Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Roads - Rails - Sidewalks - Bikeways
SamtheBusNerd
City Center
Posts: 42
Joined: August 20th, 2015, 10:54 am

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby SamtheBusNerd » January 26th, 2018, 5:56 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 4:50 pm
In case it isn't obvious, rail bias is real. Its pretty easy to know where a train is and where it stops by finding the rails and the station. Buses on the other hand could be anywhere and just because there is a bus stop sign doesn't guarantee your route stops there or that the driver will see you and stop (I've seen that happen numerous times).
But is that really rail bias or just good transit bias? If the bus stops here had as clear of information as light rail stops, were big enough for both shelters and enough room to board, were long enough for the bus to pull up to the curb (a big pet peeve of mine), were spaced properly, and weren't randomly closed would people still have rail bias? I have the feeling it wouldn't be nearly as common. Seattle is a pretty good example of how you can run a bus system so people actually want to use it.

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 26th, 2018, 7:02 pm

SamtheBusNerd wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 5:56 pm
DanPatchToget wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 4:50 pm
In case it isn't obvious, rail bias is real. Its pretty easy to know where a train is and where it stops by finding the rails and the station. Buses on the other hand could be anywhere and just because there is a bus stop sign doesn't guarantee your route stops there or that the driver will see you and stop (I've seen that happen numerous times).
But is that really rail bias or just good transit bias? If the bus stops here had as clear of information as light rail stops, were big enough for both shelters and enough room to board, were long enough for the bus to pull up to the curb (a big pet peeve of mine), were spaced properly, and weren't randomly closed would people still have rail bias? I have the feeling it wouldn't be nearly as common. Seattle is a pretty good example of how you can run a bus system so people actually want to use it.
See my post at the end of the last page for some pros that are actually inherent to rail and not just differences in service and amenities. It's true that there's a lot of room for improvement on quality of bus service, but there's a guarantee of permanence that comes from rails that a bus can't provide. (The exception is true BRT with a fixed, dedicated guideway. But we haven't built that, and I have trouble imagining a scenario where we'd have the political will to build a rail-like ROW for buses but not to put tracks in it.)

FranklinAveFixation
Metrodome
Posts: 70
Joined: January 12th, 2014, 8:17 am

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby FranklinAveFixation » January 26th, 2018, 7:21 pm

With current gas prices and the recent fare increase it has become a wash for me financially for bus vs. car commuting to work. Since parking at work is "free" for me I have been thinking hard about giving up my monthly pass. Top it off with route 2's completely unreliable evening rush hour schedule it's probably inevitable that I start driving eventually.

gopherfan
Metrodome
Posts: 60
Joined: January 15th, 2013, 5:09 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby gopherfan » January 26th, 2018, 11:07 pm

CTA's Loop Link BRT stations and dedicated lanes worked real well when I visited this past summer, despite Chicago downtown traffic. Image

mamundsen
Foshay Tower
Posts: 985
Joined: November 15th, 2012, 10:01 am

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby mamundsen » January 27th, 2018, 11:21 am

tmart wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 7:02 pm
SamtheBusNerd wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 5:56 pm
DanPatchToget wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 4:50 pm
In case it isn't obvious, rail bias is real. Its pretty easy to know where a train is and where it stops by finding the rails and the station. Buses on the other hand could be anywhere and just because there is a bus stop sign doesn't guarantee your route stops there or that the driver will see you and stop (I've seen that happen numerous times).
But is that really rail bias or just good transit bias? If the bus stops here had as clear of information as light rail stops, were big enough for both shelters and enough room to board, were long enough for the bus to pull up to the curb (a big pet peeve of mine), were spaced properly, and weren't randomly closed would people still have rail bias? I have the feeling it wouldn't be nearly as common. Seattle is a pretty good example of how you can run a bus system so people actually want to use it.
See my post at the end of the last page for some pros that are actually inherent to rail and not just differences in service and amenities. It's true that there's a lot of room for improvement on quality of bus service, but there's a guarantee of permanence that comes from rails that a bus can't provide. (The exception is true BRT with a fixed, dedicated guideway. But we haven't built that, and I have trouble imagining a scenario where we'd have the political will to build a rail-like ROW for buses but not to put tracks in it.)
Do you know that the Gold Line and Rush Line are both planned to be BRT in mostly dedicated guideways?

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 27th, 2018, 12:51 pm

mamundsen wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 11:21 am
Do you know that the Gold Line and Rush Line are both planned to be BRT in mostly dedicated guideways?
Yeah, those are definitely a huge improvement compared to a lot of the projects we've considered and do get some of the benefits of rail. I'm curious on the extent of the "mostly" here, though.

I just spent some time looking into the Gold Line and it seems like the detailed design isn't available yet. The guideway and stations along 94 look awesome and definitely solve this problem. But the tail-ends of the line in Downtown and in Woodbury are more nebulous, and I fear they may kinda punt on it and just turn into mixed-traffic normal bus service. That suggests to me that the cost savings of BRT in this case could mostly come from compromising and not building dedicated guideways in the most complex areas--which is not great on the reliability, permanence, or ease-of-use factors.

Rush Line documents are a bit more explicit about which parts are and aren't dedicated, and I'm impressed that they apparently are getting a dedicated route through Downtown. I'm still a little spooked by the description that "85-90%" will be dedicated, but we'll see. Combing through the Rush Line documents did point out two forms of political will that I hadn't considered:

- Federal funding cost-per-rider requirements add anti-rail bias
- Locals on the Rush Line apparently found buses to be more palatable In Their Backyards than trains

Online
EOst
Capella Tower
Posts: 2207
Joined: March 19th, 2014, 8:05 pm
Location: North End, Saint Paul

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby EOst » January 27th, 2018, 3:48 pm

tmart, did you look at the draft concept plans for the Gold Line? Fairly specific about where exactly would be dedicated vs. mixed-traffic: http://thegatewaycorridor.com/wp-conten ... -Plans.pdf

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 27th, 2018, 5:48 pm

Ah, cool, that's what I was looking for. Thanks. I was looking at the LPA report, which is much more ambiguous. I'm pleasantly surprised that they're going to have dedicated lanes for so much of the Woodbury segment.

For better or worse, IMO we choose BRT because it allows us to cut corners and make downgrades to the route, and get around the kind of hard ROW problems that often make LRT expensive. Sometimes that's probably not that big of a deal; I think the little mixed traffic segment by Tanners Lake has little impact on service quality and saves us from having to rebuild a stretch of I-94.

But other times, those compromises take away exactly the permanence and rigidity that cause rail preference. The Kellogg and Downtown segment of this route suffers from all the same problems as any other bus. It has normal bus shelters in mixed traffic with lots of turns. It changes depending on the time of day and day of the week. And it's trivially easy to move stops, reroute, or truncate altogether (which, again, is great for planners, but bad for riders).

DanPatchToget
Rice Park
Posts: 447
Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby DanPatchToget » January 27th, 2018, 6:45 pm

Wasn't the Red Line originally coined BRT? Even though it would probably get an awful score by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy especially after going from 15 minute headways to 20 minute headways.

https://www.itdp.org/library/standards- ... scorecard/

I hope that the Gold Line and Rush Line don't get watered down, but I suppose that depends on ridership.

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 28th, 2018, 12:26 pm

DanPatchToget wrote:
January 27th, 2018, 6:45 pm
Wasn't the Red Line originally coined BRT? Even though it would probably get an awful score by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy especially after going from 15 minute headways to 20 minute headways.

https://www.itdp.org/library/standards- ... scorecard/

I hope that the Gold Line and Rush Line don't get watered down, but I suppose that depends on ridership.
It still is called BRT on Metro Transit maps! And I don't think it ever got evaluated by the ITDP in the first place. At the very least the Gold and Rush lines will be a bit harder to water down given the large stretches of dedicated guideways. But the experience of the Red Line being labeled as "Metro" and "BRT" is going to make a lot of riders--and, heck, transit wonks like ourselves--very skeptical of the quality of service on future projects like Gold and Rush and will probably hurt ridership. How are they going to communicate that these lines actually do have dedicated guideways and frequent service and off-board fare payment? "BRT Plus"?

I feel like it's a great time to link the Wiki Article on BRT Creep.
[One commentator says] "there are a thousand corners like that you can cut that individually may or may not hurt too much, but collectively add up to the difference between BRT and a regular bus". Major compromises in service are highlighted by one or more common symptoms:

The bus runs in shared HOV lanes or general purpose lanes rather than true dedicated lanes
True "stations" instead become "stops"
Pre-pay is done away with, slowing passenger boarding
The bus does not receive priority at traffic lights

Detroit writer Michael Jackman mentions the removal of "signal pre-emption, dedicated lanes separated by concrete berms, heated, ADA-compliant stations, preticketing, and more" as indicators of BRT creep.
Metro is guilty of every single one of those and then some! And they're not alone--this is a widely-observed phenomenon. The biggest bug of BRT is that it's easy to cut corners. There's a theory-practice difference here, where there's no theoretical reason you can't build bus to LRT spec, but in reality it almost never happens, and even the closest efforts can still be subjected to further degradations after service begins.

Vagueperson
Landmark Center
Posts: 228
Joined: June 17th, 2014, 7:13 am

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Vagueperson » January 28th, 2018, 1:34 pm

But the experience of the Red Line being labeled as "Metro" and "BRT" is going to make a lot of riders--and, heck, transit wonks like ourselves--very skeptical of the quality of service on future projects like Gold and Rush and will probably hurt ridership.
I've never ridden the Red Line. If the Rush and Gold Lines are not watered down a significant portion of people will never know that the Red Line is not worthy of the title of "Metro." I can't imagine poor service on the Red Line affecting ridership on the Rush Line.

User avatar
FISHMANPET
IDS Center
Posts: 4571
Joined: June 6th, 2012, 2:19 pm
Location: Corcoran

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby FISHMANPET » January 28th, 2018, 1:49 pm

It's very telling that despite being part of the Metro branding, it's not a part of the Hi-Frequency network because it doesn't run often enough. I really think Metro Transit needs to redefine their "Metro" standards to include high frequency service, because when paired with the Blue and Green lines, you'd just kind of assume that frequent service is part of the brand.

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 28th, 2018, 1:57 pm

Vagueperson wrote:
January 28th, 2018, 1:34 pm
But the experience of the Red Line being labeled as "Metro" and "BRT" is going to make a lot of riders--and, heck, transit wonks like ourselves--very skeptical of the quality of service on future projects like Gold and Rush and will probably hurt ridership.
I've never ridden the Red Line. If the Rush and Gold Lines are not watered down a significant portion of people will never know that the Red Line is not worthy of the title of "Metro." I can't imagine poor service on the Red Line affecting ridership on the Rush Line.
Hah, the saving grace here might be that the Red Line is such a flop that nobody knows about it and it can't taint the brand. :lol:

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
Posts: 1519
Joined: September 29th, 2012, 10:41 am

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby talindsay » January 29th, 2018, 1:51 pm

SamtheBusNerd wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 5:56 pm
But is that really rail bias or just good transit bias? If the bus stops here had as clear of information as light rail stops, were big enough for both shelters and enough room to board, were long enough for the bus to pull up to the curb (a big pet peeve of mine), were spaced properly, and weren't randomly closed would people still have rail bias? I have the feeling it wouldn't be nearly as common. Seattle is a pretty good example of how you can run a bus system so people actually want to use it.
If a goose were a duck, would it quack?

Tongue in cheek, but my point is that identifying all the positive characteristics of rail transit and positing that bus transit with all the same characteristics would overcome rail bias, is a hollow argument because that simply doesn't happen.

I think the real question for our region is, in what situations does a service identical to the A Line do a good enough job of overcoming the basic shortcomings of its mode to make it worth deploying at its intermediate price point between rail and traditional bus? Rail bias is real but it can be reduced by thoughtfully-implemented quality bus services. Pretending that a complete cancellation of the typical shortcomings of the bus mode will happen perpetuates people's skepticism of bus-based services, which have a history of over-promising and under-delivering (see Red Line).

Believing in the myth of LRT-on-streets BRT is harmful and perpetuates rail bias. While the Red Line, based on that premise, is a joke, our region actually *does* have a model for enhanced bus service in the A Line that actually takes advantage of sensible improvements while sticking to what buses do well. That's the model we should look to, not the unicorn of LRT on concrete.

User avatar
VacantLuxuries
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 643
Joined: February 20th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby VacantLuxuries » January 29th, 2018, 2:16 pm

That's the model we should look to, not the unicorn of LRT on concrete.
This myth is only going to die when we stop promoting transit's development benefits. Otherwise we wouldn't be trying to spend millions to make a bus appear more 'permanent', and we wouldn't have a mayor choosing a starter streetcar line based on where we need more development.

DanPatchToget
Rice Park
Posts: 447
Joined: March 30th, 2016, 1:26 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby DanPatchToget » January 29th, 2018, 3:21 pm

VacantLuxuries wrote:
January 29th, 2018, 2:16 pm
That's the model we should look to, not the unicorn of LRT on concrete.
This myth is only going to die when we stop promoting transit's development benefits. Otherwise we wouldn't be trying to spend millions to make a bus appear more 'permanent', and we wouldn't have a mayor choosing a starter streetcar line based on where we need more development.
When it comes to our arterial corridors I absolutely agree that ABRT is the best option (well, besides subway, which could definitely work on a few routes in the Twin Cities core). If the streetcar doesn't improve travel time or reliability (assuming the streetcar line is mostly in mixed traffic) then why invest in it?

tmart
Landmark Center
Posts: 259
Joined: October 6th, 2017, 10:05 am
Location: Expat

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby tmart » January 29th, 2018, 3:44 pm

talindsay wrote:
January 29th, 2018, 1:51 pm
SamtheBusNerd wrote:
January 26th, 2018, 5:56 pm
But is that really rail bias or just good transit bias? If the bus stops here had as clear of information as light rail stops, were big enough for both shelters and enough room to board, were long enough for the bus to pull up to the curb (a big pet peeve of mine), were spaced properly, and weren't randomly closed would people still have rail bias? I have the feeling it wouldn't be nearly as common. Seattle is a pretty good example of how you can run a bus system so people actually want to use it.
If a goose were a duck, would it quack?

Tongue in cheek, but my point is that identifying all the positive characteristics of rail transit and positing that bus transit with all the same characteristics would overcome rail bias, is a hollow argument because that simply doesn't happen.

I think the real question for our region is, in what situations does a service identical to the A Line do a good enough job of overcoming the basic shortcomings of its mode to make it worth deploying at its intermediate price point between rail and traditional bus? Rail bias is real but it can be reduced by thoughtfully-implemented quality bus services. Pretending that a complete cancellation of the typical shortcomings of the bus mode will happen perpetuates people's skepticism of bus-based services, which have a history of over-promising and under-delivering (see Red Line).

Believing in the myth of LRT-on-streets BRT is harmful and perpetuates rail bias. While the Red Line, based on that premise, is a joke, our region actually *does* have a model for enhanced bus service in the A Line that actually takes advantage of sensible improvements while sticking to what buses do well. That's the model we should look to, not the unicorn of LRT on concrete.
I think pretty much everyone here is in agreement that the A Line, and the other planned aBRT lines, are demonstrably better projects than the Red Line on nearly every front, and are a remarkably good value in terms of marginal service improvement per dollar. I actually think the name "Arterial Bus Rapid Transit" is doing them a huge disservice by comparing them to the albatross that is BRT, when a better comparison would be a very high-quality service standard for local transit.

I also think none of this diminishes the need for a small number of faster, dedicated-guideway, very-high-capacity trunk lines that require a lot of investment. Here we're talking about the corridors on the next order of magnitude of ridership up from the A Line. And in those cases, the stated issues with the "unicorn of LRT on concrete" convince me that we should probably prefer rail. Once we're in the hundreds-of-millions budget ballpark, IMO it makes sense to think a bit longer-term and choose the mode with more ability to scale up capacity, and provide higher-amenity service that fits into consumer preferences.
DanPatchToget wrote:
January 29th, 2018, 3:21 pm
When it comes to our arterial corridors I absolutely agree that ABRT is the best option (well, besides subway, which could definitely work on a few routes in the Twin Cities core). If the streetcar doesn't improve travel time or reliability (assuming the streetcar line is mostly in mixed traffic) then why invest in it?
There's a marginal improvement in usability and comfort, but the only really strong case for streetcar IMO is capacity--each vehicle moves a lot more people than a comparable bus, and depending on design you can also run multiple linked cars to further scale up capacity. There's also a compatibility argument if you would like to run them along a rail corridor; San Francisco, for example, funnels all their streetcars into their main subway line so they all serve the downtown core along the same infrastructure. That doesn't mean "build streetcars everywhere willy-nilly" but I think it's worth keeping the door open if and when some of these arterial routes grow to significantly greater ridership.

User avatar
Bob Stinson's Ghost
Nicollet Mall
Posts: 126
Joined: January 20th, 2018, 11:36 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby Bob Stinson's Ghost » January 29th, 2018, 4:12 pm

The best streetcars I've ever ridden are the ultra low floor trams in Vienna:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_Low_Floor

User avatar
VacantLuxuries
US Bank Plaza
Posts: 643
Joined: February 20th, 2015, 12:38 pm

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby VacantLuxuries » January 29th, 2018, 4:14 pm

If the streetcar doesn't improve travel time or reliability (assuming the streetcar line is mostly in mixed traffic) then why invest in it?
Tmart is right about capacity, but that's not really my point. My point is we've raised money for one route that we might now switch gears and spend on a second route where there's more potential for development. West Broadway is certainly a worthy candidate of a streetcar, but the daily ridership total is a third of the Nicollet-Central line. And now Nicollet-Central goes to the back of the aBRT line, meaning we're still without significant investment in a north/south corridor through some of the densest neighborhoods in Minneapolis, rail or not.

This is a terrible way to build a transit system, and we should be actively discouraging it.

BenFranske
Block E
Posts: 13
Joined: November 16th, 2017, 11:21 am
Location: Edina, MN
Contact:

Re: Public Transit News and Current Happenings

Postby BenFranske » February 2nd, 2018, 11:42 am

Not sure I'd seen this detail on the plan before but MT is planning to run both tracks outbound to disperse crowds after the Superbowl. http://www.startribune.com/metro-transi ... 472361763/

FWIW I think they should have led with this when they were discussing SB transit changes. Needed for capacity is a much better reason to restrict the number of stops, etc. than 'security' at least in my book.


Return to “Transportation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests