This month, I will be addressing a question asked of me a few weeks ago at APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, Calif. I would also like to thank those who took a moment to introduce themselves as followers of this blog page in Metro Magazine.
While at the coffee bar, I was approached by a transit professional who asked where I thought it was safer to place bus stops, at the nearside or farside of an intersection? We agreed that agencies, over the years for safety reasons, have been favoring the farside bus stops as opposed to the nearside stops. For those who may be unaware of the meaning of farside vs. nearside stops, farside are those placed on the far side of the intersection and nearside stops are at the near side of the intersection.
One of the main reasons, if not the main reason for relocating bus stops from the nearside to the farside of the intersections, was the increase in the number of collisions that occurred at nearside stops due to vehicles along the left side of the bus moving left to right in front of the bus in an attempt to make a right turn. This usually resulted in a collision and/or onboard injuries as a result of a heavy brake application by the bus operator to avoid contact with the left front side portion of the bus and the vehicle sweeping from left to right to attempt the right turn. Many times, this also occurred as the operator was attempting to move straight/left to depart the bus stop.
Below I have listed a few pros and cons for both nearside and farside placement of bus stops. Remember, most stops were moved and are still being moved due to the belief that farside is safer than nearside. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Bus Stop placement, wherever it may be, brings many challenges to a bus operator. Next time you are on a bus, see how many hazards the bus operator has to deal with entering and exiting. Adding to these two types of bus stops are stops in mid-block and after a right and left turn — a whole different set of challenges with these types. Thought it was easy, eh? Here we go:
- Transferring customers from a crosstown bus coming from the front, visible to the operator.
- Entering at a slower rate of speed, increasing the time to take corrective action to deal with someone stepping from the curb.
- Pedestrians waiting to cross do so while the bus is already standing and not moving into the stop.
- Vehicles that are moving from same direction left of bus, attempting to turn right at the cross street in front of bus.
- Operators having to maneuver around and merge between vehicles that are attempting to turn right into cross street from left and front of bus.
- No cross street in front of bus to contend with, therefore, no vehicles attempting to turn right in front of bus.
- Bus moving at a greater speed through the intersection, increasing the chance of a collision with a vehicle moving opposite direction of bus that attempts a left turn in front of bus.
- Pedestrian stepping out from the right corner curb as the bus approaches the bus stop.
- Pedestrian(s) stepping from the bus stop (horseplay).
- Second bus entering an already occupied bus stop, causing a portion of the bus to overhang into the intersection. (Extremely dangerous and highly unprofessional!)
- Vehicles occupying dedicated right turn only lanes, instead of turning, decide to proceed straight, and have come between the bus and the approaching farside bus stop. (Happens all the time, and not a good feeling having the right side of the bus exposed to moving vehicles.) A training bus no-no.
What are your thoughts? Please add to my list and state your opinion.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Is your agency ready for the ‘big one’?," here.
Statistics show that for many people, sleep can be a matter of life or death. This may sound overly dramatic, but let’s consider that in 2005 the NHTSA conservatively estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities annually.¹ More recently, the NHSTA estimated at least 846 people died in 2014 due to the effects of drowsy driving.
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Very few of those apps can turn an everyday transit rider into a hero who summons help for a person in distress. A routine ride on your transit system can be suddenly disrupted if you witness an assault, a crime in progress or a medical emergency. That is why apps designed for public safety must take all imaginable scenarios into consideration.
As we all have experienced, chatter regarding topics other than performance-based basic skill development, such as current events, sports or one’s families, will develop onboard and can break the tension that candidates are experiencing in attempting to do their best. This tension breaker may do good for them, but this should occur during non-development drive time.
Thinking of the situation in terms of “who should yield” will lead operators to a less aggressive mindset. Once we get our operators to think in terms of “who should yield,” the logical follow up question to ask is “will they yield?” Once operators start looking at situations with a “yield” attitude, it becomes easier to recognize situations, which may result in preventable crashes.
Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick long ago defined four levels of evaluation to determine the effectiveness of any training program. It is common for the bulk of effort being put forth by any training department to focus on Level 1 and Level 2. This typically manifests as the time we spend planning for and executing the prescribed training activities that form our learning programs. Many organizations are now finding that they have the most potential for achieving performance improvements by focusing more energy and resources toward Level 3 activities, such as coaching.