Monday, May 16, 2005

Transfer points - a good example

Key to boosting patronage is increasing the number of trips that can be easily made on public transport. Because a single route cannot go everywhere, many passengers need to easily transfer between services to complete their trip.

Designing for ease of transfer requires attention to such matters as route planning, service co-ordination, operating hours/frequency and transfer point design.

These are all important, and may be covered in future posts. However today I will discuss transfer point design only.

Any location where two or more routes (of whatever mode) intersect is regarded as a transfer point. Designated train/bus interchanges are merely the most prominent and have received most attention. However they are dwarfed in number by cross-roads which are also potential transfer points for bus or tram routes.

Criteria for the design of transfer points might include:

* Access between all services is direct, quick and safe (max 50m suggested)

* Access to the surrounding area is direct, quick and safe

* Transfer points are safe, well-lit and provide adequate shelter

* Car traffic does not unduly hinder transferring passengers

* Interchanges do not unduly slow passengers travelling through

* Transfer points comply with DDA access requirements

Elsternwick is an example of a well-designed interchange point. Easy transfer between train, tram and bus is provided. Pedestrian access from surrounding commerical and residential area is good. Though timetable co-ordination between services is limited, most are sufficiently frequent to provide relatively fast transfers during the day.

Most praiseworthy about Elsternwick is the proximity between tram stops, the pedestrian crossing and the station entrance. The pedestrian crossing is ideally positioned and creates a direct and safe link between trains, trams and buses. Train passengers alighting from the entrance can immediately see where the tram stops are and, if access to the eastbound stop is required, where they must cross. The lights pictured were found to be moderately responsive to pedestrians.

The main improvement needed is that the station could be better marked. Blue signs on the large concrete wall, both east and west of the station entrance, would complement the existing raised sign and be visible to both tram passengers and pedestrians.

This is a similar shot to above but shows the path to the buses. Note the new Metlink sign (above the steps) that provides directions to the bus interchange.

This is a view from inside a waiting Route 246 bus towards the tram stop. The zebra-style lines on the tiles provide a soft visual cue leading the passenger towards the train, tram and Glenhuntly Rd. Also important is the visual link provided with Glenhuntly Road.

The main area of improvement would be train and tram direction arrows on the facing wall to reinforce existing visual cues and take the guesswork out of transferring.

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