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Old 01-22-2013, 10:29 PM
 
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I realized not too long ago that the bus system here has way too many transit lines. I counted 40 on their website, but since half of those are commuter routes that only run a couple times a day, I decided they're not really part of our transit network, which reduces the number to twenty, but I still think that's too many.

I figured one way to make using the buses more appealing is to simplify the network, creating fewer but more extensive lines or loops. These routes could be more easily identified by a color (like a subway network) rather than having a number associated with them, and the busses could be painted those colors to make identifying them easy.

Part of the reason why people like me sometimes prefer trains over buses is that if you go too far, you can always get off and hop on the same train going the other way. Buses, on the other hand, tend to wander off and don't really offer the reliability of easily finding your way back if you do get lost. People feel comfortable navigating train networks because they're simple and user-friendly.

Here's what Albuquerque's bus network looks like in a subway map style format:



This may or may not be easier to follow than our current system map, but I still think it could be made much easier. Here's a made up network made up of fewer but more comprehensive transit lines:



There's more extensive coverage here, but the number of routes was reduced from 20 to 14. Most of them (10 of 14) were turned into loops. There are more transfer opportunities, but the need to transfer is reduced as well.

Of course some other service service issues would have to be addressed as well, like having reliable hours (minimum 20/day) and frequent pick-ups, but if these steps were implemented a city could have a service that mimics rail but without the costs and disruption of implementing a new infrastructure. And if these routes prove to be popular they can be updated to BRT, light rail, rail, or whatever replaces those.

Last edited by abqpsychlist; 01-22-2013 at 10:45 PM..
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:20 PM
 
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You're right that a simple network of frequent services is preferable to a more complex network of routes running less often. But loops tend to confuse passengers and can actual drive ridership away. Usually the best solution is a good grid network of routes, spaced a reasonable distance apart (no more than a mile and preferably less) running as frequently as possible, over the longest hours possible. When resource constrained, as transit so often is, it's generally better to have a few frequent routes than a lot of not so frequent ones.

I don't know Albuquerque well, but it seems to have a good grid of streets. Also it seems like there's a pretty good transit spine on Central Ave., but there probably need to be a couple more.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Vineland, NJ
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Is Chicago the only city in the US to successfully integrate a loop system into it's transit rail system on a massive scale?

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwillyfromphilly View Post
Is Chicago the only city in the US to successfully integrate a loop system into it's transit system on a massive scale?
Yes! And that's not a complete loop routing of the whole el line, just a loop turnaround.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
You're right that a simple network of frequent services is preferable to a more complex network of routes running less often. But loops tend to confuse passengers and can actual drive ridership away. Usually the best solution is a good grid network of routes, spaced a reasonable distance apart (no more than a mile and preferably less) running as frequently as possible, over the longest hours possible. When resource constrained, as transit so often is, it's generally better to have a few frequent routes than a lot of not so frequent ones.

I don't know Albuquerque well, but it seems to have a good grid of streets. Also it seems like there's a pretty good transit spine on Central Ave., but there probably need to be a couple more.
I can see how it would be confusing for people - when I introduced this concept in a local thread some people seemed to be under the impression that travel on the loops would be one-way, probably because a lot of existing transit lines here end in one-way loops in order to turn around. I think if the maps were easy to read and the new network was marketed well, people could get on board with the idea.

Luckily most of ABQ is set up on a street grid network, so that makes a viable transit network easier to implement. And you're right about Central being the backbone for transit here. I think over 60% of all bus travel happens on that single corridor. The city is looking into creating a BRT line down Central, which I don't think is a horrible idea, but it would bother me if they invested millions of dollars developing a single rapid transit line while bus service to and from the rest of the city remains infrequent and stops anywhere from 5-9 PM. I think rather than focusing solely on the successful 60% of travel on Central they should look to increase the 40% figure for the rest of the city.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:43 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Yup, gridded routes with high frequency work best. It's all about rider confidence that they know where a bus is going without having to consult a map. Loops eliminate that.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abqpsychlist View Post
I can see how it would be confusing for people - when I introduced this
Luckily most of ABQ is set up on a street grid network, so that makes a viable transit network easier to implement. And you're right about Central being the backbone for transit here. I think over 60% of all bus travel happens on that single corridor. The city is looking into creating a BRT line down Central, which I don't think is a horrible idea, but it would bother me if they invested millions of dollars developing a single rapid transit line while bus service to and from the rest of the city remains infrequent and stops anywhere from 5-9 PM. I think rather than focusing solely on the successful 60% of travel on Central they should look to increase the 40% figure for the rest of the city.
It seems like there's a real transit market on Central, more so than in the rest of the city. There are a lot of destinations along Central too, like UNM, downtown, Old Town, hospitals (?). I'm assuming that new dense development will probably be along or close to Central, especially if a BRT goes in.It can be easier to build ridership on an established corridor like that, rather than ones that don't have much ridership now.

I don't have enough knowledge to say whether this is right or wrong, but one way to structure the system would be with frequent north-south service connecting to Central, and Central being the main east-west spine. Some transit systems are set up that way. But you'd presumably need at least one or two more good east-west lines, not just one.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:20 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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While loops are sometimes useful as a way to transfer between lines or maybe a downtown circulator, I'm not sure they're the most useful for most purposes. Rarely do people want to travel in a circle. Maybe some circle lines make sense, but every line a circle?

The circular line I know best isn't in the US but in London. London used to have have a circular rapid transit line (circulating around the outer edge of the core), with a weekday ridership of about 210k / day. Its tracks were shared in parts with other linear lines. It had reliabilty issues:

TfL said that during disruptions the line’s continuous nature had resulted in particularly severe delays: the lack of a start and a terminus meant that trains “backed up” along the track.

Unlike Chicago's loop, where a linear line travels in a circle (to provide service to every part of downtown) and then leaves, this line (like the OP's) does nothing but travel forever in a circle. I think as a kid for some reason I thought it was appealing to ride the whole circle, but others with me didn't like the idea. That does appeal to drunken adults:

Apocryphal tales are told of drunk Londoners who ride around the line in circles until the Tubes shut down while tourists often board trains heading the wrong way around the loop. The Circle Line has even spawned an annual pub crawl requiring participants to down 28 drinks — one at a pub near each station and one on the train — in 12 hours.

In London, a Circle opens up :: Second Ave. Sagas

It's now changed into more of a "lasso" but Transport for London isn't changing its name to the "Lasso Line".



here's some more comments on circular lines by Jarrett Walker with similar complaints:

Human Transit: london: the circle reaches an end

Glasgow's subway system consists of one, circular line:

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Old 01-23-2013, 11:25 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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I visited Albuequerque once and found the buses very easy to use because they displayed not only the route number but the street it traveled. If there were looped routes I would probably have been less comfortable taking the bus.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwillyfromphilly View Post
Is Chicago the only city in the US to successfully integrate a loop system into it's transit rail system on a massive scale?
While the tracks in the Loop do a good job of getting people from outside downtown into downtown, it sucks for trying to get on other lines outside the Loop. Regular bus transfers can leave one waiting for a while (depending on the day and time) and are significantly slower than riding the train. There was talk that at some point in time there would be a "Gold" line that would have been a train line that was another loop outside the Loop... buuuuutttttttt, that's not going to happen unless Chicago wins the lottery... a few times... and picks the right pony... and gets all those "7"s lined up with the extra special bonus spins.

So the next best thing, and something I am looking forward to seeing in action (but am still a little uneasy with how it would effect traffic), are two or three BRT lines that would act as loops:

http://www.transitchicago.com/assets...nal_new_v2.pdf

While the proposed lines would not in fact make a loop/circuit on their own, they would allow people to transfer to other rail lines without having to go all the way into downtown. Currently, it takes AT LEAST 30 minutes (much longer in the case of the Red and Blue lines) to go from one end of a line into the Loop.

http://www.transitchicago.com/travel...systemmap.aspx

If I wanted some real tasty Mexican food in a Mexican neighborhood, I would have to take about a 35 minute ride into the Loop, then transfer to the Orange line, then transfer to a bus: Total time about 65 minutes. Or I could take the 35 minute trip into the Loop then transfer to the Pink line: Total time about 60 minutes.

With the BRT proposed I could easily save 15 minutes on that trip, maybe even 25 if the system works as efficiently as a BRT should operate.

So long story short, loops/circuitous routes do help public transit be more effective, but I don't think the routes themselves need to be completely loop/circuit driven. Hub and spoke still works well, but it just needs some spokes independent of the hub to reach full potential. My opinion.




OP: Two things;

1. Did you make the second map yourself? If so, it's pretty decent.
2. If you did make it yourself, do you think a more hub/spoke model with loops/circuits strategically placed would work for Albuquerque? Maybe even using the interstates for part of the loops?
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