Friday, September 27, 2013

Bus Stop Survey Leads to System Wide Improvements

By Lucinda Shannon

Grand Rapids, Michigan invested almost $1 million from state and federal sources in a project to enhance accessibility to more than 1,600 bus stops. The public transportation system for the Grand Rapids metro area, The Rapid, completed a study to determine the level of accessibility at each bus stop. From there, The Rapid developed plans to make stops barrier free. The Rapid also looked at how customer amenities could be improved, taking into account safety, volume of use, and proximity to locations such as group homes, senior centers, or retirement communities. Amenity and access improvements will include bike racks, benches, and concrete pads.

“This was a comprehensive look at the point of entry to our system, the bus stops,” reported Jennifer Kalczuk, spokesperson for The Rapid. “We wanted to make the parts of the system that we had control over as accessible as possible. We have also been upgrading the amount of route and schedule information available at stops. It is all part of improving the customer experience.”

Many community groups and transit professionals across the country are using survey tools like Easter Seals Project ACTION’s Neighborhood Wayfinding Assessment Pocket Guide and the Checklist for Assessing the Accessibility of Transportation and Mobility. Both guides are easy to use, they include forms for inventorying conditions, and they offer tips for speaking with public officials about prioritizing improvements.

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