Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quality Transit -The Bus Stop's Here!

The Well Dressed Bus Stop!!

In a previous posting I identified nine major multi-route junction points likely to become transfer stations, if the authorities can ever get their act together. These are locations where large number of peoples have to wait for buses, either because of adjoining activities (malls, airports etc) or because they are major  points where people transfer between bus routes.
I suggested only these potential bus stations would currently have sufficient patronage to warrant enclosed waiting air conditioned rooms etc

I also suggested  there are about 16 other locations around the city which could benefit from a sort of "transfer node" status - essentially just enhanced bus stop configurations and facilities. Every node point opens up multiplying opportunities for moving easily and more rapidly around the city and moving more directly without doubling back. Although this may be pooh poohed as excessive by planners  not having this built-in mobility option is as silly as saying motorists can't drive down certain city streets, with this block applying to 50% of all streets.

This last posting has caused me to give some deeper thought to the humble bus stop. (.....Oh strange boy...)

 Here's a list of potential facets I have figured out that a well dressed bus stop could have to support bus users. Also conversely, to deter any behavioural or criminal problems arising which are likely to discredit bus use, always an added factor in public place design. There is already some obvious hierarchy about bus stops - busier ones tend to get the bigger shelters, or real time push-button machines, with the very busiest the overhead plasma signs. But I am not sure how "scientific" it gets beyond that.

I have put facets that I can think of in a evolving hierarchy of sophistication (and no doubt often increasing costs). Presumably the council already has some basic criteria for "what goes where" but it would be good to see this extended to incorporate many more facets and more consistently to established criteria. One of the great things the council has done - beyond the Bus Exchange and The [central city gas-electric hybrid] Shuttle - is to put lots of new bus shelters everywhere over the last decade. Unfortunately in most cases the attention to the sort of quality infrastructure standards described doesn't go much further, as becomes obvious when a wider range of support technology is suggested.  This said some of the present shortcomings sheet back to the Metro information marketing side.

Anyway I was astounded by how many facets can go into creating quality bus stops - at the risk of boring your pants off I list them below,( if anyone sees other ideas please let me know)

Welcome to the obscure world of bus stop technology!!
underlined = click to external sample  Comments relevant to Christchurch or NZ situation included here and there

1. Bus Stop Identification
Clear Signage - sign on lamp post or pole
Branded or Stylised Signage on pole or own stand
Illuminated signage - I love that distinctive illuminated dark blue/white "metro" signs at plasma sign stops!
Neon signage
Also - Off-route directional sign to bus route/stop

Hamilton NZ uses pole signage to offer a clearly branded Night Rider route

Stylised bus stop markers are used on several name branded routes in Christchurch

2. Vehicle Stopping Space
Road marking to accommodate single bus length
Road marking to accommodate multiple bus lengths
Roading surface at stop levelled to avoid excessive lean and strengthened for smooth transit
Curbed island to separate bus stop from main traffic flow
Bus lanes in curbed channels through extended bus/pedestrian only plaza
Curbed island to separate bus stop from main traffic flow or plaza area with bedstead fencing that can not be climbed over

Segregated bus stop lanes with a range of other supportive infrastructure -Paris
Photo; Karl Fjellstrom and IDTP

3.Underfoot surface quality
Sealed ground area where there is no footpath eg in rural area
Sealed conventional raised footpath with curb, narrowed to allow incut of bus stop
Sealed conventional raised footpath with curb, normal width maintained
Sealed conventional raised footpath with curb, expanded width or in plaza format to allow for      passenger loading and simultaneous pedestrian through-flow
Sealed platform ramped or raised to offer door level loading
Sealed platform to offer door level loading with bus stop alignment poles to ensure buses stop in correct position
Sealed platform to offer door level loading with bus stop alignment indicator lights to ensure bus stops in correct position
- as for previous with platform edge fencing system to ensure passengers line up at correct front door passenger loading point position
- as for previous with platform edge fencing system to ensure passengers line up at correct loading position ALL doors (in pre-pay on entering platform area system)
- as for previous with platform edge fencing system to ensure passengers line up at correct loading position all doors in prepay system and bicycles line up with bicyle loading doors/front racks (see video on link for simple effective transport including bikes)
Sealed platform as above with sliding glass doors opening in response to bus signal

Attractive use of bedstead fencing (fancy grade) to protect from uneven ground
and use of a north facing wall  as part of weather protection, shelters with extended
overhang roofs against sun and rain - Hornby multi-route interchange Christchurch

4. Seating
No seating available
Bench seat no back rest
Bench seat with back rest
Contoured bench seating
Padded seating
Padded Seating with arm rests
Lounge style airport furniture

Notes; (A) Quality of seating also closely linked to existence or not of overhead shelter and protection from hot sun,  or from rain at the time and afterwards eg wet seats etc (B) typical modern pattern appears to be to have seating in sets of two, or less than 800mm long, or contoured in some way, to minimise people sleeping on bench seats, notably in semi-enclosed shelters

5. Shelter facilities
No shelter - stop placed in exposed place
No shelter - stop placed beside hedge or fence likely to mitigate windchill
Shallow shelter [less than metre deep] with slight overhead verandha lip and side walls
Deeper shelter [1-3 metre deep] with similar depth verandha roof and side walls
Canopy Shelter - more than 3 metres deep - roof across entire bus loading and/or pedestrian area, some walls
Enclosed fully walled roomspace with opening and shutting doors to loading area
Temperature controlled waiting area

Simple but attractive bus stop in Waikato though probably better in
milder  rainy climate than one with cooler winds

Roof over style bus shelter on Melbourne's "yellow orbital route"

Wide veranda spaces and pedestrian areas at Gangdin BRT station,
70,000 bus passengers a day move through this area! Photo; Karl Fjellstrom and IDTP

6. Timetable and route information
No information posted at stop
Separate timetables for some routes but not others, posted
All timetables relevant to stop posted separately
Custom made (for that stop) listing of services and relevant timetables
Large multi-route map for city/area of larger city
Press button or computerised map/route finder system

Hornby interchange - A rare attempt in Christchurch to present multiple-route timteable information in a collated and readable format - most other multiple route corridors have [multiple] poles festooned with separate time-tables (sometimes with some routes missing) with no attempt to offer user friendly summary information

7. Real Time Information
Stop/shelter has signage detailing live contactable information systems
Stop has push-button real time showing how many minutes away the next departure from that point
Stop has plasma sign listing multiple departure times (eg next ten departures)

8. Food and drink - "Snaccess"
No available food or drink supply
Drinking fountain with-in easy access of bus stop
Stop is adjacent to convenience store
Stop is adjacent to lunch bar or bakery or takeway food facility
Stop is adjacent to sit down cafe facilities
Stop has automatic snack food and drink machines
Stop has inbuilt cafe or takeaway food counter
Stop has multiple takeaway food counters and cafes and bars attached

The reassurance of being able to have sit-down food and drink whilst never losing sight of the real time signage advising how minutes away your bus is - Hamilton Transport Centre (NZ)

Signage at bus stop indicates closest public convenience
Bus stops (notably transfer locations) specifically sited to be within a minute or two
    walking access to conveniences eg shopping malls
Public conveniences less than 100 metres and visible from bus stop
Bus stop includes conveniences built discreetly into stopping zone area
Street map of local area (in vandal proof casing) at or close to bus shelter

Phone booth visible from bus stop but out of voice range approx 25-50 metres away

10. Rubbish and Vandalism
Public rubbish bin attached to bus stop pole shelter
Public rubbish bin sited 25-50 metres from bus stop
Public rubbish bin and glass and alumin recycling bins stationed 25-50 metres from bus stop
Bus stop and shelter cleaned regularly
Bus stop (busy) and shelter cleaned and hosed every morning
Bus stop (busy) and shelter steam cleaned and hosed every morning

11.Transfer other bus services
Bus stop is poorly related to other bus stops in area, in and out stops dispersed
Services fulfilling similar functions go from different bus stops in same general area**
Services fulfilling similar functions go from different bus stops in same area but each stop clearly indicates departure options available at adjacent stops**
All bus routes in both directions channel through this stop (same stop)**
All bus routes in any direction are immediately adjacent, adjoined by platforms or protected road crossings design or technology
Timetable and real time information systems conveyed in formats that assist easy transfer
Stop offers access to local area shuttle or van-taxi drop off system for area or zone

** Reference here is to on-street suburban bus stops not to bus stations with separate platforms for different routes etc

12. Transfer to or from other modes
Stop has ample on-street or off-street free parking for park and ride
Stop has ample on street parking always available for pick up or drop off purposes
Stop (in busy area) has always protected "kiss and ride" spaces for bus/car car/bus transfers
Stop has immediately adjacent taxi rank on busy road, flag stop facility
Stop has immediately adjacent taxi rank with taxis usually waiting or taxi phone
Bus system has way of pre-ordering taxis to this bus stop in advance.

Clear and simple bus-taxi-bus access at Hamilton (NZ) Transport Centre

Stop has bicycle parking stands not visible from bus stop.
Stop has bicycle parking stands visible to bus stop
Stop has secure storage facilities with attendant for bicycles
Stop has real time signage indicating current availability status of bicycle racks on specific service due at stop

13. Health and Safety
Curbing or platform areas have "rumble pads" to warn those with sight disabilities of edge proximity
Buses engines do not idle in pedestrian /passenger areas if stopping more than 30 seconds**
All vehicle areas are fence protected, particularly against impulsive movements by small children in waiting areas
Restricted access to vehicle area for cars, eg restricted "drive through" ability
General area has CCTV cameras (recorded information)
General area has CCTV camera live feed to bus agency and/or accessible as needed to emergency services
General area has multiple CCTV cameras including face to face skype type info/emergency call out system
General area has evening floodlighting

Bus stop zone, plaza or shelter facilities are specifically designed to be non conducive to inappropriate or illicit activity - from urinating in the bus shelter to drug dealing or robbery - with only partial screening of separate areas from passive surveillance or cctv

Police, or transport police, or security/info officers familiar with stop locations, make random visits or patrols, in the case latter two groups, able to offer advice and support to patrons.

** I would guess from present trends/technological advances that within the next few years it will become standard for ALL new buses (and probably at least some cars) to have systems that seamlessly stop and restart engines idling at traffic lights and bus stops. Idling engines are said to create four times more pollution than when a vehicle is moving, where engines are more efficient, and to consume circa 9-13% of all fuel consumed so there is plenty of incentive to improve and apply this technolog

Odd Footnote; When a once proud main-line country railway station
becomes little more than a see through bus shelter! Taihape.

Ps The humble Bus Stop immortalized in the arts here - and what else could it be but...

1 comment:

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