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.