For an observation assignment for another class, I decided to tackle the issue or perceived issues of the Rutgers bus system. I choose this topic because its something that affects myself and my fellow students daily.

The bus system is also a source of complaints for many students, so I wanted to see if all the talk is justified. My main goals were to determine the frequencies of different bus routes as well as their capacity. I decided to stick to the college ave campus because it is the “center of Rutgers”, and my home campus.

My observational methods were simply to sit at a bus stop, which included the Rutgers Student Center, Scott Hall, and Student Activities Center stops, and record when the various bus routes arrive and what their capacity is. Here is an example of one of my charts:

Date

Bus Route Arrived

Time Arrived

Capacity

4/8

H

12:06

Empty Seats

4/8

LX

12:06

Sitting

4/8

H

12:07

Many Empty Seats

4/8

EE

12:08

Sitting

4/8

F

12:08

Standing

4/8

LX

12:09

Many Empty Seats

4/8

A

12:11

Empty Seats

4/8

F

12:13

Standing

4/8

LX

12:14

Sitting

4/8

EE

12:17

Sitting

4/8

LX

12:18

Many Empty Seats

4/8

F

12:19

Sitting

4/8

H

12:21

Sitting

4/8

LX

12:23

Empty Seats

4/8

A

12:24

Many Empty Seats

4/8

LX

12:25

Many Empty Seats

4/8

EE

12:27

Standing

4/8

A

12:27

Many Empty Seats

4/8

F

12:28

Standing

4/8

LX

12:30

Sitting

4/8

H

12:31

Empty Seats

4/8

A

12:33

Empty Seats

Due to the nature of my observational methods, I was unable to get an accurate measurement of the amount of students on a bus. Therefore, I created a system to give an estimate rather than go into each bus and count the passengers.

Capacity

Definition

Many Empty Seats Majority of seats are empty
Empty Seats Some empty seats
Sitting Every seat is taken, but no one is standing
Standing Every seat is taken forcing people to stand
Full Bus is completely full, but no one is turned away
Overcrowded Bus is completely full and forces people off
N/A Bus capacity was unable to be observed

Through my observations, I came to several conclusions:

1) The Livingston/College Ave route (LX) is the most frequent bus route, but also the route most in demand by students. The LXs seem to come in pairs of 2 or 3, which creates a lot of inefficiencies in the bus system. I’d recommend that Rutgers create more space between the buses, so if a student misses a “flock” they won’t have to wait for the next one to come around.

2) The EE route is significantly in less demand than the F route, despite both of them going to the same destination: Cook Douglass. This is because the EE goes through George St., with its many stops, traffic lights, and traffic. Meanwhile, the F cruises by on Rt. 18. Most of the EE buses had a majority of empty seats, so if Rutgers converts just one EE to F, this problem would be solved.

3) There are no major issues with the frequency and overcrowding of the H and A routes.

4) The SAC bus stop interferes with traffic, because all the buses use a single lane of road (George St) that connects to a major highway. My solution would be to create a bus lane to alleviate some of the congestion caused by buses pulling over and taking off from the bus stop. This is the current view of the SAC Bus stop, and my proposal:

 George St. Bus lane

George St. Bus lane Propsal

The Blue line represents the bus lane, the pink represents the area where the buses will pick up/drop off passengers, the orange is the relocated sidewalk, and the green area is the relocated bus stop. With this bus lane, the F route can get off of route 18 without interfering with George St. traffic, and the other bus routes will have more room to pull over/queue up. Also, the bus lane ends after the traffic light so bus departure’s can sync up with red lights.

T

here is possible errors in my observation of the buses, mostly due to my class schedule preventing me from having a consistent observation. However, I feel that my data reveals that the Rutgers bus system is working adequately, but that with a few minor tweaks based on my suggestions the system can be much more efficient and less of a headache for students.

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