Transit Future Plans – Part 2 – Strategic Planning for Combined Mobility Trips with Transit and Cycling

Transit future planning is not exclusively about bus routers and frequency of service.  Transit future is about planning Transit Corridors for significant transit ridership growth. 

Designing for Effective Combined Mobility

End Destinations to Transit Stops

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Cyclists need to feel safe cycling to transit stops.  Cycling feeder networks from end destinations to transit stops are conducive to combined mobility growth.  Streets with markings for visibility of cycling activity, which attract motorists’ attention, will increase the perceived safety of cycling.  A variety of techniques can be used from entry-level technique of sharrows to bike lanes, to separation of cycling traffic from motorists with separated bike lanes or bike paths on road right-of-ways, or with bike trails away from car traffic following natural topography, waterways, railway lines, electric transmission corridors or other planned or unplanned land-based opportunities.

Roads with the primary bus routes serve as last cycling links to transit stops and must be perceived as being very safe to new cyclists.  Bike lanes should be the minimum cycling infrastructure treatment on these roads with preference for separation of cyclists and motorists with separated bike lanes or bike paths.

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Transitioning from Streets to Transit Stops

Accessing transit stops should be self-evident to new cyclists with signage, pavement markings, and other techniques guiding navigationally challenged, combined mobility cyclists.  The paths to transit stops and to the transit vehicle should be without obstructions, such as curbs, and be self-evident in all lighting conditions.

Bicycle Parking at Transit Stops

Need for bike parking at transit stops range from trip parking to commuter parking to multi-day parking.  People who cycle to bus stops have various levels of preference for security of bike parking ranging from one-point, to two-point, to three-point securing of bicycles to racks, to bike cages to individual bike lockers.  People also may wish to leave their wet gear and helmets behind at bike parking spots.  Cyclists need to be confident that, on their return, their bicycle will be in the same state as they were left.

Cyclists need to be assured that bike parking is available at transit stops when they arrive.  Primary bike parking needs to be supplemented with alternate bike parking forms for peak demand.  The alternate parking may be simple parking, such as posts and trees.  Bike parking capacity should be designed for 75% utilization, at a maximum and allowing for peak usage.

Bike Lockers should provide parking length periods fitting customers’ preferences from trip rental, day rental, short to longer term time or trip rental periods, and eventually in the future for advanced trip reservation.

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Bus stops should have some level of bike parking facilities depending on potential demand at any stop.  Weather protection for bicycles is important to cyclists.  Lighting is important for dark hours cycling.  Bus shelter designs should incorporate bike parking; some covered, some with racks, some with bike cages with limited access, and some with individual bicycle lockers.

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Bicycle Carrying Capacity on Transit Vehicles

Transit Buses

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As a minimum, all buses should be equipped with exterior bike racks with capacity for three bicycles.  Future bus designs should accommodate some carrying capacity inside buses, for example as a common area for wheelchairs, bicycles, strollers, and grocery carts, with usage priority for wheelchair users or in luggage storing areas.  On select routes, some buses should have bike carrying capacity on the back.  On some routes, some buses should have capacity for pulling bike trailers.  Transit policy should allow for bicycles inside buses during low ridership trips and periods and also on night routes.

Community buses

Besides racks on the front of the buses, these should also be designed for allowing easy access of wheelchair area by bicycles, strollers, and grocery carts.  Some community buses have wheelchair area at rear of the bus with side entrances.

Next Transit Vehicle and Bus Arrival Information

Ridership growth is enhanced when passengers are aware of the status of  transit vehicles, including buses on routes and how long they need to wait for it.  At transit stops, passengers should be made aware of the trip status of the next transit vehicle or bus.

E-Bicycles (electric-assisted bicycles, not electrical mopeds)

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In many municipalities, grades of hills are an impediment for people to switch from driving to combined mobility trips of transit and cycling.  Slowly, the e-bicycle is being recognized as a way to overcome hill climbing.  Providing parking at transit stops for e-bicycles with electrical power source for battery recharging will enhance combined mobility.  Accommodating e-bicycles on transit will also advance combined mobility trips.

Transit Route Scheduling – at Ferry Terminals

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Bus departures timing and arrival should be based on walking time between transit stops and ferry terminals, which should be sufficient for cyclists to make the transition between modes of transportation, provided that good and easily understandable wayfinding signage and pavement markings direct cyclists to transit stops and to ferry loading areas.

Same concept should apply at other public transportation terminals, including airports, trains, and intercity buses.

Other Techniques for Growing Combined Mobility Trips of Transit and Cycling

Some trips require bicycles for the final leg at destination end of a transit trips.  Bus and Bike schemes provide a bicycle for day use until return to the transit stop.  Public bike share systems also provide access to a bicycle.

Transit and public transportation (ferries, intercity buses) hubs are ideal locations for such more advanced techniques, including bike cages and bike lockers.

H-JEH Becker, Velo.Urbanism, Third Wave Cycling Group Inc., 2013

©Photograph by H-JEH Becker, 2013, unless otherwise noted

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