Research helps inform transit shelter policy

bus_shelter

Photo: Metro Transit

For a typical transit user, every minute waiting at a stop feels longer than it actually is. But basic amenities—shelters and benches—at transit stops significantly reduce riders’ perceived waiting times, according to a U of M study.

“Basic amenities are especially important for lines without frequent service,” said Yingling Fan, associate professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, at a fall CTS research seminar. “However, high-amenity stops are often on lines with high-frequency service. Based on our findings, we recommend providing basic amenities at stations and stops as broadly as possible.”

The findings will help inform how Metro Transit adjusts its criteria for providing shelters, said Carol Hejl of the agency’s planning and urban design department. Currently to warrant a shelter, a bus stop in a suburban location must have 25 or more average daily boardings while a stop in an urban location needs 40 or more. Metro Transit is gathering input from community organizations, transit riders, and the broader public to better understand where people think shelters are most important and which features are important at bus stops. This feedback will influence an update to the agency’s shelter placement guidelines.

“At one point, the focus was to spread facilities equally throughout the region, but the agency is focusing now on equity and placing shelters where they are most needed,” Hejl said. The criteria and standards will be available for review and comment in the summer of 2017.

The U of M study, completed in 2015, was funded under the Transitway Improvements Research Program. Fan was the principal investigator; research fellow Andrew Guthrie was co-investigator.

Posted in Public transit, Transportation research, Urban transportation

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