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Trees Can Make Waiting for the Bus Feel Shorter

In the Twin Cities they made a 10-minute wait feel like a breezy 7 minutes.
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Matthew Tichenor / Flickr

Understatement alert: No one likes waiting for a city bus. Fortunately, there are a few things public transit agencies can do to make the wait feel less brutal (outside of, you know, actually running more buses). Real-time arrival clocks or apps can ease the pain, as can a basic bus shelter—and new research suggests planting a few trees around a stop might also do the trick.

The work comes courtesy of University of Minnesota scholars who collected data from 822 riders at 36 bus and rail stops and stations across the Twin Cities. Each stop was audited for various amenities and features of the surrounding environment. The researchers then collected the actual wait times of riders via video and compared these with on-board surveys of perceived or estimated wait times—basically, how long the wait felt.