Stop Optimization is a multi-faceted, comprehensive analysis of every bus stop in the system, a few routes at a time, aimed to improve:
- Service (quality, efficiency, safety, etc.)
- Accessibility (sidewalks, concrete connected to curb, etc.)
- Amenity allocation
This program addresses these goals by:
- Reducing the number of stops
- Relocation of and/or concrete improvements at remaining stops
- Addition, removal, or relocation of amenities based on ridership trends
The first, and most visible, component of Stop Optimization is the removal and merging of stops. Stops are initially identified for removal based on numerous factors, including stop spacing, ridership data, accessibility, existing amenities, nearby origin/destination points, etc., which are considered in conjunction with KCATA’s Service Guidelines and industry best practices. Prior to finalizing any removals, we consider all public comments received in response to rider alerts and bulletins indicating stops proposed for removal, ultimately keeping most stops with multiple comments
As of July 2016, Stop Optimization has resulted in 620 stops outside of downtown KCMO being removed from 22 routes, which represents roughly 27% of the stops outside downtown along those routes. Of the stops removed, 54% averaged less than one boarding per weekday and 88% averaged less than five.
How does removing stops benefit riders?
The simple answer is that by having fewer stops, we are able to provide quicker, more reliable service with less frequent stop-starts. While we cannot attribute all of the improvement to Stop Optimization, the most definitive demonstration that Stop Optimization has produced results in this capacity is the drastic on-time performance (OTP) improvement for 30 Northeast following implementation.
30 Northeast Saturday On-Time Performance
Additionally, by reducing the number of stops, we can better allocate limited resources to improve accessibility and amenities at remaining stops. So far, accessibility improvements have been achieved entirely by relocating stops, mostly from the nearside of intersections to the farside, which also has operational and safety benefits. By relocating stops we have improved accessibility at roughly 100 stops with minimal costs. We anticipate concrete improvements at roughly 20 high priority stops to begin before the end of the year.
The third component of Stop Optimization consists of removing benches, shelters, etc., from removed stops or those with relatively low ridership, and reallocating them to higher ridership stops, using the standards set forth in KCATA’s Bus Stop Guidelines.
Amenity Placement Standards
(Minimum average weekday boardings for new amenity placement)
|Amenity||Local Service||Commuter Service|
|Trash Can/Recycling Bin||25||25|
Amenity Removal Standards
(Threshold for removing an established amenity based on average weekday boardings)
|Amenity||Local Service||Commuter Service|
|Corner Schedule||less than 5||less than 3|
|Bench||less than 10||less than 5|
|Trash Can/Recycling Bin||less than 10||less than 10|
|Shelter||less than 25||less than 15|
|Second Shelter||less than 100||N/A|
While these standards served as a guide, we made additions liberally and removals conservatively. A second wave of amenity additions will be made as ridership shifts from stop removals are fully understood with new ridership data.
Amenity Reallocation Summary
(As of July 1, 2016)
|Amenity||Number||Average weekday ridership
at impacted stop
|Shelter upgrade from bench||4||65|
|Bench downgrade from shelter||16||15|
As the chart indicates, there have been more shelters removed than installed and more benches installed than removed; however, far more riders have benefited from amenity upgrades than been inconvenienced by amenity downgrades. Additionally, quite a few locations identified for shelter addition/upgrade are among our top priority stops for concrete work improvements to improve accessibility and support a shelter. Lastly, while financial savings were not a primary consideration for the Stop Optimization program, removing the 31 shelters identified above, will save an estimated $275k/year in maintenance costs; resources that can be reallocated to upgrading and maintaining stops with higher ridership.