I caught the 60 bus into town the other day and was appalled at how slow it was. Luckily I’d GPS tracked my trip, so can have a closer look at the numbers.
I boarded the bus in Hoon Hay at 8.30am on a Thursday and rode just under 5km to the hospital. It took half an hour (average speed 9.4 km/h).
Here is a map showing travel speed (green fast, red slow, orange medium).
You can see red blobs as the bus slows down at each bus stop and most intersections.
Here is a graph showing distance over time.
This graph shows that actually 90% of the trip was fine. There was just one part that had big delays: a 200m stretch between Redruth Street and Coronation Street, which took an excruciating 12 minutes to traverse (average speed 1km per hour – literally slower than a baby crawling).
Here’s an aerial photo. The bus comes north along Selwyn Street and has to make a right turn. Not only does the bus have to give way to traffic on Coronation Drive, but it also has no bus lane so it has to sit in a queue of vehicles waiting before it even gets to the stop line. When Coronation Drive is busy (which it often is) you can be waiting a long time for a gap.
To my mind there is a simple solution here. The road is plenty wide enough for the bus to bypass the traffic jam, it just couldn’t because there were one or two parked cars in the way. If we painted yellow no stopping lines to keep it clear, and shifted the bus stop a few metres north, then the bus could get past the stationary cars pretty much to the front of the queue.
This road layout would have saved me close to 12 minutes on my trip to the hospital, almost halving the travel time. If we assume that my trip is typical of a weekday peak hour trip (although I’m not certain it is), then the travel time savings can be quantified as somewhere around $9 million over a forty year lifespan. (30 x passengers per peak hour bus, 4 buses per peak hour, 250 weekdays per year, $20 per hour travel time value, discounted at 6% over 40 years).
I’m guessing the costs might be something like $50 paint, $200 labour, and $5000 temporary traffic management.
From these you can estimate a benefit-cost ratio of something in the order of $1,700 travel time benefits per $1 invested. In other words an obvious no-brainer.
There are more significant investments planned around Christchurch to speed up buses on our busier routes and we definitely need to keep plugging away at those. But I reckon there would be a lot of smaller intersections around Christchurch like this one where we could spend next to no money yet get some pretty decent benefits.
What do you think- is this kind of thing worth pursuing further?