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54 This chapter describes approaches to making the most of infrastructure resources. It starts with an overview of the questions to ask when infrastructure resources and needs are being assessed. Next, it summarizes the various restroom arrangements in the context of convenience, cost, and other practical considerations. The section on infrastructure good practices explains the tools and methods for inventorying existing resources. Examples are provided from transit agencies (TAs) that have successfully participated in development initiatives, carried out build- ing programs, installed safe and comfortable portable structures, and negotiated shared use of public and private facilities. Infrastructure Considerations Restroom resources are set in an existing built environment. Whether a terminal area or route is fixed in an industrial, business, rural, or residential location will affect what restroom facili- ties or utilities are present. These characteristics change with regional and transit development. Long-term infrastructure considerations that can affect restroom access include geography, climate, and weather. Geography determines aspects of the built environment that have an impact when the presence of bridges, tunnels, and highways extends time between safe stop- ping points. Weather influences the infrastructure characteristics, such as how practical portable C H A P T E R 3 Charting and Developing Infrastructure Organizational environment and practices Infrastruc- ture and capital planning Route planning SchedulingService delivery Cost assess- ment and evaluation
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 55 restrooms are on the hottest days, or the chance of slipping on icy approaches during the winter. Climate concerns highlight the importance of temperature extremes, flooding, and serious storms in all aspects of transit operations, including restroom access. Any company with a transit centerâthey have the facilities for the operator to pull in, unload, and they have X amount of time to get off, go to the restroom, come back. Or they have somebody stand at the bus and load passengers while they go do their whatever and come back. âScheduling Interviewer Restroom availability and need do not stay the same over time, even along a single route, despite some unchangeable characteristics. Social changes have an impact on the infrastructure of restroom access. For example, since the turn of the century, dramatic increases in security concerns have meant that many public organizations and private businesses allow only employ- ees to use their restrooms. Changing demographics affect the transit service needs of a neigh- borhood and can influence local business policies. The project participants described how the increased presence of homeless encampments, especially on the West Coast, can make it hard to maintain freestanding facilities or use portable toilets, even temporarily. Another example: The expanding understanding of gender differences means that nonbinary facilities are in greater demand in some locations but not in others. These variables may all affect choices of and plans for restroom facilities over time and between locations. Types of Restrooms This section discusses how existing infrastructure can be accessed at transportation com- panies, businesses, or public-sector facilities such as colleges, hospitals, or libraries. It covers examples of cost-efficient restroom building or access linked to transit-oriented development planning and other partnerships that TAs have demonstrated. Finally, it reviews the steps needed to develop infrastructure involving new building on TA property or other locations to address restroom needs with early and ongoing coordination of service delivery, scheduling, and transit planning departments as well as transit operators. Figure 3-1 presents the types of restroom arrangements identified in WMATAâs study evaluating the options for improving access to restrooms (WMATA 2018, p. 10). These are use agreements, partnering with other transit agencies to share both resources and plans, joint devel- opment with new construction planned near routes, extended hours of access, modification of routes, new structures, and portable restrooms. Each is defined in terms of cost and efficiency, with use and lease agreements being the most cost-effective when additional restroom access is required. This chapter groups these into restrooms on transit property, sharing existing rest- rooms, new building and joint development, and portables. Later chapters will cover the details of use agreements (Chapter 6), extended hours (Chapters 5 and 6), and route modifications (Chapter 4). Restrooms Located on Transit Agency Property Facilities owned by the TA are typically the preferred locations for vehicle operators to use because of the control the TA can have over access, maintenance, and costs. At complete transit centers at ends of lines, operators typically have a layover time that should allow for restroom use, safe places to park, crew rooms, and relief staff to take care of vehicles and passengers for those in a hurry. Built restroom facilities are commonly available for rail operators at terminals, and these are often used by bus operators as well. Even the TA terminal restrooms may be closed when buses are still in service. Building out- side access doors to the restroom or other keyed secure entrances at these locations would solve
56 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access that have an available restroom on non-WMATA property within with establishments to ensure that restrooms remain available. Lease agreements are costlier but ensure restroom availability. partner transit agencies to determine mutual restroom needs. maintenance costs. A list of upcoming joint development sites and the status of development plans should be generated to determine if there is an opportunity to incorporate a restroom as part of a private include dedicated operator access and maintenance costs. Modifying routes to locate terminals within a 3-minute walk of terminals in non-commercial areas. are good candidates for new structures, as well as terminals where costs. While portable restrooms should not be a permanent solution, they may be a good interim option on WMATA property while a long-term solution is explored, as they are easy to install. Challenges with portable restrooms are potential for misuse and lack of accessibility and comfort with using portable restrooms among some operators. USE & LEASE AGREEMENTS SHARED FACILITIES JOINT DEVELOPMENT ROUTE MODIFICATIONS NEW STRUCTURES PORTABLE RESTROOMS EXTENDED HOURS OF ACCESS Source: WMATA (2018), p. 10. Figure 3-1. Types of restroom arrangements and considerations. this problem. However, most terminals are not built this way. Consideration can be given to extending open hours at terminals, but this may not be cost-effective. One TA restroom access committee estimated the costs for extending opening hours for a rail terminal to provide access for operators on later bus runs. They calculated hours per weekday and week, at overtime rate, as well as special transportation for the rail employee back to or from his or her division. There were also security concerns about access by the public. The access committee looked at an alternate
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 57 approach of diverting the bus in off hours to the TA headquarters, which had 24-hour security staff. Both approaches were considered prohibitive given the projected need. Where vehicles interface with other transportation partners, as with TA terminals, transpor- tation hub access may be limited because of different end-of-service times or security policies that allow access only to their own employees. Many TAs expressed their intention to improve this coordination of resources in the future as part of their increasing attention to restroom access concerns. The most satisfying experience among TAs and local unions (LUs) was often related to improving existing restrooms to resolve problems. In several cases, this happened after the TA source or LU leader had explained how intractable the other party was being about it. It became possible to realize small improvements with a big impact by â¢ Making inadequate restrooms usable by cleaning and repairing them, â¢ Upgrading portable restrooms to larger facilities that include hand-washing stations, â¢ Dealing with security by providing operators a swipe card or key code to access a restroom, or â¢ Establishing more frequent cleaning schedules and careful maintenance. Sharing Existing Resources Restrooms at businesses with parking, such as malls and stores at layover points or ends of lines, can work well as designated locations for scheduled or unplanned stops. Public organiza- tions like libraries or colleges, in particular, may already be used to arrangements for sharing or providing restrooms. All these places benefit from access to transit services. For example, a mall corporation built restrooms with outside access doors and parking bays for operators at a small TA to support the travel needs of its customers and employees. Vehicle operators may be able to rely on informal arrangements in which they access the locations they are aware of and com- fortable with, especially for unscheduled stops. Recommendations for establishing relationships with partners, including agreement types, are described in detail in Chapter 5. There are, of course, many obstacles to using existing restroom infrastructure. Some transit centers are not planned and built for operator needs and may not even have restrooms included. Park-and-ride locations and bus hubs are often simply transfer points. The restroom access team at a medium-sized TA described a cost-cutting process in which the restrooms in the design for a new building were eliminated to save space; perhaps this could be seen as an improvement on past practice, when operator restrooms were left out of office planning entirely. Frequently, transit centers, shops, and public locations close while bus service is still running, and sometime restroom facilities are shared with the public, which can delay operators on tight schedules. The barriers can be subtler, including prejudice or suspicion against vehicle operators. Are there places where drivers are discouraged from using restroom resources? Project participants talked of businesses that refused to provide access or stopped doing so because of bad behavior committed by operators or others using the restroom. It is possible that a businessâ or an indi- vidual staff personâs resistance is based on unconsidered attitudes rather than specific experi- ence with operators, although this was not raised by the TA or LU respondents in this project. The news demonstrates daily how implicit racial bias can interfere with perception of risk. It is important for TAs to recognize and deal with businesses where the staff may be suspicious of drivers because they are of a different race, language background, or country of origin. Fears related to gender, such as women feeling unsafe or nonbinary people feeling unwelcome, could also make accessing restrooms more difficult and stressful. Whether justified or not, the operatorsâ perceptions must be addressed to resolve these concerns.
58 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Building Sites for new structures will need to include a water source, a waste removal source, an electric power source, and communication lines for electronic badge access or security monitoring. The water source can range from tying into existing municipal water to installing refillable water tank. Water disposal can either be a holding tank or a connection to a septic/sewer system. There are also waterless eco-friendly structures that use other methods to obtain and dispose of water. There are additional considerations related to bus parking and proximity, consistent badge access/ technology, safety, security/monitoring of the facility and surrounding area, aesthetics, site and interior light- ing, visual privacy, adequate ventilation, and parking and access for maintenance. (WMATA 2018, p. 38) TAs may avoid building new restroom facilities because of the difficulty and potential lag in solving immediate problems, as well as the cost. However, there are advantages to the choice to build. Building on TA property or near existing transit hubs can solve problems that are potentially costly in the long run. By taking early opportunities to establish communication with capital planning and other stakeholders, the TA is in a better position both to efficiently install employee-only restrooms in TA buildings as they are built and renovated and to influence transit-oriented development to include restrooms that work for vehicle operators. Another thing that weâve doneâand we can thank planning a great deal forâis a chance at earlier development near our EOLs [ends of lines] and our stations. We, planning, and others have worked with the developers to incorporate a restroom in their building for our operators. Thatâs been a huge transition for us, where we now basically have the whole company thinking and talking about bath- rooms when theyâre making decisions for further growth, and thatâs something that we didnât have in the past. . . . A lot of our transit stations, we have adjacent land that either we have [a] service lot, parking lots on, or just vacant land, and part of our efforts as an organization is to facilitate transit-oriented development on those sites, but also on those sites [where] we have bus loops [or] layover locations that historically have not had operator restrooms there. The developers come in and present their site plans, and we do a design review. Weâve made an effort to ask them to incorporate or accommodate the buses, but also accommodate the operators by providing exclusive restrooms. Sometimes theyâre a little taken aback, and especially when they realize the cost associated with it. And in some cases, we have a lot of leverage with them, and so we definitely ask that of them. Other casesâthere is a site where we donât own the land, but the developerâs very progressive and transit oriented, and so heâs been very accommodating to realize that to partner with us, to realize that there is value in having buses adjacent to his development, and in order to have that, he has to be able to accommodate us with restrooms. But other developersâit varies. For the most part, in the last couple of years, itâs been pretty good partnerships with developers. âOperations Planning Director Getting capital planning, budgeting, route planning, and community partners involved in restroom access early enough makes a large difference. Significant decision points include long before plans are made, while they are being made, and as they are being executed. Table 3-1 shows some important decision points along with examples from TAs in the United States and Canada. The time frames for engaging with stakeholders at each point vary greatly between TAs but are often on the order of years. The tool âDevelopment and Planning Stepsâ in Transit Operator Restroom Access Planning Tools provides a framework for anticipating and following through on these important decision points. When it makes sense for TAs to build or install restrooms, the decision has to be based on an analysis of the vehicle operatorsâ current or future needs and of opportunities to share build- ing and reduce costs. Current needs can be explored through the analysis of existing operator complaints or comments; surveys or interviews with operators, dispatchers, and service super- visors; and data on service delays (see Chapter 6). TAs can anticipate future operator need and use volume by communicating about changes that could affect service, including in interactions with planners, with other transit providers, with the TA board, and with business development and community groups.
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 59 Installing Temporary Restrooms In the WMATA hierarchy shown earlier, portable restrooms are only a temporary choice. Their use is restricted to TA property for security reasons. Most TAs agreed, finding that portable toilets can be hard to keep clean and supplied. In addition to the smell and sanitary concerns, they are often vulnerable to vandalism and sometimes used for sleeping, drug use or sales, or sex. In some weather, vehicle operators cannot enter the portables because of the heat that builds up. A power source is usually needed to comply with OSHA requirements for heat in cold tem- peratures and for lighting. The typical location may not include electricity hook-up, although there are many options for solar-powered lighting and ceiling fans, ranging from retrofit ver- sions to full roof panels. Lighting can be set to turn on at dusk and off at dawn or controlled by the user. Access to water or hookup is another issue. While chemical toilets that are emptied periodically are usually allowed for temporary use, as at a construction site, one TA was forced to install water lines after the facility had been there over the limit set by the county. Other TAs found portable toilets to be acceptable permanent solutions for terminals with- out services and along routes. TAs in the project sample described their efforts to address safety, comfort, and health concerns. They emphasized the need to deploy high-quality, lock- able facilities restricted to TA employees and to secure them carefully in isolated locations. One jurisdiction was able to negotiate police presence at a terminal area with a portable toilet located near a growing homeless encampment where bus traffic fell off during evening hours. Figure 3-2 shows a portable toilet in what is regionally called a bear cage so users are not surprised by anyone as they exit. A strong lock is installed, which is more resistant to vandalism than a padlock. Table 3-1. Decision points for infrastructure planning. Decision Point to Anticipate Example During transit-oriented development planning by development companies or consortia A TA persuaded the developer to include driver restrooms with an outside door in a residential development. During city approval for transit-oriented development planning Because a TA had established a discussion with city planners, they were in the loop for these discussions. Before TA property is built or remodeled A small TA made sure that renovations required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) included employee-only facilities. While architectural plans are drawn upâquestions about restrooms should already be in the list Operations made it clear to the architects that an outside access with a key card system was needed for drivers to save time. When budgets are being expanded Funding for a small regional transportation district was linked with a sister cityâs, and because they had a plan for what was needed, it was easier to achieve their goals. When budgets are being restricted When pressure was put on planning for a transit hub, removing the employee-dedicated restroom was suggested. The restroom committee noticed this and was able to get it put back. Before construction is let out to bid When the TA initiated discussions about a proposed transit- oriented development project, temporary and permanent restroom solutions were defined and included in the request for proposal. After significant events such as accidents, news stories on outside urination, or union initiatives, the TA or municipality may be more willing to commit funds Extended union action during contract negotiations, supported by sympathetic press, resulted in expansive language (see Box 2-1).
60 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access One TA purchased high-quality trailers for locations where building or sharing was not an option. They had heat, light, two doors, and several stalls. At one terminal point, the trans- portation department figured significant cost savings were enough to justify the purchase by reducing layover time, because the walk to the available restroom was so long. Another was placed near a vacant lot described earlier in the quotation about leveraging transit-oriented development. When the brick-and-mortar restrooms are complete, the good-quality portable toilet will be used in other locations. Portable facilities are most often used where restroom access is limited because of construc- tion by the TA or in the community. There may be a temptation to neglect resulting issues for temporary installations, but, as clarified by OSHA in response to a trucking industry query, they must meet the standards for permanent toilets (OSHA 1999): Accordingly, OSHA would regard the substitution of portable toilets for water closets as a de minimis departure from 1910.141(c)(1)(i), under the following circumstances: (1) the lack of water or temporary nature of the installation makes water carriage systems impracticable; (2) the portable toilets are readily accessible by employees; (3) the portable toilets have adequate lighting, are secure, and have heating as necessary; and (4) they are well-maintained and properly serviced. If the portable toilets fail to meet the criteria set forth above, an other-than-serious citation should be issued. In addition, however, other rel- evant provisions of OSHA standards must be met. For example, hand-washing facilities must be provided pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.141(d)(1)-(2). Summary of Restroom Types Project participants emphasized data collection. Decision makers should ask around within the TA to find out what has worked so far and what has not and consult with peers at similar TAs. Vendors and contractors may also have insight to share. The most common order of consideration for restroom type selection was typically that security came first, then health and comfort, access times, and practicality in the context of vehicle operator need. How much cost mattered varied among the participants and in different situations. When it comes to building and renovations, consulting with capital planning and community representatives early and often is critical to achieving the best and most cost-effective results. Infrastructure Good Practices In the context of infrastructure, the tasks are as shown in Box 3-1. Figure 3-2. Portable restroom in bear cage.
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 61 Table 3-2 lists the questions that should be answered in the process. The starred questions are covered in more detail in other chapters. The âNeeds Assessment Chartâ is included in the Transit Operator Restroom Access Planning Tools workbook as a document that can be edited and printed and used for focus group discussions or surveys. The complete tool includes suggestions for collecting information by using TA sources and other project tools. Good Practices: Assess Restroom-Related Resources For smaller TAs, creating a catalog of current restrooms is as simple as having the bus service manager maintain a listâpreferably electronicâto allow for easy updating on a regular schedule. How- ever, the list is often informally maintained by operators themselves. This makes it harder for new operators, relief operators, and rest- room coordinators to know what is available. The TAs surveyed used formats ranging from simple spreadsheets that functioned as text documents to sophisticated interactive reporting systems on the company intranet. A format for collecting information on restroom resources, adapted and expanded from a spreadsheet developed by a large TA, is shown in Figure 3-3. It includes location and contact information, basic requirements for safety and compliance, and options such as available utili- ties and number of stalls. It covers current status concerns including lighting, supplies, and maintenance. The âPrintâ column allows the user to select the needed items to adapt it for use as a shortened inspection or update form. The form, âFinder-Inspection Checklist,â is provided in Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools with instructions for automatically inserting table data into a summary spreadsheet for combined location tracking. The step of identifying the pool of locations to see what facilities are used is a good time to identify current restroom conditions. Doing so lets the restroom team eliminate choices that are no longer of value and evaluate new options. Updating the list is likely to work best if there is time for live roundtable discussions, coordinated with stakeholders such as vehicle operators and field operations staff, in which opinions and facts can be evaluated quickly and a consensus Box 3-1. Infrastructure Policies and Practices Assess restroom resources. â¢ Catalog available and potential restrooms. â¢ Identify current restroom conditions. â¢ Coordinate with stakeholders. Install or renovate facilities where needed. â¢ Anticipate future locations, times, and volume of operator need. â¢ Communicate with and influence transit-oriented development. â¢ Communicate early with capital planning. â¢ Renovate existing resources to meet requirements. â¢ Plan employee-only restrooms in all transit agency buildings and partnership construction. â¢ Deploy high-quality, secure temporary facilities as needed. â¢ Adjust resources in response to changes. Assess restroom resources. â¢ Catalog available and potential restrooms. â¢ Identify current restroom conditions. â¢ Coordinate with stakeholders.
62 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access can be reached. This was the tenor during restroom committee meetings at four TAs observed around the United States: people knew the problems in their areas, they came in with lists and often with solutions, and they were able to combine their concerns to establish systemwide improvements. Larger and multimodal TAs are likely to have individuals with knowledge of different geo- graphical areas or technical issues (e.g., rail issues, maintenance needs, or safety). At one widely spread TA, the designated restroom coordinator set up a table of all bus routes and available stops with restrooms. It covers the two closest options and includes hours of access, distance to the restroom in feet and round-trip walking time, how many people could use the facility at a time, whether permission or a key was needed, and additional notes for each stop as needed. The TA called on the operations managers of two contracted management companies to fill in the infor- mation for their areas. Their format was adapted to produce the spreadsheet shown in Figure 3-4, which is included in Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools as âInventoryâClosest Rest- rooms to Routes.â Some TAs have an online system for adding locations and updating the list. Ch. 3 Coordination Among TA Departments and Other Stakeholders *What are the TA offices, departments and individuals that should be coordinated? *Is there an annual plan that can be consulted for addressing need? *What external stakeholders need to be involved? Where are the existing restroom facilities, and are they adequate? X What is currently used on what routes? X What is status of existing inventoryâsanitation, safety, accessibility? X Can the inventory be upgraded to meet needs? X Are there existing facilities that could be shared with other TAs or public sector organizations? X Are there current joint development opportunities for new facilities? X How can we involve the community in this assessment? *Are any restrooms more than a 5-minute walk away from the route and safe parking spot? *Is there a database of existing restroomsâpublic and privateâthat can be accessed? *Can routes be modified to take advantage of existing facilities? *Can extended hours or a special operator badge or key be put into use? Identify gaps in restroom facilities. X Are there safety/security concerns related to existing restrooms? X Do operators have complaints or suggestions about restroom access? X Are there places or times that operators stop or delay their vehicles frequently? X How many operators are affected by gaps or substandard facilities? X Can we rank locations by order of greatest need of improvement? *Are there reported health concerns? *Are there restroom-related delays? *Are there data that show service delays related to restroom use? *Are there customer complaint data related to operator restroom use? Identify costsâcurrent and potential. *What are specifics of costs (per individual stalls, infrastructure, etc.)? *What are current and potential maintenance costs? *What are costs of proposed changes? *Where is funding coming from? Identify unchangeable restrictions on restroom access. X Are there places where geography or the built environment leads to unavoidable delays? X Are there any climate or weather considerations that affect the restroom infrastructure? Table 3-2. Restroom needs and resources questions tool.
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 63 One medium-sized TA started with a simple Route Evaluation Report, as shown in Figure 3-5, that allowed bus operators to address the range of concerns they noted. To improve the detail provided and their ability to assess and respond to the suggestions, the transit director developed a set of pages on the company portal for bus operators to use to evaluate routes with respect to the infrastructure, scheduling, and planning components laid out in Figure 3-6. Operatorsâ suggestions are evaluated by moderators following a comment period open to all TA employees. Items are either implemented with a posted announcement or not approved. The latter are maintained for public view and can be raised or adapted in the future. As discussed in Chapter 1, knowing whom to talk to at any given point means paying atten- tion to the activities and schedules of the staff in other departments and, sometimes, beyond the TA. Coordinating may be as easy as crossing the hall to another department or the mayorâs Print Element Information Comments All Restroom location All Route to be served All Stop to be served All Owner type All Restroom type New Distance from route to restroom New Are there stairs or other barriers? Yes/No New Is the location ADA accessible? Yes/No New Is the facility shared with the public? Yes/No New Does the operator have to ask to use facility? Yes/No New Is there an electric power source for lights/heat, etc.? Yes/No New How many stalls or units? New Units designated for men (no.) New Designated for women (no.) New Gender not designated (no.) New Lock type Bolt/key/card/ code missing or broken New Does the facility have Toilet/urinal/ both New How many sinks are there? New Hand dryer Paper towels/blower/ none New Fixture for feminine hygiene? Yes/No New Is there a trash can available? Yes/No All Additional comments Contact Owner Contact Address Contact City Contact Zip Contact Phone Contact Email address Contact Contact name Figure 3-3. Spreadsheet for identifying and inspecting restroom resources.
64 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access office. More often, it requires paying attention to the calendars for decision making, as laid out in Table 3-1. For infrastructure, the stakeholdersâ map can be complex. When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) realized that resolving its pressing restroom concerns using commercial resources was not possible, given the reality of traffic, number of buses, and schedule pressures, it decided to build freestanding restrooms near bus terminal locations around the city. SFMTA began by engaging stakeholders broadly. It drafted a plan, then processed recom- mendations through three levels of internal decision making, held community meetings, and involved seven citywide departments and groups, as shown in Figure 3-7. SFMTA finally went Closest Restroom Location Comments Rte. Stop/ Layover/ Location Business Name/ Address Hours Open Open Access (Y/N)* Restroom Capacity Types** One-Way Walking Distance (ft) Time Needed at Location*** (min) End-of- Line (â) Mid- Route (â) Access limits and possible increased times related to barriers, stairs, sharing with public**** *Y = operators do not need to ask for access to the restrooms; may need a key code or card that will be provided previously. May be posted âcustomer only.â N = permission must be requested or key provided. **Single = one genderless restroom with a locking door that can only be used by one person at a time; #M and #F = number of restrooms for males and number for females, each with a locking door that can only be used by one person at a time; #NG = number of genderless restrooms or complete stalls with locking doors that can only be used by one person at a time; #stalls M and #stalls F for the total number of stalls available. ***Use the Walking Time Calculator to identify the time needed at each location on the basis of walking distance and potential delays identified in the comments at the right. ****Insert any estimated additional time needed on the basis of these notes in the Walking Time Calculator as needed. Figure 3-4. Restroom location spreadsheet tool. Submitted By: Route/Run: Date: SCHEDULE PLANNING TIME FRAME o Running time o Stop location o AM rush o Recovery time o Route design o PM rush o Run time to each time point o Traffic light o Midday o Transfer point o Stop sign o Early evening o GO train connection o Left turn o Late evening o Deadhead time o Right turn o Saturday o Change-off location o Washroom facilities o Sunday o Frequency o Transfer location o Holiday o Bus loading capacity o Shelter o Terminal facilities Figure 3-5. Route evaluation form.
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 65 Click here to submit your infrastructure ideas Click here to submit your planning ideas â¢ Damaged stops â¢ Stop location â¢ Need for shelter â¢ Capacity problems â¢ Terminal concerns â¢ Routing â¢ Lighting concerns â¢ Bus signage â¢ Detour notices â¢ iBus â¢ Facility concerns â¢ LRT â¢ Transitway concerns Click here to submit your scheduling ideas â¢ Run time â¢ Recovery time â¢ Deadhead time â¢ Connection timing â¢ Traffic signal issues Figure 3-6. TA portal for bus operator route evaluation forms. Figure 3-7. Community decision process.
66 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access to bid and carried out the construction. Although the model looks linear in Figure 3-7, the agencyâs activities frequently looped back to refine the decision as information from one or another of the 17 stakeholder groups came in. Sometimes communications networks can be so big they become unwieldy. A very large ini- tiative to provide permanent restrooms on all Transport for London bus route terminals and, if needed, freestanding facilities along routes was spearheaded in 2018 by the mayor, whose father had been a bus driver (BBC 2018a). City inhabitants in at least one location were dismayed by what they saw as an odd and ugly surprise, and it was immediately vandalized (BBC 2018b). Gaps in communication between a district government office and the community, far from the control of the TA, meant that residents were not involved or even informed, despite careful planning at the top levels. One approach to this problem is to have the infrastructure map discussed at each level of decision making. Everyone should be prepared to answer the question âWho else should we talk to?â The tool âDevelopment and Planning Stepsâ in Transit Operator Restroom Access Planning Tools includes space for adding stakeholders, recording contact names, and tracking contact events. Good Practices: Install or Renovate Facilities Where Needed Coordinating the efficient use of existing restroom facilities is dis- cussed later in the contexts of route planning and scheduling (Chap- ter 4), and service delivery (Chapter 5). The decisions to be made when repairs, renovation, or construction are indicated depend on long-term planning that is based on communication with internal and external stakeholders. It also calls for alert and responsive attention to changes in funding, TA operational needs, and community concerns. The first step is to anticipate future operator need locations, times, and volume on the basis of business and residential changes and changes in other transportation services or in funding. The TA planning and development staff typically will communicate with and influence transit-oriented development, and restroom access should be an early item in the discussion. For the most efficient and cost-effective internal development, the restroom access team should communicate early with capital planningâfor example, about locating restrooms within a transit building to keep vehicle operatorsâ walking time to a minimum. Discussions about restroom needs can sow the seeds for good planning: When I first had an engineer and a project manager saying, âHey, weâd like to talk to you about restrooms,â you know, years in advance of planning some- thing, I said, âOkay. Now I know weâve gotten somewhere,â because rather than us begging to be involved or complaining because we werenât involved and itâs too late, more and more that is part of what they think about now. âGeneral Manager for Bus Service Ideally, the TA will plan employee-only restrooms in all TA buildings and partnership con- struction. Where possible, it will try first to renovate existing resources to meet requirements. This should include either gender-neutral single-stall facilities, or two gender-designated employee restrooms. Simply ensuring an employee-only restroom can inadvertently reduce the available restrooms. This happened when a small TA decided to making what was once the menâs and womenâs facilities into one employee and one public facility to improve bus operator access. Install or renovate facilities where needed. â¢ Anticipate future locations, times, and volume of operator need. â¢ Communicate with and influence transit-oriented development. â¢ Communicate early with capital planning. â¢ Renovate existing resources to meet requirements. â¢ Plan employee-only restrooms in all transit agency buildings and partnership construction. â¢ Deploy high-quality, secure temporary facilities as needed. â¢ Adjust resources in response to changes.
Charting and Developing Infrastructure 67 Unfortunately, this step reduced the multiple-stall restroom to essentially single stalls because the users wanted to lock the outside door. In some cases, the best solution will be to deploy high-quality, secure temporary facilities as needed. These will likely require more monitoring about supplies, maintenance, and safety. Keying systems in use have included padlocks with numeric codes or physical keys, button or digital codes on external locks or doors, keycards, and employee passes. The locking hardware is the first line of defense. External device padlocks are easily cut open to allow members of the public to use the structure, especially in unpopulated areas. Button codes are practical, but may be pirated or shared inappropriately. The electronic solutions have several advantages: the code can be changed centrally on a schedule or in response to a security event, and the codes can be set independently of each other or together. In the case of the pass, access can be cut off to cards held by people who are not employees. Finally, the ability to track users may be seen as an advantage by someâfor example, for responding to supply needsâbut not by others who find it intrusive. The systems can also be set to count users rather than track identities. It is usually necessary to adjust the list of resources in response to changes in the available infrastructure and in service routes and schedules, and as further suggestions or complaints are recorded. Using Infrastructure Information to Make Decisions Combining information about its current restroom needs and resources, a TA restroom access team consisting of planners and operations staff set up a matrix based on the level of use to guide facility type selection. As Table 3-3 lays out, investing in upgrades of existing resources was preferred, while leasing and agreements with businesses or public locations were acceptable at all levels of demand, especially for fewer than 250 operator visits per week. Building perma- nent restrooms was only considered for locations with frequent operator use involving multiple lines or if cost control was possible. The allowed maximum capital was under consideration when this table was established; the limit on maintenance costs was between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on use. Any portable restroom in long-term use had to be âhardened,â that is, made more secure, meet sanitation requirements such as having hand-washing facilities, and be ADA compliant, as shown earlier in Figure 3-2. Allowed Maximum Cost Operator Visits/Week Facility Capital Maintenance ($/year) Comments >750 Permanent/build Under review 10,000 Busy locations, multiple lines, strategically located. 250â750 Build, upgrade, hardened temporary allowable Under review 5,000 Construction allowed but reduced cost option required. Ideally, funds are spent to improve existing facility. Hardened temporary allowable. <250 Lease, courtesy, public Under review 5,000 Light construction allowed (e.g., fencing, lighting). Full range Lease, courtesy, public 5,000 All sites eligible for this type of facility; works well in select locations. No acceptable range Unsecured portable Temporary only. Table 3-3. Example of matching facilities to resources.
68 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access The restroom access committee then established criteria to determine the priority for making changes, as shown in Table 3-4. The core criteria were the environment and perceived security of the current restroom resources as rated by the committee and how frequently they were used. A high use and a low security score resulted in a higher index, which was used to set upgrade priorities among the 100 locations identified in the needs assessment. In the example in Table 3-4, the location on Main would be the priority. Not all TAs will need to quantify the decision process. Doing so does provide a useful guide, as well as metrics for judging program success relative to goals. Once the TA understands the infrastructure resources and potential, the route planning, scheduling, and service delivery groups are in a better position to meet current and future needs. Chapter 4 shows how TA planning and scheduling can follow through. Operators per Week Facility Operator Traffica (operators/week) Facility Environment, Perceived Securityb Index Score 600 Main and First 2 4 3.4 250 Riverside 2 2 2.0 aWeighted importance = 30%. Scale: <250 = 1; 250â499 = 2; 500â749 = 3; 750â999 = 4; >1,000/week = 5. bWeighted importance = 70%. Scale: very good = 1; good = 2; OK = 3; poor = 4; very poor = 5. Table 3-4. Example of creating a priority index.