Recommendations for Yield-to-Bus Traffic Control Devices and Bus Pullout Bays Design Characteristics

(Center Identification Number: 77939) To facilitate compliance with Florida’s Yield to Bus (YTB) law, this project focuses on the following objectives:

•Identify the critical design features and prevailing conditions affecting the safety of the merging maneuvers of buses entering traffic from bus pullout bays.

•Quantify the potential safety and operational effects of implementing traffic control devices, which can include, but are not limited to, signs (both static and dynamic messages), beacons, and pavement markings considering geometric characteristic of bus bays.

•Provide recommendations on the type(s) of YTB traffic control devices to be installed on the SHS.

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Pei-Sung Lin, Program Director

Phone: 813-974-4910
E-mail: lin@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

and

Aldo Fabregas

Phone: 813-974-3296
E-mail: fabregas@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

External Project Contact:

Arlene Kern
Highway Signing Program Manager – FDOT Traffic Engineering and Operations
arlene.kern@dot.state.fl.us
Phone: 850-410-4518

Amy Datz
FDOT State Transit Office
amy.datz@dot.state.fl.us
Phone: 850-414-4239

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

The Accessing Transit Design Handbook for Florida Bus Passenger Facilities provides guidelines for the design of bus bays for through speeds varying from 25 mph to 60 mph. In addition, some districts have established their own guidelines based on national geometric design standards. Many other considerations should be examined, aside from the speed of the through traffic, such as traffic volumes (e.g., exceeding 250 vehicles during the peak hour), the number of buses using the facility, and the history of repeated traffic and/or pedestrian accidents at a given transit stop location. A further consideration would be the number of lanes on the facility and whether an approaching vehicle has notification appropriate to the roadway environment to slow to yield or can change lanes to avoid the decelerating bus moving into the bus bay or the bus emerging from the bus bay in the acceleration lane. Primarily, the bus should have enough taper acceleration distance to be able to get within 10 mph of the through traffic speed. Another safety concern in an urban setting is that the acceleration and deceleration lanes cannot cross driveways, intersections, or other potential conflicting points.

Florida is consistent with TCRP Report 19 “Guidelines for the Location and Design of Bus Stops”, where the acceleration and deceleration for speeds greater than 25 mph are defined. For shorter acceleration lanes, it may be beneficial to place warning signs or pavement marking, or a combination of these traffic control devices, to provide notification that buses are entering the traffic upstream from the bus bay. It is important to note that currently there are no accepted Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) signs and pavement markings for this purpose. The National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) at the Center for Urban Transportation (CUTR) is actively working with the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) State Traffic Engineering and Operation Office in conjunction with the State Transit Office on the implementation of such traffic control devices. This project will focus on developing recommendations for traffic control devices that will be installed and field tested at selected Central Florida bus bay locations on the State Highway System (SHS) in the fourth and final phase of this research project.

II. Objectives/Tasks

To facilitate compliance with Florida’s Yield to Bus (YTB) law, this project focuses on the following objectives:

•Identify the critical design features and prevailing conditions affecting the safety of the merging maneuvers of buses entering traffic from bus pullout bays.

•Quantify the potential safety and operational effects of implementing traffic control devices, which can include, but are not limited to, signs (both static and dynamic messages), beacons, and pavement markings considering geometric characteristic of bus bays.

•Provide recommendations on the type(s) of YTB traffic control devices to be installed on the SHS.

These objectives are supported by the following tasks:

Task 1. Project Management

This task will cover project management at CUTR, including producing required progress reports and carrying out deliverable reviews before submittal to FDOT. A kick-off meeting shall be scheduled to occur within the first 30 days of execution by the university. The preferred method for the kick-off meeting is via teleconference or web-based conference. At a minimum, the Co-project managers and the principal investigator will attend. The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. 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 shall be included in the first progress report.

Task 2. Preparations for the Study

In this task, the research team will perform the necessary preparations for the study. These preparations include:

•Literature review on bus bay design considerations: A review of additional studies to TRCP Report 19 will be performed to obtain a set of benchmark designs to compare with geometric features encountered in the field. Also additional criteria such as AASHTO green book will be included in the review.

•Literature review on applicable traffic control devices: The research team will perform a review traffic control devices that can potentially be applied to yield-to-bus scenarios. The results of the review will be used to aid in the developing of a set of candidate traffic control devices to be presented to the State Traffic Operations Engineer, Co-project Managers, District Traffic Operations Engineers and Technical Review Panel for final selection.

•Selection of participating transit agencies: The research team will partner with two agencies in Central Florida for this project. The main selection criteria are the existence of a significant amount of bus bays and frequency of service. The bays for the study should be located on the State Highway System. Another important selection criterion is the willingness to cooperate with the study by installing a camera facing the traffic behind the bus. This will enable the research team to measure and evaluate the merging maneuvers at several bus stops.

•Establishment of work plan and selected treatments with transit agencies and FDOT Districts: The recommended traffic control devices and potential evaluation site will be presented by the research team via videoconference to the Co-project managers, State and District Traffic Operations Engineer for approval to proceed with the installation and evaluation in phase four. This videoconference will be held with all the involved parties. A careful design of the test scenarios should be

Task 3. Obtain Permissions from FHWA to Conduct the Study

Regulatory information, such as that contained in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), will be reviewed as part of this task. The major outcome of this task is a set of recommended traffic control devices to support the implementation of the YTB law in Florida.

If it is necessary to request federal approval to use the recommended traffic control devices, the research team will work closely with FDOT State Traffic Engineering Office to submit the required paperwork to the FHWA requesting permission for experimentation for the proposed YTB traffic control devices. The research team will follow the procedures established in Chapter 1 of the MUTCD for reporting and data collection:

•Design of proposed YTB test traffic control devices and pavement markings

•Preparation of documentation for FHWA

•Submission of documentation to FHWA

Data collection to assess the effect of the bus pullout bay design can be executed while the test signs and pavement markings are in the approval process. The initial data collection will serve to establish the current conditions or “before” study.

The execution of this task is conditional upon the need for FWHA experimentation for the selected treatments. If it is determined that no FHWA experimentation is necessary, then this task can be omitted.

Task 4. Data Collection of Yield-to-Bus Performance Measures

In this task, the research team will collect data on merging maneuvers for buses entering the traffic from bus pullout bays. A detailed experiment design schedule, including routes, schedules, and bus drivers, will be created for the study in conjunction with the participating agencies. Geometric characteristics will be collected on the bus stops considered in the study.

The tests will establish the baseline (no treatment/before) for further studies. The data will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

1)Number of merging maneuvers ending with a motorist yielding to the bus

2)Conflicts between the transit buses merging into traffic and surrounding vehicles

3)Re-entry delay of transit buses from pullout bays

4)Traffic characteristics of segment near the bus stop (e.g., volume)

5)Analysis of historical bus-related crashes on selected location

The research team will strive to ensure data quality and sample size. Traffic data will be recorded using cameras. Field data will be collected on-site to guide the detailed video analysis. The videos will be analyzed at the research team offices for accurate quantitative data collection.

Task 5. Analyze Data from the Before Studies

The data collected in Task 4 will be analyzed from different standpoints. From the safety standpoint, the number of merging maneuvers ending with a motorist yielding and the number of conflict counts will be examined. From the transit operations perspective, the re-entry delay and route travel time will be taken into consideration. Appropriate statistical methodologies will be used to assess the potential effectiveness of the selected traffic control devices to be tested in Phase 4. The analysis will include geometric considerations and traffic flow characteristics. The effect of the geometric features on safety and operation of buses and all other vehicles will be considered on each of the analyses.

Task 6. Produce Final Report and Recommendations

A draft final report will integrate and summarize all research work from this project. The final report will contain evaluations and comparisons of the different combinations of traffic control devices, geometric conditions, and traffic characteristics. Also, recommendations for implementation will be provided. The recommendations will cover the following aspects:

•Proposed YTB traffic control devices to be used

•Expected safety and operational benefits of the implementation of YTB traffic control devices

•Expected safety and operational benefits of the implementation of a combination of YTB traffic control devices and geometric considerations

The report will be edited for grammar, clarity, organization, and readability by the director of the National Center for Transit Research prior to submission to FDOT for technical approval. Upon approval by the FDOT, CUTR will prepare and submit a final report to FDOT for final approval. Work not included in this scope of service will not be performed and will not be subject to compensation by FDOT.

III. Deliverables

Progress Reports

USF will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center according to calendar quarters (Jan-Mar; Apr-Jun; Jul-Sep; Oct-Dec). The first report will be due 30 days following execution 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 should 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, 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)

5.A progress schedule (Figures A, B, and C) updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

To effectively track project-related emails, the project contract number and title are required in the subject of the email to FDOT Project Managers.

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

Draft Final Reports

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 USF to be able to provide well-written, high-quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. Draft final reports will be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports (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 requirements, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth. USF will send an electronic version and printed version of the draft final report to the Project Managers 90 days prior to the end of task work order to allow the Project Manager sufficient time for review and distribution.

Final Reports

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

The CD/DVDs should 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 is due no later than the end date of the task work order and should be delivered to the following address:

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center, MS 30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Project Certification

The USF Sponsored Research office or appropriate authority will submit as a final deliverable a project certification prepared according to university compliance standards.

Closeout meeting

A closeout meeting shall be conducted to review project performance, the deployment plan, and next steps. Attendees shall include, as a minimum, the project manager, the principal investigator, and the Research Center performance coordinator. This meeting is to occur prior to the expiration of the contract and subsequent to the approval of the draft final report (i.e., it should be scheduled for sometime during the final 30 days of the project).

Sign and Seal of Final Research Report

Principal Investigators licensed to perform engineering in the State of Florida and performing research that requires engineering education, training, and experience in the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, and design of engineering works and systems, planning the use of land and water, teaching of the principles and methods of engineering design, engineering surveys, and the inspection of construction in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects, and industrial or consumer products or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health, or property may be required to sign, date and seal the Final Report. This requirement will be known prior to the development of a Scope of Service, and this section of the Scope will be an acknowledgement of that requirement.

For the purpose of this section, one copy of the final report may be electronically transmitted to the Research Center, signed, dated, and sealed by the licensee electronically in accordance with ss. 668.001 – 668.006 F.S.

IV. Project Schedule

Start Date:  June 2011               Expected End Date: August 2012

V. Project Budget

Total Lump Sum Amount            $71,009.86

Cost Reimbursable Subtotal      $7,224.00

Indirect Cost (subtotal x 10%)     $722.40

Total Project Cost                          $78,956.26

Other Expenses

A provision for postage was included for cases requiring such mailing agreements, hard drives, cables to and from participating transit agencies. The provision for postage was $70. Also $50 was included for the preparation of the final report CD which includes all the required materials and services for labeling.

VI. Equipment

No equipment will need to be purchased for this project.

Reimbursement will only occur upon receipt of and only for the amount of the purchasing invoice for the subject equipment.

The university, upon receipt of any purchased equipment, shall forward to the Research Center a copy of the purchase invoice/property description as detailed in Exhibit C – Budget/serial number and receipt. The Department will prepare and forward inventory control label(s), which the university shall have affixed to the property.

Additional research supplies, such as cables, batteries, power inverters, tapes, and storage media, will be required for data collection. In addition measuring devices will be acquired to collect geometric characteristics. These items are not expected to exceed $700.

VII. Travel

Travel in conjunction with this project will be limited to in-state travel. The travel includes two major phases. The first phase includes travel to selected locations for needed field observations and travel for meetings with participating agencies. The second phase consists of travel to perform data collection. The estimated expense for data collection travel is $750.

The researchers will also travel to Tallahassee for project closeout meeting to present the findings and recommendations for the YTB traffic control devices to the Project Managers. The cost of this travel will be $380. The total cost of travel is $1,130 (including data collection and final presentation)

FDOT will not pay for travel to the Annual TRB Meeting, other conferences, workshops, conventions, etc., except as directly relevant to the purpose of the project and with pre-approval.  All travel shall be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes. FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts.

VIII. Use of Graduate Student(s) and other Research Assistants

This project will involve intensive field work including detailed field observation, comprehensive data collection, and data management. Graduate assistants will aid in the data collection tasks. A research program assistant will support researchers on project administrative work and report preparation as needed during the project period. The graduate research assistant will be sponsored for two 9-credit hours semesters totaling $5,274 in tuition expenses.

IX. Key Personnel

Dr. Pei-Sung Lin will be the principal investigator for the project. He will oversight the project and will guide the planning, analysis, and reporting phase of the project. Mr. Aldo Fabregas will be the Co-Principal Investigator for the project. His role will include designing and implementing data collection plans. He will be a key member for data analysis and reporting.

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