“Amid all the talk about how to “fix congestion” there’s one cheap and relatively simple solution staring us in the face: dedicated lanes for efficient vehicles like bikes and buses.” says Jonathan Maus of bikeportland.org.
Despite the falling popularity of buses in many cities, Seattle is a good example of how dedicated bus lanes can work to fight congestion. The city has seen rapid growth since 2007 and is still one of the fastest-growing cities, but the number of commuters driving cars has declined by 10% since 2010.
Depending on their size, buses can carry many more passengers than single-occupancy vehicles. Multiply their capacity by the amount of commuters travelling in one lane during rush hour and buses make sense. Speed them up and the idea becomes even more attractive. Separate lanes can double or triple bus speeds by eliminating delays. They are also a lot more cost effective than many other transit solutions.
Many cities are starting to see the benefits of dedicated bus lanes. New York has launched its 14th St busway; Minneapolis is introducing dedicated bus lanes; Washington DC has made their pilot program permanent; Portland has introduced a new bus/bikeway; and the list goes on.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials has even produced an Urban Street Design Guide for Dedicated Curbside/Offset Bus Lanes. And roads without the space for a dedicated bus lane might also reap the benefits by the use of pre-signals.
Let’s give buses the lanes they deserve and make riding them attractive again.
Read the Portland story here.