Rail stops serve a primary function – getting commuters onto the train safely and efficiently. Riders have also come to expect that good stops will provide some shelter, comfort, and basic information, but why stop there? Here in Detroit, the M-1 RAIL team has a unique opportunity to set a precedent for stops that go above and beyond. Here are a few ways that good stops around the country are creating memorable experiences for their customers:
- Use technology
Beyond the basics, stops across the country are using technology to visualize and share data with their customers. Displaying real time data on screens within the station, or more often, using apps to utilize the ones in most of our pockets, increases ridership and makes wait times feel shorter for those waiting to board the train. Screens can also be used to give more helpful information to commuters such as weather updates and local news. They also can provide some fun as seen in this YouTube video.
- Make them useful to the neighborhood
People will use the rail to get around the Woodward corridor, to travel from a ball game or show to a resteaunt in another part of the neighborhood, and to get to and from work, but there are some people who will never use it. However, transit providers still have an opportunity to make a powerful impression on these non-users. Stops around the country provide free Wi-Fi hotspots and outlets for charging mobile devices that can be accessed by passengers and those passing by. The stops could also provide information on surrounding neighborhood amenities such as parks, restaurants, and other attractions.
- Make them look good
We know, roughly, what the stops will look like: a bench, roof, and maps, but none of those prohibit building something memorable. For decades, transit providers have been showing off their innovative designs and making stops that are beautiful additions to their neighborhoods. If the stops themselves remain homogenous, then public art installations are another common way to add aesthetic value. Currently, the Detroit People Mover features murals from local artists, and future stops could do the same.
- Integrate with existing transportation network
A transit stop can extend its usefulness by integrating with the existing biking infrastructure. Providing easy and secure bike parking is a good start. Positioning bike-share stops alongside some of the stations can also make adventuring through the city more accessible. Coordinating with the RTA and other transit providers can make transitioning from bus to rail easy for commuters and other people trying to get around the city from outside of midtown and downtown.
These are just a few examples from transit providers that are using their stops to make a positive impression on their customers and the surrounding community. In Detroit the M-1 Rail, and the region’s other networks, have an opportunity to do the same.