Labeling the Transit System

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DanPatchToget
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Labeling the Transit System

Postby DanPatchToget » November 13th, 2017, 11:54 am

Seeing as we don't have a thread on this topic and it seems to come up whenever a BRT, LRT, or streetcar route is designated I thought I would bring the discussion here.

My opinion is this:
The Metro System (including BRT) gets a color. Yes that includes the Red Line, even though its a glorified bus, but hopefully someday it'll improve. ABRT gets a letter, and any streetcar line (as in fixed rail that uses shared right-of-way for the majority of the route) gets an S and a number (S1, S2, S3, etc.). So Riverview and Midtown would get a color, and hopefully we don't run out of colors.

If/when our commuter rail system expands I'd like it to be named something like MN Regional to show that it serves more than just the Twin Cities. So the Northstar would be under that brand. With only a few lines I think it would be okay to give each route their own name (Northstar Line, Dan Patch Line, Minnesota Valley Line, etc.), but if we have many then label them with an R and a number (R1, R2, R3, etc.).

This is partially based off my experience of using the Oslo transit system. However their subway system is lines 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. We could do that here, but would it be a confusing transition since we already have bus routes with these numbers? They also number their streetcar/tram system. The commuter rail labeled with an L or R and a number (local/regional), local being shorter distance and more stops while regional is longer distance and less stops.

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tmart
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby tmart » November 13th, 2017, 1:38 pm

The reason this comes up in all the new-construction threads is because our system already has lots of routes that blur the lines between service classes, and the major projects in the works only raise new questions. Riverview is basically LRT but with a brief segment in mixed-traffic, shorter trains, and cheaper stations. The difference between the A line and the Red line is literally just station spacing and quality. Midtown is being pitched as a streetcar because the stops would be more frequent, but it's grade-separated and even the Metro lines aren't!

About the only project that obviously fits the "streetcar" designation is Nicollet--and even then, apart from using rails it's not obvious what distinguishes it from aBRT. They're both mixed-traffic, high-frequency, urban express service, with fixed shelters and proof-of-payment service.

As far as commuter and regional rail goes, I think the obvious choice is to name them after the outstate terminus--the St. Cloud Line, the Northfield Line, the Duluth Line, the Rochester Line, etc. This is memorable and gives a clear indication of where it runs and in what direction. This is what they use in lots of places where the commuter/regional rail all converge on the same urban hub, like ours will. I'm imagining branding similar to Montreal's commuter network. It would get complicated if we ever had, e.g., separate Minneapolis-Duluth and St. Paul-Duluth service, but I'll gladly trade some naming confusion for the fantasy world where we have regional rail from outstate destinations to each of the Twin Cities.

gopherfan
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby gopherfan » November 13th, 2017, 1:48 pm

I personally like the Northstar branding and would want it to stay in a regional scenario, same with NLX branding. That said, each trip could have a route letter/number with it. R100's Northstar, R200's NLX, etc.

Portland Streetcar does letters & colors, Seattle just uses street names. I think colors would be best, as I'd prefer most to really not differentiate streetcar from LRT with the hope that this raises ridership within the SYSTEM. Plenty of colors still out there to choose from. If Streetcar shares tracks with LRT at any point, either Midtown w/ Blue Line Lake Street, or Riverview w/ Blue Line Fort Snelling on South, this makes a lot of sense too.

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tmart
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby tmart » November 13th, 2017, 2:44 pm

What about Northstar as the branding for commuter rail in general? It's a solid brand (perhaps a bit tainted by the current low ridership) but there's no obvious reason it should be associated with St. Cloud, given that it's derived from the State's nickname. At some point it's gonna be needless overhead trying to track that Northstar is St. Cloud, Northern Lights is Duluth, Rush Line is Hinckley, etc. I could imagine Northstar Rail being the system that includes a Duluth Line, a St. Cloud Line, etc. It'd be a lot easier to navigate without completely robbing it of personality.

Re: streetcars, San Francisco's streetcar lines have a letter + street name combo, e.g., the N-Judah or the J-Church. They also get their own colors on the Metro map, in part because the streetcar lines are actually extensions of the Subway (i.e., when the subway cars reach the end of the tunnel, they emerge as streetcars). We could do something similar: The A-Nicollet, B-Chicago, C-Penn... It's complicated a bit by aBRT, but given Metro Transit's willingness to designate fancy buses as primary colors, my money is on eventually seeing aBRT and Streetcar using the same naming and map scheme.

SkyScraperKid
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby SkyScraperKid » November 13th, 2017, 9:18 pm

Why not ALL bus routes get a color? I mean we could call the 17 Reddish-blue-green line and the 18 Dark blue-purple line. Oh and it only seems logical that the 5 bus be Blackish pinkish-orange line.

mplser
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby mplser » November 15th, 2017, 10:38 am

"I'm about to go catch the seafoam green and transfer to the malachite"

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby FISHMANPET » November 15th, 2017, 12:40 pm

I was at a professional conference a couple months ago in Orlando that had 30 or 40 shuttle routes between hotels and the convention center, they gave them all numbers and colors for some reason, which led to things like the "blue" route and the "light blue" and the grey and the light grey etc etc.
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Korh
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Korh » November 15th, 2017, 11:27 pm

From what I can work out, the general rule of thump for the current system seems to be

METRO (plus color):
-stations are spaced farther apart on average
-has personal ROW on some sections (believe the Red line still kinda counts since unless I'm totally wrong it has a very small ROW only it uses at the new Cedar Grove Transit Station)

(Letter A-Z) Line:
-stations are spaced closer together on average
-share route with cars on normal roads

Probably could think of more reasons given time (and probably off on the general rules) but its something.

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intercomnut
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby intercomnut » November 16th, 2017, 5:43 am

Korh wrote:
November 15th, 2017, 11:27 pm
From what I can work out, the general rule of thump for the current system seems to be

METRO (plus color):
-stations are spaced farther apart on average
-has personal ROW on some sections (believe the Red line still kinda counts since unless I'm totally wrong it has a very small ROW only it uses at the new Cedar Grove Transit Station)

(Letter A-Z) Line:
-stations are spaced closer together on average
-share route with cars on normal roads

Probably could think of more reasons given time (and probably off on the general rules) but its something.
For the Red Line, they count bus-only shoulders on Cedar as exclusive ROW.

LakeCharles
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby LakeCharles » November 16th, 2017, 7:27 am

But then wouldn't all the express buses count? They have stops spaced a ways apart, and have bus only shoulders for parts of their ride. Like the 535 for example, has the same stops as what will be the orange line, and rides on the shoulder coming out of downtown.

Silophant
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Silophant » November 16th, 2017, 7:55 am

I'm pretty sure Korh is right about the basic differentiator being dedicated ROW vs. not.

As for the express buses, all-day service is also a requirement, so those are out. The 535 is a special case - it basically is the Orange Line, but without the upgraded stations.

Korh
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Korh » November 16th, 2017, 11:59 am

For the 535, I could argue that it has a lower station per mile average, think it has a total of 20 stops (though it doesn't seem like most of them are in use at all times) But I don't now how long the route is so can't say for sure.

gopherfan
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby gopherfan » November 17th, 2017, 1:29 pm

Based on some good suggestions, here's my desired transit map!
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Kr4mo ... sp=sharing

^ Based on routes in some phase of planning:
https://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meetin ... pdate.aspx
https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... jects.aspx

Metro Lines
Blue, Green, Red, Orange, Gold, Silver (Riverview), Maroon (Red Rock) & Teal (Rush Line)

aBRT Lines - Pink
A Line - Snelling
B Line - Lake
C Line - Penn
D Line - Fremont/Chicago
E Line - Hennepin
F Line - American Boulevard
G Line - Robert or S4 Streetcar
H Line - Nicollet
I Line - Central

Streetcar Lines - Purple
S1 - Nicollet
S2 - Greenway
S3 - Broadway
S4 - Robert or aBRT G Line

Bakken2016
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Bakken2016 » November 17th, 2017, 2:16 pm

gopherfan wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 1:29 pm
Based on some good suggestions, here's my desired transit map!
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Kr4mo ... sp=sharing

^ Based on routes in some phase of planning:
https://metrocouncil.org/Council-Meetin ... pdate.aspx
https://metrocouncil.org/Transportation ... jects.aspx

Metro Lines
Blue, Green, Red, Orange, Gold, Silver (Riverview), Maroon (Red Rock) & Teal (Rush Line)

aBRT Lines - Pink
A Line - Snelling
B Line - Lake
C Line - Penn
D Line - Fremont/Chicago
E Line - Hennepin
F Line - American Boulevard
G Line - Robert or S4 Streetcar
H Line - Nicollet
I Line - Central

Streetcar Lines - Purple
S1 - Nicollet
S2 - Greenway
S3 - Broadway
S4 - Robert or aBRT G Line
This is fantastic. Also Rush Line in their paperwork has been asked to be called the Purple Line.

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RailBaronYarr
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 17th, 2017, 3:12 pm

I think I disagree labeling the Greenway "streetcar" as such given its stop spacing and dedicated ROW.

More importantly, I'm wondering how the Met Council's studied Highway Transitways will be labeled in our system. They seem to be very similar to the Orange and Red Lines (station locations/design, frequency, etc) but I doubt that the Met Council plans on naming them (if even ever built) as METRO.

Bakken2016
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Bakken2016 » November 17th, 2017, 3:25 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 3:12 pm
I think I disagree labeling the Greenway "streetcar" as such given its stop spacing and dedicated ROW.

More importantly, I'm wondering how the Met Council's studied Highway Transitways will be labeled in our system. They seem to be very similar to the Orange and Red Lines (station locations/design, frequency, etc) but I doubt that the Met Council plans on naming them (if even ever built) as METRO.
Well they would be all day frequent BRT, so I am assuming they would be named under METRO.

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RailBaronYarr
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby RailBaronYarr » November 17th, 2017, 4:09 pm

I haven't chimed in here before, but I honestly think it would be a bit silly to have 10 or so highway BRT lines all with a color and METRO branding, even if stop spacing and frequencies/span are similar to LRT. I know that the METRO branding conveys a certain level of service, including experience waiting at stations, paying, etc... but the *type* of places the transit goes, how stations interact with the transportation corridor and surrounding uses, the ride quality, vehicle capacity, and other factors should also apply. If there's ever a hope of our transit planning including more and better urban-oriented LRT (or better - ha) lines, we should be careful about branding buses on highways the same as them.

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Tiller
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Tiller » November 17th, 2017, 4:39 pm

The highway BRT study didn't assume dedicated guideway, so by that measure it wouldn't be METRO. Perhaps they'd be regular routes like the 535(?) bus on 35W, using shoulder lanes/transit advantage for the limited distance they're available on any given route.

EOst
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby EOst » November 17th, 2017, 4:57 pm

I don't know how the operations would work, but perhaps if they were through-routed with other lines? Like if the 35W Orange Line, after traveling through downtown, became an north/outbound trip on the 35W/Highway 36 BRT or the 94 North BRT.

Silophant
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Re: Labeling the Transit System

Postby Silophant » November 17th, 2017, 5:54 pm

Tiller wrote:
November 17th, 2017, 4:39 pm
The highway BRT study didn't assume dedicated guideway, so by that measure it wouldn't be METRO. Perhaps they'd be regular routes like the 535(?) bus on 35W, using shoulder lanes/transit advantage for the limited distance they're available on any given route.
Eh, shoulder lanes for most of the route are apparently dedicated guideway enough to get the Red Line a color.

Really, I'd be fine with giving the first few highway BRTs a color, at least. When we get to the point (in a few decades) where we start running out of distinguishable colors, we can spend a couple million dollars reworking the color system to fix it. Changing the Hiawatha Line to the Blue Line wasn't that big of a deal.


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