@ Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida
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Analysis of Movable Bus Stop Boarding and Alighting Areas

(Center Identification Number: 79050-02-B)

Principal Investigator:

Albert Gan, Ph.D.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Florida International University (FIU)
10555 West Flagler Street, EC 3680
Miami, FL 33174
gana@fiu.edu
(305) 348-3116

1. Understanding of the Problem

1.1. Bus Stop Accessibility Standards

Bus stops are key links in the journeys of riders with disabilities. Because of physical, sensory, or mental challenges, people with disabilities often rely on public transportation as their primary source of transportation. However, inaccessible bus stops could prevent them from using fixed-route bus services, thus encourage them to use the more expensive paratransit services. A bus stop becomes inaccessible because of the lack of a loading pad and/or connected sidewalks with ADA-compliant curb ramps.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prescribes the minimum requirements for bus stop accessibility for riders with disabilities. Title II of the ADA covers sidewalk and street construction and transit accessibility, referencing the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) for all new construction and alterations undertaken by or on behalf of a state or local government. In addition, the Department of Justice Title II Regulation specifically mandates ADA-compliant curb ramps when sidewalks or streets are newly constructed or altered. Figure 1 illustrates the ADA minimum standards for bus stop boarding and alighting areas.  As the figure shows, the standards require a 5’× 8’ loading pad with connected sidewalks of 3’ clear passage width, 1/50 (or 2%) maximum cross slope, and 1/12 curb cut slope. While it is not mandated by ADA, a 5-ft construction width (with a 3-ft clear passage width) is preferred for sidewalks to accommodate patrons with physical disabilities.

Fig 1

Figure 1. Minimum ADA Requirements

Figure 2 gives examples of bus stops that do not meet one or more of minimum ADA standards. On the other hand, Figure 3 shows examples of bus stops that meet the ADA standards for boarding and alighting areas.

Fig 2            Fig 3

1.2. Problem Statement

While the ADA requirements are well-intentioned, compliance with such requirements inevitably presents a major burden on cash-strapped transit agencies. Typically, to meet ADA requirements, Florida transit agencies install concrete slabs at bus stops. These pads can cost a minimum of $2,000 per stop, depending on the site characteristics and preparations for installation. Table 1 gives an example quotation of unit price costs submitted to Broward County Transit (BCT) for items associated with the construction of an ADA pad at a bus stop.

Table 1 Sample Price Quotation for Bus Stop ADA Improvements from BCT

Cost Items  Unit

     Unit Price

Maintenance of Traffic Each

$1,250.00

Mobilization Each

$500.00

Concrete Material and Installation (6″ thick) Square Yard

$37.10

Embankment Fill Cubic Yard

$37.00

Staked Silt Fence Foot

$0.25

Stabilized Subbase Square Yard

$3.50

Finish Soil Layer, 6” (F&I) Square Yard

$0.50

Clearing and Grubbing Square Yard

$12.00

Removal of Existing Pavement Square Yard

$12.00

Recently, the state of Florida has been involved in legal actions which require transit agencies and local governments to ensure that all bus stops are ADA compliant. Many transit agencies have responded by installing permanent features such as concrete pads and other amenities to meet ADA regulations. Simultaneously, economic conditions have caused many transit agencies to discontinue or reconfigure routes to reduce costs and maximize system efficiencies. Services along particular routes are often terminated or relocated, leaving in place the permanent bus stop features such as the concrete pad along a roadway right of way. Additionally, new concrete pads may be required at new bus stops along a newly relocated transit route, if service along the corridor was not previously provided. This constant removal and installation of these permanent features can be costly to transit agencies and/or local governments. Considering that several of Florida’s larger urbanized transit agencies have service areas containing thousands of bus stops which may be updated or relocated every few years due to changes in ridership and/or transit services, the costs involved are significant.

To maximize limited capital revenues, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is interested in the feasibility of using movable/reusable/relocatable boarding and alighting pads. As shown in Table 1, the use of movable pads not only could result in potential savings in construction materials and installation, but could also reduce or even totally eliminate the cost for Maintenance of Traffic (MOT), which is one of the more expensive line items. Movable pads could also reduce the construction duration, thus save on labor cost and reduce construction impacts to traffic and abutting businesses and residents. Additionally, FDOT is interested in identifying site improvements, potential placement of benches, shelters, and other amenities relative to the movable stops and the estimated costs necessary to install and remove the surfaces, including site preparations necessary for installation and use.

1.3. Design Considerations

The problem to be resolved can be stated as follows: beyond meeting the minimum ADA standards as stated in Section 1.1, investigate the feasibility of movable/reusable/relocatable pads that will result in cost savings to transit agencies, subjecting to acceptance by riders with disabilities and local residents and officials. The design alternatives are characterized by the types of materials and structural supports that will meet the minimum ADA requirements of a firm, stable, and slip-resistant surface. Each of these design alternatives has an associated total life-cycle cost depending on a number of component costs, including:

  1. Installation costs, including those for materials, labor, maintenance of traffic (MOT), site preparations, etc.
  2. Maintenance costs, which may include those for painting, coating, grass-growth control, root uplifting, etc.
  3. Replacement costs, which depend on the durability of the materials and other associated structures.
  4. Moving costs, which are affected by the weight of the structures, the required labor, the moving equipment, and the amount of restoration required (e.g., sodding).
  5. Traffic impact costs, which are affected by the estimated amount of traffic impacted over the estimated construction period.
  6. Labor costs, which may include construction inspectors from transit agency over the construction duration.
  7. Other costs, which could include extra cost needed to secure the structures, prevent vandalisms, etc. 

Other factors that are either difficult to attach a cost value or are site dependent, but must be considered include ease of implementation, aesthetic, potential safety hazards, special drainage requirements, etc.

The potential types of material to be considered could include concrete blocks, clay bricks, metal sheets, thermoplastic lumber (a.k.a. recycled plastic lumber), and glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP, a.k.a. fiberglass) as well as the combinations of materials. All these materials have their advantages and disadvantages as illustrated in Table 2. All of these materials have been used in many FDOT projects and have been tested to provide adequate performance in Florida’s weather conditions.

One clear advantage that concrete blocks and clay bricks have over other materials is the roughened texture on their surface that prevents slip and fall when wet. This is a very important design consideration to ensure safety of the traveling public. However, a thin layer of concrete or asphalt topping can be added to the top surface of the metal sheets and GFRP to provide the sufficient slip resistance. Roughed textures could also be added to thermoplastic but this could increase the cost. A clear advantage of the metal sheets, thermoplastic and GFRP, have over the other materials is that they could be designed to be significantly lighter, which will aid the installation and removal of the movable boarding pads. These design features as well as their costs will need to be carefully investigated. 

Table 2 Potential Types of Materials

Types of Material Advantages Disadvantages
Concrete Block
  • Customizable shapes and sizes
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Roughened surface to prevent slip and fall

 

  • Heavy, which may require heavy machinery to lift the section in place
  • Prone to cracking, especially during the removal of the section
  • Difficult to modify onsite
Clay Bricks
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Excellent service life
  • Relatively easy to modify onsite
  • Roughened surface to prevent slip and fall
  • Labor intensive, which could lead to high installation cost
  • Potential tripping hazard if subsurface is not properly compacted
Metal Sheets
  • Light weight
  • High stiffness, which allows it to be installed with minimal subsurface preparation
  • Relatively expensive
  • High maintenance cost
Thermoplastic Lumber
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Light weight
  • Relatively expensive
  • Size and shape limitation
  • Difficult to modify onsite
Glass-Fiber Reinforced Plastic (GFRP)
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Light weight
  • High stiffness, which allows it to be installed with minimal subsurface preparation
  • Relatively expensive
  • Size and shape limitation
  • Difficult to modify onsite

2. Proposed Research Approach

2.1. Research Goal and Objectives

The goal of this project is to explore the feasibility of creating movable bus stop boarding and alighting areas for Florida transit agencies. The specific objectives to be accomplished to achieve this goal include:

  1. Researching the state-of-the-practice and issues involved in meeting bus stop ADA requirements;
  2. Developing design alternative(s) for movable/reusable/relocatable boarding and alighting pads, considering their relation to other bus stop amenities such as benches and shelters;
  3. Performing life-cycle cost analysis of each design alternative; and
  4. Recommending one or more alternatives that are acceptable to both transit agencies and riders with disabilities. 
2.2. Research Approach

The most important design element as they relate to this project is clearly the materials used in the construction of bus stop boarding and alighting areas. Section 810.2.1 of the latest version of ADAAG, as amended in 2006, states that “bus stop boarding and alighting areas shall have a firm, stable surface.” As part of the requirements for Accessible Route under Section 403.2 of ADAAG, it further requires that the surface be “slip-resistant”. While the conditions that qualify a surface as a firm, stable, and slip-resistant has not been defined, a supplemental document called A Guide to ADAAG Provisions,[1] published by United States Access Board, states that “accessible routes do not necessarily have to be paved, but must be firm, stable, and slip-resistant so that they are safe and usable by people who use wheelchairs or who walk with difficulty.” This guidance is especially important as it clearly provides a basis for using materials other than paved surface for bus stop boarding and alighting areas.

The above guide further recognizes that:

Since there are no uniform test procedures or measurable values for these characteristics (except for slip-resistance), acceptable and unacceptable materials are not easy to categorize. Also, compaction, consolidants, grid forms and other treatments often make a difference in the usability of a certain material. In developing various outdoor environments, consultation with people with disabilities, including local groups and officials, can be helpful in determining acceptable designs and surface materials.”

This guidance is also important as it not only recognizes the impacts different materials have on the usability and acceptability of a design, but more importantly, the need to consult with the people with disabilities, local groups and officials to determine “acceptable designs and surface materials.” Accordingly, following this current feasibility study, subsequent research should involve tasks that will seek to include input from all stakeholders, including riders with disabilities, officers from transit agencies, bus stop construction contractors, and material manufacturers or providers. This inclusive process will ensure that the final design alternative(s) will be acceptable to transit agencies and their patrons, implementable in the field, and beneficial to all parties involved.

The overall approach of the feasibility study phase of this project is as follows. To achieve the first objective of learning about the state-of-the-practice, a comprehensive survey of transit agencies across the country will be conducted. To ensure that the survey will be well designed and inclusive of all critical issues, two preparation tasks will be taken prior to the development of the survey instrument: (1) conduct a literature search to learn about bus stop ADA compliance with a special focus on potential existing designs for moveable/reusable bus stop facilities; and (2) visits to local transit agencies to obtain first-hand information on potential issues related to bus stop ADA-compliance.

The results from the nationwide survey will provide the needed guidance to developing design alternatives for moveable bus stop pads. For each proposed design alternative, a life-cycle cost analysis will be performed considering all the cost factors described in Section 1.3. A major effort of this task will be to work closely with select contractors and material providers and manufactures to obtain all the necessary information needed to estimate the life-cycle cost of each alternative. All alternatives that are expected to result in cost savings compared to that of the existing practice will be documented and the pros and cons, both quantitative and qualitative, will be investigated and summarized in an evaluation matrix.

2.3. Research Tasks

The proposed research approach will be implemented in a total of seven research tasks as described below.
Task 1: Search and Review Literature
This task will focus on identifying and reviewing the state-of-the-practice in use, design, and if available, reported performance, of boarding and alighting areas. It is expected that the review will be worldwide and will cover literature that may have been published in other languages as well. This task will also investigate other fields, besides transit, for potential technology transfer.

Task 2: Obtain Information from Select Transit Agencies
In preparation for the survey design in Task 3, the research team will visit Broward County Transit (BCT) to obtain first-hand information on the current practice, issues, and challenges in meeting bus stop ADA requirements. The research team will also communicate with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) for similar information via phone calls and emails. The information to be obtained will include, but are not limited to, cost information (construction, maintenance, inspection, personnel, etc.), frequency of moving bus stops and the reasons, types of citizen complaint, available ADA budgets, funding sources and process, etc. While the focus of this project will be on bus stop loading pads, information will also be obtained for other aspects of ADA requirements, including sidewalks and curb cuts. Although ADA does not prescribe requirements for benches, shelters, and lighting, these amenities do affect people with disabilities and their information will also be obtained to help in the design of the survey in Task 3.

Task 3: Design and Conduct National Survey of Transit Agencies
Based on the experience and knowledge gained from Tasks 1 and 2, the research team will develop a comprehensive survey to reach out to transit agencies across the country. While the focus of this project will be on boarding and alighting pads, the research team believes that the survey should take the opportunity to include questions on other related amenities, including sidewalks, benches, shelters, and lighting. A sample of survey questions will include the following:

  • Do they currently have in place, or are aware of, moveable bus stop pads?
  • What are their opinions on making bus stop pads moveable?
  • Approximately how many percent of bus stops are fully and partially ADA-compliant?
  • How are bus stops selected for ADA improvements?
  • Have there been any legal challenges to non-compliant bus stops and what were the outcomes?
  • How often do they change routes and the reasons for changing routes?
  • How often do they change bus stop locations (not as a result of changing routes) and the reason for doing so?
  • What bus stop amenities were moved and reused?
  • What were the construction costs?

All survey questions will be reviewed and approved by the FDOT project manager before they are emailed to the transit agencies. FTA will be contacted for a list of agency email contacts which have been collected as part of NTD but have not been released by FTA since 2001. If necessary, APTA will be contacted to obtain its membership list.

The survey will be administered through a website using an online survey tool. Emails with a link to the survey website will be sent to the transit agencies explaining the purpose of the survey and instructions on how to fill out the questionnaire.  Follow-up emails and phone calls will be made to ensure a high response rate. A total of two reminders will be sent to those who have not responded. Email and phone follow-ups will also be made as needed to seek further clarifications and/or to obtain materials indicated by the survey respondents as being available to share with the research team.

Task 4: Analyze and Summarize Survey Results
The survey results will be carefully analyzed and summarized in this task. The results will be presented in different formats, including tables, graphs, and charts. The summary will include specific findings and conclusions from the survey analysis. The summary will be submitted as part of a quarterly progress report. Feedback from the FDOT project manager on the survey summary will be sought to ensure that FDOT’s input is included in the conduct of the subsequent tasks.

Task 5: Develop Design Alternatives
In this task, different design alternatives will be developed. As mentioned in Section 1.3, various materials, including concrete blocks, clay bricks, metal sheets, thermoplastic lumber, and GFRP as well as combinations of materials will be explored. A special focus area will be to look into the materials that may have been used by other industry (e.g., construction, railroads, aviation, utilities, etc.) for similar applications. As there is no known existing design concept specifically for moveable boarding pads, the research team will scan existing design concepts used for other applications, particularity for bridge deck. Some of these design concepts include: (1) diagonal steel granting, (2) aluminum bridge deck, (3) GFRP bridge deck, and (4) prefabricated bridge deck.  Figure 4 illustrates some of these design concepts. The research team will use these design concepts as a framework to develop economical and safe movable/reusable/relocatable boarding and alighting pads.

In addition to the development of the moveable pads, their anchorage systems as well as subgrade preparations will also need to be developed. Although the subgrade can be treated using the method similar to the one used for preparing concrete pavement subgrade, the added costs may not make the new design alternatives economically feasible. Another potential subgrade preparation is to prepare small sections on the two ends of the moveable boarding pads. The moveable boarding pads will need to be designed as a bridge that spans over the two ends. The anchorage system will play two important roles: (1) to provide fixity so that the movable boarding pads would not move, and (2) to prevent theft. The research team will explore all available options and look at the overall life-cycle costs (see Task 6). For the anchorage system, the research team will carefully examine various commercially available products. Two potential systems include the use of grout bonded anchors and Manta Ray mechanical anchors.

As shown in Figure 5, in terms of dimension, the structural design will also require providing the flexibility needed to accommodate the existing field conditions, including varying width between the curb or pavement edge and the sidewalk, as well as varying elevation and edge conditions.

Task 6: Analyze Life-Cycle Costs and Develop Evaluation Matrix of Design Alternatives
For each design proposed in Task 5, this task will first perform a life-cycle cost analysis based on the cost items listed in Section 1.3. As aforementioned, a major effort of this task will be to obtain estimates on the different costs and material characteristics from the contractors and the manufacturers.  An evaluation matrix will be developed. The matrix will include not only the costs associated with each alternative, but also all the pros and cons of each, including aesthetics, ease of implementation, compliance with federal standards, availability of materials, potential safety hazards, vandalisms, special drainage requirements, etc.

Task 7: Prepare, Revise, and Finalize Final Report
A draft final report documenting all aspects of this study will be prepared and submitted to the FDOT Research Center and the project manager. This will include a summary of the surveys, agency visits, design alternatives, and final assessment and recommendations. Based on feedback from FDOT’s review, the report will be revised, finalized, and resubmitted.

3. Deliverables

Project Kickoff Meeting

A kick-off meeting with the project manager will be scheduled to occur within the first 30 days of execution by the university. The Research Center staff will be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan. A summary of the kick-off meeting will be included in the first progress report.

Progress Reports

The university will submit progress reports on a calendar quarter basis to the Research Center. The first report will cover the activity that occurred in the quarter following the issuance of the task work order.

Reports will be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Reports are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report will explain delays and/or lack of progress). Progress reports will be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us.

Progress reports will include the following information:

  1. Contract number, task work order number, and title
  2. Work performed during the period being reported
  3. Work to be performed in the following period
  4. Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope). This section is for reporting/informational purposes, not for officially requesting an amendment.

Note: To request an amendment to a contract, the contractor must provide the project manager with the appropriate information (i.e., what is being requested with justification) in the required format. If the project manager concurs with the request, he/she will forward it with his/her approval and commentary, as appropriate, to the Research Center for administrative review and processing (pending available funds, etc.)

5. A progress schedule updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Draft Final Report

The Draft Final Report will be due 90 days prior to the end date of the task work order. The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us. It will be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high-quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. The draft final report will be prepared in accordance with the “Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports” posted at

http://www.dot.state.fl.us/research%2Dcenter/Program_Information/Guidelines%20for%20Preparing%20a%20Final%20Report%2012-07.pdf. This document provides information on all report requirements, including format, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth. 

Final Report

Once the draft final report has been approved, the final report will be prepared. The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies on CD or DVD — seven (7) CDs will contain the final report in PDF format, one (1) CD will contain the final report in PDF format, MS Word format and a Summary of the Final Report.

The CD/DVDs will be labeled in a professional manner and include at a minimum the contract number, task work order number, project title and date.

The final report will be due no later than the end date of the task work order and will be delivered to the following address:
The Florida Department of Transportation
Research Center, MS 30
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

The final report will contain:

  • A cover page that identifies the project title and contract number, the contractor’s name and contact information, the author’s name, and the month and date of publication.
  • Disclaimer language will be alone on the first page of the report and will include the following: (1) The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the State of Florida Department of Transportation, or the U.S. Department of Transportation. (2) Prepared in cooperation with the State of Florida Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • A completed Technical Report Documentation form #F.1700.7, immediately following the disclaimer page. 
Project Closeout Meeting

A closeout meeting shall be scheduled to occur in the final 30 days of the project. The purpose of the meeting will be to review project performance, the deployment plan, and next steps. Attendees will include, at a minimum, the project manager, the principal investigator, and the Research Center performance coordinator.

4. Equipment

No equipment will be purchased under this contract. The proposed team will provide all of the computer hardware and software needed to conduct this project. 

5. Travel

The project includes local trip to Broward County Transit (BCT). The travel cost for this trip will

Qualifications of the Research Team

Team Members and Project Roles

The proposed team members will include Dr. Albert Gan, Dr. Fabian Cevallos, Dr. Nakin Suksawang, Dr. Wanyang Wu, and Mr. Atiosis Blanco, all with the Lehman Center for Transportation Research (LCTR) at FIU. Their brief resumes are given in Appendix A.

Dr. Albert Gan is an Associate Professor in Transportation Engineering at FIU. He will serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) for this project. Dr. Gan will be responsible for the overall direction and management of this project and the supervision of the research team to ensure both timely progress and that the administrative tasks of this project are performed. Dr. Gan will be directly involved in all proposed tasks. Since joining FIU in 1999, Dr. Gan has successfully completed more than 50 projects for FDOT and USDOT. Dr. Gan is the developer of the nationally known Florida Transit Information System (FTIS) and has served as the PI on a FTA project on selecting bus stops for ADA improvements. Dr. Gan is familiar with ADA requirements and bus stop amenities. Dr. Gan also brings to this project his background on human factors and ergonomic design. Dr. Gan is experienced in survey design and has most recently completed three well-received online surveys on traffic safety for the FDOT Safety Office.

Dr. Fabian Cevallos is the Transit Program Director at LCTR. He has over 15 years of experience in the field of transportation, with more than 10 of those years in transit operations planning and transit technology. His past experience includes many transit ITS projects, such as bus stop inventories, transit databases, electronic farebox systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), APTS master plans, ridership databases, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems, Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs), and real-time information systems. Dr. Cevallos will lead the tasks of communicating with transit agencies for relevant information, developing survey instrument, and interpreting survey results.

Dr. Nakin Suksawang is an Assistant Professor with expertise in structural materials. He is also the Director of the “Mobile Structural Diagnostic Lab” and an Associate Director of the “Titan America Structures and Construction Lab”. He has had extensive research experience in the field and laboratory characterization of various construction materials and performed many structural health monitoring and non-destructive evaluation of bridges and many other transportation structures. He has served as principal and co-principal investigators on various FDOT and New Jersey DOT research projects, many of which have involved the development of new structural design concepts. He is currently a member of American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committees 209 (Creep and Shrinkage of Concrete), 342 (Bridge Evaluation), 348 (Safety), and 444 (Experimental Analysis).

Dr. Wanyang Wu is Research Associate with LCTR. He is the key researcher on a FTA project on selecting bus stops for ADA improvements. As part of this project, Dr. Wu worked with BCT personnel to obtain bus stop ADA improvement information for use in a case study for the project. Dr. Wu is also very familiar with bus stop inventory and has strong related field experience. Dr. Wu will lead the tasks on literature search and review, survey summary, and life-cycle cost analysis.  He will also participate in agency visits and the development of the survey instrument.

Mr. Atiosis Blanco is a professional graphic/web designer and will develop the “artist rendering” of design alternatives.

As required by the FDOT Research Center, a professional editor will assist in the editing of the draft and final reports.

Table 3 summarizes the team member assignments of both major and minor tasks.

Table 3. Team Member Task Assignments

Research Tasks

Team Members

Gan

Cevallos

Suksawang

Wu

Blanco

1 Search and Review Literature

2 Visit Local Transit Agencies

3 Design and Conduct Agency Survey

4 Analyze and Summarize Survey Results

5 Develop Design Alternatives

6 Analyze Costs and Develop Matrix

7 Prepare, Revise, and Finalize Final Report

● major role    ○ minor role    – not involved

Resources Available to This and Subsequent Projects

Excellent resources are available to this project at no cost to the project.

Transportation

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at FIU has a van (see Figure 7) available for all travel needed in this project, including all the trips to be made in Task 2 and potentially Task 6.

Computer Software and Hardware

FIU is a subscriber to the Qualtrics survey program that provide capabilities to design more professional-looking surveys than those of free survey software such as Survey Monkey. As a major center for transportation software development, LCTR also has excellent computer software and hardware facilities, including all the software needed for developing drawings and animations for Task 7 and the computer server that will be needed to host the feedback survey site.

Fig 7

Figure 7. Civil Engineering Department Van Available for Project Travel

Testing Facilities
Although the actual testing of moveable bus stop pads is not expected in this feasibility study phase of the project, it is important to point out that FIU possesses excellent testing facilities that will be available for subsequent phase(s) of this project.

FIU is home to “Wall of Wind” (WoW), a first-of-its-kind wind testing system designed to generate sustained wind speed of up to 140 mph, or  a category four hurricane (see Figure 8). The system is comprised of 12 electric fan-motor units and can test to failure full-sized structures including portable/moveable bus stop pads for this project. 

Fig 8

Figure 8. FIU’s Wall-of-Wind Facility

The Titan America Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory is one of the largest full-scale testing facilities in the State of Florida with a total area of 6375 ft2 of floor space (see Figure 9).  It is equipped with a full-scale structural testing system (FSST). The FSST consists of a 15 ft tall testing frame that stands above a 35 ft × 65 ft strong concrete floor with 4 ft thickness and 100,000 lbs capacity anchor points on a 3 ft × 6 ft grid.  The facility includes a 10-ton crane servicing the strong floor area. The structural testing equipment includes:

  • One single-ended, servo-hydraulic Shore Western actuator with 235 kip compression and 170 kip tension capacity with a 20 in stroke and a 60 gpm servo valve.
  • One single-ended, servo-hydraulic Shore Western actuator with 150 kip compression and 100 kip tension capacity with a 20 in stroke and a 60 gpm servo valve.
  • One one-channel Shore Western Model SC6000 servo controller, including pseudo-dynamic testing capabilities.
  • Numerous manually controlled ENERPAC jacks with a capacity ranging from 10 ton to 300 ton that can be used independently or in combination with the Shore Western system to provide constant loading on test specimens. 

Fig 9

Figure 9. Titan America Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory

FIU is also has a number of testing laboratories, including:

1. A soil testing laboratory that is equipped with:

  • Water content identification
  • Atterberg limits and indices
  • Mechanical grain size analysis
  • Hydrometer grain size analysis
  • ASTM compaction tests (Stad. and Mod.)
  • In-situ density, sand cone method
  • In-situ density, permeability test
  • Constant head permeability test
  • Direct shear test
  • Stress-deformation and strength characteristics

2. A geotechnical testing laboratory that is equipped with:

  • Triaxial testing system
  • Unconfined compr. machine
  • Direct shear machine
  • Consolidometer
  • Oven
  • Scales
  • Balances
  • RO-TAP sieve shaker
  • Geo-Gauge
  • Nuclear density apparatus
  • Soil Mixer

3. A concrete and material testing laboratory that is equipped with:

  • Two electronic concrete mixers; one with 7 ft3 and another with 2 ft3 capacities.
  • Two compression machines, one with 500 kip and another with 300 kip capacities.
  • One 200 kip compression/tension Instron universal testing machine with pseudo-dynamic testing capabilities.
  • Two static universal testing machine; one with 60 kip and another with 15 kip compression/tension capacities.
  • Temperature controlled concrete curing tank.
  • Environmental chamber.
  • Numerous sensors and instruments, including acoustic emission system and ultrasonic system, for determining the concrete modulus of elasticity, free shrinkage, temperature. 

FIU also has The Mobile Structural Diagnostic Laboratory (MSDL), a self-contained mobile laboratory that specializes in Structural Health Monitoring and nondestructive testing of infrastructure in Florida, including bridges, pavement, utility structures, traffic signals, and support foundations. The MSDL is developed to assist State and County engineers by providing a quantitative structural assessment of new and existing infrastructure using state-of-the-art testing equipment. The MSDL is distinguished for its ability to test real structures under real environmental and loading conditions. The MSDL is also designed for rapid deployment and repair in the aftermath of manmade or natural disasters. The lab is equipped with the following equipment and software:

  • Bucket truck and instrumentation van
  • 16-channels wireless data acquisition
  • 42-channel high-speed data acquisition
  • 64-channel data logger
  • 4-channel acoustic emission system from Physical Acoustics
  • 2-channel ultrasonic system
  • Bolt-on strain transducers, Vibrating wire strain gages, LVDTs, Accelerometers, Load cells, Environmental Probe
  • Rebar locator
  • Schmidt hammer
  • ABAQUS, ANSYS, FORTRAN Software
  • Smart Bridge Technology Software

Other Commitments of the Research Team

  • Dr. Albert Gan currently serves as PI for seven ongoing FDOT projects. One of these projects is expected to complete before the award of this contract and five others are scheduled to end during the first few months of next year. As a research-oriented faculty member, Dr. Gan is given a minimum teaching load so as to allow him to devote more time to research projects. Dr. Gan also has a very strong support research group that includes nine full-time researchers, many of whom have worked with him for many years. Dr. Gan’s group also includes four doctoral students and three master’s students.
  • Dr. Fabian Cevallos is currently working on several proposals. He submitted a proposal to FDOT for the improvement of a system for collecting transit stop inventory; he is also in negotiations with Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) for the data collection of bus stops in Miami-Dade County.  He is in negotiation with BCT on a project to assess the impacts of transit fare evasion on revenue. This semester Dr. Cevallos is teaching a Mass Transit Planning class which ends in December. As a research faculty, Dr. Cevallos usually devotes all his time to research projects.
  • Dr. Nakin Suksawang is currently serving on two FDOT projects, one of which will end within the first half of next year. As a research-oriented faculty member, Dr. Suksawang is also given a minimum teaching load so as to allow him to devote more time to research projects.
  • Dr. Wanyang Wu currently spends about 10% of his time providing GIS and travel time study support to FDOT District 6.  For the next calendar year, he is expected to spend about 50% of his time developing simulation models for a ramp signaling feasibility study for FDOT District 4.
  • Mr. Atiosis Blanco provides graphic and web supports for Dr. Gan projects.

Project Schedule

12 Months

Project Budget

Total Project Cost     $110,667

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Sponsors

  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • US Department of Transportation

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Address

National Center for Transit Research c/o Center for Urban Transportation Research 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375