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11 Literature Review Introduction to Bus Stop and Pedestrian Infrastructure Together, the bus stop and nearby pathways serve as the gateway for passengers to connect to bus service. It is important that bus stops are accessible, safe, and comfortable. Providing shelters at the bus stop location can increase rider satisfaction and perceived safety (Abenoza et al., 2018; Verbich and El-Geneidy, 2016). Comfortable waiting environments that offer amenities such as shelters and seating positively affect individualsâ bus mode choice, thereby increasing transit ridership (Eo, 2018; Xiong and Li, 2011). Accessibility to and from the bus stop for pedestrians also affects transit ridership. Studies have concluded that features such as sidewalks and pedestrian amenities (e.g., benches, garbage cans, bicycle racks, public lighting, and signage) were related to higher use of the bus service (EstupiÃ±Ã¡n and RodrÃguez, 2008; Zhao et al., 2005). ADA Requirements for Bus Stops and Pathways To provide accessible bus service, transit agencies must follow the ADA standards that apply to any new bus stop infrastructure and alterations to existing bus stops. The transit agency typically holds responsibility for the bus landing pad but not for the connecting side- walk and travel pathway infrastructure. The agency can coordinate with partners (including the city, county, and state entities) for sidewalk construction and maintenance to improve accessibility by meeting ADA standards. Two sets of standards for ADA regulations are applicable to bus stopsâthe United States Department of Transportationâs 2006 ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities and the United States Department of Justiceâs 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (United States Department of Transportation, 2006; United States Department of Justice, 2010). The standards that apply depend, respectively, on whether the bus stops are controlled by the transit agencies or by private entities or state or local governments. The requirements in Section 810.2 of USDOT ADA standards apply to new, altered, or moved bus stops under the control of public transit agencies. If a different public entity owns the right-of-way, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4710.1 (2015) encourages the transit agency to work with the public entity to agree on an arrangement where a bus boarding and alighting area is provided that complies with Section 810.2 to the maximum extent practicable. Section 209.2.3 of the USDOT 2006 ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities states that bus stops on streets without sidewalks are subject to the same Section 810.2 requirements to the maximum extent practicable (United States Depart- ment of Transportation, 2006). C H A P T E R 2
12 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access Bus Stop and Pathway Elements and Challenges Although the amenities and the designs of each bus stop element can vary from agency to agency, many transit agencies adhere to similar principles for the bus stop amenities and pedestrian infrastructures (Butte Regional Transit, 2007; Maryland Department of Transporta- tion, 2019; Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, 2017; Tindale-Oliver and Associates, 2018; Valley Regional Transit, 2016). Transit agencies also can provide or manage other amenities for passengersâ convenience and security (e.g., bike racks, real-time information signs, trash receptacles, ticket vending machines, security cameras and emergency call boxes, public art, and landscaping). The pathways to and from the bus stop might be different for the journey between home and the bus stop compared to the journeys between bus stops and retail, shopping, medical, and job site destinations, particularly in neighborhoods that feature single family homes and are not focused on pedestrian infrastructure. All the infrastructure elements that passengers might encounter during their journeys (such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb cuts) constitute pedestrian infrastructure (DiPetrillo et al., 2018). The connections between bus stops and the pedestrian infrastructure are critical to ensuring the accessibility and safety of bus services (United States Department of Justice, 2010). One challenge that transit agencies confront in improving and maintaining bus stops stems from cooperation with other agencies, local jurisdictions, and the private sector (Boyle, 2015). Usually, transit agencies own the bus stop shelters and other related infrastructure but not the land where the bus stops are located. The right-of-way containing elements of the sidewalks, crosswalks, and curb cuts is usually owned and managed by local jurisdictions or state DOTs. Different local authorities control the infrastructure connecting the passengers to bus stops, making it difficult for transit agencies to improve amenities or provide ADA-compliant pedes- trian infrastructure. Limited resources and funding also present a challenge to implementing all of the bus stop infrastructure improvements needed in the system by relying on transit agency resources alone (TransitCenter, 2018). For these reasons, transit agencies often must work in coordination with local jurisdictions or strike deals with companies that purchase the rights to sell advertisement space at bus stops and, in return, pay for improvements such as shelters. In addition, because bus stop installation and improvement projects can affect nearby developments, transit agencies might have to coordinate with other stakeholders, such as adjacent property owners and developers. Some private property owners value a bus stop near their homes or businesses to benefit from the bus service; others do not. This difficulty is evident in all jurisdictions as stakeholders have diverse interests, procedures, and standards. Importance of Bus Stop Access All transit ridersâregardless of physical ability, disability, income level, race, ethnicity, or neighborhoodâshould be able to easily access the public transit services available in the city. However, the inability to access bus stops safely on foot constitutes an obstacle to using the service. Some research studies reported that neighborhoods with a high proportion of low-income or minority populations exhibit a relatively low level of proximity to transit access (Guthrie et al., 2019; McKenzie, 2013). The accessibility of bus stops and surrounding pedestrian infrastructure affects an individualâs decision to travel and willingness to travel by transit (DiPetrillo et al., 2018). Better bus stop amenities expand transit ridership, with shelters having the most significant positive effect on ridership (Talbott, 2011). Bus stop improvements made by the Utah Transit Authority were associated with an increase in overall bus ridership and a decrease in ADA paratransit demand (Kim, Bartholomew, and Ewing, 2018). These results suggest that improved access to bus stops not only encourages the use of fixed-route
Literature Review 13 systems but also improves mode choices by individuals who otherwise would need to resort to paratransit service, which can equate to cost savings for a transit agency. Enhanced bus stop accessibility benefits all transit riders by transforming the bus into another viable transportation mode. Conversely, transit stops that are inaccessible to pedes- trians can prevent those who have disabilities from using fixed-route systems. These barriers are more serious for people with disabilities but also can pose problems for people without disabilities as well. Limited mobility can constitute a critical obstacle to accomplishing the activities of daily life, such as accessing health care services, physical and social activities, and job opportunities (Blais and El-Geneidy, 2014; Bowe, 1979; Kim and Ulfarsson, 2013; Lubin and Deka, 2012; Montarzino et al., 2007). The National Council on Disability (2015) reported that inaccessible infrastructure stands as a barrier to bus service for people with dis abilities. Inappropriately designed ramps can cause boarding problems, and physical obstructions on sidewalks (e.g., construction) or street crossings without curb ramps can block a passenger from accessing bus services. Thus, accessible transit stops and surrounding pedestrian infra- structure underpin more available transportation options to support people in leading full daily lives. Several studies have demonstrated that improved bus stop accessibility supports transit agencies in increasing bus ridership and enhancing bus rider satisfaction with bus service. Convenient and comfortable waiting environments at bus stops can create less stressful wait- ing experiences for riders, thereby lowering the perceived travel cost (Lagune-Reutler et al., 2016; Litman, 2008). Abenoza et al. (2018) concluded that bus shelter characteristics, natural surveillance (through high visibility at bus stops), and trustworthy real-time information significantly impact ridersâ perceptions of safety. The findings of this 2018 study revealed that bus stops located in areas with mixed land use and equipped with a transparent shelter provide a waiting experience for riders that is perceived as safer. Bus stops with shelters and accurate service information also boost rider satisfaction with bus service. Verbich and El-Geneidy (2016) reported that riders traveling with encumbrances such as luggage are more pleased at bus stops with shelters and seating. Along with trip speed and reliability, the availability of service information at bus stops is ranked as an important factor in the satisfaction of riders with disabilities. Rationale for Bus Stop Infrastructure Improvement Programs Transit agencies cooperate with roadway authorities, local governments, and developers and private property owners to implement bus stop and pedestrian infrastructure improve- ment programs and initiatives based on various goals. For the purposes of this report, a bus stop improvement program can include not only the development and maintenance of transit and pedestrian infrastructure at the bus stop and near the bus stop but also the con- nections between such infrastructure and the surrounding transportation system. Although the transit agency may not hold maintenance responsibility for the associated infrastruc- ture connections or own the right-of-way where bus stops and connections are present, the transit agency does have an opportunity and a responsibility for coordinating with the entity responsible for the right-of-way to develop bus stops and connections that are both safe and accessible. Transit agencies with visions that stipulate an intent to achieve accessible bus stops can provide stakeholders with clear and consistent direction on bus stop improvement programs and also can motivate cooperation. Without common goals and planning processes in place, transit agencies find it difficult to rally diverse stakeholdersâsuch as other connecting transit
14 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access agencies, DOTs, local authorities, regional planning organizations, property owners, and private developers. To create a clear vision, many transit agencies invest time and effort into building close partnerships with such stakeholder entities by conducting periodic meetings, public hearings, and outreach programs. Holistic guidance or standards applicable throughout the region can also be an effective way to proceed with a coherent project. The following sections discuss the importance of developing bus stop improvement programs based on an examination of the challenges and recommendations that other transit agencies have reported, including the results of academic and professional literature on bus stop and pedestrian infrastructure improvement programs. Prevalence of Current Programs and Practices To ensure accessible and safe bus services, many transit agencies have collaborated with other sectors, such as neighboring transit agencies, state and local governments, communi- ties, and private companies. Transit agency improvement programs and plans highlight the importance of intergovernmental agreements with local authorities and DOTs. Cooperation with other entities is especially critical when the need arises to improve pedestrian infrastructure surrounding the bus stops. For example, a regional transit provider in San Francisco, CAâ the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD)âserves 26 juris- dictions and maintains bus stops within the state right-of-way, so the agency might have to obtain approvals from multiple jurisdictions (Boyle, 2015). GGBHTD developed outreach programs and presentations to communicate with the served jurisdictions at the monthly meeting of the Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW), giving the transit agency the opportunity to communicate and cooperate with DPW officials in person (Boyle, 2015). GGBHTD recommends regular communication with other entities, such as the city planning department, DPW, utility companies, and other transit operators (Boyle, 2015). Transfort (operating in Fort Collins, CO) and the City of Fort Collins entered into an agreement to require private property developers to supply transit infrastructure and passenger amenities. Through this intergovernmental agreement, the cityâs land use code requires development or redevelopment taking place within the city limits to accommodate the existing and planned transit network (Transfort, 2015). Table 1 lists examples of transit agencies with bus stop improvement programs, as identified by the study team during the literature review, along with information on the program and the partnering agencies and organizations. Sometimes, the goals and objectives of the bus stop improvement programs are a compo- nent of upper-level plans outside of the transit agency, such as a regional master plan or transportation plan that can allocate funding to bus stop improvements. For transit agencies, communication with local planning departments helps the served jurisdictions incorporate the service network and needed bus stop improvements into their planning processes (Butte Regional Transit, 2007). The implementation of bus stop improvement programs often follows similar planning processes or the upper-level plans themselves (e.g., local or regional master plans), which include information gathering, information sharing, group discussion, and consensus building with other sectors (Regional Public Transportation Authority, 2008). Valley Metro in Phoenix collaborated with multiple entities, including the Regional Public Transpor- tation Authority (RPTA) and Technical Advisory Group (TAG), Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, Arizona DOT, Maricopa County DOT, and Maricopa Association of Governments. TAG members participated in regular meetings and a workshop to discuss the transit agencyâs recommendations for the improvement project, such as investment criteria, contracts with private sectors, and required design elements.
Literature Review 15 Transit Agency Location Year/ Active Status Primary Goals Program Relationships and Partners Bus Stops (Survey Result #) Municipality of Anchorage Anchorage, AK Ongoing â¢ Upgrade bus stops to meet ADA standards and improve passenger safety Valley Metro Phoenix, AZ 2008 â¢ Understand the needs and objectives of member agencies in providing amenities at bus stops â¢ Member agencies of Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA)â¢ Develop reasonable levels of investment (funding) for bus stop amenities â¢ Design a program of objective criteria to prioritize Regional Transportation Plan funding for bus stops across the region â¢ Prepare a coordinated implementation program for bus stop investments San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority Paso Robles, CA 2017 â¢ Help member jurisdictions prioritize regional and local fixed-route bus stop improvements and implement a cohesive operational and capital plan for those improvements â¢ Local governments, Caltrans Butte Regional Transit Butte County, CA 2007 â¢ Better serve the public with safe, friendly, and accessible bus stops â¢ Local governments, Caltrans 543 SunLine Transit Agency Palm Springs, CA 2015â 2016 â¢ Install new amenities at various bus stop locations within the City of Palm Springs â¢ City of Palm Springs SamTrans San Carlos, CA 2019â 2023 â¢ Procure and analyze existing and new data on bus stop facilities throughout the county â¢ Develop a framework to identify and prioritize stop improvements, amenity upgrades, and repairs â¢ San Mateo County San Benito County San Benito County, CA 2016 â¢ Evaluate the existing conditions of the bus stops operated by the Local Transportation Table 1. Examples of bus stop improvement programs identified in the literature review. (continued on next page)
16 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access Transit Agency Location Year/ Active Status Primary Goals Program Relationships and Partners Bus Stops (Survey Result #) Authority of the County of San Benito â¢ Provide bus stop improvements, recommendations, and preliminary cost estimates â¢ Prioritize improvements that will enhance accessibility for pedestrians and elevate overall transit experience for riders City of Santa Maria Santa Maria, CA 2011 â¢ Provide amenities and services for improved pedestrian and vehicular safety at all bus stops in the City of Santa Maria â¢ Utilize resources to effectively promote the partnership between Santa Maria Area Transit and the community â¢ Increase accessibility for all riders using Santa Maria Area Transit Big Blue Bus Santa Monica, CA 2014 â¢ Diverse group of community stakeholder organizations 300 City of Whittier Whittier, CA Ongoing â¢ Collaboration project among city departments City of Boulder Boulder, CO 2015 â¢ Improve accessibility and provide adequate amenities for all transit users, including those with disabilities â¢ City of Boulder Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) Tampa, FL 2014 â¢ Make all bus stops ADA compliant, not just for use of a wheelchair but for any mobility device â¢ Private developers, local governments, Florida DOT 2,200 Votran Volusia County, FL N/A â¢ Implement a two-phase plan to better serve Volusia County and the general public with safe and accessible bus stops 2,580 Table 1. (Continued).
Literature Review 17 Transit Agency Location Year/ Active Status Primary Goals Program Relationships and Partners Bus Stops (Survey Result #) Athens Transit Athens, GA 2005 â¢ Improve the bus stops throughout Athens-Clarke County 525 Regional Transportation Authority Chicago, IL Ongoing â¢ Provide funding for small- scale capital projects that improve access to the regional transit system for pedestrians and bicyclists Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority Kalamazoo, MI 2018 â¢ Assess the existing conditions of the Metro system, including how well transit demand is met, stop-level ridership, stop spacing, bus stop amenities, and sidewalk connectivity â¢ Improve rider experience, operational safety, and on-time performance â¢ Cities, townships, counties, Michigan DOT Mountain Line Missoula, MT 2015 â¢ Provide a roadmap for achieving a network of stops that enhances Mountain Line customer experience and increases operational efficiency â¢ Missoula Parking Commission, Missoula DOT Winston- Salem Transit Authority Winston- Salem, NC N/A â¢ Include in project scope of services the installation of a standardized bus shelter, benches, and other stop amenities within the right-of-way along each corridor Rhode Island Public Transit Authority Providence, RI N/A â¢ Municipalities, Rhode Island DOT Sun Metro El Paso, TX 2009 â¢ Introduce new services, passenger amenities, and marketing programs to increase ridership by 3% to 5% per year â¢ N/A 80â110 Pierce Transit Lakewood, WA 2016 â¢ Improve bus stops by constructing boarding area improvements or installing passenger amenities â¢ King County Metro, Intercity Transit, Sound Transit 2,200 Sources: Municipality of Anchorage (2020), Regional Public Transportation Authority (2008), San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (2017), Butte Regional Transit (2007), SunLine Transit Agency (2015), SamTrans (2018), San Benito County Local Transportation Authority (2016), City of Santa Maria (2011), City of Santa Monica (2020), City of Whittier (2020), City of Boulder (2015), Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (2014), Votran (2020), Athens Transit (2005), Regional Transportation Authority (2020b), Kalamazoo County Transportation Authority (2018), Mountain Line (2019), Winston-Salem Transit Authority (2016), Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (2019), City of El Paso (2009), Pierce Transit (2016). Table 1. (Continued).
18 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access The opinions of the general public can also be considered in the bus stop improvement program. Many agencies conduct public outreach programs, hearings, and customer surveys to solicit feedback from the public. The Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System in Maine synthesized its TAGâs comments and public opinions when prioritizing the bus stops for improvements (McMahon Associates, 2018). The agency received public feedback on its prioritization process, using a survey and pop-up meetings to help rank the follow- ing three priority areas: (1) improved accessibility at bus stops; (2) preferred locations and amenities for bus stops; and (3) additional bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure at bus stops (McMahon Associates, 2018). In addition, focus groups of seniors, people with disabilities, and persons with limited English proficiency provided important feedback for the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System to enable accessible bus service for all people. The San Benito County Local Transportation Authority (2016) performed a transit rider survey and an operator survey to evaluate the current bus stop conditions and obtain feedback regarding improvement practices. The agency used an intercept survey at bus stops to request input from the bus riders about their satisfaction with bus service and their suggestions for improvements. The San Benito County Local Transportation Authority also disseminated surveys to bus operators and dispatchers to assess the existing deficiencies of bus stops and amenities from the perspective of the transit agency staff. In the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, Metro Transit engaged with the community by joining in a partnership with the Community Engagement Team, composed of the Nexus Community Partners, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (Metro Transit, 2017). The goals of the community engagement were to integrate the opinions of traditionally underrepresented communities into the bus stop improvement planning process to increase transparency about investments (Metro Transit, 2017). Proactive communication with private property owners represents good practice as bus stops are often sited on, or adjacent to, the commercial land-use areas. The lack of communication between transit agencies and private property owners can cause misperceptions regarding the effects of bus stops and transit riders adjacent to their property (Hinebaugh and Staes, 2001). For instance, private property developers and managers can view the bus stops and passengers as causing nearby issues, including loitering, increased crime, and physical constraints on the property (Hinebaugh and Staes, 2001). The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) in Austin, TX, often contacts business or residence owners in person to explain bus stop placement or movement projects, even though the agency has the authority to locate bus stops along the public right-of-way within the City of Austin through an interlocal agree- ment (Boyle, 2015). The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA, advocates the benefits of bus stop amenities (including shelters, benches, and receptacles) when they face property owner opposition to such improvements, explaining that transit users will take advantage of those amenities rather than seeking shelter on private property (TransitCenter, 2018). In addition, transit agencies can mitigate potential opposition by providing property owners with incentives for allowing the placement of bus stops or related amenities on their property. To establish better working relationships, many transit agencies offer private property owner incentives such as installation of amenities (e.g., shelters, benches, and concrete pads), free advertising space, and maintenance activities (e.g., periodic cleanings) (Hinebaugh and Staes, 2001). The private sector can collaborate with transit agencies to implement bus stop improve- ments. The Memphis Area Transit Authority in Tennessee and local property owners enter into easement agreements, enabling the agency to use a nonexclusive unobstructed right-of-way on the private property; such property owners expect that transit riders will support local businesses by making purchases in the adjacent shops (Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, 2017). Because funding can be limited, transit agencies might entrust the private sector to install and
Literature Review 19 maintain the improved bus stops and pedestrian environments. TriMet in Portland, OR, contracts with Lamar, an advertising company, to replace existing benches and leaners at bus stops with new ones constructed of more durable materials, reducing maintenance costs (Murphy, 2014; TransitCenter, 2018). Under the contract, Lamar invested $500,000 in placing shelters and benches that display ads. Butte Regional Transit in California also encourages bus shelter advertising contracts to help fund bus stop improvements (Butte Regional Transit, 2007). Transfort (2015) reports that its contracts with advertising companies represent one of the most important funding sources for the installation and provision of passenger amenities and the maintenance of bus stops. According to Transfort (2015), contracts with advertising companies allow the agency to upgrade approximately 10 bus stops each year. Research on Bus Stop Improvements Previous research studies have examined the impacts of bus stop improvements from the various perspectives of the transit agencies, other entities, and local stakeholders. This section reviews the academic and professional literature, with a focus on the relationship between bus stop accessibility and bus service rider experience and ridership, tools and processes for bus stop inventory and investment prioritization processes, accessibility and equity issues in improvement programs, and the benefits of bus stop improvements. Comfortable and safe waiting environments at bus stops can increase ridership (Eo, 2018; Xiong and Li, 2011). Specifically, shelters were reported as the most important factor in higher bus ridership in Greensboro, NC; Kansas City, MO; and Seattle, WA (Talbott, 2011). After examining the impacts of bus stop improvements made by the Utah Transit Authority, one study found that creating ADA-compliant concrete pads and installing various bus amenities and pathway improvementsâincluding trash cans, benches, shelters, and better connections to sidewalksâincrease fixed-route bus ridership (Kim, Bartholomew, and Ewing, 2018). In addition, accessible pedestrian environments around bus stops influence transit rider- ship. Ryan and Frank (2009) investigated the San Diego regionâs transit use and the effects on ridership of the quality of the pedestrian environment around transit stops. Various built environment characteristics were considered as variables for determining walkability, includ- ing residential density, retail floor area ratio, intersection density, and land-use mix. Ryan and Frank (2009) documented a positive relationship between transit ridership and a walk- able environment. EstupiÃ±Ã¡n and RodrÃguez (2008) reviewed the relationship between built environment characteristics and stop-level ridership for BRT services in BogotÃ¡, Colombia, concluding that built environments supporting walking are positively correlated with higher BRT use. Zhao et al. (2005) developed geographically weighted regression models to predict public transit use, showing that sidewalk coverage on arterials and collector roads produces a positive association with bus ridership. Tools and Processes for Bus Stop Inventory and Prioritization In general, the development of bus stop improvement programs is based on examinations of the current condition of existing bus stops. Transit agencies have established bus stop inventories (databases) to assist in effectively maintaining bus stops. To build an inventory of existing bus stops and track their condition, many transit agencies conduct a field survey of bus stops to gather information such as geographical location, presence or absence of passenger amenities, pedestrian infrastructure in the vicinity, and general visual observations (including digital photography). In TCRP Synthesis 117: Better On-Street Bus Stops (Boyle, 2015), some transit agencies reported prioritization for bus stop improvement based on ridership and input from leadership in the disability community. Some agencies, such as the following, also use a
20 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access self-developed scoring system that ranks bus stop improvements in terms of efficient cost allocation (Butte Regional Transit, 2007; Mueller, 2009; New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2015; San Benito County Local Transportation Authority, 2016; San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority, 2017): â¢ The City of Tucson employed a prioritization score based on the bus stops with high rider- ship (100 or more passengers) and the status of ADA accessibility to determine the bus stops with the highest need for improvements (Mueller, 2009). â¢ The New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (2015) created a prioritization tool for ranking bus stops, applying weighted criteria for cycling and walking infrastructure, bus stop safety, bus stop amenities, ridership, service hours, visibility obstructions, sidewalk curb cuts, stakeholder feedback, bus stop intervals, construction constraints, reported crashes, and multimodal activity. â¢ The San Benito County Local Transportation Authority (2016) developed a scoring system using data on housing density, median household income, population of seniors, and points of interest within a radius of 1/8 mile from the bus stops. â¢ The San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (2017) prioritized transit stop improvements based on factors such as number of boardings, amenities present, cost of installation, safety concerns, public input, and jurisdictional control of the location. The agency also estab- lished usage thresholds for amenities at transit stops based on boardings per day. â¢ The Central Ohio Transit Authority established a standard for the provision of shelters at a bus stop based on at least 35 average weekday boardings at the location (Boyle, 2015). Accessibility and Equity in Improvements Previous studies found that inadequate bus stop amenities and pedestrian infrastructure negatively affect transportation-disadvantaged populations. Oh et al. (2017) reported that individualsâ physical mobility limitations (e.g., slow walking speed and limited maximum walking distance), along with the absence of clear boarding and alighting areas and connected pathways at bus stops, can reduce job accessibility for those individuals by as much as 86%. A research team at the University of Minnesota conducted a survey to assess the transit access of residents who live in areas of concentrated poverty (Guthrie et al., 2019); participants evaluated their transit experience, giving consideration to the condition of street crossings and sidewalks and to traffic safety. Existing literature is limited on transit agency practices to mitigate such negative effects and to address inequities in bus stop infrastructure among different populations. Benefits of Bus Stop Improvements While they cannot be directly and easily calculated, the socioeconomic and transit agency cost benefits of bus stop improvements are suggested by some studies. The Maryland Transit Administration (Salgado-Tamayo, 2007) observed that the cost of simple improvements to amenities and connecting sidewalks at a single bus stop location would be recovered over 10 weeks if one paratransit user started using fixed-route bus service for daily commuting trips. The same analysis concluded that further enhancements (including lighted shelters, benches, and larger portions of sidewalks) would be recovered in 18 months based on the saved cost of one former paratransit user. Kim, Bartholomew, and Ewing (2020) used a propensity score to measure the effects of bus stop improvements made by the Utah Transit Authority, finding that improvements positively affected fixed-route ridership (which increased) and paratransit service demand (which decreased). TCRP Report 163: Strategy Guide to Enable and Promote the Use of Fixed-Route Transit by People with Disabilities (Thatcher et al., 2013) includes case examples of transit agency programs
Literature Review 21 that encourage the use of fixed-route transit by persons with disabilities. The outcomes of those programs include the following examples related to bus stop improvements: â¢ Montgomery County, MD, concluded that improvements in pedestrian infrastructure decreased pedestrian collisions by 4% and pedestrian fatalities by 11% over an 11-year period. â¢ Intercity Transit in Olympia, WA, documented that improvements at 24 bus stop locations increased total boardings at those stops by 14%, compared to a 5% increase systemwide. Lift deployments on buses at those stops rose by 37%, compared to a 16% systemwide increase. The agency calculated a net savings of $38.54 per trip from shifting a paratransit trip to a fixed-route trip. â¢ TriMet in Portland, OR, measured changes in paratransit ridership, with eligible riders decreasing by 12% in areas with improved bus stops (over a 3-year period). Using cost- per-trip performance metrics, TriMet calculated that it saved nearly $60,000 per year by accommodating additional riders by using lifts on fixed-route buses, enabled as a result of bus stop improvements. International Experiences The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi developed a toolkit for the assessment of the accessibility of bus stops for pedestrians (Lakhotia, Rao, and Tiwari, 2019). The toolkit conducts pedestrian audits of environments surrounding bus stops to evaluate comfort and convenience, along with safety and security. The first component of the audit consists of indicators regarding pavement type, width, height, cleanliness and maintenance of pathways, provision of street infrastructure (e.g., lighting and shade), disability-friendly infrastructure (e.g., tactile flooring, audible signals, and railings), presence of barriers (e.g., obstructions such as trees, parked vehicles, and vendors), and signage for pedestrians. The second audit component relates to the safety of pedestrians, considering indicators such as sidewalk setback area from roadway, frequency of street crossings, type of street crossings (e.g., traffic calming devices), time taken to cross the roadway, visibility for walking after dark, and land use along pathways. One research study estimated the economic value of bus stops by analyzing a database of residential properties and estates in Xiamen, China (Yang et al., 2019). The estimated value of bus stop accessibility was quantified by using nonspatial hedonic pricing models and spatial econometric models. This study observed that access to bus stops increases property values. The study showed that the price of a property within 500 meters of bus stops is 0.5% higher than a property beyond 500 meters of bus stops. Odeck, Hagen, and Fearnley (2010) applied the monetary value of bus stop amenities per trip to appraise the economic value of universal design in bus service. After a broad literature search, they suggested the valuation of several amenities per trip in eurocents (in 2005, â¬1 equaled approximately $1), including bus shelters (â¬0.13) and lights at bus stops (â¬0.08). Through the cost-benefit analysis, some universal design elements (including level boardings and enhanced lighting at bus stops) are identified as socioeconomically profitable in the long-term period (25 years). Summary Transit agencies are motivated to increase the quality of bus stop amenities and the connec- tions to neighboring pedestrian pathways to increase overall ridership and enhance customer satisfaction. Providing shelter and accessibility for pedestrians can increase rider satisfaction with bus service and perceived safety, thereby boosting bus ridership. Several studies have found that improved pedestrian pathways and amenities at bus stops are related to higher bus service usage. Concurrently, transit agencies deal with issues of infrastructure and ROW
22 Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access ownership that present challenges for improving all of the connective elements for access- ing transit service. This report concludes that information is limited on formal agreements and processes and on coordination and relationships among public entities. Constrained resources and funding pose challenges to implementing all of the bus stop infrastructure improvements needed in the system. Transit agencies must balance federal, state, and local revenue sources with budget limitations to make decisions on bus stop improvement priorities that align with their system goals. Bus stop and pathway improvements benefit all transit riders while inaccessible stops prevent people with disabilities from using fixed-route transit. Bus stop improvement programs offer a roadmap for enhancing infrastructure at bus stops throughout the transit system. Transit agencies establish the goals and parameters for improvement programs based on system priorities, available funding, and community input. Some improvement programs only address the bus stop elements directly within the transit agencyâs control, but more comprehensive programs collaborate with other stakeholders to upgrade connecting pathways. Regional master plans that include bus stop improvements and communication with local planning departments help embed the need for infrastructure improvements at bus stops with the require- ments of the wider community. Communication with private property owners and businesses adjacent to current or planned bus service is also key for creating buy-in to transit infrastructure improvements. Existing literature points to ROW issues as a primary existing barrier to bus stop improvement programs but rarely offers solutions. Some transit agencies have prioritization methodologies and scoring systems in place for ranking bus stop needs, but fewer agencies have measured the resulting benefits and outcomes of the improvements.