Graham Kilmer
Transportation

MCTS Designing New Bus Shelters

First 25 bus shelters -- of some 600 total -- will be installed next year.

By - Jul 10th, 2024 08:10 pm

MCTS bus shelter at the corner of N. Van Buren St. and E. Ogden Ave. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is designing new bus shelters that will slowly replace the current ones.

There are more than 600 bus shelters across the transit system’s route network. The 2024 budget gave MCTS approximately $500,000 to design, purchase and install 25 new shelters.

MCTS views shelters as the transit system’s “most visible presence” in the community, and transit officials hope that sprucing up the shelters will improve both rider experience and the MCTS brand in local neighborhoods, according to a report by Dan Adams, MCTS Transit Specialist.

“So it’s very important that — having been quite a while since we’ve last purchased bus shelters — we wanted to make sure that we did our due diligence and we came up with a design that people are going to recognize and it’s going to serve its purpose out on the street, making the rider experience more comfortable and welcoming while waiting for your bus to arrive,” Adams told supervisors on the board’s Committee on Transportation and Transit Tuesday.

MCTS is finalizing the designs now, but some preliminary concepts would replace the current domed roof of the shelters with a flat top and, potentially, a solar panel. This panel could be used for future signage, whether that be an advertising box with backlighting or a display with wayfinding, according to David Locher, Manager of Enhanced Transit.

Transit officials expect the new bus shelters will be designed, purchased and installed by spring of next year.

Along with the shelters themselves, MCTS is also planning to begin installing new ADA-accessible pads and traffic safety bollards at stops and shelters throughout the system.

The slabs will bring more MCTS stops into ADA compliance, allowing persons using wheelchairs or other mobility devices to use more stops safely. The bollards will be placed at bus stops along routes where reckless driving poses a threat to passenger safety. MCTS looked at local data on pedestrian injuries, as well as the system’s data on bus shelters that have been repeatedly damaged or destroyed by reckless drivers.

For the loading pads and the new bus shelters, MCTS used a matrix of information with an eye toward the county’s racial equity goals. Locations were determined by looking at ridership data, how much of the surrounding population was non-white, how many households were below the poverty line and how many were without a vehicle.

The majority of the 25 bus shelters being installed next year will go in areas of the county where the majority of residents are people of color.

MCTS has more than 3,700 bus stops and hundreds of bus shelters, and, once designed, the goal is the turn the 25 new shelters a year into an annual line item in the transit system budget, eventually turning over the shelters across the entire system to the new models.

New Bus Shelter Conceptual Design

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2 thoughts on “Transportation: MCTS Designing New Bus Shelters”

  1. Elizabeth Pancratz says:

    The solar panels should activate a heat lamp in the winter time for those waiting in the cold.

  2. Franklin Furter says:

    Ha! I agree with the heat lamp. Down here in Chicago, there are usually 2-3 shelters on El platforms that have heating elements. My experience is that most tend to work and, when it is really cold, they are a Godsend…

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