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Underground bus stops

Started by Matthew, May 18, 2022, 03:47:35 PM

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Matthew

As major changes to tunnels are currently being proposed, this seems like the right time to mention this. At the moment (IIRC) this pakset prohibits all underground stops except tube stations on tube track. In general, this is probably a good decision. Otherwise (before you could say the words "stupid exploit") we would have fully underground stagecoach networks in the 1780s or something similar.

However, this becomes less of an issue once tube lines are possible, since they are presumably always going to be more attractive than underground bus networks. So I wonder whether it would be a good idea to make it possible to build the ModernBusShelter (available from 1949) underground, in order to permit underground bus stations?

The example I have in mind from my childhood is Chatham's Pentagon bus station:


Picture: Geograph via Wikipedia/David Anstiss Chatham Bus Station (CC BY-SA 2.0)


It was dark and dingy, but it definitely existed! So did Manchester's Cannon Street bus station. I can't find a free picture, but an excellent Manchester Evening News article has several evocative photos (the MEN's transport coverage is very good).

Technically both of these were in building basements rather than independently dug tunnels. But we can't model convoy paths inside citybuildings without major, major changes in the structure of Simutrans needing hundreds of hours of coding. We can model the important part by changing one byte from allow_underground=0 to allow_underground=1, so I think we should do that.  ;D
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Sirius


PJMack

In Boston MA, the MBTA Silver Lines (SL1,SL2,SL3) contains an underground bus tunnel.  Courthouse station is a subterranean bus stop beneath Seaport blvd.  The line terminates at south station beneath Dewey Square.

In Cambridge MA there is the Harvard Bus Tunnel with an underground stop.

wlindley

The Harvard Bus Tunnel dates from 1912.  Similar arrangements existed on the Red Line at Broadway and Andrew; all three of these and perhaps a few others were originally streetcar tunnels, converted partly or wholly to buses in the 1930s-1950s.  Only Harvard's survives in service, but the ramps and stations for the others still exist behind long-closed doors or tiled-over passageways... if you look carefully at Broadway you can see the original configuration.

Octavius

That Chatham Pentagon bus station doesn't look like a nice place. I know one bus station in my area with a similar idea, Arnhem bus station in the Netherlands, a dark place where many people were almost overrun by buses:

(Picture from Wikimedia Commons)
It doesn't look too dark on the picture, but this was after some modifications. It used to be really bad, like the one in Chatham. On the picture you see a trolley bus, which is good, as running a lot of diesel buses through such a confined space isn't exactly healthy.

I guess the idea would be that you could build a relatively cheap cut-and-cover tunnel, build a bus station inside, then allow a city building to be built on top (as we won't allow construction of cut-and-cover tunnels through the basements of existing buildings). Seems reasonable enough to me. In real life this requires some coordination between the owner of the building and the owner of the station (usually the municipality). Maybe, when redeveloping a city tile in which a player has expressed interest, the game should notify the player and keep the tile empty for a while, to give the player an opportunity to insert this cut-and-cover tunnel? In real life, redeveloping a city tile takes years.

Quote from: Matthew on May 18, 2022, 03:47:35 PMAt the moment (IIRC) this pakset prohibits all underground stops except tube stations on tube track.
Really? I haven't checked recently. But underground mainline railway stations are getting quite common, mostly in cross-city links and airport connections. Usually cut-and-cover, but deep stations exist too, like Monaco or Sanremo. There was even a regular station, Porta Alpina, proposed at the emergency station near the centre of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, but this was cancelled.

jamespetts

There is a significant difference, I think, between a 'bus station built truly underground and one built under an existing building. Truly underground 'bus stops would just allow players to put ordinary 'bus stops in ordinary tunnels, which in reality is not done because it is not safe.

What we ultimately need to simulate this sort of 'bus station is the ability to build artificial ground on top of things that can then house city buildings. This would also be the solution to making true cut-and-cover tunnels.
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prissi

There are underground bus stations which are not just in buildings, like the entirely underground Tatezama Tunnel Bus and connecting Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus in Japan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tateyama_Tunnel_Trolleybus.

Or more recent this Korean example https://kojects.com/2016/05/16/underground-bus-station-future-transit/ where the whole station is build below road to have a more rail like experience and shelter passengers from the environment (verz asian stzle of thincking).

Sirius

#7
Quote from: Sirius on May 18, 2022, 08:48:52 PMI'd like to introduce: The Duobus!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPYG7h1U5G0
Must be a very long existing building on top. Around 2km in length! :O

I don't think that "truly" underground bus stops would neccessarily allow players to build "ordinary" bus stops in "ordinary" tunnels.
We cannot build "ordinary" railway stations in "ordinary" tube tunnels as well. There is a special station type that can be built underground.
This totally makes sense for balancing reasons! Underground stops require some additional infrastructure like staircases, ventilation and so on.

I do not think that underground bus stops can only exist if there is a building on top.

Octavius

Quote from: Sirius on May 18, 2022, 08:48:52 PMI'd like to introduce: The Duobus!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPYG7h1U5G0
It's a trolleybus. Those appear to be very common on underground bus stops. That must have something to do with ventilation requirements. Do we have a way to ban diesel vehicles from certain ways? It could be done with restrictions: only allow underground bus stops on zero-emission tunnels and only allow zero-emission vehicles to use those tunnels, but it's a bit .. circuitous?

Sirius

Is there any difference in diesel Busses running in tunnels compared to diesel and steam trains running in tunnels?
I don't think so. So why should we ban diesel busses whilst allowing diesel and steam trains?

A ventilation system that is both, intuitive to the player and realistic is desirable, but I don't have any idea how exactly that system could work.
The recent discussion about such a system concluded the same.

jamespetts

Are any of these specialist underground 'bus stations roadside stops - or do they all have their own infrastructure? If the latter, we might consider adding a(n expensive) 'bus terminal for underground purposes in the modern age - if someone wanted to draw one.
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PJMack

It is generally the later as the tunnel would need to be wider at that point for waiting passengers. 

I put below the Wikipedia photo of Courthouse Station in Boston which is below the road.  There is no above ground building, just a covered stairwell and elevator head. 


(Photo from Wikipedia By Pi.1415926535 CC BY-SA 3.0)

jamespetts

I think that we would need to have an underground terminal stop, in that case, rather than a through stop, as that would best represent what these underground 'bus stations are and how they work.

Would anyone like to draw one for the pakset?
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Spenk009

Would this stop be best ending up looking like Manchester's Arndale / Cannon Street windowed design with doorways to the bus doors?


Door location and white surrounds


Size of platform and buses within the station


Colour scheme of black and brown/orange (player colour). (Matthew's link)

If using the modern bus shelter, a faster amendment would be to include a raised concrete platform for passengers. Similar to the modern passenger quay, which could incidentally also serve as image. Chatham's Pentagon seems to be more of a covered affair, better replicated with an elevated way?

jamespetts

I think that we do not want this based on the modern 'bus shelter, since this is a basic side of the road stop, which should not be allowed in tunnels (even with slightly modified graphics). The underground (as opposed to under-croft) 'bus terminal must be a very substantial structure, and a form of terminal 'bus station, not a through 'bus stop.
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wlindley

I had proposed some undercroft bus station graphics back in 2013 ... which seems to be where this current conversation is headed?  Being consistent with the modern terminal buildings.

If there is interest I shall be happy to write the appropriate dat file.

Sirius

What do you mean by "terminal"?
Terminal as in end of the line?

From the posted images, videos and links I don't think that's how all of these underground stops work.
Many of them seem to be through stops that work rooughly like ordinary tube or underground light rail stations but with busses instead of tube/light rail.


I like Wlindleys image pretty much but I suspect the middle platform won't work ingame as there is only front/back image, no "mid image" and most busses don't have a door on that side anyways.

What we need imho is an underground bus stop with outer platforms, just like the tube station but made for busses (two directions on one tile, lower platforms)

jamespetts

The reason that I suggest a terminal stop (as in end of line) is that, without it, players would be able to place underground 'bus stops in the middle of ordinary roads on tunnels. This is clearly not possible in reality: all of these 'bus stations are built on dedicated roads serving only the 'bus station. This is important, as it requires a dedicated part of the tunnel (which is expensive) specifically for the 'bus station. The best way of forcing this in Simutrans-Extended is by making the underground 'bus station a terminal stop. 'Buses would pull into this from the main tunnel, dwell in this stop for as long as necessary, and then continue on their journey. There is no way without major and ultra-complex code changes not warranted by the functionality to which they would give rise to force a separate tunnel segment for these that does not allow general through traffic.
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Ranran(Hibernating)

I don't think it is right to be a terminal. In most cases, one of the two lanes in the same direction is where passengers disembark. There is no opposite direction. The terminal needs a place to make a U-turn. Also, I doubt that a connecting bus that requires 2 tiles would be able to stop correctly at the underground terminal bus stop.

It is not surprising that underground bus stops are more expensive than above ground bus stops, which only work by placing a landmark post, but that can be adequately simulated by simply increasing the cost of installing a bus stop with allow_underground=1.

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jamespetts

Quote from: Ranran on May 25, 2022, 03:44:50 PMI don't think it is right to be a terminal. In most cases, one of the two lanes in the same direction is where passengers disembark. There is no opposite direction. The terminal needs a place to make a U-turn. Also, I doubt that a connecting bus that requires 2 tiles would be able to stop correctly at the underground terminal bus stop.

It is not surprising that underground bus stops are more expensive than above ground bus stops, which only work by placing a landmark post, but that can be adequately simulated by simply increasing the cost of installing a bus stop with allow_underground=1.


The difference is not just the cost: an underground 'bus terminal is never actually in the flow of traffic on a road. It is always in its own separate area, requiring its own separate piece of tunnel. This is what needs to be simulated.
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Sirius

There are a few different reasons reasons why I do not think designing underground bus stops purely as terminal stops is a good idea.

First of it all is intuition and thus usability. It is entirely unintuitive that underground bus stops can only be placed as a terminal. This is in clear contrast to reality!

Secondly, it doesn't really solve the described issue.
Sure, players cannot put bus stops directly on a through-section of roads.
Most often, such tunnels will be built in cities, where many will enter the dead-end sections anyways as they are moving in random mode.
Furthermore, players will simply attach single tile dead-ends to the tunnel, which is even more unrealistic than placing stops directly on the through-section.

Thirdly, transport companies constructing such tunnels are most often interested in bypassing the typcial city center jams. They are obviously not interested in jams in the tunnel anyways.

Last but not least as you might know, I strongly disagree with artificial, over restrictive game mechanisms.
Restrictions are good if they enforce some realism, but they should never disallow things that exist in the real world.
Such restrictions do not add up anything to realism but affect gameplay and usability in a negative way.

jamespetts

I do not think that attaching single tile dead-ends to the tunnel is more unrealistic than a stop on an active road. These large underground 'bus terminals shown clearly require a substantial amount of dedicated space. There is no space beside an active road in a tunnel to have a 'bus stop, let alone 'bus station. The 'bus station has to have its own dedicated road, just for 'buses using the 'bus station. Allowing a basic through stop underground does not account for this. Players will simply place 'bus stations underground on through roads as if they were 'bus stops on an above ground road in town, and that is quite fundamentally different to how these 'bus stations worked in reality. Thus, this would not be an arbitrary constraint, but one based on reality; it is the only way, without massive code changes, to require that these 'bus stations have their own dedicated roads and a tile of space dedicated to them, rather than just being attached to an existing through road.
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Sirius

#22
Jut to get it right, the concern here is to ensure that there are no private cars passing an underground bus platform?

It is clearly opinionated what is more realistic:
- Busses crossing the opposite direction lane and reversing in the tunnel at each single stop, whilst some cars will also enter the bus terminal or
- An underground bus stops on a through section of road, where cars can pass by the bus platform (if the player who is not interessted in private cars jamming their BRT didn't restrict access to that tunnel)

The issue of private cars passing the bus stop remains the same in any case.
When arguing about whether or not to allow through stops in the tunnel it doesn't matter quite much that terminal underground bus stops exist and how massive they are.

What matters is whether or not through stops exist in the real-world, and they seem to exist as some of the images have shown.

jamespetts

The issue is not so much that private cars do not enter the 'bus station: the issue is that the underground 'bus station should not be part of the main road thoroughfare. Therefore, anything other than the vehicles stopping at the 'bus station should not be able to pass through it.

This is the fundamental difference between a 'bus stop and a 'bus station.

Bus stop:

Bus stop - Bayswater Road by London Transport Museum, on Flickr

Bus station:

The Brunel Bus Station, Slough by Chris Guy, on Flickr

Indeed, this is the distinction observed for above ground road stops: through stops are the 'bus stops, with just a shelter and a sign beside the road, whereas terminal stops are large 'bus stations (even though, in reality, many 'bus stations allow 'buses to pass through them from one end to the other, as in the Brunel 'bus station shown above). I am just seeking to apply the same 'bus stop/'bus station distinction underground as is currently applied above ground.
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Ranran(Hibernating)

#24
QuoteThe difference is not just the cost:
There are a few things that I think are correct about this point. For example, the depth of the basement. Creating a large space deep underground will require more work than creating one in a shallow area. And the issue of connection to the surface (to make it the same station) and additional capacity (waiting room), since there is no extension building underground.


QuoteThis is what needs to be simulated.
I do not think this can be correctly simulated under the current simutrans(extended) spec and successfully fit into the game.

(1) As I said in my previous post, if there is only a terminal, buses that require more than 2 tiles cannot stop.

(2) Only one bus can stop at the terminal bus stop.
Therefore, the only way to build a underground bus stop that can stop multiple buses at the same time is to build a bus stop with many branches like grapes, which requires many intersections and many tiles.

Quotean underground 'bus terminal is never actually in the flow of traffic on a road.
This currently lacks that distinction even in the case on the ground. And it's not easy to distinguish this correctly.

For example, in such a layout, the bus stop located on the side routes do not block the flow of the main road.

But the bus stop is not the terminal end. This does not cause problems (1) and (2).
Players basically don't want to create congestion on the main road, so they would prefer to separate the stops in this way. So putting a bus stop above the main road stream, as you say, is a special case.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in the real world either. For example, what prissi presented was originally a bus for people involved in the dam (electric power company), and although the company owns the roads and buses, tourists can also use it. I don't think there is any problem with the act of stopping the bus at your own option and blocking the lane in such a tunnel that you own, not in a public tunnel.

(3) For the reason (2), the number of tiles required for the number of convoys that the terminal bus stop can stop at the same time is doubled. That is, it should be taken into account that at this time simutrans does not properly simulate the number of buses that can be stopped per tile size. Players have to bear the cost of underground mining of huge areas, while only a few buses can stop. This does not accurately simulate reality.


(4) In general, retreating and turning at an underground terminal requires more space and can interfere with other buses, making it less realistic.
As mentioned in the previous post, the layout is generally such that there is one side lane for boarding and alighting and one lane for overtaking, allowing the bus to pass a stationary bus. Buses exit the terminal by moving forward only, without ever backing up. There is one entrance and one exit for the terminal, and buses heading in either direction often enter from the same entrance, that is, the inside is one-way.
Unfortunately, as I posted yesterday, please note that there is a bug that the parallel stop function of such an arrangement does not work with one way. There is a problem with the overtaking algorithm at a continuous bus stop that mimics a real bus terminal, and the overtaking feature can block the road.


I think that preventing private cars from entering the bus stop is not limited to underground bus stops, but if private cars chose the best route, they would not encroach on the divergent bus stops shown above.

This theme once again brought to light the problems of overtaking patch that I pointed out long ago. Whether two buses can stop in the same direction on one tile or can overtake the stopped buses should also take into account the ability of the bus stop.
As explained earlier, buses have doors in only one direction, so passengers getting off a bus that has stopped in the overtaking lane are not safe. Also, the contradiction that there is a meaningless opposite bus stop distracts the player's understanding.
But the ability to overtake a stopped bus can be very useful here. However, this constraint should be tied to the bus stop. In other words, there is a restriction that the bus stop can be one-way and overtaken. In that case, there is no conflict between graphics and cost. I think that implementing graphics and correct features that allow players to stop in the same direction on two lanes of one tile will help not to make the bus terminal too big.
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jamespetts

I should note that I am currently working on a modification to terminal 'bus stops to allow multiple 'buses to stop there at once.
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Sirius

#26
I got two main concerns about underground bus stops being terminals only:

(1) Is a visual one. It looks quite unexpected from a real-world perspective to attach a single tile terminal to the tunnel instead of building a through stop in or parallel to the main tunnel. Such unexpected things do always come with a negative gameplay experience.

(2) Is about game mechanics. Forcing busses to reverse at each single underground bus stop will affect journey times (including load and reversal) quite much. This can easily lead to 3x the total journe time, given a stop spacing of 500m.
This makes BRT tunnel effectively pointless. As a player, I will always prefer elevated BRT in that case as it doesn't suffer from this restriction.

Talking about bus stops/bus stations from my perspective a bus station is composed of multiple bus platforms, where multiple bus lines stop to allow passengers to transfer between those lines.
Usually this is done by scheduling busses in the bus station, so that many lines stop there at the same time allowing passengers to transfer between them, although that's not mandatory.
In any case, I don't think it is quite productive to argue about how we call that thing where busses can stop underground.
We should rather focus on how that thing behaves in the real-world and how a specific implementation in simutrans would do.

My suggestion is to allow (expensive) tunnel through stops. If those are exploited in a way that has a notable economical effect, we might implement restrictions like an implicit private gate (denying public traffic) on such stops, so it cannot be put on PROW routes and will otherwise ban private car routing from such tunnels.

wlindley

A private road sign is already sufficient to ensure that city cars would not enter an underground bus stop.  All the data structures exist in-game, if we could define an algorithm to make any road station (whether goods, passengers, or mail) in a tunnel have an "automatically created" private-road sign which allows all companies but not city cars. This would not preclude, of course, further restricting tunnels with ordinary private-road signs.  

jamespetts

You write of underground 'Bus Rapid Transit systems with multiple underground through stops. I am not aware of these - do they exist? The research material above simply shows large underground or undercroft 'bus stations, which are quite different.
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jamespetts

Those are intriguing, and totally unlike anything that exists in the British Isles. 'Bus Rapit Transit is quite fundamentally different to the underground 'bus stations seen above. They are also quite fundamentally different to placing a 'bus stop on a road in an existing tunnel. All of them have dedicated tunnels and stops very much like railway stations (and some of them seem to share with light rail).

If we want BRT in the game, we will need some dedicated infrastructure options that have these properties (specifically, BRT exclusive tunnels - a specific way constraint, I think). Just allowing the placing of expensive 'bus stops in ordinary road tunnels would produce something very, very different to true BRT, and unlike anything existing or that plausibly could exist in reality.
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Ranran(Hibernating)

#31
How do you distinguish between above-ground BRT and underground BRT? The basic properties should be unchanged above ground and below ground. They may have railroad crossings, may connect to open roads, and BRT vehicles may drive on public roads.
The structure of a huge bus terminal in a big city may not change much whether it is underground or above ground in a building. At first glance, the bus terminal inside the building looks like an underground.







In Japan, there are many cases where railways are abolished and tracks are replaced with roads for BRT. This is especially the case if some tracks are destroyed in a disaster, due to restoration and future maintenance costs.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rail02000/30074377994

BRT orbits can be implemented by using prohibitive, but there is currently no feature that allows bus stops to be placed only on prohibitive orbits.
Another problem is that we can't own such a BRT orbit inside the city.
A further problem is that it is difficult to completely prevent the intrusion of private cars.
It is very troublesome to install many signs. Inside the city, private cars can spawn anywhere on the road on the ground..
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jamespetts

One would definitely need way constraints for a BRT feature. As for the stops, possibly the only way of doing this without massive code revisions may be to add way constraints to the stops themselves so that they overlay those way constraints with the constraints of the underlying way. The same constraints might be used above as well as below ground, although this may need reconsideration if it turns out that diesel powered 'buses are common in above ground BRT but not used in underground BRT.
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prissi

One has to admit that in Simutrans the transport company owns the tunnels, so it is like a real life bus only route. Citzcars would have to pay a fee to enter a private tunnel in real life ...

Octavius

Quote from: Sirius on May 23, 2022, 08:28:09 PMIs there any difference in diesel Busses running in tunnels compared to diesel and steam trains running in tunnels?
I don't think so. So why should we ban diesel busses whilst allowing diesel and steam trains?
No, I don't think there's a difference. But on underground railway stations, diesel and steam trains are a bit rare too. They were actually banned on the underground New York Grand Central back in the days when steam was still common. Anyway, people found some examples of diesel buses on underground stops, so maybe they shouldn't be banned altogether. Diesel buses appear still uncommon on underground bus stops compared to open air bus stops, which could be a regional thing (differences in air quality regulations), so it may still be good to allow paksets to ban diesel buses from underground stops.
Quote from: Ranran on May 28, 2022, 01:49:48 AMAs mentioned in the previous post, the layout is generally such that there is one side lane for boarding and alighting and one lane for overtaking, allowing the bus to pass a stationary bus.
I'm not sure. For bus stations, both open air and in basements, two layouts appear common. Most around here have 3–15 parallel platforms for one bus each, but I know a few that have a platform for about 4 buses after another and a passing lane, or two such long platforms with a passing lane each. There is a blend form: I spotted one in Delft, Netherlands, that has 6 parallel platforms, each long enough for 3 buses, without a passing lane. I suppose it has to do with the style of buses locally popular. The long platforms for multiple buses after another may be less suited for long buses, as bendy buses also need more room for lane-changing to park parallel to the kerb. If a standard bus doesn't provide enough capacity, bus operators on the continent nearly always opt for bendy buses (sometimes even with 2 bends, 25m long, and I've seen proposals for buses with 5 bends), where the British generally prefer doubledeckers.