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Design, Operation, and Safety of At-Grade Crossings of Exclusive Busways (2007)

Chapter: Chapter 8 - Other Considerations

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Page 35
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Other Considerations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Design, Operation, and Safety of At-Grade Crossings of Exclusive Busways. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23171.
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Page 35
Page 36
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Other Considerations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Design, Operation, and Safety of At-Grade Crossings of Exclusive Busways. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23171.
×
Page 36
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 8 - Other Considerations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2007. Design, Operation, and Safety of At-Grade Crossings of Exclusive Busways. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23171.
×
Page 37

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35 Agency Collaboration Coordination and communication among bus, highway, and enforcement agencies is important to the safe operation of busway intersections. Many agencies may be involved in the design and operation of the intersections along a busway. Lack of coordination and communication among these agencies can result in safety problems. The traffic engineering and transit planning staff must work together. When the system is in operation, the coordination among agencies should continue. Representatives of involved agencies should meet regularly to review data on the safety and opera- tional performance of busway intersections and to develop com- patible designs and traffic control. Collaboration is necessary to develop a multi-faceted approach to improve any deficiencies. An example of coordination benefiting safety is in the recent design and construction of the Los Angeles Orange Line busway. The busway was developed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Los Angeles Depart- ment of Transportation. Grant funds secured by the bus agency are paying for the improvements to the traffic control system in the corridor, which will also benefit highway users. Also, the addition of a separate bicycle facility will remove bicyclists from the vehicle traffic for the majority of the corri- dor. The safety of the corridor was considered as a whole, not just for buses, vehicles, or pedestrians individually. When the busway first opened, there were some safety issues that arose. The Metro Orange Line Safety Task Force was established to review current practices and procedures and, where necessary, implement changes. The Task Force includes members from Metro Operations, Metro Safety, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and Metro Construction. Procedures for Bus Operations The operating procedures for buses on the approach to and at the intersection with roadways and pedestrian and bicycle paths can affect the safety of the intersection. Accordingly, bus operators should be trained to anticipate safety problems at intersections including pedestrians and bicyclists crossing illegally in the path of the bus, vehicles entering the busway, vehicles turning across the busway, and vehicles queuing over the busway. Bus operators, particularly ones driving on exclusive busways, receive substantial training of the unique character- istics of their route. They are trained on the unique charac- teristics of the bus, the facility, traffic control devices, and individual intersections. Because of this training, unique traf- fic control devices (e.g., white bar signals) can be used at the intersections. Intersection Approach Speed Some agencies instruct their bus operators to reduce their speed on the approach to an intersection, particularly if the sight distance is limited or if there are safety concerns. For example, in response to safety concerns, South Miami-Dade operators slow their vehicles to 15 mph as they approach an intersection, even with a green signal indication. However, this procedure slows the operation of the system and may affect the signal timings. If used, this procedure should be a temporary measure until other measures (such as those dis- cussed throughout this document) can be taken to reduce the concerns at the intersection or improve the sight distance. Intersection Operations When white bar signals are used along the busway, bus operators should be trained in the meaning of the signal indi- cations. This training should include any operator who may be assigned to the bus lines using the busway. All operators should be trained in the signal operations, regardless of sig- nal type being used, so that they understand how the system will detect their presence and any specifics of the bus phase. C H A P T E R 8 Other Considerations

For example, operators on the Orlando LYMMO busway are trained not to release passengers until the bus has progressed through to the far side of the intersection so as not to miss the bus phase. This procedure reduces the number of bus phases that are needed. Specific Intersection Concerns Because of the unique and complex nature of some busway intersections, operators may need to be trained on concerns at specific intersections. As part of the bus operator education, LYMMO has incorporated a simple yet effective PowerPoint presentation that helps to identify every inter- section and what specific issues the bus operator will encounter. For example, the presentation indicates that, although there is no LYMMO stop at a Magnolia Avenue location, the bus operator should use caution proceeding through the intersection because of a blind spot caused by a nearby building. The presentation provides instruction on which lane the operator should use, where the operator should check for pedestrian conflicts, the location of cross- walks, mandatory stops, and bus spacing. Enforcement Enforcement is important at busway intersections to mini- mize unauthorized entry and increase compliance with traffic control devices. Enforcement activities should be coordinated among the transit agency, the highway agency, and the local law enforcement agency to ensure that the critical violations are targeted. Unauthorized Entry to Busways Unauthorized entry by vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists can create serious safety concerns. Agencies should enforce this prohibition by conducting regular line sweeps of the sys- tem and having bus operators report trespassers, or through video surveillance. In Ottawa, an extensive system of video cameras is installed along the busway and is monitored by transit police. The South Miami-Dade busway uses highly vis- ible police vehicles on the busway to act as a deterrent to unauthorized entry and other crime. Compliance with Traffic Control Devices Enforcement of motorists’, pedestrians’, and bicyclists’ compliance with signals, signs, and pavement markings is essential. Cameras that detect red-light running vehicles are widely used to enforce vehicle compliance with traffic signals at traditional intersections and should be considered at busway intersections. There may be other applications for automated enforcement such as detecting and enforcing queuing over the busway. However, enabling legislation is needed for the use of these systems in the jurisdiction. Some states do not allow the use of automated enforcement. Targeting Enforcement Enforcement should be targeted at potential problem loca- tions. The Los Angeles Orange Line metro system uses a “near miss” report to identify potential safety problems. Bus opera- tors record near misses that happen during their routes. Oper- ators classify near misses as one of the following activities: • Other vehicle failing to stop for red light • Other vehicle on a parallel street turning across busway against signal • Pedestrian crossing busway against signal • Unauthorized vehicle traveling on busway • Vehicle on cross street stopped across busway • Unauthorized pedestrian/bicyclist traveling on alignment between intersections • Bicyclist crossing busway against signal • Pedestrian crossing busway not in crosswalk • Vehicle attempting to enter onto busway The operator identifies the intersection where the near miss occurred and the time and date of the near miss. The bus operations supervisors track these reports to identify poten- tial problems before a crash occurs. A near-miss report similar to the one used along the Orange Line can be a useful tool to identify areas for targeted enforcement, particularly of traffic control device violations such as traffic signal violations. Public Information, Education, and Awareness Public information and education are important to achieve safe operation of busway intersections, particularly at the opening of a facility, the addition of a segment to a facility, or when the operation is substantially modified. Media materials such as public service announcements, newsletters, brochures, and newspaper advertisements can educate the public about the busway and the intersections along the busway. Websites and informational videos are also useful multi-media tools that can help to educate the public. Community meetings are also an important tool, particularly during the planning, design, and construction phases to ensure that the public is adequately informed and involved in the process. 36

Public information and community involvement are important components to the Euclid Corridor Silver Line Busway. The Euclid Avenue Corridor project team has used various forms of communications to inform the public about this project, including post cards and newsletters sent to mailing lists, media such as television spots, and commu- nity outreach. Construction alerts and updates were also printed in newspapers, aired in television spots, posted near the project, and sent to mailing lists. There is also a project website, hotline, and an email list. The project website, www.euclidtransit.org, is a good example of a tool for public education about the busway. The website is updated regu- larly and provides information on all upcoming events, copies of marketing materials, and contacts for additional information. In Richmond, British Columbia, an extensive media cam- paign (which included radio, television, and print media) was conducted to educate the public about a U-turn configura- tion that was initiated along the 98 B-Line. Busways in the MUTCD Traffic control devices specific to busway intersections are not currently identified in the MUTCD. Based on this research, there is a need for the MUTCD to address bus- way intersections. A separate chapter on busway intersec- tions similar to MUTCD Chapter 10, “Traffic Controls for Highway-Light Rail Transit Grade Crossings” could fulfill this need. This report identifies numerous traffic control devices and related considerations for busway intersections (primarily in Chapter 5, “Traffic Control Devices”): • Guidance on selecting the type of traffic signal (i.e., stan- dard red-yellow-green signals versus white bar signals) for the bus indication • Busway crossing warning signs, similar to those used by LADOT and pictured in Figure 5-3 • Warning signs modified to depict parallel busways inter- secting with cross-street traffic as pictured in Figure 5-4 • Bus-activated dynamic signs warning of buses approach- ing for both pedestrian and vehicle applications • Raised, red pavement reflectors to deter motorists from turning left into the median busway from the cross street similar to those that will be used in Cleveland • Considerations for the use of automatic gates • Considerations for the use of colored pavement Although this list is not exhaustive, it identifies some of the gaps in the current MUTCD related to busway intersections. 37

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 117: Design, Operation, and Safety of At-Grade Crossings of Exclusive Busways explores planning, designing, and operating various kinds of busways through roadway intersections. The report examines at-grade intersections along busways within arterial street medians; physically separated, side-aligned busways; busways on separate rights-of-way; and bus-only ramps. The intersections highlighted include highway intersections, midblock pedestrian crossings, and bicycle crossings. Appendixes A through I of the contractor’s final report were published as TCRP Web-Only Document 36.

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