Metrobus High Frequency Corridors Map DRAFT
The Metrobus system is a robust network of surface transit lines that provide service to a variety of markets. Each different market is best served by a different type of bus service. Some bus routes only operate during the peak periods, while others operate from early morning to midnight. Some routes provide limited-stop commuter service, while others stop frequently every other block. Some routes provide only a few bus trips per hour, while others run every 10 minutes on a fixed frequency.
Metrobus lines provide a variety of services, and the current Metrobus map is designed to show all routes without regard to the service types and the markets they serve. Metro is aware that different travel markets could benefit from maps illustrating the bus service best suited to them.
Perhaps the market most in need of specialized maps and traveler information is the casual/off-peak rider. While commuters place the heaviest load on the bus system and tend to have very rigid schedules, the casual rider has no fixed schedule and travels during the off-peak times when service exceeds demand. This makes the casual rider the most inexpensive to serve, yet most difficult. The casual rider wants convenient, point-to-point travel options any time of the day without having to consult a timetable. A “12-minute” map can provide the casual rider with the information she needs to make her trip.
The concept of a “12-minute” map is very simple. It lists only the bus lines that operate with an average headway of 12 minutes for the majority of the day. A rider arriving at a stop of a bus with a 12-minute headway has an average wait time of 6 minutes, which is generally accepted as the longest amount of time someone will comfortably wait for a bus without consulting a schedule. The Los Angeles Metro has implemented its own 12-minute map for bus service, telling their passengers “No timetable necessary.” Metro is currently developing a high-frequency bus corridors map, basically our own version of the “12-minute” map, with some differences.
First, Metrorail generally has 15-minute headways during the off-peak periods. As such, we are using 15-minute headways (or four buses per hour) as our service quality lower bound.
Secondly, very few bus routes meet the criteria for this map. However, many bus lines and corridors have coordinated service plans along the majority of the shared routes, resulting in effective headways meeting the 15-minute threshold. This results in a high frequency bus map showing 22 corridors.
The “16th Street Line” (S2,4) provides a great example of routes with coordinated service plans resulting in a qualifying effective headway. On the image above, 16th street is highlighted red to indicate 6 or more buses per hour. However, on the linked PDF, it is evident that the S2 and S4 routes diverge as they approach Silver Spring. Where the routes diverge, they no longer provide a qualifying level of service, so those segments are not highlighted. However, where the lines merge again just before the Silver Spring Metrorail station, the highlighting resumes.
The image above is a subset of the draft Metrobus High Frequency Corridors Map, showing routes that have at least 4 buses per hour between 7 AM and 7 PM on weekdays. The full map is also available as a downloadable PDF. Please note that this is a draft map posted for illustration purposes, and to solicit feedback from the Metrobus rider community. Please leave your feedback on this effort in the comments section below.
Original version: 15 Minute Map – DRAFT 20101118 (12 MB, PDF)
Nov 22 Update: 15 Minute Map – DRAFT 20101122 (12 MB, PDF)