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Paper: Bus-Bus Interchange, Toombul Shoppingtown, Brisbane (BCC, 1982)

Started by #Metro, November 13, 2022, 23:54:37 PM

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I was doing some background research and came across this.
An interesting paper because Brisbane Transport managers wrote it. It sheds light on the question "What is the interchange penalty and where is it originating from?"

A.M. Avent and D.R. See, Department of Transport, Brisbane City Council, (1982)
7th Australian Transport Research Forum, 17-19 March 1982, Hobart, Forum Papers. Volume 1.

Link to Paper ---> https://australasiantransportresearchforum.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/1982_Avent_See.pdf

QuoteIn November 1980 the Brisbane City Council Department of Transport introduced what was, for it, a major innovation in its operations, namely the Toombul Shoppingtown bus-bus interchange. Many papers have concerned themselves with the theoretical aspects of interchange operation or have reported on attitudinal studies carried out on patrons following introduction of such facilities. There is, however, a paucity of recorded information on the trials, tribulations and experiences of the practical running problems experienced by the operator.

This paper traces the early studies which ascertained that an interchange should be established at Toombul and then describes the investigations that were undertaken to determine routes and frequencies of feeder and trunk buses to best suit the users, namely the passengers. The cornerstone of interchange acceptance is the reliability with which a passenger can guarantee to make a planned connection from one bus to another, and problems experienced in this area, together with corrective measures taken, are then described. Passengers at Toombul showed a marked distaste for transferring, both by changing their travel patterns and by their answers to the attitudinal study, and the need for such matters to be considered when planning interchange operations is discussed. Finally, the sheer volume of work involved in planning and implementing a major interchange is noted and a cautionary warning on over commitment of resources given.

What is interesting about the paper is how they worked out what the interchange penalty was from observation - about 8 to 13 minutes and very variable. Moving to an interchange model saved bus resources, saved time, and increased frequency. However, it did also introduce a measure of unreliability for the connection. Passengers did not like interchanging for that reason.

Missed connections and unreliability - A source of interchange penalty?

If the connecting passenger missed the connection, they would be penalised with having to wait to catch the next trunk bus service. This could happen if either the feeder bus service was late, or perhaps the trunk service was delayed, or left its origin late. Passengers compensated for this unreliability / variance by moving to catch their bus earlier. The effect of doing this was to cancel the time savings made through the interchange arrangement from increased frequency.

So unlike how Jarret Walker et al. suggest that the interchange penalty is about the connection being physically demanding to walk, spartan facilties, etc, this paper by BCC suggests that the transfer penalty isn't necessarily coming from that. Rather, it is coming from passengers valuing the possibility that their connection with the next bus could be lost.

The paper demonstrates that BCC absolutely has been running feeder bus service arrangements in the past. The paper has diagrams of the routes and also the setup that was made at Toombul. It appears to be a very walkable setup. So the dislike of transfer cannot be explained by pedestrian obstacles, physical exertion or having to cross a road.

What it also suggests is that even if the bus station or interchange has excellent design, shelter and info, is walkable, same platform transfer etc... passengers will not like the interchange if one of the connecting buses is held up in traffic and they miss their connection because of that. Which makes sense.


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