Transit Stops and Centers
The quality of a public transit ride is defined by all aspects of a rider's experience, from the time of departure to arrival at the destination. Beyond a rider's experience in the transit vehicle, there are two additional significant components to a "full" transit ride: the connection between a transit stop and one's origin/destination; and the experience waiting for the arrival of the transit vehicle. In this context, the provision of amenities such as a bus shelter and sidewalk connections have influential roles regarding the quality of public transit in Chester County.
"A high-quality transit stop is one that is well connected to the neighborhood or community it serves, accommodates the needs of all transit passengers safely and comfortably, and permits efficient and cost-effective transit operations."
Transit stops are located along the bus routes in the urban and suburban municipalities served by public transit. The primary service provider in Chester County is SEPTA, although additional bus routes are provided by the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) including the Coatesville Link, Route A, and SCCOOT (a partnership with the Southern Chester County Organization on Transportation); and the Pottstown Area Rapid Transit (PART) which provides bus service to the Coventry Mall and North Coventry Township.
Transit centers are hubs served by multiple transit routes and provide multimodal options and transfer opportunities for transit users. Transit centers within Chester County include the West Chester and Exton Transportation Centers. The Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center is in the process of being designed to provide multi-modal options for transit users, including maintaining existing coordinated bus route connections and providing for new coordinated shuttle service opportunities.
Transit agencies are not responsible for the design or maintenance of transit stops in Chester County. Therefore, the provision of high-quality transit stops requires a partnership between transit agencies, Transportation Management Associations, municipalities, PennDOT, and property owners.
Transit Stops and Centersâ€”when properly designed and installedâ€”provide the following benefits:
- Energy Conservation: The reduced need for individual automobile trips can reduce gasoline use and energy consumption.
- Encouraged Use of Public Transit: Transit stops and centers can provide safe and ADA-accessible opportunities for the utilization of transit services.
- Better Public Transit Facilities: Enhanced facilities can provide greater ridership potential for public transit.
- Improved Housing Opportunities: Transit stops and centers can result in positive reflections on the conditions and livability of a community
Transit stops and center designs must consider the following limitations when planning new facilities and/or upgrading existing facilities:
- Design Limitations: Local and regional factors may complicate the provision of transit stops and centers, such as topography; climate; sight distance; heavy and/or fast-moving vehicular traffic; narrow, limited, and varying rights of way; ADA-accessibility; subsurface utilities and above-grade obstructions; lighting; lack of public sidewalks and crossing protections, usage volume.
- Multiple Party Cooperation: Cooperation and agreement between multiple parties is necessary before action can be taken, including but not limited to private property, local municipal ownership, state department of transportation jurisdiction and transit company oversight.
How To Use This Tool
An excellent resource that municipal officials should reference when planning for new or upgrading existing transit stops is SEPTA Bus Stop Design Guidelines, prepared for SEPTA by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) in October 2012.
The following are topics covered within this document:
- Transit Stop Characteristics
- Stop Spacing
- Typical Stop Types
- Typical Bus Zone Configuration Options
- Curbside/shoulder stop
- Bus bay/turnout
- Curb extension
- Open bus bay
- Detailed Dimensional Specifications
- Engineering Considerations to Accommodate SEPTA Buses
- Roadway Paving Considerations
- Universal Design and ADA
- SEPTA Curbside Passenger Facility Design
- Other elements
- Detailed Dimensions for Curbside Passenger Facilities
- Bus Stop Comforts
- Street Furniture
Development Context & Case Studies
Paoli Intermodal Transportation Center
West Chester Transportation Center
Some existing transit stops provide a shelter without providing the proper pedestrian access to the shelter.
Exton Transportation Center
This transit stop provides shelter and pedestrian access.
- SEPTA Bus Stop Design Guidelines, DVRPC
- Toolkit for the assessment of Bus Stop Accessibility and Safety
- Guidelines for the Location and Design of Bus Stops, Transit Cooperative Research Program
- Rethinking the Suburban Bus Stop
- Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Design
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities: Policy
Transit stops and centers provide critical infrastructure for the use of mass transit within the County's Urban and Suburban Landscapes. Landscapes2 policies encourage the expanded use of mass transit to provide an affordable, reliable, and accessible public transportation network to offer mobility, encourage favorable land use patterns, sustain the environment, and alleviate congestion within designated growth areas. Landscapes2 specifically recommends improving and enhancing existing public transportation service speed, frequency, and amenities, as expressed in Objective T-3.4.
This tool promotes energy conservation because public transit use reduces the reliance on individual automobiles. Transit usage also reduces energy demand and consumption by decreasing the number of individual vehicle miles traveled. Public transit use also helps to alleviate traffic congestion, which is identified by surveys and focus groups as being the number one negative impact and the most important issue facing the County.