies have used to overcome resistance include: â¢ Education. In many cities, transit-supportive roadway strategies are not yet in the mainstream, many roadway agency design manuals do not discuss them, and until recently, coverage of these strategies in national documents has been limited. Therefore, the transit agency may need to educate its partner agencies about the benefits of these strategies and point them to sources of information, such as this guidebook and AASHTOâs transit design guide (2014). The PowerPoint presentation developed under this project (available at the summary web page for this guidebook by searching for TCRP Report 183 at ww.trb.org) can be incorporated into such an effort. â¢ Demonstrate the need. Showing the problems the transit agency experiences in the field can help partner agency staff and other stakeholders understand the need for a solution. For example, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) took stakeholders on a bus tour of a route proposed for conversion to BRT to demonstrate the operational problems it faced on a daily basis. â¢ Data and analysis. Transportation engineers need data and analysis to support their deci- sions since they are professionally liable for the decisions they make. Many transit agency representatives interviewed as part of TCRP Project A-39 stated that the easiest way to work with roadway agency staff and to get a project approved was to prepare a traffic analysis for their proposal. The analysis demonstrated how the project would or would not affect various types of roadway users and could be used as a basis for supporting a projectâs approval. These analyses have been performed by in-house transit agency engineering staff, private consultants, and local universities. As roadway agencies gain experience with different strategies, local guidelines on their use can be developed. â¢ Peer knowledge and experimentation. Even with an analysis in hand, roadway agency staff may still have questions when something new, such as TSP, is being introduced to a jurisdiction.
Ingredients for a Successful Project 25 King County Metro (Seattle, Washington) lent TSP equipment to smaller cities in the region so that staff could experiment with it in their signal shops, while the Seattle DOT conducted a weeklong test of TSP in the field to find out how it worked. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) used FHWAâs Peer-to-Peer program to send Dallas traffic signal engineers to two other cities to meet with their peers to learn how TSP had worked out in those cities. â¢ Bring money or other benefits to the project. Roadway agencies, just like transit agencies, face the challenge of greater needs than available resources, so when a transit agency can help fund a project, it can result in a roadway agency giving the project higher priority. COTA installed fiber-optic cable and made sidewalk and curb improvements that also benefitted the city. King County Metro set up intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with local jurisdictions that com- mitted the transit agency to making specified service improvements in exchange for the juris- dictions making specified infrastructure improvements. â¢ High-level talks. Meetings between agency leadership may help overcome staff opposition at lower levels of an organization. â¢ Pick low-hanging fruit. Transit agencies who operate regionally may find that some local jurisdictions are easier to work with than others. These agencies have found success with implementing projects in the short term with the communities who want to work with them, while working over the longer term to get more jurisdictions on board. Case Study: New York City New York City has implemented a form of on-street BRT that is branded Select Bus Service (SBS). SBS uses strategies such as dedicated bus lanes, off-board fare collections, and transit signal priority to provide faster, efficient, reliable transit service. At the time of writing, there were six SBS routes, with one more in development. Initial planning for the program goes back to the early 2000s, when NYCT became interested in transit-preferential treatments. NYCT initially prepared a scope for a planning study to establish what BRT elements might work in New York Cityâs context. NYCT sent the study to the city and state DOTs to see if they would be willing to participate in funding the study. The resulting corridor identification study involved both NYCT, which operates transit service within New York City, and New York City DOT, which has responsibility for any on-street changes that are required. The study provided an early opportunity for the two agencies to build a relationship. The biggest impetus to the BRT program came in 2007, when both NYCT and New York City DOT got new leadership. Both agency heads were interested in an aggressive approach to BRT, which proved essential for getting the program off the ground. NYCT and New York City DOT have been able to maintain this leadership support with the success of the SBS program. The improved bus service has been well-received by the public, and all of the candidates for mayor in the last election prior to the interview said that they wanted more SBS corridors. The two agencies continue their collaboration as part of planning and implementation of the SBS routes. In terms of formal agreements between the agencies, there is an overriding memorandum of understanding (MOU) that lays out the broad program concepts, such as that the city pays for street improvements and NYCT pays for bus service and fare collection equipment. There are also MOUs for small projects such as curb extensions, where the city has the money, but the transit agencyâs construction department can get the job done more quickly. It was clear that BRT would only work if the program worked for both agencies. All of the planning and design needed to be coordinated. The agencies agreed on common objectives for the program: make buses run faster, improve ridership, and do not degrade traffic operations. In some cases, the program has actually improved traffic speeds and been able to maintain curb access where needed.
26 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies Case Study: Salt Lake City The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) provides transit service in the Salt Lake CityâProvoâOgden region, including bus, light rail, commuter rail, and demand-responsive transit, with a streetcar line also under construction at the time of writing. The 35M MAX route in southern Salt Lake County was UTAâs first BRT route and includes a 1-mile section with center-running bus lanes. The 35M MAX project grew out of the regionâs long-range transportation plan, which identi- fied the 3500 S roadway as a future light rail or BRT corridor. When the Utah DOT developed a widening project for 3500 S, it approached UTA to consider options for making the project multimodal. UTA determined through the Utah DOT planning process that BRT was the best fit for the corridor, given the existing land uses and available budget. Utah DOT worked with UTA to implement the center bus lanes, including taking agency staff to Vancouver, Canada, to see a median bus lane in operation, and contracting with the University of Utah to simulate bus lane and transit signal priority operation. The traffic analysis helped convince Utah DOT that the center lane would not significantly affect roadway operations and might even benefit automobile traffic. The regionâs experience with signal priority and center median stations for light rail also helped smooth the way for the implementation of BRT. The region has a culture of working together (UTA, Utah DOT, the metropolitan planning organization, and local jurisdictions). In this case, Utah DOT approached UTA about making its project multimodal, and both the city and county worked to make coordination with UTA seamless during project development. Although Utah DOT and UTA have a positive relationship at high levels, the two agencies worked to keep this project corridor-focused, with decisions made locally and at lower levels in the organization. This approach reduced complexity and saved time by avoiding the need whenever possible to elevate decisions to higher levels in the respective organizations. UTA noted that having a good partnership with the DOT project manager was essential. 3.2 Working Within the Policy Environment Understanding the roadway agencyâs policy environmentâthe criteria the agency uses when making decisions on transit-supportive roadway strategiesâis important when identifying potential strategies to address a particular bus operations issue. Roadway agencies with a multi- modal approach to serving road users will typically be more open to a wider range of potential strategies than agencies that prioritize motorized vehicle operations. Examples of Policy Environments The following scenarios are examples of the types of policy environments that might be encountered and how a transit agency might identify transit-supportive roadway strategies that can work within these environments, assuming that the transit agencyâs resources only allow funding lower-cost projects (i.e., no roadway widening). Scenario 1: Maintain Existing Motorized Vehicle Operations This scenario describes situations where the roadway agency requires that existing motorized vehicle operations be maintained and little flexibility is permitted. This might be the case where the roadway already operates below the roadway agencyâs operational standard and the roadway agency is seeking to avoid further degradation. In this case, the transit agency might wish to first consider transit operations strategies since these require the least amount of coordination with roadway agencies.
Ingredients for a Successful Project 27 Scenario 2: Maintain or Improve Person Delay In this scenario, the roadway again may not meet the roadway agencyâs operating standards, but the roadway agency is open to strategies that use the available right-of-way in the most efficient way. A common performance metric in this situation is the person delay, where the delay experienced by each mode (e.g., automobile delay, bus delay, pedestrian delay) is weighted by the number of persons using each mode. A strategy that results in a net reduction in person delay would be considered acceptable, even if automobile delay increases somewhat, as long as the intersection or roadway as a whole operates below capacity. (When intersections operate over capacity, the result- ing queues can spill back to other intersections, creating new operational problems.) In this case, any of the traffic control and infrastructure strategies described in this guidebook that produce only small impacts to automobile delay will likely result in a net improvement in person delay. Any of the transit operations strategies would also be applicable. Scenario 3: Maintain Operations at or Above Standard Under this scenario, the roadway operates above the roadway agencyâs minimum standard (typically expressed in terms of level of service or volume-to-capacity ratio), and the roadway agencyâs policy does not require mitigation measures unless a project would degrade roadway operations below the minimum standard. This approach is similar to how land use developments or redevelopments are usually treated, in that the traffic from the developments is allowed to degrade roadway operations as long as the standard for minimum operations continues to be met. In this case, strategies that result in worsened automobile operations would be permitted to be implemented as long as the minimum operations standard is met. In locations where road- ways have significant spare capacity, a wide range of possible strategies could be considered. The toolbox chapters of this guidebook note which strategies work better on congested roadways and which work better on less-congested roadways. Scenario 4: Favor Transit Service This scenario describes policy environments that favor transit service, even at the cost of vehicular operations. This might be a case where city policy expressly favors non-automobile modes, either in specified corridors or throughout the city (as is the case in some European cities). Strategies that provide improved transit operations would generally be viewed positively, subject to other potential formal or informal criteria such as: â¢ Safety performance (e.g., roadway safety should not be degraded), â¢ Roadway capacity (e.g., below-capacity operations should be maintained), â¢ Access and parking considerations for adjacent land uses, â¢ Minimum level of transit usage (e.g., minimum hourly bus frequency), and â¢ Cost/benefit considerations. In a policy environment that favors transit service, transit-supportive roadway strategies are easier to implement because support likely already exists from leadership, agency partners, and other stakeholders. (Otherwise the policy would not have come into being.) As noted in TCRP Report 165: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013), âinvestments in bus preferential treatments rather than expanded roadway capacity may be seen as a means of further improving transit attractiveness and maximizing roadwaysâ person- carrying ability.â Identify Low-Hanging Fruit When working within policy environments that are less supportive of transit improvements, incremental improvements may be more successful (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). A good
28 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies approach may be to combine a bus operations strategy, such as stop relocation, that has relatively low costs and relatively few stakeholders, with a roadway-focused strategy that has low costs and few constraints. Transit operations strategies can often provide the largest portion of the overall travel time benefit when implemented in conjunction with other strategies, while an easy-to-implement traffic control or infrastructure strategy can result in a positive outcome for the roadway agency. The combination of the two can open the door to demonstration projects for other strategies or agency collaboration on more-challenging projects. Plan in Advance and Take Advantage of Opportunities Regardless of the policy environment, it is important to plan for the future implementation of transit-supportive roadway strategies. Potential approaches are as follows: â¢ Work to incorporate transit projects or transit priority corridors into long-range transportation plans. This approach starts the conversation early on with partner agencies and can help change the existing policy environment. â¢ Identify projects in other agenciesâ plans and capital improvement programs (e.g., roadway paving, widening, access management, water or sewer work) that could lend themselves to incorporating transit-supportive features. This approach helps transit agencies capitalize on cost savings and efficiencies associated with improvements being made as part of a larger project, while roadway agencies benefit from having another funding source to help defray the projectâs design costs. â¢ Identify potential funding sources or grants to help jump-start projects. This approach may get roadway agencies to prioritize a project since they are not being asked to take on the full cost of the project. Case Study: Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) provides transit service within the city of Jacksonville. In Florida, major urban streets are typically state highways under the jurisdiction of the Florida DOT. Thus, implementing transit-supportive roadway strategies in Florida often requires local transit agencies and Florida DOT to work together. Blanding Boulevard (State Highway 21) is an arterial street that feeds traffic from southwestern Jacksonville into the city center. It had been identified since 2002 as a future rapid transit corridor. While JTA had discussed bus rapid transit and bus lanes with Florida DOT, it did not have any construction dollars to use. However, when Florida DOT was planning a resurfacing project for Blanding Boulevard, it saw an opportunity to restripe the existing, little-used parking lane as a bus lane and began working with JTA to do so. In this case, the roadwayâs traffic operations were improved (by removing the parking) and the roadway space was used more efficiently, so the project fit within the existing policy environment and provided benefits to both agencies. JTA developed typical bus lane sections and led preliminary design and public involvement efforts (with consultant help). Florida DOTâs Jacksonville urban office incorporated the pre- liminary design into its resurfacing plans (also using consultants), handled design variances (none turned out to be needed) and signs, and advocated for the project at the Florida DOT district level. The project was completed in 2009. Case Study: Eugene, Oregon Lane Transit District (LTD) in Eugene, Oregon, has implemented two BRT lines since plan- ning first began in 2000, when BRT was a relatively new concept nationally, and much of the
Ingredients for a Successful Project 29 first line ran along a state highway. LTDâs first challenge was to educate the city and the Oregon DOT about the BRT concept generally and the operation of transit signal priority specifically. The city traffic engineer had an established relationship with the Oregon DOT regional engineer and could explain in technical terms how the TSP system would work. This interaction was help- ful in getting the Oregon DOT engineer on board with the project, but further work was needed educating staff from other levels of Oregon DOT as they became involved in the project. Once those staff understood the project, things progressed relatively smoothly. A policy challenge that needed to be overcome was that the cityâs planning department did not want the route on a straight line between two stations because that alignment would have required eliminating on-street parking, which was a hot topic politically at the time. The transit agency compromised by placing one direction of BRT on the street, which turned out to produce better bus operations. Case Study: Vancouver, Canada TransLink has operated on-street BRT routes (B-Lines) since the late 1990s. At the time of the interview with the agency, a new B-Line was being planned for King George Boulevard in the city of Surrey, in the southern part of the Vancouver region. Once the primary route from Vancouver to the United States border, the former King George Highway is being transformed into an urban boulevard, and transit-supportive roadway strategies are being planned in conjunction with this project. Surrey is a rapidly growing part of the region and is one of the larger municipalities in the region. Although the municipality is not a transit service provider itself, there is strong support in Surrey to help improve transit service. The cityâs capital plan, for example, includes transit-supportive roadway strategies. Although Surrey participates in project cost-sharing and is designing the overall project, TransLink provides most of the funding. The new B-Line is being implemented in two phases. The initial phase, which opened in 2013, is an L-shaped route connecting two transit centers to central Surrey and rail transit. One pair of queue bypasses already existed along the route and two more were added. At some point in the future, when the route is extended south to White Rock, just north of the United States border, more queue bypasses will be constructed at congested intersections. A consultant study identified potential locations for particular strategies. Transit signal priority is a possibility, but no specific plans have been made. One of the corridorâs advantages is that a lot of right-of-way is available due to the boule- vardâs former status as a highway, and the city is investigating how best to use the right-of-way. Improvements under consideration include narrowing lanes to urban street widths (11.5 to 12 ft); adding bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, or two-way bike paths; removing right-turn channelization islands at intersections; and adding curbside parking in places to help create an urban feel. Each of these non-transit features will need to be considered when evaluating individual strategies. In addition, signal timing in the corridor will be adjusted to better move peak-direction traffic. 3.3 Problem Identification and Strategy Development Understand the Problem Before doing anything else, the transit agency should ask itself what the problem is that needs to be solved and determine whether transit-supportive roadway strategies are the best approach to solving that problem. The strategies presented in this guidebook are best suited to addressing bus speed and reliability problems, but not every cause of a speed or reliability problem can be addressed by these strategies. Examples of causes of unreliability that are not well-suited to
30 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies being addressed by transit-supportive strategies are long-term road construction, buses breaking down while in service, inadequate bus and operator availability, insufficient time allocated in the schedule, differences in operator driving skills and route familiarity, and environmental conditions (e.g., rain, snow). Causes of slow speeds or poor reliability that can be addressed by these strate- gies include traffic congestion, traffic signal delays, street network patterns, increased passenger demand, and the number and location of bus stops. Bus operators and field supervisors can be valuable sources of information for identifying locations where transit-supportive roadway strategies can help improve bus operations. Transit agencies that have automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger counter (APC) equipment on their buses (and have a formal program to archive and access that data) can use this information to identify where and when speed and reliability problems occur, quantify the magnitude of the problem, and quantify how many passengers are affected by the problem. TCRP Report 113: Using Archived AVL-APC Data to Improve Transit Performance and Management (Furth et al. 2006) provides guidance on using AVL and APC data in this way. If at all possible, try to quantify the magnitude of the problem, both to help with prioritizing projects and to eventually quantify the outcome of the strategy or strategies that end up being implemented. Quantifying the benefits of a strategy helps make a stronger case for the next implementation, may help in securing funding for future projects, and if shared with the transit community (e.g., through papers and presentations), can benefit others seeking to implement these strategies. If the implemented strategy was not as successful as anticipated, the reasons for this can be evaluated and used to inform future decision making. Match Potential Strategies to the Problem Once the problem has been clearly identified, it becomes possible to identify potential solutions. Chapter 4 provides guidance on the situations that particular strategies are best suited for and can be used as a starting point for identifying strategies to consider further. Analyze Potential Benefits and Costs The detailed strategy descriptions provided in Chapters 5 through 8 can be used to narrow in on a preferred strategy or set of strategies. These descriptions provide the relative costs of different strategies, benefits and disbenefits to buses and other roadway users that have been observed in previous implementations, situations in which an otherwise appropriate strategy may need to be removed from consideration, and implementation guidance. Once a preferred strategy or set of strategies has been identified, it is advisable to conduct a more detailed analysis to forecast the anticipated benefits, given the local conditions in which the strategy would be implemented, and to estimate the cost of implementing the strategy, given knowledge of current local costs. This analysis will be useful in the next step in persuading the roadway agency to approve the project and can also be used to support funding requests. The analysis may also indicate that the preferred set of strategies may not produce a good benefit relative to the cost, in which case the transit agency will need to change the strategies being considered. Case Study: San Francisco, California In 2006, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the city Control- lerâs Office conducted a detailed evaluation of the cityâs transit system (Muni) to identify ways to improve service, attract ridership, and improve efficiency. During the initial planning phase of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), from October 2006 to November 2007, SFMTA collected and
Ingredients for a Successful Project 31 analyzed an extensive amount of data, including customer market research on passenger prefer- ences and priorities for transit service, travel pattern data, and route-by-route ridership data. Based on this research, best practices from other cities, and stakeholder input, SFMTA developed a set of preliminary recommendations. In 2008, SFMTA conducted public outreach (including more than 100 community meetings along with discussions with decision makers) on the preliminary recommendations and presented a refined set of recommendations to the SFMTA board. The board endorsed the draft recommendations for environmental review in October 2008. At the time of the interview with the agency, the project was toward the end of a 2-year environmental review process under the California Environmental Quality Act that analyzed the entire TEP as one project. A consequence of this approach was that none of the proposed service changes or bus priority projects could be implemented before the review was com- pleted. In anticipation of a successful review, SFMTA coordinated a funding plan including the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) and the metropolitan planning orga- nization (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission [MTC]). Service improvements were being coordinated through SFMTAâs operating budget discussions. Bus priority capital projects were being planned for funding through multiple sources, including SFCTA, MTC, discretion- ary federal money, and coordinating with other city departments (e.g., Public Works, to get curb extensions constructed when repaving occurs). 3.4 Working Within the Regulatory Environment Transportation engineers typically work with three basic types of policy direction: standards, guidance, and state or local practices, depending on the agency or jurisdiction. Standards gen- erally have no room for variation or interpretation by the engineer unless a specific process is provided for granting deviations. Guidance is essentially a recommendation for best practice, with room for interpretation on its applicability to specific locations. Practice is how roadway agencies apply higher-level (i.e., national or state) guidance to roadways under their jurisdiction. State standards and guidance typically exist for use on state facilities but may also apply to local facilities when funds originate with the state or are passed through the state. Transit-supportive roadway strategies are still an emerging area of traffic engineering practice and are not fully accounted for in current standards, guidance, or practices. Therefore, particu- larly the first time a particular strategy is used in a community, there is often a need to identify constraints and either work within them or look for opportunities to modify them. Identify Potential Regulatory Constraints State and local roadway design manuals and standards describe how roadways should be designed and are intended to result in safe, well-functioning roadways. These standards often incorporate all or portions of the national standards and guidelines described in Appendix A, such as the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Failing to adhere to these standards can arguably give rise to an inference that the proper standard of care of a professional engineer was not used, which can lead to serious legal implications for agencies and their engineers. Therefore, it is important to identify early on whether a transit-supportive roadway strategy under consideration may conflict with existing standards. Occasionally, local laws and regulations may also affect a transit agencyâs ability to implement a desired strategy. For example, Lane Transit District wished to place a busway in the median of a street in Eugene, Oregon, as part of a BRT route under development. However, existing trees
32 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies in the median were more than 50 years old, and the cityâs tree ordinance specifies that a public vote is required to cut any tree more than 50 years old. As a result, the busway design needed to be modified to create a two-directional, single-lane facility that avoided impacts to the trees. The California Highway Patrol raised objections to planned bus shoulder use on a San Diegoâarea freeway because state traffic laws did not permit shoulder driving, even by authorized vehicles. The detailed strategy descriptions in Chapters 5 through 8 indicate which strategies may require reviewing or changing laws prior to implementation. Identify Potential Design Standard Variances Existing standards may not always allow for the most efficient implementation of a desired strategy. However, in many cases, roadway agencies have set up a formal process to approve a variation from a standard when doing so would not compromise safety and there are clear benefits to implementing a strategy. This approach provides greater flexibility to adapt roadway projects to their local contexts and is becoming more mainstream among roadway agencies. This approach is essential to continuing innovation because every roadway element was used for the first time at some point and had to undergo a similar process of experimentation and evaluation. However, to reduce potential liability, it is important to clearly document the reasons for the variance. The FHWA describes a formal process for applying for permission to experiment with new traffic control devices and for performing those experiments if approved. This information is provided in Section 1A.10 of the MUTCD (FHWA 2009) and is summarized in Appendix D of this guidebook. Case Study: Minneapolis, Minnesota Team Transit is a program that the Minnesota DOT established in the late 1980s to identify ways to make better use of transit on freeways and to alleviate congestion without spending the resources needed to widen freeways. As part of this initiative, ramp-meter bypasses for buses were constructed at a number of locations. One such project would have required rebuilding a section of the freeway to meet side clearance standards. Instead, the decision was made to build the ramp meter and accept that it could not meet existing standards; no negative impacts were observed as a result. In order to create advantages for buses and implement innovative strategies, variances from long-existing roadway standards needed to be made. In the longer term, Minnesota DOT used the experience gained from the design variances to develop more bus-friendly standards that were still acceptable to FHWA. Minnesota DOT staff stated in the interview that a pragmatic approach is best for these kinds of projects: get most of what an agency wants accomplished for less money than trying to fix everything for a lot of money. Re-examine existing design standards since transit improvements will probably violate some of them. Above all, have the organizational structure in place that supports innovation, or the project will not happen. Case Study: New York City As part of the development of its Select Bus Service BRT routes, New York City has developed bus lanes on a number of streets. To make the lanes as self-enforcing as possible, the city DOT and the transit agency desired to color the bus lanes red, a relatively common strategy used internationally. However, because the MUTCD specifies how colored pavement markings can be used as traffic control devices and because red pavement was not specified as an allowed use, New York needed to request permission from FHWA to experiment with red bus lanes, which FHWA granted.
Ingredients for a Successful Project 33 New York completed the required evaluation report on the effect of red paint on lane violations and other operational and safety issues, which the FHWA accepted. As a result, New York is allowed to continue to use this treatment. Other cities, such as San Francisco, have subsequently started their own experiments. It is anticipated that this treatment will be included in the next edition of the MUTCD, but until such time, agencies will continue to need to request to experiment. A template for such a request is provided in Appendix D. 3.5 Engaging Project Stakeholders No matter the size of the project, there will likely be a need for the transit agency to engage stakeholders other than the roadway agency. For a bus stop relocation, this may simply involve the adjacent property owner(s). For a large corridor project (e.g., a BRT route incorporating bus lanes and other strategies), an extensive stakeholder engagement effort will likely be needed. Potential Stakeholders Persons, groups, and organizations that might need to be involved in the project include, depending on the type of strategy and scale of the project: â¢ Public agencies â Transit agency capital projects, service planning, and marketing staff; bus operators; agency management and board; and representatives of other transit agencies that might use a facility â Roadway agency roadway design, traffic signals, and traffic operations staff; pedestrian and bicycle coordinators; and agency management (for each jurisdiction affected by the project) â City and county decision makers (e.g., city manager, city council members, mayor) (for each jurisdiction affected by the project) â Local and regional planning agency staff â Law enforcement, fire department, and other emergency responders â Staff from other potentially affected agencies (e.g., parks district, utility district, economic development department, school district) â¢ Community organizations â Neighborhood associations, community boards â Business associations, chamber of commerce â Churches â Advocacy groups for bicyclists, pedestrians, and persons with disabilities â¢ Institutions â Schools, universities â Hospitals â¢ Individuals, businesses, and nonprofits â Business owners â Property owners â Delivery companies, taxi companies, armored car companies, and others needing curb space â Social service agencies Techniques for Engaging Stakeholders Some of the techniques described in Section 3.1 to develop agency partnerships also apply to engaging stakeholders: â¢ Demonstrate the need. An important point to communicate is the purpose of the proposed strategy (or strategies) and how it will benefit the transit agency and its passengers.
34 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies â¢ Listen to and understand stakeholder needs. By gaining an understanding of stakeholder concerns and challenges, better, mutually beneficial results can be achieved. Meet with anyone who would like to discuss project issues. These meetings provide an opportunity to clarify the project, correct any misconceived notions, and build support. â¢ Education. Representatives from several interviewed agencies noted that it is very important to have a team member on board who is good at explaining the engineering side of the work in terms that all stakeholders can comprehend. Demonstrating that the proposed concept has worked successfully in other locations also helps. Other techniques focused on nonâpublic agency stakeholders are: â¢ Accommodate stakeholder schedules. The business community in Columbus, Ohio, preferred having meetings early in the morning rather than in the evening. The transit agency had much better meeting participation when they were scheduled according to stakeholder preferences. Lane Transit District (Eugene, Oregon) started visiting small businesses along a proposed BRT corridor since the business owners did not have time to attend the meetings. It allocated three staff members to walk the corridor and talk with each business owner on the route, which developed good relationships. â¢ Personal touch. Another technique that worked well in Columbus was having the main project lead personally invite stakeholders to meetings. The invitation could be a personal email, letter, or call, but the response from this personal level of detail was much greater than that from generic letters or emails. â¢ Find ways to accommodate concerns. For example, a project in Jacksonville, Florida, converted a parking lane to a bus lane. Although the parking lane was not well-used, those who did use it, including a school that used it for student drop-offs on weekdays, were initially opposed to losing it. The transit agency used its contractor to develop a new circulation plan for the school (off the arterial) that the school ultimately preferred. Regardless of the size of the project, keep stakeholders informed by communicating early, clearly, and often. Large projects will require a correspondingly large number of meetings; sev- eral interviewees who had implemented corridor projects held more than 100 meetings over the course of their projects. These can include one-on-one meetings with individual stakeholders, technical steering committee meetings, advisory committee meetings, workshops, open houses, and meetings of decision-making bodies. Finally, following up with stakeholders after a project is implemented, and making corrections if necessary, can help maintain good stakeholder relations for future projects. TriMet has found it beneficial to follow up with stakeholders after the opening of a project to check on punch-list items, make sure things are going as expected, and check that maintenance agreements are being followed. Case Study: New York City NYCT has many different stakeholders involved in its projects. These include MTA (a state- level organization), NYCT staff, New York City DOT staff, New York State DOT staff, the metro- politan planning organization (MPO), and some of the cityâs 57 community boards. In addition, large hospitals, businesses, and schools along a Select Bus Service project route are included as stakeholders. Finally, any other businesses or groups that may be affected by a potential bus stop location are included. Stakeholder meetings inform people about what is going on and obtain their input on the streetâs needs. The agencies have found that a workshop setting has been more effective than a presentation/question-and-answer format. The workshop setting, with smaller groups, helps get better community feedback, helps the community explain its needs in a clearer
Ingredients for a Successful Project 35 way, and generally functions better than a large group. NYCT staff recognize the need for being flexible and handling each stakeholderâs needs and requests with an approach that fits the stake- holderâs personality best. While some stakeholders respond best to a direct, no-holds-barred approach, others respond best to a more laid-back or soothing approach. At the onset of every project, a community advisory committee is convened. The advisory committee is typically involved in six meetings throughout the duration of the project planning process. One meeting discusses stop locations, one discusses neighborhood parking needs, one focuses on business delivery needs, and the other three cover project-specific issues that need to be addressed. All affected parties would attend each meeting and all be in the same room. The room would then have breakout sessions according to where on the corridor a particular attendee was located. In all, NYCT has held over 400 meetings for all of their Select Bus Service routes that were either operational or in some stage of planning at the time the interviews were conducted. Case Study: Spokane, Washington STA worked with stakeholders, including internal staff from multiple departments, several local jurisdictions, and the general public on a bus stop consolidation project. The stakeholders started their involvement in the project at varying places in its development. The STA Planning Department was involved during the initial phase. The STA Service Improvement Committee was shown initial drafts of the project and assisted in refining the project scope. The STA Facilities and Grounds Department was involved after the draft plan was developed and advised on the project scope since they were responsible for removing the bus stop signs. Fixed-route bus oper- ators were involved during the draft phase when they were provided information and maps for review and comment. The general public was involved during the draft phase when information was provided via web reports, online surveys, and signs posted at bus stops that were planned to be closed. Local jurisdictions became involved during the final draft phase when they were provided information on locations and timelines for removals. Various levels of meetings were held during the project for information dissemination and project planning. The Planning Department held meetings to discuss the project and gather input. The Service Improvement Committee held regular biweekly meetings during project development, and bus stop consolidation projects were added to the agenda for these meetings regularly during the initial planning phase as well as later when discussion items warranted it. The Facilities and Grounds Department met to discuss the scope and schedule estimates to provide input on what its staff could accomplish for physical removal of bus stop signs. Fixed- route operators were provided with draft location maps to review and comment on. STA staff were available to meet with operators to discuss the project and address concerns. No public meetings were held. 3.6 Implementing the Project At this point, the project has been approved and funded and is ready to be implemented. Depending on the type and scale of the project, either the transit agency or the roadway agency might lead the project using in-house staff, consultants, or a combination of the two. Intergovernmental Agreements It is a good idea to establish MOUs or IGAs that specify the role of each partner agency in planning, funding, designing, constructing, operating, and/or maintaining the project. TCRP
36 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies Synthesis 83: Bus and Rail Transit Preferential Treatments in Mixed Traffic (Danaher 2010) pro- vides the following examples of agreements related to transit-supportive roadway strategies: â¢ An IGA between a transit agency and a city for constructing improvements in a corridor; â¢ An IGA between a transit agency and a city to improve transit speed and reliability in the city; â¢ An IGA between a transit agency and a service provider to improve transit speed and reliability; â¢ A local agency agreement between a transit agency, a city, and a state DOT to implement transit signal priority on a state-owned arterial within the city; and â¢ An interlocal agreement between a transit agency and a county to operate and maintain transit signal priority. TCRP Legal Research Digest 42: Transit Agency Intergovernmental Agreements: Common Issues and Solutions (Thomas 2012) provides additional examples of agreements applicable to transit- supportive roadway strategies: â¢ An IGA between a city, county, and others to fund capital improvements, maintenance, and operation of transit service; â¢ An agreement between a transit agency and a county to install utilities along a roadway as part of a BRT project; â¢ An interagency agreement between a transit agency and a city to make use of the cityâs expertise when conducting preliminary engineering for a BRT project; â¢ A master cooperative agreement between a transit agency and a city to develop a street corridor BRT project; â¢ A common use agreement between a transit agency and a DOT to allow the perpetual use of, maintenance of, and future modifications to DOT facilities to allow the construction, main- tenance, and use of transit facilities; â¢ An IGA between a transit agency and a county to allow the installation of bus stop improvements; â¢ An MOU between an MPO and a transit agency describing the manner in which the MPO will provide staff assistance; â¢ An MOU between an MPO and a transit agency describing the respective agenciesâ functions and responsibilities; â¢ A master agreement between an MPO and a DOT âoutlining terms and conditions of col- laboration to deliver transportation improvements that utilize the materials, funds, resources, or services of both partiesâ; and â¢ A license issued by a city to a transit agency to use city right-of-way in connection with transit service expansion. Constructing the Project The activities involved in constructing a transit-supportive roadway project are generally similar to that of any other construction project and are not covered here in detail. The Additional Resources sections of the detailed strategy descriptions in Chapters 5 through 8 list documents that may be consulted when implementing specific strategies (e.g., transit signal priority). Additional Outreach Additional outreach to the public or partner agencies may be required when larger projects get ready to open. If a project is introducing new traffic regulations (e.g., bus lanes), the public needs to be educated about how they are (or are not) to be used. Similarly, law enforcement agencies need to be ready to enforce any new regulations and should be aware (where necessary) of any transit exemptions from traffic regulationsâsomething that is best addressed early during
Ingredients for a Successful Project 37 stakeholder engagement but definitely should be addressed at this point if it has not been before. New fare payment methods and new stop locations will require educating transit passengers, and a number of transit agencies have deployed customer service staff (supported by distributing marketing and information materials prior to opening) along the corridor during the first days of operation. Transit agency representatives interviewed for this project also emphasized the need to plan for a smooth start-up. For example, it was suggested to let all city departments know about the project to decrease the chances of any construction occurring on opening day (or any other day) that would decrease the new systemâs effectiveness. Another transit agency in a city with a normally mild climate experienced a snowstorm soon after a project opened and realized then that no maintenance agreement was in place with the city to handle snow removal from the transit lanes. Project Schedule A theme that came up in the interviews many times with the transit agencies that had imple- mented large-scale projects was not to underestimate the time required to take a project from the planning stage to opening day. Establish adequate milestones with expected outcomes, and build contingencies into the schedule to address challenges that arise during the course of the project. Some of the things that led to schedule delays were: â¢ Difficulty obtaining a key stakeholderâs buy-in to the project; â¢ Time required to vet different design options with stakeholders and achieve consensus; â¢ Insufficient coordination between city staff on potentially competing issues (e.g., bicycle needs, freight needs), which then surfaced later in the project; and â¢ Re-evaluating bus stops proposed to be closed, based on customer feedback once notices were placed at the stops. Case Study: Portland, Oregon This case study looks at issues that came up during the course of adding light rail tracks to the existing downtown bus mall in Portland, Oregon. One issue related to traffic control was the need to develop special lane-usage signs to inform motorists on the mall and turning onto the mall from side streets which lane to use. In addition, special permission was required for the signal faces; a green up arrow was desired to reinforce the âNo Turnsâ message at certain intersections, which would normally require a 12-in. signal face, but the other signal faces would only be 8 in., which would have looked odd. TriMet would have liked to use raised domes as a barrier to separate the automobile and transit lanes, but the city thought it would be unsafe if bicycles hit the domes. As a compromise, high- profile thermoplastic striping (two 8-in. white stripes) was used in conjunction with overhead signs at intersections, but maintenance has been an issue since buses cross over the striping in places to make left turns off the mall, which wears it away. In retrospect, using concrete for the transit lanes could have helped differentiate the two types of lanes. Other issues that had to be addressed during construction and implementation were: â¢ Moving bus operations to two other streets during mall reconstruction, including moving shelters and installing curb extensions; â¢ Addressing adjacent property access needs, including prisoner drop-off at a courthouse, fire station egress, and hotel loading zones; â¢ Maintaining the special architectural elements used along the mall; and â¢ Educating passengers about where buses would stop following reconstruction.
38 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies Transit mall maintenance costs are divided among the city, TriMet, and Portland Mall Man- agement, a nonprofit corporation funded by the city, TriMet, the Portland Business Alliance, and Portland State University. The city maintains the automobile pavement markings, signs, lighting, and traffic signal system. Through a contract, TriMet maintains the striping delineating the vehicle and transit lanes. TriMet also maintains the light rail infrastructure. Portland Mall Management is responsible for trash pickup and maintaining shelters. Case Study: Jacksonville, Florida An implementation challenge that JTA faced with its new bus lane was how to sign the lane since it was the first of its kind in Florida and signs had not been identified as an issue at earlier stages of the project. Right turns would be allowed from the bus lane at driveways and intersections. JTA wanted signs that would work well for its drivers and overall bus operations, while Florida DOT wanted to make sure the lane would operate safely. Florida DOTâs Traffic Operations section developed the signs. The sheriffâs office was unfamiliar with bus lanes and said it would not enforce the lanes, but fortunately, bus drivers have not reported any significant compliance issues. In addi- tion to JTA buses, school buses and county transit vehicles can use the lanes. Before the bus lane was restriped, a public awareness campaign was conducted on how to use it. The campaign started in July 2008, prior to a February 2009 opening. Flyers were mailed to every household within a mile of the corridor (November), while a video presentation was shown at schools and malls (through December), and on the JTA website (still available at the time of writing). Billboard messages were installed along the corridor and left in place until a month after opening. Finally, variable message signs were installed on major cross streets warning motorists to watch out for buses; these were in place for a couple of weeks following project opening. 3.7 Quantifying the Results Once a significant project has been implemented, the transit agency may need to monitor it and collect data to quantify its results. This is useful for ensuring successful project results and to support future project decision making. Due to staff time and funding limitations, this is a step that transit agencies have often omitted, with the result that they lose out on its potential benefits. (However, large-scale projects that receive funding from the Federal Transit Administrationâs New Starts program are now required to perform before-and-after studies.) Another challenge is separating out the individual effects of particular strategies implemented as a package, although projects implemented over a series of several phases can overcome this challenge. Data Applications Monitoring the project results is important for assessing how the project affected transit and other modes. This is useful for: â¢ Identifying and correcting any unexpected negative project impacts, â¢ Judging what factors contributed most to the projectâs outcomes, â¢ Assessing the accuracy of any preliminary analysis done to forecast operations with the project (i.e., microsimulation), and â¢ Quantifying operational benefits of the project that can justify future projects. Potential Performance Metrics There are a number of potential evaluation measures that can be used to quantify the results that consider transit and other affected modes. Some possible metrics are:
Ingredients for a Successful Project 39 â¢ Travel delay for transit and other vehicles. Compare the change in delay (i.e., at an intersection) before and after the project for transit and automobiles (and potentially pedestrians and bicyclists, if they are significant users of the intersection). â¢ Travel time/speed for transit and other vehicles. Compare typical speeds in the project area for transit and automobiles before and after the project. Bluetooth readers, global positioning system (GPS) data, or traditional speed tests can be used for the comparison. â¢ Reliability. Compare changes to travel time variability for automobiles and transit, or evaluate changes in bus on-time performance. â¢ Vehicle emissions. Estimate changes in vehicle emissions as a result of the project, perhaps using models that relate to vehicle volumes and speeds. â¢ Operation costs. Compare operating costs for the affected route(s) before and after the project, including changes in cost trends. â¢ Ridership. Compare ridership before and after the project. â¢ Safety. Compare crash history before and after the project. (This requires several years of âafterâ data for a fair comparison.) 3.8 Building on Success Once the project is complete, it is important to consider other opportunities to build on the projectâs success. For instance, continuing to monitor the project and assess results can help identify further fine-tuning or improvements. As more data are collected over time and agencies become more comfortable with the projectâs outcomes, it may be feasible to refine the strategy or implement new strategies. Some roadway agencies may initially be hesitant to pursue transit- supportive roadway strategies due to concerns about automobile operations, but they often become more open to implementing more strategies when they have a positive first experience with a strategy. The resulting opportunities from a successful project may extend beyond transit-supportive roadway strategies to include things such as: â¢ Expanded agency partnerships between transit and roadway agencies, â¢ Support for more multimodal projects and a complete-network mindset that recognizes the importance of providing for all users and modes, and â¢ Greater comfort with testing new innovative treatments.