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69 From Infrastructure to Routes and Schedules It might provide some perspective for this discussion to consider the schedulerâs goals in setting run- ning times on a route: 1. To provide an accurate and reliable timetable for customers to use . . . with a high probability that the actual arrival or departure time will match the scheduled time. 2. To provide a realistic schedule for operators so that they can drive at a reasonable, safe speed. 3. To ensure an efficient operation. The scheduler has a direct impact on operational costs and, by minimizing unproductive time, can enhance efficiency. 4. To avoid instances of running hot, a major transgression in transit operations. 5. To eliminate or sharply reduce situations where running time is too tight and service runs late or is subject to buses bunching. 6. To maximize on-time performance. (Boyle et al. 2009, p. 3-63) Routes are most often planned and schedules set to take people to workplaces, schools, public services, and commercial locations, and restrooms are typically available when they get there. Use of restrooms by vehicles operators should not be that much of a challenge, on the face of C H A P T E R 4 Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting Organizational environment and practices Infrastruc- ture and capital planning Route planning Scheduling and runcutting Service delivery Cost assess- ment and evaluation
70 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access it. Chapter 3 described situations in which the infrastructure may not be adequate. Frequently, however, restroom opportunities exist that are not made use of. This chapter focuses on the shorter-range aspects of planning: changes in route paths or terminal locations as they relate to operator restroom need and availability, making sure that schedules realistically account for getting to and using the designated restrooms, and the final step of runcutting, in which runs can be built to accommodate the existing infrastructure and schedules. Because the good practices described by the project participants often overlapped for planning and scheduling, as did their titles and job responsibilities, these functions are considered together in this chapter. New routes are typically created and adjustments made as service demand changes and in response to infrastructure changes that may be permanent (new transit hub, roads or bridges) or temporary (roads closed by construction or natural disasters). Routes may also need adjust- ments when restroom needs are identified and when resources are added or lost. Changes in route scheduling are made at shorter intervals and are likely to be the first target for transit agencies (TAs) trying to improve restroom access, as they can be adjusted for layover, dwell times, and unscheduled stops with less impact on passengers. In two out of five of the TAs in the project sample, routes and schedules were not specifically adjusted for operator restroom access. Industry expert sources with long experience in transit were pessimistic about how well TAs plan to address operator needs: [Planning or scheduling to address restroom access is] very poor, or even unheard of, in most compa- nies. They do very little to accommodate the driver as far as restrooms. They try but they do very little. Thereâs no set policy. And if the unions are doing negotiations and try to get specific language towards restroom breaks, itâs usually met with great resistance throughout the industry. A few places have some [collective bargaining] language, but not what it should be. Most of the fault lies at the management level. âScheduler Industry Expert For example, restroom access information was not being used to set break or layover param- eters in runcut or scheduling software in more than half of the TAs surveyed, although informal practice does allow for break or layover adjustments for restrooms in about half. Although these practices may be based on real infrastructure challenges and schedule demands, they do not do enough to ensure frequent restroom access. Thereâs probably about 2% of their lines where they do go out in the middle of nowhere and thereâs absolutely nothing there. Those lines have been changed so that they get out there, they have a little bit of a layover recovery, and they come back into their main hub, and itâs at that hub where they get their meal break, bathroom, whatever. âScheduler Industry Expert Good Practices in Route Planning and Scheduling Despite the industry expertsâ sense that TAs were not taking restroom access seriously, exam- ples of good practice can indeed be found throughout the industry, and many TAs demonstrated constructive approaches to planning for access to restrooms. The good practices are certainly not universal. Some of them are suited to larger TAs or are in urban or very rural locations where finding restrooms can be difficult. Others may be appropriate for medium-sized and smaller cities where parking a bus may be easier and drivers know the store owners. This chapter explores the good policies and practices TAs have developed as well as some of the difficulties they face when trying to meet vehicle operatorsâ restroom needs (Box 4-1). Good practices were not the terrain of management alone and were often endorsed by labor representatives and operators. Involved vehicle operators tended to support joint decisions and improvements that were applied but criticized policies that were ignored under schedule pres- sure or other operations concerns.
Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting 71 Good Practices: Planning and Scheduling Policies Support Restroom Access Ideally, a written policy directs route planners and schedulers to consider restroom access when establishing breaks or layovers. Only 21% of TAs in the project sample had a written policy. Many of those focused on the percentage of run time that was dedicated to layover (usu- ally about 10%) or on achieving a set minimum of minutes at terminals (5 minutes was typical). However, half of the TAs addressed restroom access through informal practices, and some had both. Many TAs in the project sample were in the process of developing approaches for planning and scheduling with restroom access in mind but had not yet comprehensively applied those approaches. Often their ideas evolved over the months of data collection. The goal for most TAs is to make sure that layover and dwell times match restroom access needs. Providing times that are too short makes it impossible for vehicle operators to access restrooms, while providing more time than needed complicates passenger travel plans and adds to service costs. One general manager explained that the average layover was currently 3 min- utes, but that was because half of the routes had no time at all and the rest averaged the target of 6 minutes; the former would be resolved as schedules were revised over the next 5 years. A small TA was investigating improvements: Currently there are no written policies guiding planners or schedulers who create service schedules that include opportunities for restroom breaks. Bus schedules are being evaluated in coordination with contract operations managers and operatorsâscenarios and situations where additional time is needed in the schedule to allow operators to utilize the existing restrooms at rail stations, transit centers, and terminal stops. âTransportation Director Box 4-1. Route Planning and Scheduling Policies and Practices Planning and scheduling policies support restroom access. â¢ Written policy directs route planners and schedulers to consider restroom access. â¢ Layover and dwell times match restroom access needs. â¢ Time between restroom access opportunities is minimized. â¢ Planned route terminals are set near existing or planned restroom facilities. â¢ Existing routes are adjusted to be near restroom facilities. â¢ Routes are evaluated and adjusted as demand and infrastructure change. Route planners and schedulers communicate with other stakeholders. â¢ Planners and schedulers ask where operators will use restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers engage with infrastructure decision makers and with service delivery. â¢ Operators are involved in route planning and scheduling. Route and schedule decisions make good use of software and data. â¢ Planners and schedulers take advantage of software capabilities. â¢ Mapping techniques are used to connect routes and restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers use available data and generate data they need. â¢ Time needed to use restrooms is calculated on the basis of distance and barriers.
72 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access The definition of the core restroom responsibilities of service planning staff shown Fig- ure 4-1 is adapted from language used at a large TA. These responsibilities are to address access as part of planning and to coordinate with capital planning, service delivery and the restroom access program. The text in Figure 4-1 is drawn from the âDetailed Transit Operator Restrooms Policyâ found in Templates for Restroom Access Policies and Boilerplate Contract Language, included at the end of this report. Route planners can coordinate with the people involved in mapping resource locations to make sure that planned route terminal points are set near restroom facilities. The distance between terminal locations depends on the service design model (i.e., grid, radial, hub and spoke), the size of the service area, and passenger travel needs. As defined in these layover time instructions for schedule planners, the considerations include restroom accessâideally, but perhaps not always (Boyle et al. 2009, p. 4-6): Many agencies limit the locations where layover can be taken. In a pulse system where many routes meet at a central location, layover may be scheduled at this location to facilitate transfers or may be scheduled at the outer ends of the route to avoid congestion. Layover time is sometimes required at the end of each one-way trip, requiring a layover location at both ends of the route, but more often is applied to each round trip. A major factor in selecting layover locations is the availability of operator facilities. Layover time must be scheduled in a safe location where a bus can be parked without impeding traffic. Layover is usually taken at the end of the route, where it does not inconvenience passengers. Routes with a one-way loop at one or both ends create challenges for identifying a layover location, since through ridership along the loop means that some passengers will experience a delay. Layover time may also be assigned at key midroute transfer points (such as a rail station or major transfer point). Ideally, the layover should occur at a location that allows the operator to safely leave the bus, use the restroom, stretch his/her legs, and get away from the bus for a minute or two. Routes with a one-way loop at one or both ends create challenges for identifying a layover location, since riders will be on the bus throughout the loop and some passengers will experience a delay. Layover time may also be assigned at key midroute transfer points (such as a rail station or major transfer point). The time between layovers can be addressed in the runcutting stage. Speed limits, traffic condi- tions, and passenger loads also affect how long the running time is. Many TAs have a formal or informal policy to lay out routes or runs that limit running time between layover points with rest- room access; more often, these focus on achieving state or contractual requirements for scheduled breaks. Stated policy for the maximum time between scheduled layover points was reported to range from 30 minutes to as much as 2 hours. The time between rail terminals was similar. The policy at one medium-sized TA provided open-ended direction to schedulers that allowed a range of solutions, including extending the period of time being considered to two hours. This could of course lead to longer times without restroom access: The Service Development section is responsible for considering and addressing operator access to restrooms during the service planning process. The service planning process will: â¢ Address and include restroom access requirements during the planning and development of new and existing fixed bus route pathways and layovers. Service Planners will document these requirements in their package item instructions to Scheduling. â¢ In coordination with the Restroom Program, identify options to solve existing or newly identified restroom access issues. â¢ Transit Route Facilities will manage a capital improvement program in coordination with [Transit Agency]âs Design and Construction section to construct [Transit Agency]-owned restroom facilities in coordination with the Restroom Program goals and priorities. â¢ Scheduling will be responsible for the creation of operator assignments that respect the established restroom times for each layover location. Figure 4-1. Boilerplate description of the service development sectionâs role.
Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting 73 When scheduling to provide washroom breaks for operators, we endeavor to construct blocks of work with 10%â12% of layover time. Minimum amounts of time are given to ensure that the wash- room can be reached, and, for short routes, this can mean a greater percentage of time is given to layovers. We aim to achieve at least 12 minutes within every 2 hour period for each block. Washroom locations are taken into consideration. More time is given for locations where operators need to walk further to the washroom. Layovers are prioritized at locations with washrooms, as much as is practi- cable. While peak trips will not have as much layover time, we focus on giving compensatory layovers during the peak shoulders. âGeneral Manager For paratransit operators, industry expert planners as well as TA managers felt that rides were easily scheduled to allow frequent access to restrooms, especially when transporting single passengers. How- ever, operators and their representatives reported that paratransit van runs might be as long as 4 hours. Restroom access could be limited throughout the run, as operators were not usually allowed to leave the vehicle with passengers in more than half of the TAs. In bad weather or rush hours, all of these travel times could be extended, sometimes routinely. TA participants described providing for longer layovers outside of rush hours, to make up for the stress of providing good service. Their local union representatives often criti- cized this practice. One reported that the employer underestimated the time required for service in rush hour by using the average on-time delivery statistics over the course of the day when deciding whether to adjust schedules, rather than the actual experience at different times of the day. In addition to providing terminal location access, transit employers need to make sure that time between restroom access opportunities is minimized. What interval is too long? There is no single answer to this question. In particular, there is no established recommendation for intervals on the basis of health concerns, according to the research literature reviewed in Appendix B. Healthy people report urinating about five or six times a day. It might seem that a person sleeping 7 hours would need to use a restroom on average about every 3 hours when awake. However, this could vary between men and women, older and younger people, and even for the same person, depending on when and what he or she had ingested. Urgency and timing can differ for women who are menstruating or pregnant, and for people chronically affected by blood pressure treatment, bowel syndromes, or prostate symptoms. All sources expected vehicle operators to be sensible about their fluid intake and to plan to use facilities when possible; many who had themselves been operators reported that sometimes they restricted water past the point of comfort or even health. TA sources typically suggested that operators on routes shorter than 30 or 40 minutes, and at some TAs as long as 90 minutes, should not expect to stop along the way. However, federal OSHA and state-plan regulations have set a maximum reasonable delay of 10 minutes from the time a worker needs a restroom to when access should be provided (OSHA 1998; see also Appendix D). Transit vehicle operators are routinely required to exceed this. For those who are not able to leave their vehicles along a route, industry norms based on layover locations set every half hour or more can be a serious problem. Our agency keeps track of the nearest available restrooms for operators at every layover, and we calculate the distance and time involved to reach them. We strive to locate layovers as close as possible to restrooms, because fast restroom access helps reduce service delays. âDirector of Transportation, medium-sized TA Planning and scheduling policies support restroom access. â¢ Written policy directs route planners and schedulers to consider restroom access. â¢ Layover and dwell times match restroom access needs. â¢ Time between restroom access opportunities is minimized. â¢ Planned route terminals are set near existing or planned restroom facilities. â¢ Existing routes are adjusted to be near restroom facilities. â¢ Routes are evaluated and adjusted as demand and infrastructure change.
74 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access Some TAs consider adjusting existing routes to be near restroom facilities that can be accessed if needed. Several TAs are integrating this approach into their 5-year route adjust- ment plan. This solution was considered on a route that ran later than the local businesses stayed open. The idea was to move the end of the line at night and use the subway terminal, which had also closed at that time. However, in this case, the cost of staffing to provide access was prohibitive. Having an outside restroom door for the bus operators would have made the change much more practical. To achieve these goals, planners and schedulers need to follow up to make sure that routes are evaluated and adjusted for restroom access as demand and infrastructure change. As discussed in Chapter 3, this depends on their staying in close touch with the state of the infrastructure as well as service delivery. Good Practices: Route Planners and Schedulers Communicate with Other Stakeholders It is essential that planners ask where operators will use restrooms, but it is not always on their radar. The policy language in Figure 4-2 directs planners at a medium-sized TA to define route endpoints with restroom access for operators. Layover considerations include safety for the vehicles, the impact on the neighborhood, and the distance to the restroom. Having information about the best restroom locations requires that planners and schedulers engage with infrastructure decision makers and with service delivery. Planners often depend on the knowledge of service supervisors, who should know where restrooms are currently avail- able but may not know about potential locations. They need access to the inventory discussed in the previous chapters. The tools described in the previous chapter for creating an inventory of restroom resources and identifying the closest restrooms to existing stops are one way to share essential information. Sometimes, bringing staff closer to each other makes the difference: Before that we had planning in one building, doing the planning, and then we had operations that was running and maintaining the buses in [a] completely different building, and their relationship reflected that. But then we combined, so we had planning become part of our business unit, part of our team, and they sit there, and the operators can come in, and that has made a huge difference. âService Manager Routes are anchored to terminals/hubs so as to ensure appropriate layover space and operator facilities. Where a terminal/hub is not available, an alternate anchor point/layover location is recommended on the basis of the following review: â¢ Adequate layover space to accommodate bus(es) (40- or 60-ft bus); â¢ Existing transit infrastructure (bus bays); â¢ Impact to on-street parking; â¢ Impact on sight lines; â¢ Storage length in right-turn lane, if layover within lane; â¢ Impact on residents (e.g., noise, fumes); and â¢ Proximity to operator facilities: Short walking distance to facilities, Access to washroom facilities (24/7 access is preferred), Alternate washroom facilities along the route path, and Lighting. Figure 4-2. Route planning: Policy example.
Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting 75 The communication needs to flow from and to vehicle operators as well. Operators are involved in route planning and scheduling at about 40% of the project locations; this was more common for bus than for rail or paratransit. In particular, schedulers sat in depots at regular intervals to get operator input or met with them in committees. However, operators and their representatives have reported that their input may frequently be requested in depots, scheduling committees, or surveys, but then ignored. Operator input is critically important when appropriate layover and dwell times are being evaluated at dif- ferent times and under changing conditions. The voice of operators was heard strongly in the restroom committee meetings observed at three large TAs. Their roles ranged from making up the operatorsâ restroom subcommittee and reporting to the rest- room coordinator on the locations they covered to contributing as peer members to a joint laborâmanagement breaks and restrooms committee. The tone in all these meetings was practical and respectful, with all parties recognizing the need to solve the problems they were jointly investigating. Not all issues were resolved, of course, but they successfully addressed the mostly admin- istrative areas such as maintenance concerns, tracking restroom opening hours, or changing specific locations to use at an intersection. Difficulties are more likely to arise when suggestions go beyond the purview of the restroom committee into scheduling or planning decisions that might entail significant costs or changes. While TA professionals state their commitment to safety, health, and other secondary aims, they also accept that the TA cannot survive unless it is financially secure: So the goal is to get them out there at regular interval times, but for the least amount of money possible. That is always the number one priorityâregardless of everything else, money and the cost of operating the system is the top priority. That overrides everything. âScheduler Industry Expert Project participants suggested that the people in planning and scheduling jobs who had been vehicle operators in the past did a better job at matching the routes and times to available rest- rooms, because they understood the demands and the trade-offs better: At that point, the scheduler would then check out the route, go out and drive it, take the lay of the land, see whatâs there. Most good schedulers would then look at the facility and see if they have room for the driver if he needed to go to the bathroom. Trying to help the driver out as far as possible. Itâs not manda- tory, but most schedulers that I know and I have trained do try to consider that. âScheduler Industry Expert Ideally, planners and schedulers have access to the information the TA develops related to infrastructure and resources, as discussed in the previous chapter. The internal TA portals described in Chapter 3 can also be designed for collecting this information. There are many additional sources of data. Good Practices: Route and Schedule Decisions Make Good Use of Software and Data Planning and Scheduling Software To understand how TAs can make sure that planners and schedulers take advantage of soft- ware capabilities, the project team interviewed nine representatives at seven scheduling and planning software companies representing more than half of the U.S. market share and covering rail, fixed-route bus, and paratransit. All sources felt that their programs could easily be modified Route planners and schedulers communicate with other stakeholders. â¢ Planners and schedulers ask where operators will use restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers engage with infrastructure decision makers and with service delivery. â¢ Operators are involved in route planning and scheduling.
76 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access to accommodate TA requirements and that customization of routes or manifests could include operator restroom locations. Time for operators to use restrooms can be planned by the software provider or established by the TA and can be fixed or floating. Most examples described by participating TAs focused on the setting of specified break types, rather than inserting variable times on the basis of identified stops and restroom resources. TAs can identify predetermined designated restroom facilities for operators and integrate such locations into three of the products, out of the box. One provider indicated that software can be modified only by the company itself. Restroom geocoding is currently available in four of the software platforms, with updates ranging from near real-time, quarterly, or as determined by the needs of the TA. The proportion of each companyâs clients asking for restroom access to be built into their adjustments to routes and schedules ranged from 5% to 100%. However, only half the TAs in the project sample reported that restroom access informa- tion was used to set defined break or layover parameters in runcut or scheduling software, so it seems that these capabilities are not being used to their full potential. Several TAs set schedules manually, and some reported that runcutting was done externally. Schedulers at one large TA described attempting to manually increase the schedule flexibility to improve restroom access by adding small increments of dwell time across the portion of the routes that preceded areas without restroom access. This would allow the operator to use a restroom if needed and not get caught out at the end of the line. Because adjusting for restroom access was not TA policy, they found that the increases were eliminated by their higher-ups on the grounds of unnecessary costs. A large TA is working with its software company to automate the time estimates for accessing identified restroom locations. They will first build a geographic information system (GIS) layer of information about restroom locations and time to travel, including special infor- mation that might increase walking time, such as stairs. Linking that with the layover IDs used in the scheduling software will allow them to define schedules, adjust dwell times, and flag problems. The planning software programs typically integrate performance measures that could be used to evaluate the impact of restroom access problems or improvements: on-time performance, arrival times, dwell time, current on-time status, bunching, and late trip alerts. The data are not usually flagged for unscheduled restroom use, and most in the project sample were not using these data to improve restroom access. According to the software company sources, demand response and paratransit operators can usually take a trip off their schedule if they need a time to be reassigned to a different operator. Thus, the software professionals felt restroom access functionality was not as important as scheduled service. Simi- larly, software company sources said that rail operators typically have access to facilities in ter- minal or layover stations, which allows for scheduled breaks at the end of the line. Many rail and paratransit vehicle operators did not feel they had schedule flexibility or adequate time, however. With approximately half the software provider market share accounted for through the interview process, the consensus is that the current software capabilities of the platforms can accommodate restroom access needs during the planning and scheduling process. This can be met through the layover and routing rule-setting process or by integrating restroom amenities into a geocoded layer. If a TAâs current software platform does do what it needs, providers are willing to adjust their products to meet specified requirements. Several software providers Route and schedule decisions make good use of software and data. â¢ Planners and schedulers take advantage of software capabilities. â¢ Mapping techniques are used to connect routes and restrooms. â¢ Planners and schedulers use available data and generate data they need. â¢ Time needed to use restrooms is calculated on the basis of distance and barriers.
Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting 77 were confident that the restroom access scheduling requirements had been met, with one stating âitâs been solved many years ago by us and our competitors.â While the software capabilities exist to meet the needs of transit agenciesâ operator break requirements, from planning to scheduling, it may in part be a matter of transit agencies fully utilizing the toolsets at their disposal. Other Software Tools and Resources In addition to products for scheduling and planning, other inventory or tracking software could be called upon. For example, the Florida Transit Information System of the Florida Department of Transportation developed an Automated Transit Stop Inventory Model to track transit stop facilities and their amenities, including the presence of a restroom. It recently added a restroom query field to its search fields. This package, free for affiliated TAs and available for purchase outside of Florida, includes guidance on how to safely and efficiently collect bus stop data. While TAs typically inventory their bus stops, this was the only identified example of a completed inventory interface that was freely available. Of course, available restrooms along routes are often not at identified break areas. Some TAs send out restroom or bus committee members or modified duty staff to find locations along routes to be used in emergencies. This information is combined with the individual contacts with businesses or other partners that are often made by field supervisors or vehicle operators to use mapping techniques to connect routes and restrooms. The simplest format for storing the data are the kinds of spreadsheets provided in Transit Operator Restroom Inventory Tools. GIS databases can support and even automate this process. Just as passenger trip planning interfaces match schedules with desired travel locations and times, some TAs use GIS software to integrate their inventory of restrooms and bus stop information. Queries can be run to analyze questions such as âWhich restroom is closest to Stop A?â or âHow many restrooms are within one-quarter mile of Stop B?â Through coordination with the city planning depart- ment, the TA can obtain overlay details such as businesses and parks to help find new restroom locations. A restroom inventory in GIS software can be continually edited in a systematic way. TA operators can contribute to the inventory database through an app. For example, GIS software company ESRIâs mobile apps Collector and Survey 1 2 3 allow users to collect information on their phone, input data about the point, attach a picture, then upload it to the online database. Two of the TAs in the project sample are designing similar apps for operators or field staff to use in restroom inventory and inspection. WMATA describes developing a database that will allow it to identify future restroom locations: To aid in locating future potential proximate or walkable restroom solutions, 3- and 5-minute walk- sheds were generated from the terminal node centroids using ArcGISâs Network Analyst tool, which measures distances along the street network rather than as the crow flies. The terminal node centroids represent the geographic center of the associated StopIDs, and thus the theoretical best location for a restroom location. The walksheds, generated from the terminal node centroids, represent a geographic area that is within a 3- or 5-minute walk of all the associated StopIDs. A distance of 825 feet was used to develop 3-minute walksheds, and a distance of 1,375 feet was used to develop a 5-minute walkshed based on an average walk speed of 3.1 miles per hour. (WMATA 2018, p. 14) Mapping restroom access by using GIS becomes even more useful with online access, whether in the TA intranet, through a password-protected page, or open to the public. Online maps of some sort were identified for cities served by three-quarters of the project survey sample,
78 Improving the Safety, Health, and Productivity of Transit Operators Through Adequate Restroom Access and half of them included restroom information. Some were produced as part of layered data sharing carried out by many municipalities, and few of the maps were developed by TAs to address operator restroom needs. For example, the restrooms of the King County Metro, Seattle, Washington, are cataloged in the King County GIS Centerâs open data resources. The layer contains location owner names and types, locations, and hours and contact information of restroom facilities accessible to transit operators. These data, entered by the restroom access program staff via ESRIâs ArcMap, are used by scheduling planners, service planners, and service development. It may in the future be made available to vehicle operators as an in-house app. King County Metro is also working with their software provider to create a layer that would allow automated use of restroom information in planning and scheduling, easily produce a range of reports and metrics summaries, and eliminate several data entry and checking steps. In addition, the City of Seattle uses Tableau Dashboards, which is directed at the public and not related to the GIS Center data structures, to display an interactive map of city-funded restrooms. The City of San Francisco, California, used a Google Fusion mapping system to show its identified operator restrooms throughout the city, along with tabs providing a searchable inventory of all of the restrooms and their descriptions. As Fusion is retired at the end of 2019, SFMTA will be going to ArcGIS. Their Operator Convenience Facility Project webpage includes a map of the modular restrooms being installed around the city. More typical of the available resources is Des Moines, Iowa, which uses ArcGIS Online to map the cityâs quadrants and projects throughout the city; restroom information is not included but could be. Restroom-listing sites are being developed around the world by activist groups or through public crowd sharing, and the data are often public (ARA n.d.). A New York City website origi- nally posted for Uber drivers and now usable by anyone claims to list all the available restrooms, including public buildings, parks, hotels, fast-food vendors, and other stores. Many of the loca- tions are not appropriate for bus operators, such as public playgrounds that restrict entry to people with children and places where parking a vehicle is not possible. As public restroom databases and locator sites grow, TAs can both make use of and contribute to shared resources. In addition, as transit planning software companies respond to requests for restroom access planning support, modules or software adjustments that make this easier for TAs are likely to cost less. Data Planning efficiency is increased when planners and schedulers use available data. For example, dispatch data generated when drivers take unscheduled stops can be used in decisions about future changes to routes and services. According to the analytics manager at a large TA, this infor- mation is not used specifically to improve restroom access because the data are not separated out that way. However, several TAs described doing this somewhat informally. Chapter 6 con- siders more extensively how TAs have used the data at their disposal. Each of these planning, scheduling, or runcutting steps requires that the time needed to use restrooms is calculated on the basis of distance and barriers. Some TAs included this in their lists of identified layover and unscheduled stop recommendations, calculating the impact on the service schedule and looking for closer locations when there is a problem. The time needed for a restroom stop includes a calculation that takes into account the vehicle parking and securement time, walking distance, and the estimated time needed to use the restroom. In the calculator example shown in Figure 4-3, that is defined as 2 minutes but can be changed if it does not match the workforce needs. Seconds can be added to account for barriers or peculiarities of the path that could slow the operator, such as stairs or crossing lights, and restrictions on access, such as standing in line to collect a key. The walking speed is set at 3.5 feet per second, that of a
Planning, Scheduling, and Runcutting 79 healthy person, and can be adjusted as desired. These details can be measured, then inserted in the white cells in Figure 4-3; the gray cells calculate the time required. This tool is provided with detailed directions in the Transit Operatory Restroom Inventory Tools workbook, and includes the chart for estimating time on the basis of distances in increments of 125 feet, developed at King County Metro, which inspired this interactive version. From Planning to Service Even when the organizational capacity is maximized, infrastructure is fully accessed, and rest- room use is supported by policy, communication, and data, vehicle operators are still not guar- anteed regular and timely access. One problem is that unscheduled breaks are difficult to plan for because operatorsâ need to access the restroom varies. Another is that stakeholder interestsâ health, comfort, on-time service, costs, time needed for planningâconflict. Chapter 5 explores when and how problems arose in the study sample and what some TAs are doing to maintain reliable service while ensuring their employeesâ health and safety. One-Way Walking Distance in Feet1 Round- Trip Walking Time in Seconds Seconds Allowed for Securing Vehicle3 Seconds Allowed for Restroom Use 4 Total Time in Seconds Added Seconds5 Total Time in Minutes Rounded Up to Whole Minutes 300 171 30 120 321 50 6.2 7.0 Walking Speed in Feet/Second2 3.5 Walking Speed Source: MUTCD_Reference_on_Walking_Speed Note: For MUTCD, see FHWA (2009). Figure 4-3. Walking time calculator tool.