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Effective transit systems are supported by critical infrastructure elements within the streetscape for universal access, improved efficiency, and increased legibility and comfort.
On-street transit lanes improve travel time and performance and relieve transit congestion by allocating space for the dedicated use of transit vehicles. Transit lanes are demarcated by signs and pavement markings. They can be peak-only or all-day depending on the needs of transit services and operations. Pavement should be colored to reinforce lane designation and to improve motorist compliance with the lane restriction.
On-street transitways are exclusive lanes for transit that are physically separated by vertical elements such as planted medians, concrete curbs, bollards, or half domes. They are commonly used with BRT and LRT services and provide prioritized transit routes with fast and high-capacity service.
Transit stops are clearly marked areas that indicate where a given transit line stops for passengers. They include signs, route numbers and names, wayfinding information with destinations, schedules, and maps. Transit stops should provide seating for waiting passengers, and maintain clear paths for walking and universal access. Stops should allow vehicles to load to a sidewalk or an island from the transit lane without pulling out of traffic.
Transit shelters should be provided to offer seating for waiting passengers, allowing space for people with strollers and in wheelchairs. When sidewalk space allows and clear paths can be maintained, overhead protection and vertical partitions should be used to offer shelter from weather. Vertical partitions should be transparent to provide safety and visibility to waiting passengers.
It is critical that transit systems are easy to understand and use. Routes and schedules should be displayed on maps posted at all stops and stations, showing information such as destinations, travel times, frequency, and transfer points. Use multiple languages and visual symbols to reach a broader audience, and tie wayfinding information at stops to mobile applications or text-based systems.
Real-time arrival information increases legibility, reduces travel time, facilitates complex trip planning, and improves rider satisfaction. Provide real-time information where stations serve multiple routes to clarify services and destinations. Arrival information can be displayed on full-color or LED signs, or be available by phone, SMS, or online. This information should be made freely available to allow the development of online trip planning tools for desktop and mobile applications.
Active transit signal priority improves transit efficiency by reducing dwell time at traffic signals. Approaching transit vehicles can activate signals to shorten red lights or lengthen green phases. Transit-friendly signal progressions may be applied on frequent corridors, which time signals for realistic transit speed and progress with reduced impact on motor vehicle delay. Low-speed progressions also benefit cyclists.
Transit stations are larger structures on wider streets or medians, used in conjunction with high-ridership routes or when multiple routes intersect. The design should reflect the volume of passengers and their likely paths of travel. Space for commercial activities or services may be provided to enhance the transit rider experience. Stations should be designed to connect each side of the street.
Every transit stop must provide a boarding area that allows people using wheelchairs access to the transit vehicle. If the entrances are not all accessible, specific vehicle entrances should be clearly marked and indicated in the boarding area.
Provide seating to increase accessibility of transit systems for elderly users and those with physical impediments. Seating can be provided within transit shelters or as stand-alone elements in the sidewalk amenity zone, and should offer full or partial backs. Seating must be organized to provide clear pedestrian paths and boarding zones. More seating should be provided where there is higher demand, or where there is heavy use by seniors or persons with disabilities.
Provide ticket vending machines so passengers can purchase tickets before the vehicle arrives to speed up the boarding process and improve overall efficiency. Ticket vending machines should maintain clear paths for passing pedestrians and be combined with clear information about the process of purchase. Use multiple languages and visual symbols to reach a broader audience.
Cycles should be used in conjunction with transit service to fill last-mile gaps. Provide dedicated and secure cycle parking racks or areas next to all transit stops. When high volumes of cycle riders frequent stations, shelters or structures may be required. Install cycle share stations near transit stations to connect last-mile trips.
Cycle racks inside the vehicles or exterior racks on the front of the vehicles may be provided to support cycle use. When specific areas are allocated for cycle use inside the vehicles, clear indications should be provided on vehicle doors and at the boarding platform area. Where capacity may be limited, allowing bicycles on long-haul transit is especially important for riders.
Transit stops and stations can attract high volumes of people, sometimes eating, drinking, reading, or partaking in other activities while waiting. Provide places for them to dispose of their waste to reduce overall maintenance requirements and keep spaces clean and tidy.
Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.
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