Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) planners are in the process of developing guidelines for Metrobus stop design and placement in an effort to improve the overall customer experience and ensure that common elements like accessibility, customer information and physical design are incorporated into all new or relocated bus stops.
Approximately 12,000 Metrobus stops are located throughout the Washington, D.C. region, and most of them are owned and maintained by the jurisdictions where they are located. There are 4,566 bus stops in Maryland, 3,488 in the District of Columbia and 3,329 in Virginia. Metro owns the remaining 412 bus stops, which are mostly located at Metrorail stations.
The guidelines are intended to provide Metro and its jurisdictional partners with specific physical design criteria to be integrated with local comprehensive plan policies, land use ordinances, pedestrian plans and street design guidelines. They are also meant to improve the information that is provided to bus riders so they can easily tell which bus routes serve the stop, bus scheduled departures, the availability of Next Bus information and maps that show where the bus routes go.
Some of the common design elements that are proposed for each bus stop include designated locations for passengers to enter or exit the bus; accessible pathways for customers who use wheelchairs; new signs, maps and schedules; and seating and shelters.
Metro planners also are reviewing bus stop spacing and the appropriate number of bus stops that should be located per mile. “Other transit systems have found that four or five stops per mile provide the best balance of customer access and operational efficiency,” said Jim Hamre, Metro’s acting director, bus planning.