Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » June 12th, 2013, 10:27 pm

In terms of ridership, upgrading the Route 5 would be priority #1. However, the Route 6 would not be far behind. Certainly ahead of most of these routes in line for aBRT/Direct.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby ECtransplant » June 13th, 2013, 4:47 pm

David Greene wrote:
ECtransplant wrote:The lack of good transit connecting uptown and downtown, namely down Hennepin, is my personal biggest annoyance with the transit system
Not to be too snarky, but if this is your biggest problem with the system, you're pretty damned fortunate. The transit service on Hennepin is pretty good compared to most everywhere else. There are people in heavily transit-dependent areas that take three buses and 1-2 hours to get to work every day.
That's true. I didn't mean to imply I have it so bad. There are lots of areas severely lacking in transit, but there are a lot of difficulties in making transit better in those areas (lack of density, road design, etc.). Hennepin should be one of the best transit corridors in the state based on the density along the route, the fact that it is the main connection between downtown and Minneapolis's second downtown, etc. If we can't fulfill transit's potential here, there's not much hope for elsewhere. It's not that transit is SO bad along Hennepin; it's that there is so much potential for transit that's being wasted.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby twincitizen » June 14th, 2013, 1:00 pm

I know some of you don't want politics to permeate everything, but Lisa Bender has repeatedly mentioned the need to do something about transit on Hennepin. Now that Metro Transit has revealed their priority corridors, leaving Hennepin behind, it is going to take serious political pressure to change that. How much can a single City Council member effect change at the regional transit agency? I don't really know. What I do know is that the entire stretch of Hennepin Avenue, from 36th Street to the River is under City jurisdiction. That means that we can do something extraordinary on Hennepin, without begging for consent from Hennepin County or MNDOT. We just have to demand it. Lisa also has tremendous support from many people who work in planning related fields, some of them at Metro Transit. If we want better transit on Hennepin, it starts by making sure she gets elected.

/rant

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby David Greene » June 14th, 2013, 1:04 pm

twincitizen wrote:I know some of you don't want politics to permeate everything, but Lisa Bender has repeatedly mentioned the need to do something about transit on Hennepin. Now that Metro Transit has revealed their priority corridors, leaving Hennepin behind, it is going to take serious political pressure to change that. How much can a single City Council member effect change at the regional transit agency? I don't really know. What I do know is that the entire stretch of Hennepin Avenue, from 36th Street to the River is under City jurisdiction. That means that we can do something extraordinary on Hennepin, without begging for consent from Hennepin County or MNDOT. We just have to demand it. Lisa also has tremendous support from many people who work in planning related fields, some of them at Metro Transit. If we want better transit on Hennepin, it starts by making sure she gets elected.
No doubt! I have high hopes for Lisa, especially after an extended sit-down with her. She really gets it. She's willing to question assumptions and wants to see change.

I don't think we should expect too much of a first-termer but we absolutely must get her elected.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby David Greene » June 14th, 2013, 1:06 pm

ECtransplant wrote:It's not that transit is SO bad along Hennepin; it's that there is so much potential for transit that's being wasted.
I certainly agree with that! The problem, as always, is funding. I hope we can kick some legislative *** next year and get a significant shot of sustained dollars.

There will no doubt be plenty of opportunity for public action around transportation funding. I hope the UrbanMSP community is part of it!

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby MSPtoMKE » June 25th, 2013, 11:02 pm

OK, according to a Metro Council Transportation Committee presentation, the brand Metro Transit Direct isn't quite set after all. You were right, David Greene, although I am unsure if at the time that the previous presentation was posted, it was assumed that the name was settled. Anyways, the flow chart has been modified slightly to say after it reaches Direct, "Additional market testing requested by stakeholders". This is now the second time that has happened after they originally concluded that "Rapid" could be confused with Red Line bus rapid transit. The new bus renderings have the placeholder "Name", but they still have the double chevron logo that was in the previous report.

http://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meeting ... -Upda.aspx

Edit: Another minor change, on the updated renderings the 40' bus was changed to Metro Transit's favorite Gillig, with the BRT styling found on some of MVTA's newest buses. The 60' bus is still a New Flyer, though.
Last edited by MSPtoMKE on June 26th, 2013, 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mulad » June 26th, 2013, 6:08 am

After looking at the Cleveland Healthline video I linked to over in the Red Line thread, I'm wondering if it would be possible to get a different door arrangement for this system. If the front door could be moved just behind the front wheel-well, it would alleviate the current problem of people leaning up against it, blocking other riders as they board or get off the bus. I'm not sure if you could put passenger seats way up in the front, though. That would feel a bit weird.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby planetxan » June 26th, 2013, 2:26 pm

Sure looks like the Hi-frequency service, but with Hi-speed as a bonus. ( And Hi-service on Hi-platforms?) Just call it Hi! : )

I went to China earlier this year. One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was try out the old tram line in Dalian. This is similar to our old streetcars. It runs in the middle of the streets and some of the stops do not have platforms, so you are let off in traffic or in the middle of a roundabout. But I noticed something about the way it was set up that got me using the bus more than usual. The trams and buses were done exactly the same. They had route numbers, the same signage, and dedicated stops (usually) with platforms. (See 'bus' stop below.)

It was remarkably easy to navigate even without a map or with little familiarity with the city. Even my limited Chinese was not a problem, though many places had English signage too. (Chinese was easier because I often only knew the Chinese name of the destinations.)

What's the point? This arterial brt bus connect rapid max thing we are trying to do is called in China, "the bus", (in Chinese 巴士 bāshì). To be clear, they have BRT there, and it is quite different. (See pics here http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=738298). It is called BRT. Clever.

In most cities in China, buses are given priority, have their own lanes where the street is large enough, and the routes stick to the large streets without diversions. Buses stop at every stop, which is labeled. Paying is easy, the price is on the payment box and often on the side of the bus next to the door. Usually it is 1元 (yuan), which you pay with a coin or a bill dropped into a box. (It is never 1.75) Sometimes both doors have a box. You get used to having coins on you. They are ubiquitous. There are no transfers.

Before the "this isn't China" argument, let's be clear why I mention this. Its appeal is simplicity. There are no schedules, no this fare at this time, that at another, no need for three coins you seldom have, no stop requests when you think you may be near where you are going but if you don't know what it looks like maybe you passed it, oh dammit! If this is kind of what we are going for with this system, we are getting overly excited with branding and studies and thinking we're on to something new. We are not. This is simplified, user-friendlier bus service. It is something we can do incrementally, on portions of routes, or on new routes.

We can simplify graphics and enhance stops. Just looking at what was learned from the Snelling route tells us something. If most people use 20 stops, make those the 20 stops. You don't need a map to navigate it, just a list of the stops will do, especially if the stops are a little more descriptive - "Hamline University" instead of "Snelling Ave & Hewitt Ave". Honestly, which one of you could find Hewitt Ave or even heard of it? The time points are not quite the same. The #3 has a time point at Eddy Hall but not Dinkytown. There is one at Eustis and Como, but not St Anthony Park. The map takes up two pages. By the time you decipher where you are going you've missed the bus.

You only need to get deeper into the info when people want it.
First layer: simple route - stay to a main street; simple description - a list of stops; simple schedule - approximately every x min.
Next layer, more detailed map, exact schedule.

An Arterial Bus Corridor (ABC, get it?) is nice, but let's not pat ourselves on the back so much over it. This kind of system is common in many places. We should learn from them. Or as Steve Jobs may have put it, "The killer app of the transit system should be the bus." Our buses are far from a killer app.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby cowboyjones » June 26th, 2013, 5:19 pm

If the goal is to make service simpler, and thus both faster and more attractive, to increase ridership, there are a few ways they could do that, some more feasible than others. One way would be to make the transit system entirely fare-free. All buses could pick people up faster, and because there would no longer be a monetary cost, it would increase ridership significantly. There would be some savings because they would no longer need to spend money to ensure collection, but it would cost 100mil+ to the taxpayers (not including capital improvements), or roughly $35 per person in the 7 county area. per year. It would exhibit a lot of positive externalities from such significant ridership increase (including cheaper gas and easier traffic), but would be a hard sell. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2013/06/fares)

Alternatively make the fare just 1 or 2 bucks (like planetxan said) for ease of simplicity. (Could even try to get the treasury to make a $2 coin, but that's probably not feasible)

Or probably the most feasible is to try to increase the use of go-to passes. It seems like many people still use cash to pay their fares, which significantly slows up boarding and so I think MetroTransit is on the right track with at-station payment with the rapid bus. But I think It would be better to expand the usage of the Go-to cards.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby talindsay » June 27th, 2013, 7:34 am

planetxan wrote:Sure looks like the Hi-frequency service, but with Hi-speed as a bonus. ( And Hi-service on Hi-platforms?) Just call it Hi! : )
Actually, why not? They're struggling to have branding experts come up with things that don't suck and so far they aren't succeeding. In a sense I think Hi! is pretty good for the reasons you lay out - high frequency, high speed but still not actually in the space of the things they call "rapid" (i.e., LRT and highway bus). It's quick, it's easy, it's playful, and it doesn't smack of overthinking it. It's too cute for a flagship service - the light rail services need a bit more polish - but for something like this I think it would be great.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby UptownSport » June 27th, 2013, 8:37 am

My worry is where these go- Unlike China, our roads have been built up for horses/cars and it's nearly impossible to expand beyond boundaries.

We are the country of the car- Whether MSP like it or not- And it's not changing in our lifetime or the next.
Dedicating a lane on our arteries would have people up in arms, they'd have to garrison DOT with a brigade of soldiers!!!

I'm surprised more isn't said about U of M campus to campus system- It's beautiful.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby RailBaronYarr » June 27th, 2013, 10:31 am

UptownSport wrote:We are the country of the car- Whether MSP like it or not- And it's not changing in our lifetime or the next.
Dedicating a lane on our arteries would have people up in arms, they'd have to garrison DOT with a brigade of soldiers!!!.
As long as people continue to believe that this 'country of car' mentality (and followed-through in practice) is legitimate, then yeah they'll feel the need to storm the Bastille. If our politicians can work with people to show that it is not financially or environmentally sound to continue in this way then perhaps there won't be the outrage. I'm confused how anyone could logically argue against dedicated lanes (for buses, LRT, streetcar, whatever) given the number of people they could carry per hour vs what that lane could carry in personal vehicles.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby talindsay » June 27th, 2013, 12:49 pm

UptownSport wrote:I'm surprised more isn't said about U of M campus to campus system- It's beautiful.
I mentioned it just the other day in the context of the Red Line, I think. You're right, it's the only actual BRT system in the upper midwest. I think people tend not to talk about it because it's so specific to its purpose that it doesn't set a model for broader use - it's not a general-use transit line. The ironic thing, of course, is that it *is* a general-use transit line - anybody can use it, and it even has numbers that coordinate it into the bus system - but since it's run by the U with student fees and contains no revenue provision, it's administratively off the table for comparison elsewhere.

There's also the whole thing that whereas maybe 5% of the population at large is ever willing to use transit, something well over half of all college students use the UMN transit system regularly.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mattaudio » June 27th, 2013, 1:05 pm

What's the headway on the campus connector? I've always wondered if it could be upgraded to a part of a LRT/streetcar corridor, but connect the campuses in a fare-free zone. Maybe there's a way to do "operational savings increment financing" or OSIF :)

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby planetxan » June 27th, 2013, 1:14 pm

cowboyjones wrote:
Alternatively make the fare just 1 or 2 bucks (like planetxan said) for ease of simplicity. (Could even try to get the treasury to make a $2 coin, but that's probably not feasible)

Or probably the most feasible is to try to increase the use of go-to passes. It seems like many people still use cash to pay their fares, which significantly slows up boarding and so I think MetroTransit is on the right track with at-station payment with the rapid bus. But I think It would be better to expand the usage of the Go-to cards.
The $2 coin could be the old fashion bus token. A nice touch would be to make it the same size and dimensions as Canada's 'toonie' $2 coin. (But not the same weight, for vending purposes.) The US and Canadian $1 coins are the same size.

I have many ideas brewing on how to get more Go-To cards in more people's hands. MetroTransit does not get at all what they have in the card and its infrastructure. Not at all. So much potential. I should probably start another thread for this subject.
talindsay wrote:
planetxan wrote:Sure looks like the Hi-frequency service, but with Hi-speed as a bonus. ( And Hi-service on Hi-platforms?) Just call it Hi! : )
Actually, why not? They're struggling to have branding experts come up with things that don't suck and so far they aren't succeeding. In a sense I think Hi! is pretty good for the reasons you lay out - high frequency, high speed but still not actually in the space of the things they call "rapid" (i.e., LRT and highway bus). It's quick, it's easy, it's playful, and it doesn't smack of overthinking it. It's too cute for a flagship service - the light rail services need a bit more polish - but for something like this I think it would be great.
I was kind of half joking as I wrote it, but after tapping at the ipad I came to the same conclusion as you, more or less. The signage is in place. The campaign is in place. The logo can be a red smiley face matching the red 'T' of the bus.

Changes to the system do not have to be so dramatic. Incremental improvements to the Hi-Frequency network (aka Hi!) can be ongoing and do not have to be limited to bus service. It can incorporate streetcars as they come online. BRT, LRT, tradition bus service, etc. The arterial system can be a goal to work towards.
RailBaronYarr wrote:
UptownSport wrote:We are the country of the car- Whether MSP like it or not- And it's not changing in our lifetime or the next.
Dedicating a lane on our arteries would have people up in arms, they'd have to garrison DOT with a brigade of soldiers!!!.
We became the country of the car within a lifetime. We can change. But we need to prove ourselves. And, yes, the U's system is something to learn from, but even that could use some serious improvement.

Lanes on major thoroughfares are already dedicated to car storage. This disrupts traffic more than a bus lane would. And it would not have to change everywhere. Just a few routes, as outlined in the arterial study can be transformed from linear parking lots to transit ways without much disruption. By incorporating bike lanes and medians to provide the cushion between traffic and pedestrians that park cars now provide, the streetscape can be greatly enhanced. Parking in these areas has never been planned. It just happened. The regulations are ridiculous. That needs to change.
mattaudio wrote:What's the headway on the campus connector? I've always wondered if it could be upgraded to a part of a LRT/streetcar corridor, but connect the campuses in a fare-free zone. Maybe there's a way to do "operational savings increment financing" or OSIF :)
Maybe someone knows if the U is still discussing having free service between the West Bank, East Bank and Stadium stations? There was talk of it, like how it is done between the airport terminals.
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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby FISHMANPET » June 27th, 2013, 1:19 pm

The U's system is 5 minute headways during the school year, not sure what it is during summer.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby mattaudio » June 27th, 2013, 1:24 pm

OSIF funding for L6/Gold?
http://goo.gl/maps/8TC61

St. Paul to Stadium Village via Campus Connector ROW
Stadium Village to 11th Ave via Green line ROW sharing 3 stations
Washington to 10th Ave N

L3 (Hennepin / Nicollet Mall / University) could also take the Campus Connector ROW to St. Paul Campus

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby talindsay » June 27th, 2013, 1:49 pm

mattaudio wrote:What's the headway on the campus connector? I've always wondered if it could be upgraded to a part of a LRT/streetcar corridor, but connect the campuses in a fare-free zone. Maybe there's a way to do "operational savings increment financing" or OSIF :)
I've often pondered this, but honestly I think it would be pretty hard to justify unless it allowed them to really reduce staff expenses a lot. Light rail will actually represent a *degradation* of service between East Bank and West Bank, as the rapid transit buses run every five minutes and the light rail will only be every 10 for much of the day. Also, the campus connector really has all the features of good rapid transit so rail only has the operational cost benefit, coupled with a significant capital cost drag. It's hard to imagine rail could save enough operational expense to make it worthwhile within a reasonable time frame.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby Andrew_F » June 27th, 2013, 1:54 pm

But, if we're talking about Metro Transit taking over and bringing it all the way out to Rosedale, as an alternative to a NE radial LRT line, I think it makes a lot of sense, hitting the U and Fair while using preexisting tracks for part of the route.

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Re: Arterial Transit Corridor Study ("rapid bus")

Postby minnekato » June 27th, 2013, 9:52 pm

On most days, I remember Campus Connector buses showing up with less than 5 minute headway on the Minneapolis campus during the day in Fall/Spring.

I don't think a Metro Transit takeover or LRT/streetcar is a good idea. The Campus Connector serves a particular niche (mainly U students) that has a different set of requirements compared to other transit projects in the Twin Cities.


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