The purpose of this project is to improve the stops for Bus 21 and 209 at the intersection of 900 East and 2100 South. The constraints that were taken into account include a limited budget, limited resources, limited allowance of traffic impedance during construction, continued usability of bus stop during construction, and overall improvement post-completion. Schedule changes were not taken into consideration due based on the assumption that the schedule was developed to best serve the demand. By modifying the location and method of the stops, as well as with the addition of certain features at the location, I intend to improve on the current design.
First, we look at Route 209 heading South. The stop should be located between the two entrance/exits for “Midas Auto Service”. This will allow those vehicles behind the bus to enter the lot without obstruction, and the vehicles to exit the lot cutting in front of the bus. The bus should be allowed to drive straight through the intersection even though it is in the dedicated right-turn lane. Since there are 2 southbound lanes across the intersection continuing on S900E, there will be no problems in interfering with through traffic. The stop can utilize the grass area in the parking lot to construct a shelter for those waiting for the bus.
Second, we look at Route 209 heading North. The location of this stop should be moved North, after the intersection. There is a grassy area to the West of the “Stroud Jewelers” parking lot area and after passing the entrance/exit to that lot (In the shadow of the large building). This location would allow the bus to cross the intersection and not have traffic build up behind it, blocking the dedicated right-turn lane.
Third, we look at Route 21 heading East. The location should again be moved further east, after the intersection. It should be located directly prior to the entrance to the parking lot, thereby not interfering with vehicles turning out of the lot, or into the lot (from Westbound traffic lanes).
Finally, we look at Route 21 heading West. The location of this stop should not be changed, since the lanes open up from two lanes prior to the stop, to three lanes directly after the stop. Therefore, it is assumed that traffic in this area will not be congested due to bus stops. Another reason for leaving it as is, is due to the impossibility of locating the stop on the next block without interfering with parking lot entrances and exits.
An improvement in patron notification would be through the use of live updates. This can be done through several methods, one of which would be to place RFID tags on the bus, and sensors at each stop. Then, a static map can be placed at each bus stop, with LED lights indicating each stop along the route. Depending on where the bus was last, the respective LED light will be turned on at every bus stop. This means that several buses can be tracked through different colors, and that the people would know how far away the bus is. This is a low cost setup since there will be only a few LED lights on at a time and for only a short time, and due to the fact that the entire map is not lit up, only the stops (i.e. a paper map), there are no extensive maintenance or running costs involved. Power for the lights can be from a low cost solar panel on top of the shelter (there is no need to install 4 expensive solar panels, when the required power consumption is minimum). The solar panel can additionally power a digital LED clock, as well as security lights (a well lit bus stop is more rider-friendly and safe than a dark one). Seats can be constructed from recycled plastic planks or recycled benches. These are long lasting, low cost, sustainable, low maintenance, and environmentally friendly. A trash bin should be placed next to the stop (not under it, so as not to take up any covered space). This bin should include a general trash bin and a divided recycling bin (since many bus users carry plastic bottles and news papers with them). The actual structure can be constructed from recycled and locally available or bamboo can be used as an alternative, since it is low cost and durable. Depending on the number of users of these bus stops, additional features can be added (such as bicycle racks, newsstands, and vending machines).
If there is enough pedestrian traffic in the area, then the intersection should be converted to a diagonal crossing. Another option would be to eliminate one of the crossings (on the high congestion side). These two options can be evaluated as appropriate for that specific intersection after a pedestrian, and area traffic study has been conducted.
If the buses do run frequently and cause heavy congestion, an option to mitigate this problem would be to cut a pocket into the sidewalk for the buses to pull up to. This would allow the vehicles behind the bus to pass easily on the left side of the bus. However, the sidewalk would need to be reconfigured to allow pedestrian use through the area. This design appears to be best fit for the East bound and North bound buses.
No fancy designs, no fancy graphics. This project is realistic and manageable as well as requiring a low budget and low resources. A realizable project is better than a utopian project that would be too exuberant to construct and maintain.