Please use this script as closed captioning for Pace's design guidelines webinar
Hello, and welcome to Sustainable City Network’s presentation of a webcast that will step you through the Design Guidelines for Transit Supportive Communities developed by Pace Suburban Bus Services, a suburban Chicago transit provider that operates one of the largest bus services in North America.
My name is Dick McGrane with Sustainable City Network, publishers of the online trade magazine, sCityNetwork.com. Along with webinars like the one you’re viewing today, we also produce a weekly e-mail newsletter, a quarterly print magazine, conferences and other interactive content specifically designed for local government officials who are involved in the day-to-day challenge of building sustainable communities. We reach readers in all 50 states and throughout Canada with quality and timely information on sustainability best practices, products and services.
We’re thrilled that more than 400 leaders from cities and counties across the nation have registered for today’s presentation and we’d like to thank Pace for making this webinar possible. If you have questions during the presentation, please type them into the box provided in your GoToWebinar control panel and we’ll answer as many as we can at the end of the program. A recording of this webcast and the presentation slides will be available on Friday. You’ll receive a link and download instructions tomorrow.
Now I’d like to introduce our speaker for today’s webcast.
Bryce Word, Special Projects Manager with the Office of External Relations, has been with Pace Suburban Bus Services for 13 1/2 years. He began his career at Pace as a bus driver in the paratransit division in Elgin, IL while working through graduate school at Northern Illinois University. Many of his duties include going through Pace’s six county service area and educating the public on the transit options that are available within the region.
During his tenure at Pace, Bryce has literally spoken and interacted with tens of thousands of residents throughout Chicago and northeast Illinois about the viability, reliability and accessibility of Pace services and how the agency’s transit offerings can improve the quality of life within the Chicagoland area.
Following his presentation, Bryce will be joined by a panel of Pace professionals who will assist with the question and answer session.
So now, Bryce, please begin…
Thank you for the introduction. Let’s begin:
Pace’s Transit Supportive Guidelines, also referred to as development guidelines, illustrate the best practices for transit supportive urban design. These guidelines detail how to eliminate barriers to transit usage and highlight the benefits of transit supportive design. Developers, planners, elected officials and transportation professionals can create better regional accessibility and encourage economic development by partnering with Pace to implement transit supportive development in their communities.
The guidelines will assist municipalities and developers as they design more transit friendly streets, sidewalks, and public or private development. We want to help improve our communities by making access to employment easier, improving our environment and air quality, and reducing congestion.
Pace serves primarily suburban communities. Land design in these areas is not always transit or pedestrian friendly. Pace, along with municipalities and developers, can help change that by utilizing the Design Review Assistance for Transit Program, or DRAFT. We will be coming back to this FREE program later in the webinar.
Pace would like to get involved in municipal and private planning processes at the very beginning – even in communities not currently served by Pace. If new development is transit friendly, Pace will be able to serve that area in the future without the costs associated with retrofitting the roadway. This is an expensive and time consuming process that often prevents Pace from providing effective service.
Infrastructure built today typically has a 20-50 year lifespan. If this development does not accommodate transit by integrating Pace’s guidelines, communities risk being precluded from service for decades or spending a significant amount of money to retrofit their community for transit.
By planning ahead for transit accommodation, we can reduce congestion and pollution while improving transit efficiency and on-time performance. This thereby enriches the quality of life for northeastern Illinois residents.
These guidelines were created with the help of two committees. One was an advisory committee consisting of developers, community officials, representatives from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Active Transportation Alliance, the local council of Mayors and a representative from ComEd.
The other committee was a technical committee consisting of members of Pace’s sister agencies: Metra, which is Chicagoland’s commuter rail service, the Chicago Transit Authority, and the Regional Transportation Authority. Also included were the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority. We gathered feedback at several committee meetings and integrated those ideas into the guidelines.
Defining the components of the transit trip is a key element of these guidelines. There are five components considered.
The first, and most important component, is the rider; (PAUSE) our customer and your constituent, client or employee. In our review of the design and implementation of the transit environment, our focus was to make transit as safe, comfortable, and appealing as possible to area commuters. In our consideration of the riders’ needs, we looked at Customer Satisfation Index Survey results, white papers, and focus groups conducted at Pace. We found that riders prefer to have a safe, covered waiting area away from the curb, comfortable seating on the bus, and readily available schedule and timing information, among other things.
The second component of the transit trip is the development lot. This is the origin or destination of the rider and the transit trip, no matter what the trip might be. This could be a school trip, work trip, shopping trip, or medical visit. Here you see an example of what we consider an attractive development lot. Notice how the bus has access directly to the front door of the property, allowing passengers a quick path from bus to door. This minimizes pedestrian/vehicle interaction, and is helpful on rainy or snowy days.
The third component of the transit trip is the public walk. This is the rider’s first and last mile of the trip. Included are sidewalks, cross walks, countdown signals, bike paths, ADA accessible curb ramps and general accessibility to transit. Without a safe pathway, a pedestrian is less likely to choose public transit. On this slide you see an example of a public walk that is conducive to transit use versus one that is not.
Notice how, in the photo on the left, the shelter is removed from the curb and has a well-maintained shelter. It is connected to the sidewalk network and has very visible signage. In the photo on the right, we can see that the sidewalk network does not connect completely with the shelter pad. This incomplete sidewalk network may encourage an unsafe situation in which pedestrians may choose to use the street. In these guidelines, Pace promotes a complete sidewalk network with ADA compliant pedestrian amenities.
The fourth component of the transit trip is the transit stop. A well designed stop supports the riders’ needs in terms of safety, comfort, and information. The stop includes signs, shelters, landing pads, lighting, transfer facilities, transit centers, and turnouts. Here you see an example of a transit center and a pedestrian friendly transit stop. In the photograph of the transit center, you can see that the area is covered from the elements and provides a safe, uninterrupted path for pedestrians to transfer between modes of transportation without having to cross a roadway. The transit stop shown is set back from the roadway, covered by an ADA compliant bus shelter, and has available signage. These are a few of the components that make a safe and comfortable bus stop.
The fifth and final component of the transit trip is the vehicle and infrastructure that provides the rider with the transit service. The infrastructure includes the roadway that the vehicle travels on and all the components to help facilitate the transit trip. These components include transit signal priority, Q jumping, dedicated rights of way, and street design. Vehicle amenities, like wi-fi, air conditioning, seating, vehicle lifts, mobility securement devices and bike racks, are also considered in this component set. In the photographs shown, you can see one of Pace’s over-the-road coaches used for some Express Routes; this one is authorized to use the shoulder lane. These buses have comfortable seating, air conditioning, wi-fi, and of course lifts. All Pace buses are equipped with ADA compliant vehicle lifts and mobility securements. On the left you can see a lift in use.
In addition to the land use and development components, the document also looks at the technical approaches to implementing the Transit Supportive Design principles. This includes the infrastructure needed to support service. For example, our buses need a 35 foot turning radius to safely navigate a right turn without encroaching into the adjacent lane.
The technical approach looks at the land use and density in addition to site design and the facilities needed to support service.
Technical approaches to service, public realm development and private realm development are covered.
Pace offers a family of services in the Chicagoland region. We have fixed route buses, local and arterial routes, Express Buses, Vanpools, RideSharing, local circulators, Call-n-Rides, and Dial-a-Rides. Soon, Pace will offer Arterial Rapid Transit, or A-R-T, in corridors throughout the region.
The type of infrastructure and facilities needed to accommodate Pace vehicles are covered in the guidelines. Infrastructure needs include shelters, pads, signage, crosswalks and facility access. Facility types discussed include park and rides, transit centers, and bus turnouts.
Components of the public realm include:
- the type of roadway serving a facility
- the type of pedestrian pathway to a facility
- the types of signage at the facility
- and traffic calming techniques.
- These components make the trip safer for the transit rider and other pedestrians.
Components of the private realm include:
- the density to support transit
- the design of the site to maximize transit usage
- access to the site
- design of the building for improved access
- and any on-site transit facility.
The guidelines were created to present an engaging and informative document that is accessible to all audiences. On the guidelines microsite, which we will discuss in more detail shortly, a pull down menu allows various stakeholder to see how the guidelines apply directly to them. Elected officials can see how they can use the Transit Supportive Guidelines to make decisions for the overall structure of their community service; engineers can use it for specifications and drawings.
Templates, transit checklists, and implementation tools are available for download on the microsite. Also available are recommendations for vehicles and service, bus stop locations, passenger facilities, and parking options.
One of the main products of the Transit Supportive Guidelines is the Design Review Assistance for Transit Program, or DRAFT.
The DRAFT Program is a complimentary, in-house, technical review for private development plans or public municipal upgrades. Pace Transportation Engineers will look over plans for private development or municipal upgrades and talk about transit accommodation.
By seeking Pace’s recommendations early in the design process, developers and municipalities avoid having to spend time and money retrofitting land use for transit.
An example of this process is when a municipal leader is working on a roadway reconstruction project in an area where Pace operates a fixed route bus. If the municipality contacts Pace early in the design phase, Pace engineers will be able to provide recommendations for pedestrian infrastructure for transit connectivity, including specifications for roadway width, any need for a bus pad at a stop, the requirements for a shelter pad and shelter, and the turning radii (RAY-DEE-EYE) required for safe maneuvering.
An example of using a technical approach in a private sector development can be seen in the design of a senior center along a main arterial route. In order to provide the greatest mobility possible for its future residents, the developer would like to have a bus turn out in front of the property with an ADA compliant bus shelter. Pace transportation engineers have the expertise to make sure that a turn out is feasible and realistic, and will provide specifications for the turn out.
The developer would have Pace’s full backing in the installation of an ADA compliant bus shelter. Pace will work with the developer to make passenger loading as easy and comfortable as possible.
The application for the DRAFT review process is available through the guidelines microsite, and it does not require any additional information that would not already be needed for municipal review. And, again, this service is FREE to developers and communities in the northeastern Illinois region.
An exciting product of our program is its microsite! This site, which is a group of subpages and links on Pace’s main website, can be found at Pacebus.com/(FORWARD SLASH) Guidelines, and there you can view the guidelines by section or download a complete file to review or print.
The microsite offers different audiences a tailored look at how they can use the guidelines. Elected officials, municipal staff, developers, architects, engineers, transportation professionals, residents and business owners can all select an option that delivers information on how the guidelines are applicable specifically to them.
The microsite also contains a section about the current events related to the guideline document and introduces the DRAFT program.
Pace has an extensive marketing & communications campaign designed to promote the guidelines.
The goal of this campaign is to create awareness and encourage those involved in land use planning and decision making to download and review the guidelines and to utilize the DRAFT program. Target markets include elected officials (specifically mayors and managers), regional and community planners, developers, engineers, public works managers, municipal professionals, business and economic development directors, and architects.
Print Media includes:
A full page, 4 color ad in the January & February editions A-P-A Planning Magazine. This magazine has a national distribution of 37,000 per issue and is aimed at planning professionals.
Another full page, 4 color ad was placed in the January edition of in Sustainable City Network Magazine. This is a national magazine with a distribution of 40,000 per issue and is geared toward municipal professionals.
Digital Media includes:
This webinar, which was promoted through multiple eblasts and through Pace social media. It will be recorded and posted on Pace’s website and YouTube channel.
Three eblasts have been sent through American City & County to 1200 Chicago area city, county and state officials.
Display Banners were purchased on Crain’s Chicago Business website. These ads, found on the Greg Hinz (HINES) Politics Blog page, were displayed for two weeks in December and two weeks in January and gave 375,000 impressions.
Behaviorally and geographically targeted display banners aimed at elected officials, architects, and those with government jobs were displayed in January and February and garnered 1,760,000 impressions.
An article about the guidelines is planned for the spring edition of Pace’s print newsletter, On Board. 25,000 of these are printed and distributed to riders and other stakeholders. There was also an article in Pace’s email newsletter, Moving Forward, late last year. Social media will also be used to spread the word about the guidelines.
4800 direct mail pieces will go out at the end of February and throughout March targeting elected officials, engineers, planners, transportation directors, and public works managers.
In addition to presentations given at local planning and development agencies by Pace planning staff members, Pace Representatives will present the guidelines regionally at community and business meetings beginning in March. This phase of the promotion is still being planned and may include lunch and learns, giveaways, sponsorships and other promotions.
Here are some samples of the campaign creative. On the left is the print ad and on the right you see the direct mail piece.
Thank you for attending the webinar today. As you can see smart development and land use principles can define transit accessibility. Pace’s Transit Supportive Guidelines can help encourage intelligent land use choices, help create development that supports transit usage, and make places more livable, more accessible, more sustainable, and greatly enhance overall quality of life.
Thank you for your time and attention and please submit any questions you may have via the Webinar software. A panel of pace professionals is here to answer your questions. We will give you a few moments to write them out. Once again, we appreciate your attendance today.
Download Pace’s Transit Supportive Guidelines at PaceBus.com/Guidelines