Bus riders seek a mobility solution that makes them feel safe, comfortable, reliably gets them to their destination on time. By adding more bus shelters along bus routes, we can improve the rider’s experience greatly and make mobility more accessible for residents, commuters, and visitors alike.
Currently, there are only 3 shelters within the Impact Area, and only one of those shelters are within a half mile of Michigan Central Station. There are only 7 bus benches available within the Impact Area. A recent study by Wayne State Student, Sarosh Irani, found that amenities are poorly located for usage on high volume routes and stops. This study showed that reallocation of these shelters could provide shelters for thousands more riders.
This project seeks to not only provide shelters for the thousands of riders who go without on their daily bus rides, but by providing additional bus shelters, it will even induce additional ridership, as has been shown in a University of Utah study.
While the shelters cannot improve reliability or on-time performance of buses, they provide essential assistance to riders while they wait. The shelters greatly increase comfort and make the wait seem shorter. A University of Minnesota study found that when riders waited at a stop without a shelter or bench for 10 minutes, they reported that it felt like 21 minutes of waiting. When provided a shelter, they reported 62% less time spent waiting for a bus arrival.
Shelters don’t just affect comfort, they can affect how safe people feel, as well. In the same study, women perceived wait times in unsafe areas to be twice as long when waiting without a shelter. This feeling of prolonged wait can strongly affect the desire to use bus transportation. Transportation researcher, Alon Levy suggests that additions of shelters at stops could induce 15-30% ridership increases from the reduction in perceived wait alone.
The utilitarian shelter
While it is easy to envision a custom designed shelter with a wide array of fancy frills from an espresso bar to internet kiosks, the reality is that all of the above are costly to build and costly to maintain. Exposed to the punishing Midwest weather and sometimes equally punishing usage by Detroit residents, the number one priority of the shelters must be a resilient structure that can be easily maintained and repaired. The goal of these shelters is to maximize ease of transportation across the Impact Area and the broader city network, by focusing on building more shelters, not more expensive shelters, we can broaden access and increase ridership.
While the shelters should generally incorporate the National Association of City Trasportation Officials principles, a few features should be highlighted. The shelters should be transparent, allowing drivers to see riders waiting, and riders to observe the surroundings. They should provide a full route map and schedule to allow trip planning. Finally, the shelters must be fully accessible to wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.
These shelters hit almost all of the opportunity areas: they provide more access to information at the stops, they make riding the bus more inviting, and increase the visibility of where the bus stops, making it seem less daunting to try to take the bus!
Great Bus stops are possible! Let’s build more of them in Detroit!