Title: Evaluation of Intermodal Passenger Transfer Facilities

Date: September 1994

Authors: Alan J. Horowitz and Nick A. Thompson

Availability: Loan copy available from the U. S. Department of Transportation, Office of Technical Assistance and Safety, 400 Seventh Street S.W., Washington, DC 20590, and from University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee Center for Urban Transportation Studies, P. O. Box 784, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0784, (414) 229-5787.


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has initiated a study into the feasibility of locating an intermodal passenger transportation facility in downtown Milwaukee. That feasibility study requires an evaluation of a very wide range of alternatives. The last concerted effort to develop evaluation criteria for intermodal passenger transfer facilities in the US dates to the 1970 s. Since then issues, technologies, experiences and priorities have shifted and evolved. A new look at intermodal evaluation is appropriate.

This report is a distillation of opinion from a large number of transit system users, transportation planners and authors. However, opinion by itself is not very useful for intermodal station plans in Milwaukee or anywhere else. Taking the next logical step, this report presents a cafeteria of methods for preliminary design, location and evaluation of intermodal passenger transfer facilities. In some cases methods were adapted from previous station, terminal or airport studies. In other cases methods were adapted from multimodal transportation planning. But in all cases the methods address those factors most important to the choice of a project alternative.

The priorities attached to various methods was established by first creating a list of 70 generic objectives for the evaluation of an intermodal passenger transfer facility and then having a large panel of experts rate each generic objective. The generic objectives spanned all categories of system planning, internal design, external design and modal interfaces. An analysis of the ratings revealed that most important were objectives for assuring safety and security and objectives for improving transfers and transfer opportunities. Architectural and building considerations were least important. The twelve classes of objectives in order of importance were:

The Transfer
The Passenger
Environment, Physical
Environment, Nonphysical
Modal Enhancement

A good evaluation of an intermodal passenger transfer facility is complicated; simple formulas do not exist. Of primary importance is the ability of facility to improve trip making. In order to ascertain levels of improvement for project alternatives, it is necessary to represent the facility and its modes as a network and to measure the changes in the difficulty of travel across that network. Improvements in trip making can come from reductions in cost, in-vehicle time, out-of-vehicle time, barriers to transferring and from positive changes to the transfer environment.

All of the following questions must be affirmatively answered to justify public expenditures on an intermodal passenger transfer facility.

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