Transit

What is Bus stop balancing and how it can help Guelph buses move faster

This is a continuation of my articles on Transit:
Part 1: A guide to a frequent, affordable, and accessible transit system in Guelph
Part 2: Essential Elements of Good Transit
Part 3: Coverage vs Frequency: What is it and how can we make it work in Guelph

Information reposted from TransitCenter http://transitcenter.org/2017/10/30/bus-stop-balancing/

Read more about the Basics: The Spacing of Stops and Stations here.

Too many bus stops means that buses aren’t moving as quickly as they should be.

Many bus stops around the country are too close together, slowing down the ride for everyone. Fortunately, transit agencies like SFMTA and Maryland MTA are taking steps to rebalance existing bus stop networks.

Bus stop balancing typically keeps stops that are key transfer points, as well as ones with high ridership. Priority is also granted to bus stops near community and senior centers.

People who can currently reach multiple stops won’t see any difference. For riders at stops that have been moved, the maximum added walk time to a new stop should be 1/4 mile (400 meters) at a maximum – approximately five minutes. This (slightly) longer walk means a faster ride, which will enable people to spend more time doing the things they love.

In New York City, buses spend 22% of their time at stops. The MTA has an initial plan to reduce stops on Staten Island Express buses, but needs to take a much broader look at the problem.

Along with all-door boarding, dedicated bus lanes and transit signal priority, stop balancing can help to make transit that’s worth walking to.

In most cities, bus stops are spaced too closely together. On a local bus route, stops should be within a convenient walking distance of each other — about a quarter mile. If stops are spaced much more tightly than that, buses spend an excessive amount of time stopped for boarding and at red lights.

The TransitCenter video focuses on New York, where guidelines call for stops to be spaced just 750 feet apart, but the same principles apply in just about every Canadian or American city:

 

It can be politically difficult for agencies to remove bus stops, since every stop has its constituency. But transit agencies can prioritize which stops should stay.

TransitCenter and others recommends preserving high ridership stops, stops with important connections to other transit lines, and stops near schools, medical centers, or other important destinations like shopping and major employers.

Guelph has several routes where stops are much too close together slowing down the bus and making it late on occasion. There are also areas where stops are too far apart and far from the final destination a user of transit would need to get to. By making a policy for a standard distance between stops, we can see buses run more smoothly, however, it would be highly recommended that there be some flexibility as sticking to the standard a 400-500 meters may not always make sense especially in areas where the destinations and density pare close together.

Learn about the Basics: The Spacing of Stops and Stations

Learn about the Basics: Walking distance to transit

See also:

Part 1: A guide to a frequent, affordable, and accessible transit system in Guelph
Part 2: Essential Elements of Good Transit
Part 3: Coverage vs Frequency: What is it and how can we make it work in Guelph

See all my Transit articles under the In Transit Button on the top of this page.

 

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