An Assessment Scale for Travel Information at Bus Stops

Bus Assessment Scale
Bus Assessment Scale

At TRB this week, I ran into former student and University of Minnesota Civil Engineering alumnus Michael Groh, who was working with National Transit Institute in New Jersey. He was presenting a poster (reduced version pictured, BusAssessmentScale (PDF)) titled “An Assessment Scale for Travel Information at Bus Stops”. There is an associated paper obtainable from the author or on the TRB website for attendees.
In brief, it provides a systematic way to assess bus stops according to four basic questions:

  • Where does the bus go?
  • How soon is the next bus?
  • What does it cost?
  • Is the bus stop design usable for everyone?

This is a much needed metric to remind operators what constitutes passing and failing bus stop performance. The vast majority of the Twin Cities bus stops would rate an “F” by these criteria, only a few of the newly remodeled downtown stops warrant an “A”.
Bus stop signage is really important for a variety of reasons, but especially for what is often called “choice” ridership. People cannot choose a product if they have no information about it, and won’t choose a product if they feel uncomfortable using it.
When living in London, I felt very comfortable taking the buses to neighborhoods I had never been before, with full knowledge there was an ‘A’ or ‘B’ level bus stop sign on the other end to help me get back home. In Minneapolis, if I rode a bus to an unknown neighborhood, I would likely wind up walking home for all the information that Metro Transit is going to give me.
See also previous posts:

Seattle Metro’s New Bus Stop Signs

Towards an Urban Interface – Some Design Principles

On “A Streetcar Named Development”, Streetcars, Buses, and Signs