Revisions to Service Guidelines and Standards

Last week, our board of directors adopted revisions to Capital Metro’s Service Guidelines and Standards. Originally created in 2009, this document is essentially a service planning tool that reflects the mission and goals of Capital Metro.  The guidelines provide a framework for how routes and stops are designed and allocated; and the standards include the process by which services are assessed.

The document was revised to include additional design and evaluation criteria based on best practices and recent service changes. In September, the Customer Satisfaction Advisory Committee reviewed a draft copy and provided valuable feedback that was incorporated into the final document.

Below is a summary of the revisions:


All MetroBus and MetroRail services were classified into 3 primary groups (core, UT, special). Core routes are the backbone of our transit system and UT Shuttle routes are unique in terms of function and funding. Special routes serve very specific needs.


Population and employment density are primary influences on transit demand. Service coverage guidelines were updated to focus on areas or corridors with densities that support cost-effective transit. Transit demand also influenced by land use. Transit supportive land use patterns and destinations are discussed in the document. Transit-friendly street and sidewalk characteristics are also noted.

Demographic data such as Census 2010 and Capital Metro’s origin/destination survey help identify neighborhoods with high transit dependency and better understand our community. Household income and auto availability are key indicators. Elderly and youth population are also important factors.

Bus stop spacing guidelines and amenities criteria were simplified. Additional guidelines were added to bus stop placement, which involves a balance of customer safety, accessibility, and operations.


Service standards focus on schedule reliability, ridership productivity, and cost-effectiveness. Currently, routes are evaluated three times a year. A minimum productivity threshold and criteria for high-performing routes have been established.

The service change process has been added to the document. Service changes allow an opportunity to implement new services and modify route alignments, schedules, bus stops and facilities.

The revised Service Guidelines and Standards provide a more accurate reflection of existing conditions and agency goals. They also assist in identifying needs and evaluating service requests. Guidelines are now more rigorous and less complex. Along with ServicePlan2020, standards provide the basis for cost-effective service planning.

One thought on “Revisions to Service Guidelines and Standards

  1. Will

    I don’t see a whole lot of decisions made on accessibility. 1/2 mile distance between bus stops? What transit agency in Texas does this? No one but Capital Metro, of course. Houston’s Metro does every 1/4 mile. I feel for the residents out there in Pond Springs. New Construction, non Americans With Disabilites Act complaint sidewalks. They say they don’t have the resources? Well time to dedicate a whole day or two contacting Code Complaince with complaints. Your bus stops on Pond Springs are not ADA complaint. Your supposed to install landing pads on them in which you have not. Ditto, on the 240 Parkfield Route on Rutland Dr. You know the one I am talking about the one across the street from Jack in The Box, and the left hand side as you are turning into Rutland from Burnet heading southbound.

    Also the one on the other side.

    It was a service change that was made last year.
    Several years after 1992 which is supposelvy the cut off point for new construction.

    I think HUD and the DOJ need to look into an investagation regarding accessibility and Capital Metro bus stops, along with the City Of Austin.

    VIA can comply with Federal law, and so can Houston Metro. I just don’t get it.

    Houston Metro is real anal about the 1/4 mile distance on local service routes.

    Just ride the 2 Bellaire towards the Texas Medical Center, and you see a lot of stops. The same with the 46 Gessner Crosstown.

    Bottom Line is that cost effective service planning must be accessible in full not some half baked solution.

    This is not optional it is mandatory per Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

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