48 This chapter is the first of four toolbox chapters presenting potential strategies for improving bus speeds and reliability. The strategies presented in this chapter are ones that transit agencies can implement on their own, with relatively little coordination needed with roadway agencies beyond that normally required for siting bus stops. These strategies are frequently implemented as part of a package of changes along a route or streetâparticularly when starting BRT service. Chapter 6 presents traffic control strategies that can be considered in combination with bus operations strategies, Chapter 7 presents infrastructure strategies (other than bus lanes), and Chapter 8 presents bus lane strategies. The following strategies are discussed in this chapter: â¢ Relocating stops at intersections (e.g., from the near side to the far side of intersections), â¢ Optimizing bus stop spacing, â¢ Revisiting route designs, â¢ Introducing fare payment changes, and â¢ Introducing new bus vehicle types or equipment. Each strategy is presented in its own section. These are organized as follows: â¢ Description. What the strategy does. â¢ Purpose. Why the strategy might be considered. â¢ Applications. How the strategy can be applied. â¢ Companion strategies. Other strategies that can be implemented in combination with the strategy. â¢ Constraints. Factors that may make the strategy infeasible or more challenging to implement in certain circumstances. â¢ Benefits. How the strategy can benefit bus operations and, potentially, other stakeholders. â¢ Cost considerations. Relative impacts of the strategy on transit agency and other stakeholder costs, including planning and coordination needs, capital costs, maintenance costs, bus oper- ations costs, and other roadway user and stakeholder costs. â¢ Implementation examples. Examples of transit agencies that have implemented the strategy and, where available, short summaries of their experiences with it. â¢ Implementation guidance. Guidance on how and when to implement the strategy. â¢ Additional resources. Other documents that provide more information about the strategy or certain aspects of the strategy. 5.1 Stop Relocation Description An existing bus stop is moved from its current location at an intersection (e.g., near side) to a different location (e.g., far side). C H A P T E R 5 Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 49 Purpose Buses serving near-side bus stops at signalized intersections fre- quently fall out of any traffic signal progression provided to traffic along the street. That is, the traffic signal is green when the bus arrives, but by the time the bus is finished serving passen- gers, the signal may have turned red and the bus must then wait for the next green signal before it can proceed. Whether or not traffic signal progression is provided, buses at near-side stops at signalized intersections may be delayed enter- ing or exiting the stop because they can be blocked by queued vehi- cles ahead of them. Right-turning vehicles, in particular, cause delays because they have to wait for any conflicting bicyclists and pedestrians to clear. The effect of queued vehicles is most pro- nounced when stops are located at or near the near-side stop bar (Cesme et al. 2015). Situations where some buses are able to proceed before the signal turns red, while others cannot, can lead to bus reliability issues, because some buses experience traffic signal delays while others do not. This delay variability is a particular issue if the waiting time until the next green signal is long. Applications Near-side to far-side relocations can be considered at any near-side bus stop at a traffic signal. Relocations from other locations to near-side locations are typically performed in conjunction with other strategies, either (1) to take advantage of an opportunity to implement a near-side strategy, or (2) because other considerations (e.g., location of passenger generators, transfer opportunities) dictate a near-side bus stop location. To avoid the need for buses to stop twice, San Franciscoâs Muni uses near-side stops at intersections where the bus would stop anyway for a stop sign (Boyle 2013). Companion Strategies Stop relocations are often implemented as part of a package of improvements for an inter- section, route, or street, including stop consolidation (Section 5.2), route design changes (Sec- tion 5.3), transit signal priority (Section 6.7), bus-only signal phases (Section 6.9), queue jumps (Section 6.10), curb extensions (Section 7.5), and bus lanes (Section 8.1). Constraints The general considerations that apply whenever a new bus stop is placed also apply to stop relocations. These include: â¢ Potential for driveways, alleys, or other access points to be blocked; â¢ Potential for traffic to stop behind the bus and back up into the intersection (primarily a concern for streets with one travel lane in the direction of travel, in combination with online bus stops); â¢ Parking and delivery needs for adjacent land uses; â¢ Locations of passenger generators and transfer opportunities at the intersection (e.g., walking distances, number of street crossings required); â¢ Physical obstructions (e.g., trees, fire hydrants, lamp posts); â¢ Ability to meet ADA accessibility requirements;
50 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies â¢ Ability to provide passenger amenities (e.g., shelters, electrical connections for bus arrival displays); â¢ Presence of bicycle facilities (see Appendix C); and â¢ Use of curb extensions (see Section 7.5) (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). Benefits As with any strategy involving spot locations, the sum of the delay benefit for a route or along a street will generally be less than the sum of the individual bus stop delay benefits since the delay saved at one stop is sometimes lost at a downstream traffic signal. See Section 4.4 for more information. Delay Benefits: Far-Side Stops Simulation testing conducted during TCRP Project A-39 at an isolated signalized intersection found that a far-side stop location: â¢ Produced an average 2.4 s less delay for buses than a near-side location when the intersectionâs v/c ratio was 0.5, 3.5 s at a v/c ratio of 0.8, and 8.8 s at a v/c ratio of 1.0; â¢ Resulted in slightly lower vehicle delays on the intersection approaches used by buses (0.6 s down to 0.1 s for the same range of v/c ratios); and â¢ Resulted in slightly lower average intersection delay for all vehicles (0.6 to 2.7 s for the same range of v/c ratios). The intersection had a 160-s traffic signal cycle length, and buses received a green signal for 49% to 56% of the overall cycle length, depending on which direction they approached the inter- section from. Bus dwell times averaged 20 s, with a standard deviation of 15 s. Other studies in the literature have found similar results. Modeling by Furth and SanClemente (2006) found that the extra delay associated with near-side bus stops located at or near the stop bar, relative to a far-side stop, increased with increasing v/c ratio and as the traffic signal cycle length increased from 60 s to 90 or 120 s. When the green time provided to a bus was 50% of the cycle length (i.e., a green-time [g/C] ratio of 0.5), the extra delay associated with a near-side stop ranged from 1 to 4 s for a v/c ratio of 0.6, to 5 to 9 s for a v/c ratio of 0.8, depending on the cycle length. A study of a bus route on an arterial street in Portland, Oregon, using automatic vehicle location data found a travel time reduction of 24 s per mile in segments with far-side bus stops, equating to an average of more than 4 s per intersection (Feng et al. 2015). Simulation model- ing by Cesme et al. (2015) found an average reduction in delay of approximately 7 s for far-side stops, relative to near-side stops, at a g/C ratio of 0.5, with the delay reduction increasing as the g/C ratio decreased. Reliability Benefits: Far-Side Stops Combined results from Furth and SanClemente (2006) and Cesme et al. (2015) show that the delay associated with far-side stops is generally insensitive to traffic signal cycle length, inter- section v/c ratio, the amount of green time provided to buses, and the ratio of dwell time to cycle length. Near-side delay, on the other hand, is sensitive to all of these factors when the bus stop is located at or near the intersection. This means that a busâs overall delay at a signalized inter- section will be generally the same for each bus with a far-side stop but will vary by time of day (as traffic volumes and signal timing patterns change) and by bus (as passenger demand and thus dwell time varies by bus) with a near-side stop. As a result, travel times will be less variable (i.e., more reliable) when far-side stops are used at signalized intersections than when near-side stops located at or near the intersection are used.
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 51 Delay Benefits: Near-Side Stops In some instances, near-side stops can result in delays that are similar to or less than those of far-side stops (Furth and SanClemente 2006, Feng et al. 2015, Cesme et al. 2015). These include: â¢ Near-side stops in bus lanes where right turns are prohibited (less delay); â¢ Short traffic signal cycle lengths (e.g., 60 s) (similar delay); â¢ Long dwell times relative to the traffic signal cycle length (e.g., dwell times that are 75% or more of the cycle length) (similar to less delay); and â¢ Near-side stops set back from the intersection far enough to be outside the influence of queues (similar delay). Cost Considerations â¢ Planning and coordination costs. Relatively low, but will vary depending on whether an individual stop is being affected, or a larger-scale (route or street) project is being devel- oped. Stop relocations should be coordinated with the appropriate roadway agency. It is also desirable to engage adjacent property owners in advance about potential negative impacts to them of a stop relocation (e.g., loss of parking, waiting passengers congregating in front of buildings). â¢ Capital costs. Relatively low on a per-stop basis, consisting of removing infrastructure (e.g., bus stop poles, shelter) from the old site, installing infrastructure at the new site, and making any required ADA improvements, such as a landing pad. The need for concrete paving at the bus stop to reduce bus-caused pavement damage may also be considered. â¢ Maintenance costs. Will most likely be unchanged, unless the transit agency decides to upgrade the stopâs amenities as part of the overall project. â¢ Bus operations costs. Reduces bus travel time and travel time variability. â¢ Other user costs. Slightly reduced delay for motorized vehicles on the intersection approach and for the intersection as a whole. No change in pedestrian and bicycle delay. Implementation Examples Examples of cities that have implemented large-scale stop relocations are: â¢ Portland, Oregon; â¢ San Francisco, California; and â¢ Victoria, British Columbia (Koonce et al. 2006, Boyle 2013). In addition, 18 of 59 transit agencies responding to a survey for TCRP Synthesis 110: Common- sense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds had relocated stops to improve bus speeds. Implementation Guidance Exhibit 6-9 in the TCQSM (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013) lists the advantages and dis- advantages of different bus stop locations from a variety of perspectives. From a bus operations perspective, far-side stops at signalized intersections generally produce better bus travel time reliability than near-side stops located at the intersection stop bar. They typically produce less delay than near-side stops in the following circumstances: â¢ Moderate to long traffic signal cycle lengths (e.g., 90 s or longer); â¢ Relatively short dwell time relative to the traffic signal cycle length (e.g., less than 75% of the cycle length); and â¢ No bus lane provided or right turns allowed from the bus lane.
52 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies Near-side stops located at the intersection stop bar typically produce less delay than far-side stops with: â¢ Short traffic signal cycle lengths (e.g., 60 s); â¢ Bus lanes that prohibit other motorized vehicles, especially those making turns; â¢ Intersections with one-way streets where right turns are prohibited; or â¢ Bus stops located at a stop sign. Near-side stops set back from the intersection beyond the 95th-percentile queue length operate similarly to far-side stops in terms of delay and reliability. They may be more inconvenient for passengers than far-side stops because passengers who have to walk through or past the inter- section when traveling to and from their ultimate destinations will have to walk farther. However, these locations often work better than a near-side stop-bar location when a bicycle facility is located along the right side of the street (see Appendix C). Near-side stops that are set back from the intersection within the area where vehicles queue are generally the worst locations from a delay and reliability standpoint since it becomes more likely that a bus will have to stop multiple times (e.g., behind the queue, at the stop, and at the traffic signal). The closer the stop is to the intersection (without actually being at the stop bar), the larger the negative impact. In addition, this location encourages right-turning traffic to cut in front of buses, leading to potential conflicts with both buses and bicycles. Additional Resources â¢ ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities (U.S. Access Board 2006)âdesign guidance. â¢ TCRP Report 19: Guidelines for the Location and Design of Bus Stops (Texas Transportation Institute 1996)âdesign guidance. â¢ TCRP Report 165: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013)âChapter 6 provides an analytical method for estimating a bus stop locationâs impact on bus speeds; Exhibit 6-9 presents advantages and disadvantages of different bus stop locations. â¢ TCRP Synthesis 110: Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds (Boyle 2013)âimplementation examples. â¢ TCRP Synthesis 117: Better On-Street Bus Stops (Boyle 2015)âexamples of current practice to address challenging bus stop locations and working with public agency partners to develop bus stops that meet transit agency and passenger needs. 5.2 Stop Consolidation Description Bus stop spacing is optimizedâtypically by increasing the spacingâso that buses make fewer stops along the route while minimally affecting the area served by transit. Purpose Every time a bus stops to serve passengers it can experience delay above the time required to serve those passengers. Typical types of delay that can be experienced with each stop include: â¢ Acceleration and deceleration delay. Extra time used slowing to a stop and subsequently accelerating back up to speed com- pared to going past the stop at speed. A typical value is 10 s of delay when traveling at 25 mph; the delay is higher as the bus speed between stops increases.
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 53 â¢ Door opening and closing time. Stopped time before and after passengers board and alight. Typical values are 2 to 5 s. â¢ Traffic signal delay. After serving passengers, the bus may need to wait for the traffic light to turn green again, when it could have made it through the signal if there was not a bus stop. Typical delays can range from 0 to 70 s, depending on when the bus is ready to depart the stop and the traffic signal cycle length. â¢ Reentry delay. If the bus has to wait for other traffic to clear before it can pull out of the stop and back into the traffic, it experiences reentry delay. Typical values range from 0 to 10 s at stops not at a traffic signal to 0 s up to the length of the green interval at a traffic signal (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). When buses tend to stop at the same set of stops along the route each trip, the headways between buses will be more consistent and the reliability will be better. Applications Stop consolidations are typically implemented either (1) as a route-specific or system-wide effort to improve bus travel times, or (2) in conjunction with introducing new types of bus ser- vice such as limited-stop or BRT routes. Companion Strategies Stop consolidations are often implemented in conjunction with stop relocations (Section 5.1). Constraints When a bus stop is closed, passengers will need to be able to safely walk to the next-closest stop, which means that a sidewalk connection needs to be available, and, if applicable, safe crossing opportunities need to exist at any intersections along the way. This issue is particularly important for elderly passengers and those with disabilities; if they cannot access another stop, they will need to switch to paratransit service, which is typically considerably more expensive for the transit operator to provide (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). The experience of several transit agencies that have implemented system-wide stop consoli- dations is that passengers will object to having their stop removed if it means they have to walk farther to the next stop, and that this is the biggest obstacle to overcome when implementing a stop consolidation program. Twelve of 59 agencies responding to a survey said that they had considered, but not implemented, stop consolidations due to ADA reasons (e.g., no accessible route to the next stop) or customer convenience considerations (Boyle 2013). Care is required when consolidating stops adjacent to the stops with the highest passenger vol- umes along a street or route because shifting additional passengers to the busiest stops may reduce the stopâs capacity to serve buses. When the number of buses scheduled to use the stop is at least half the stopâs capacity, the potential for âbus stop failureâ is increased; this is where a bus has to wait to enter the stop because buses ahead of it are still using the stop (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). Benefits Bus Delay Benefits The experience of some transit agencies that have measured the impact of stop consolidations is summarized in the following: â¢ TriMet experienced a 5.7% reduction in travel time as a result of a 6% to 8% increase in average stop spacing. No change in ridership was observed (El-Geneidy et al. 2006). â¢ Muni experienced 4.4% to 14.6% increases in speeds as a result of reducing the average stop spacing from 5.9 to 2.5 stops per mile (Diaz and Hinebaugh 2009).
54 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies â¢ LACMTA (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) found that bus run- ning times for its first two BRT routes, which operated limited-stop service in conjunction with existing local bus service on the same corridors, were 23% to 29% shorter relative to the local route, two-thirds of which was attributed to stopping less frequently (Skehan 2001). A survey found that bus stop consolidation was most frequently cited as the âmost successful action takenâ to improve bus speeds (cited by eight out of 41 agencies responding to the ques- tion) (Boyle 2013). Reliability Benefits The reliability benefit of stop consolidation is not yet well-quantified, but it is believed to improve reliability since bus stopping patterns along a route will be more consistent from trip to trip (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). Other Benefits RTS (Regional Transit System in Gainesville, Florida) reported fewer motorist complaints due to being stuck behind stopped buses as a result of its stop consolidation program. It also reports that the money saved by not having to maintain as many stops can be used to upgrade the amenities of the remaining stops (Boyle 2013). Although some passengers may have to walk farther than before to get to or from a bus stop, their overall travel time is typically shorter due to their faster trip on the bus (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). Cost Considerations â¢ Planning and coordination costs. Moderate to high, depending on the size of the effort (e.g., route versus system). Passenger volumes, stop spacing, and pedestrian infrastructure will need to be analyzed for each stop included in the study. The experience of transit agencies that have implemented stop consolidations is that a significant amount of public outreach is required to educate the public and local decision makers about the benefits of stop consolidation. Typically, some stops that had been slated for closure will be preserved based on community feedback. If the transit agency has not yet developed a formal bus stop spacing policy, doing so is a necessary first step. â¢ Capital costs. Low on a per-stop basis; consist of removing infrastructure (e.g., bus stop poles, shelter) from stops that are to be closed. â¢ Maintenance costs. Maintenance costs will be eliminated for the closed stops. â¢ Bus operations costs. Strategy reduces bus travel time and travel time variability. If elderly passengers and those with disabilities cannot or will not access the next-closest stop, they may switch to more costly paratransit service. â¢ Other user costs. On roadways without opportunities for motorists to pass stopped buses, motorists will experience fewer instances of having to stop and wait for a bus to serve pas- sengers. Pavement damage due to bus stopping activity will cease at the closed stops. Current passengers whose stops are closed will have to walk farther to access a stop. Implementation Examples Examples of cities that have implemented bus stop consolidations are: â¢ Columbus, Ohio; â¢ Gainesville, Florida; â¢ Los Angeles, California; â¢ Portland, Oregon;
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 55 â¢ San Francisco, California; and â¢ Spokane, Washington (Boyle 2013, Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). In addition, 30 of 59 transit agencies responding to a survey for TCRP Synthesis 110 had con- solidated stops to improve bus speeds. Implementation Guidance Bus stop consolidation is probably the single most effective strategy a transit agency can undertake on its own to improve bus speeds and reliability. A necessary first step is to adopt a formal, defensible stop spacing policy. AASHTO (2014) suggests that stop spacing should take into consideration âdevelopment density, street patterns, and the type of service operated,â with suggested maximum spacing for local service of 400 ft in downtown areas, 660 ft in urban areas, and up to Â¼ mile in suburban areas. However, a number of sources suggest longer typical stop spacing, as indicated in Table 7. In general, when existing stop spacing is every block or two, block lengths are reasonably short (e.g., 250 ft or less), and adequate pedestrian infrastructure exists, the stop spacing can be increased up to a three-block spacing without requiring passengers to travel more than one extra block to access a bus stop, and with only a minimal reduction in the area served by the remaining stops. Once a stop spacing policy has been adopted, attention can be turned to implementing it. One approach would be to select one route with relatively high ridership as a pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of stop consolidation. After a successful first project, the program could be expanded to other routes or the system as a whole. TCRP Synthesis 110 (Boyle 2013) pro- vides case studies of how transit agencies in Columbus, Ohio; Gainesville, Florida; and Spokane, Washington, have implemented stop consolidations, providing valuable lessons learned on the public outreach aspects of this type of project. A flexible approach to applying stop spacing policy is also suggested. There will be situations where the locations of passenger trip generators, infrastructure constraints, and similar fac- tors will suggest a different stop spacing than the typical spacing given in the policy. A flexible approach also allows the transit agency to respond to community concerns about stop closures by accommodating those concerns, where justified, or by presenting information showing the benefits of closing stops. This approach helps build goodwill within the community and support for future projects. Additional Resources â¢ Proposed Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities in the Public Right-of-Way (U.S. Access Board 2011)âdesign guidance for evaluating the accessibility of pedestrian routes to the next- closest stop. Locaon Source Downtown Urban Suburban Rural Portland, Oregon (TriMet 2010) 780 780 1,000 >1,000 Brish Columbia, Canada (BC Transit 2010) 660 750 980 1,250 Florida DOT (2007) and TCRP Report 19 (Texas Transportaon Instute 1996) 600 750 1,000 1,250 Table 7. Example guidelines for typical bus stop spacing for local service.
56 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies â¢ TCRP Report 165: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013)âChapter 6 provides analytical methods for estimating the compo- nents of delay and dwell time associated with serving a bus stop. â¢ TCRP Synthesis 110: Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds (Boyle 2013)âimplementation examples. 5.3 Route Design Description A routeâs alignment is adjusted to provide a faster, more direct trip from origin to destination for the majority of passengers. Purpose A routing that made sense in the past may not meet the needs of current pas- sengers. Land uses may have changed, and the passenger demands that justified a diversion off a major street may no longer exist. Traffic patterns may have changed, and a turn that was once relatively easy for a bus to make may now involve consid- erable delay. Keeping buses on major streets allows them to take advantage of the reduced delays and potential signal progression provided on those streets. Revisit- ing the route design allows a transit agency to identify whether opportunities exist for streamlining the route without significantly compromising transit access. Applications Because adjusting a given routeâs alignment may affect service coverage and transfer opportunities to other routes, route designs are often evaluated on a system-wide basis as part of a comprehensive operations analysis or for a defined part of the system as part of a more-localized planning effort. However, route adjustments can also be undertaken on an individual route basis. Companion Strategies Route alignment changes may require stop relocations (Section 5.1), particularly at locations where the route currently turns. When it is not possible to relocate a turn, other strategies can be considered to minimize the delay at the turn. These include bus-only turn lanes (Section 6.1), passive signal timing changes (Section 6.4), phase reservice (Section 6.5), traffic signal shadow- ing (Section 6.6), transit signal priority (Section 6.7), bus-only signal phases (Section 6.9), and pre-signals (Section 6.11). Constraints The role of some bus routes in a transit system may be to meet service coverage needs rather than to provide quick, point-to-point service along a corridor, and it may be more difficult to make adjustments to these routes. Nevertheless, in these situations, it is still worthwhile to investigate whether providing more-direct routings that require a transfer would provide similar or better overall travel times. The constituency served by a route diversion may object to losing the diversion and having to walk farther to access service. Safe pedestrian infrastruc- ture to the next-closest bus stop will need to exist for stops that are closed as a result of a route realignment.
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 57 Benefits The time saved by eliminating route diversions and reducing delays caused by extra turns can be used to offset travel time increases due to traffic congestion or increased route patronage, to provide more schedule recovery time at the end of a route to combat reliability problems, to extend the route to provide more coverage with the same number of buses, orâwhen service is frequent and the time saved is large enoughâto reduce the number of buses required to serve the route. These options are discussed in detail in Appendix B. Reducing the number of turns made typically reduces travel time variability. A survey of 41 transit agencies found that route design changes were tied for second with transit signal priority (Section 6.7) as the âmost successful action takenâ to improve bus speeds (cited by six out 41 agencies) (Boyle 2013). Cost Considerations Since route realignments frequently involve stop relocations, the cost considerations listed in Section 5.1 also apply to route design changes. â¢ Planning and coordination costs. Moderate to high, depending on the size of the effort (e.g., route versus system). For diversions under study to be eliminated, the number of passengers benefiting from the diversion (i.e., boarding or alighting in that segment of the route) will need to be compared to the number of passengers not benefiting from the diversion (i.e., those already on board and not alighting in that segment of the route), along with their respective travel times. Turns in the route will require study to determine the magnitude of the existing delay (e.g., from field data collection or AVL data) and traffic analysis to determine the poten- tial time savings from alternative routes. Outreach to passengers and other stakeholders that would be affected by changing the route is suggested. â¢ Capital costs. Relatively low on a per-stop basis; consist of removing infrastructure (e.g., bus stop poles, shelter) from stops that are to be closed and installing infrastructure at any new stops that are created (see Section 5.1). â¢ Maintenance costs. Bus stop maintenance costs may go up or down, depending on the net change in the number of stops resulting from the route realignment and any upgrades in stop amenities that are installed in conjunction with developing new bus stops. â¢ Bus operations costs. Strategy typically reduces route mileage and the number of stops made at intersections, which lowers the bus expenses related to these factors (e.g., fuel costs). â¢ Other user costs. Passengers using stops that will be closed will have to walk farther to access bus service, but passengers not served by a diversion will experience shorter travel times. The net effect on pavement damage will depend on the net change in the number of bus stops and the type of pavement provided at the stops. Implementation Examples A survey of 59 transit agencies found that 39 had streamlined one or more routes, with an average of 19% of the original route length being affected (Boyle 2013). Implementation Guidance A starting point for considering route design changes is to develop a route design policy if one does not already exist at the transit agency. Other transit agenciesâ policies can be consulted for guidance. The policy can be expressed as guiding principles for developing routes or can use more quantifiable measures, such as stating that route diversions should produce a net travel
58 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies time benefit for passengers or setting a maximum value for the route mileage divided by the straight-line distance from end to end. Having and following a route design policy can make it easier to justify and explain route design changes to passengers affected by changes. Exten- sive changes to the route design may require a service equity evaluation under FTA Title VI (FTA 2012). It is beyond the scope of this guidebook to further discuss transit route design; however, Walker (2012) uses laymanâs language to explain the issues involved with designing transit routes from both the transit agency and passenger perspectives. Additional Resources â¢ Highway Capacity Manual 2010 (Transportation Research Board 2010)âanalytical methods for estimating the delay associated with turns at signalized and unsignalized intersections. â¢ Human Transit (Walker 2012)âseveral chapters discuss route design concepts. â¢ TCRP Report 113: Using Archived AVL-APC Data to Improve Transit Performance and Man- agement (Furth et al. 2006)âSection 4.4.6 covers the use of AVL data to analyze speed and delay issues; Section 4.7 covers the use of APC data to analyze passenger demand, which is useful for quantifying the potential impact to passengers of route changes. 5.4 Fare Payment Changes Description Changes are made in how or where bus fares are paid, with the intent of reducing the time required to pay fares. Some types of fare payment changes are implemented in conjunction with all-door boarding, which further speeds up the boarding process. Purpose Dwell times can be a significant direct component of a busâs overall travel time along a route. In addition, when dwell times are long enough to cause a bus to fall out of the traffic signal progres- sion provided along a street, they can lead to the bus experiencing traffic signal delay. As discussed in the Benefits subsection, different fare payment methods involve widely different service times, both within a given fare payment method (e.g., cash payment with coins versus cash payment with bills and coins) and between fare payment methods (e.g., proof of payment versus magnetic stripe card) (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). Saving 2 s or more per passenger, when multiplied by the number of boarding passengers per trip, can result in significant time savings, particularly when traffic signal delays can be avoided at high-volume stops. In addition, certain kinds of fare payment methods can allow multiple passengers to board at once, which also speeds up the boarding process. For example, when buses have wide front doors that allow two passengers to board at once, one door channel can be used for passen- gers needing to use the farebox, while the other channel can be used for passengers with flash passes. Off-board fare payment, when combined with a proof-of-payment fare inspection system, can allow boarding passengers to use any door to board, which is the fastest boarding scenario of all.
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 59 Applications Off-board fare payment is often a feature of BRT service but can also be considered for any route or stop experiencing high passenger volumes. When having bus drivers check the fare of every passenger is a transit policy or public relations necessity, it can still be possible to provide fare machines at the busiest bus stops, thereby shifting the most time-consuming part of the boarding process (purchasing the fare) off the bus; passengers simply show their receipts when boarding. New, faster fare payment technologies can be considered as existing farebox equip- ment reaches the end of its functional life, or they can be offered as a new option (e.g., ticketing via mobile phone) in addition to existing options. Pricing (e.g., substantial discounts) can be used to encourage greater use of prepaid fare media such as ticket books or bus passes. Companion Strategies Changes to the fare payment process are typically implemented as stand-alone changes, either as part of a system-wide change, as a feature of premium bus service, or in response to high passenger demands on specific routes or at specific stops. Constraints Potential issues to be addressed with any change to the fare payment system include costs (capital, operating, and maintenance) and enforcement, particularly when considering off- board fare collection and proof-of-payment systems. Costs are discussed in the Cost Consid- erations subsection, while guidance on addressing fare enforcement is available in some of the references listed in the Additional Resources section. Vandalism of ticket vending machines may be a concern. An environmental justice or fare equity analysis may need to be performed when changing fares or the method of paying a fare (FTA 2012). Benefits A change in the fare payment method can result in shorter times for passengers to board a bus. Table 8 provides typical per-passenger boarding values along with ranges of service times provided in the literature. The fastest method is simply to board with no interaction with the bus operator, as happens in a proof-of-payment system. The next fastest method is to present a fare payment receipt (e.g., pass, transfer, receipt from an off-board fare machine, mobile phone display) for inspection. The passenger boarding times associated with fare payment methods that Average Passenger Service Time (s/p) Situa on Observed Range Typical No fare payment 1.75â2.5 1.75 Visual inspecon (paper transfer/flash pass/mobile phone) 1.6â2.6 2.0 Single cket or token into farebox 2.9â5.1 3.0 Exact change into farebox 3.1â8.4 4.5 Mechanical cket validator 3.5â4.0 4.0 Magnec stripe card 3.7â6.5 5.0 Smart card 2.5â3.2 2.75 Source: TCRP Report 165 (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013), Exhibit 6-4. Note: s/p = seconds per passenger. Table 8. Passenger boarding times by fare payment method (level boarding).
60 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies require interacting with a farebox increase with (1) increasing complexity of the transaction (e.g., inserting multiple bills) and (2) increasing likelihood of having to redo part of the process (e.g., reinserting a rejected bill, reswiping a magnetic stripe card). Proof-of-payment fare systems allow passengers to use all available doors to board. Passengers will not divide themselves evenly between each door, but a substantial reduction in overall board- ing times will result nevertheless. Table 9 indicates the percentage of passengers using the busiest door channel with all-door boarding compared to boarding through a single door channel. (A door channel is one lane entering or exiting a door; thus a wide door that allows two people in or out at once provides two door channels.) One transit agency responding to a survey reported a 9% travel time savings from a combination of off-board fare payment and all-door boarding (Boyle 2013). A study of a BRT line in Seattle found that travel times through a 5-mile corridor improved by 10% to 16% (2 to 3.5 min) after off-board fare payment and all-door boarding was implemented in conjunction with headway changes (Ryus et al. 2015). As with any strategy involving spot locations, the dwell time saved at a given bus stop may in some cases be lost at the next traffic signal since the bus simply arrives at the traffic signal earlier and waits longer. Therefore, the total time savings along a route or street as a direct result of reduced dwell time will typically be less than the sum of the dwell time savings from individual stops (see Section 4.4). However, because buses will sometimes also be able to make green lights that they otherwise would have missed if the dwell time had been longer, an additional indirect benefit is the opportunity to avoid traffic signal delay at some intersections, which will also serve to reduce overall bus travel times. This potential signal delay avoidance depends on such fac- tors as the traffic signal timing, average dwell time, and the variability of dwell times, and thus no simple answer can be provided. Appendix C of the TCRP Project A-39 final report (TCRP Web-Only Document 66), building on work by St. Jacques and Levinson (1997), describes an analytical method for estimating the likelihood that a bus will be able to make the green light at a downstream signal. Cost Considerations â¢ Planning and coordination costs. Moderate to high, depending on the size of the effort (e.g., route versus system). Introducing new fare payment technology (e.g., smart cards, mobile ticketing), off-board fare payment, or proof of payment may involve a feasibility study, an implementation plan (including planning for new staff functions such as fare inspectors), a pilot project, environmental justice or fare equity studies, and customer outreach, among other actions. Locating ticket machines on bus stop platforms may require coordination with the local roadway agency. â¢ Capital costs. Moderate to high, depending on the number of buses or bus stops involved. Per-unit costs for off-board ticket vending machines used for BRT systems ranged from $25,000 to $60,000 in 2009, and were higher with a smart-card option. More than one machine Available Percent Passengers Through the Busiest Door Channel Door Channels Boarding Alighng 2 60% 75% 3 45% 45% 4 35% 35% 6 25% 25% Source: TCRP Report 165 (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013), Exhibit 6-58. Table 9. Spreading of passengers between door channels with multiple-channel boarding.
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 61 may be required at high-volume stops or for redundancy when no onboard fare payment option is provided. Additional centralized hardware may be required for a complete system. When used with a proof-of-payment system, some fare payment options (e.g., smart cards, magnetic stripe cards) require special equipment for fare inspectors to check that the fare has been paid and has not expired (Diaz and Hinebaugh 2009). â¢ Maintenance costs. It is estimated that one full-time employee is required for every 25 ticket vending machines to maintain them. Parts and training will be required for new equipment (Diaz and Hinebaugh 2009). â¢ Bus operations costs. Potential new and ongoing costs include those for staff to collect money from ticket vending machines (one full-time employee per 25 machines), security staff, fare inspectors (for proof of payment), and software licenses for the fare collection system, as well as electrical and communications costs for off-board fare equipment (Diaz and Hinebaugh 2009). â¢ Other user costs. The impacts of fare payment changes are mostly limited to the transit agency and its passengers. To the extent that motorists are delayed by stopped buses and dwell time is reduced as a result of the fare payment changes, motorists could also benefit from the changes. Implementation Examples â¢ Nine transit agencies responding to a survey had implemented proof of payment on their BRT routes (Larwin and Koprowski 2012). â¢ Eight transit agencies responding to a survey (two of which operated BRT) had implemented off-board fare collection, six allowed all-door boarding on selected high-volume routes, and one (San Francisco Muni) allowed all-door boarding on all routes (Boyle 2013). â¢ Twenty-two transit agencies responding to a survey used pricing to encourage greater use of prepaid fare media (Boyle 2013). Implementation Guidance There are four main approaches to making changes to how fares are paid when the objective is to reduce dwell times and improve bus speeds. In order of easiest to hardest, these are: â¢ Encourage greater use of prepaid fare media. This approach has the lowest capital costs. However, the trade-off will need to be assessed between the potential operational benefit and the possible loss of revenue if bigger discounts are used to encourage greater prepaid media use. The magnitude of the benefit will depend on the current level of prepaid fare media usage, the willingness of passengers to make larger prepaid purchases, and the attractiveness of the prepaid options compared to paying a fare for each trip. The entire system will benefit to some degree. â¢ Off-board fare collection. This approach has shown benefits for high-volume BRT routes but may not be cost-effective for lower-volume routes (Larwin and Koprowski 2012). The cost of installing, maintaining, and operating ticket vending machines will need to be weighed against the operational benefits of reducing dwell time. Off-board fare collection can be implemented without proof of payment, with passengers showing their fare receipt to the bus operator. â¢ Proof of payment with all-door boarding. This approach offers the greatest potential time savings but requires careful attention to fare enforcement, both to protect fare revenue and to avoid perceptions that too many passengers are not paying their fares. Fare inspectors help provide a security presence onboard vehicles and at stations, which may improve passengersâ perceptions of security while using transit (Larwin and Koprowski 2012). All of the issues relating to off-board fare collection also relate to all-door boarding. â¢ Changes in fare collection technology. This is the longest-term approach because of the costs involved and the system-wide impact. Dwell time reductions will be realized to the
62 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies extent that passengers switch to the new technology from a slower fare payment method; technologies that are convenient to use and offer a financial incentive for their use will be more attractive to passengers. The entire system will benefit to some degree. Some tech- nologies, such as smart cards, provide the potential for obtaining useful information about how passengers use the transit system, which can assist the transit agency with its planning efforts (Multisystems et al. 2003). Additional Resources â¢ TCRP Report 94: Fare Policies, Structures, and Technologies: Updateâinformation and guid- ance on developing fare policies and structures, with 13 case studies on a range of fare initia- tives (Multisystems et al. 2003). â¢ TCRP Report 165: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013)âChapter 6 provides analytical methods for estimating the change in dwell time that would result from changes in fare payment methods, mix of fare payment media used, or number of doors available for boarding; contains analytical methods for esti- mating the change in average bus speeds resulting from changes in dwell time. â¢ TCRP Synthesis 96: Off-Board Fare Payment Using Proof-of-Payment Verificationâlessons learned from proof-of-payment implementations, including information on addressing fare evasion concerns, with seven case studies (Larwin and Koprowski 2012). 5.5 Vehicle or Equipment Changes Description The type of bus used on a route or the equipment used on a bus is changed to allow passengers to board and alight faster, to provide improved interior circulation, to improve vehicle perfor- mance, to use more-direct routings, or a combination of these. Purpose Buses and their equipment can be changed in a variety of ways that can affect bus travel times: â¢ Larger buses. Larger buses (e.g., articulated, double-deck) can be employed on a route to address increasing ridership and mitigate crowding occurring inside the bus that slows boarding (e.g., waiting for passengers to move to the back of the bus) or alighting (e.g., difficulty getting past people in the aisle to get to the exit door). Articulated buses generally provide space for more doors. â¢ Smaller buses. Smaller buses can be employed on lower-volume routes as a way to use streets or to make turns that larger vehicles cannot, thus allowing more-direct routings. â¢ More and/or wider doors. More door channels allow passengers to enter and exit the bus more quickly (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). â¢ Low-floor buses. Low-floor buses allow passengers to enter and exit more quickly than high- floor buses due to the lack of stairs. Wheelchair ramps on low-floor buses deploy more quickly than wheelchair lifts on high-floor buses (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). â¢ Changed seating configuration. Seats can be removed (e.g., 2 + 1 seating) or realigned (e.g., perimeter seating) to provide a larger aisle for standees and more room for passenger
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 63 circulation at stops. Seats can also be selectively removed to provide storage areas for stroll- ers, luggage, and so forth (Boyle 2013). â¢ Higher-performance buses. Hybrid buses, for example, offer better acceleration and hill- climbing ability than comparably sized diesel buses (Boyle 2013), which may offer significant travel time savings on routes with many stops that travel through hilly terrain. Applications Changes to bus models (including equipment) are typically made as part of a transit agencyâs normal vehicle replacement program (i.e., replacing buses that have reached the end of their useful lives), in response to increases in service, or as part of the introduction of specialized or premium bus services (e.g., BRT). Therefore, the benefits of the change may require a period of years to reach full effect or may be limited to specific routes (e.g., BRT routes). Companion Strategies The introduction of larger buses may require lengthening bus stops (Section 7.2). Providing more or wider doors helps support fare payment strategies that allow the use of multiple doors or door channels (Section 5.4). Measures that reduce the number of times buses must stop along the route, such as stop relocation (Section 5.1), stop consolidation (Section 5.2), route design (Section 5.3), transit signal priority (Section 6.7), and bus lanes (Section 8.1), help offset the slower acceleration associated with larger buses. Constraints Changes to bus models and equipment need to be coordinated with potential changes to maintenance facilities to accommodate the new models or equipment with maintenance staff training and the need to stock new or more spare parts. Introducing longer buses may require that existing bus stops be lengthened, which may affect on-street parking or require changes to bus pullouts. Longer buses accelerate more slowly than conventional 40-ft buses, which will offset at least some of their potential time savings benefits. Reducing the number of seats will provide more interior room for standing passengers but will reduce the overall quality of service that passengers experience. Perimeter or longitudinal (i.e., facing the aisle) seats may be perceived as less comfortable than seats that face forward. An environmental justice or service equity analysis may need to be performed associated with the use of new and improved bus models (FTA 2012). Benefits â¢ Larger buses. To the extent that the number of standees is reduced, dwell time can be reduced. Boarding takes an average 0.5 s longer per passenger when standees are present (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013); alighting times may also be increased if passengers have trouble getting to an exit door due to crowded aisles. â¢ Smaller buses. The potential benefit is the difference in travel time that could be achieved via a more direct route accessible with the smaller bus relative to a less direct route usable by a larger bus. â¢ More and/or wider doors. More doors or door channels allow more passengers to board and alight simultaneously, thus reducing dwell times. See Table 9 for typical values of door usage.
64 A Guidebook on Transit-Supportive Roadway Strategies â¢ Low-floor buses. Boarding and alighting takes an average 0.5 s less per passenger on low-floor buses compared to high-floor buses (Kittelson & Associates et al. 2013). â¢ Changed seating configuration. To the extent that interior circulation is improved, board- ing and alighting times may decrease, thus improving dwell time, but research is lacking to quantify the magnitude of this effect. â¢ Higher-performance buses. To the extent a new bus model offers better performance than the current bus model and that the route characteristics (e.g., large number of stops made, hills) are well-suited to higher-performance buses, running time improvements between stops can be realized. Cost Considerations â¢ Planning and coordination costs. New vehicles can have low incremental costs since speed- and delay-related factors would normally become additional evaluation criteria when select- ing a particular bus model and equipment to order. â¢ Capital costs. New vehicles can have a variety of incremental costs relative to the existing bus type (e.g., size, propulsion system, amenities), depending on the type of bus being considered. Costs may be more fairly compared on a per-seat or per-passenger basis rather than a per- vehicle basis. Existing bus maintenance facilities may need to be altered to accommodate larger buses if they are not already accommodated by the facility design (Hemily and King 2008). â¢ Maintenance costs. New bus models will require training for maintenance staff and new spare parts inventories. Larger (e.g., articulated) buses have more components and greater per-vehicle maintenance costs relative to standard buses (Hemily and King 2008). â¢ Bus operations costs. Larger buses will have poorer fuel economy than comparable standard buses. If larger buses are being used to maintain hourly passenger capacity on a route while using fewer buses, labor costs will decrease (fewer bus operators required), but dwell times will increase (more boarding passengers per stop per bus due to longer headways), which will tend to increase bus travel times. â¢ Other user costs. The impacts of changes to vehicle types are mostly limited to the transit agency and its passengers. Implementation Examples A survey of 59 transit agencies found that many had implemented some form of vehicle type or equipment change as a way to improve bus speeds: â¢ Introduced or increased the use of low-floor buses: 33. â¢ Introduced or increased the use of different-sized vehicles (including paratransit vehicles): 22. â¢ Introduced better-performing vehicles: 17. â¢ Changed seating configurations: 8. â¢ Changed door configurations: 4 (Boyle 2013). Implementation Guidance Because of their slower acceleration, longer buses are better suited from a speed perspective for routes where buses do not have to stop as often (e.g., limited-stop or BRT routes). Implementing strategies that help reduce the number of times a bus must stop due to traffic congestion or traf- fic control can help offset the impact of slower acceleration on bus speeds. When larger buses are used to serve the same number of passengers using fewer buses, dwell times will increase unless other strategies (e.g., all-door boarding or other fare payment changes) are used to offset the increased passenger boarding and alighting volumes per bus (Hemily and King 2008).
Bus Operations Strategy Toolbox 65 Anticipating the future use of different types of buses than those currently used when plan- ning new maintenance facilities greatly facilitates the eventual introduction of those buses since the facilities do not require expensive modifications at a later date (Hemily and King 2008). Additional Resources â¢ TCRP Synthesis 75: Uses of Higher Capacity Buses in Transit Service (Hemily and King 2008)â transit agency experiences with introducing larger buses into service. â¢ TCRP Synthesis 110: Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds (Boyle 2013)âimplementation examples.