Traffic congestion is no fun for anyone, but it’s deadly for public transport. When buses and trams are stuck in traffic jams they fall behind schedule and, because this means that more people will be waiting at the next stops, they fall even further behind schedule leading to bunching and compounding delays. Bunched buses and delays make public transport unattractive for customers and increase operational costs, so congestion impacts on public transport must be eliminated whenever possible. Three techniques for reducing the impact of traffic congestion on public transport are: 1. Provide exclusive lanes for public transport;
2. Use regulations and traffic engineering to control traffic; 3. Use innovative ideas to reduce traffic impacts on public transport; These techniques are outlined below. More detailed information is available in the Best Practices wiki and public transport guideways wiki page. 1. Provide Exclusive Lanes for Public Transport
Ljubljana Painted Bus Lane (Source: Andrew Nash, 2011)
Exclusive public transport lanes means the lane on which the bus or streetcar runs is not open to private vehicle traffic. Exclusive lanes enable buses and trams to avoid congestion helping increase their speed, reliability and attractiveness. Unfortunately, exclusive lanes are often controversial since they ‘take’ space that could otherwise be used by private vehicles. Exclusive lanes come in many shapes and sizes, for example:
Taxicabs are allowed to use exclusive lanes in some cities (e.g. Vienna, San Francisco. Paris). Bicycles are often allowed to use exclusive lanes.
Exclusive lanes can be time-based, in other words exclusive during certain times (peak periods) and reverting to mixed-flow or parking lanes at other times. The method of separating exclusive lanes from other traffic is an important factor in determining their effectiveness. Simply put, the better the separation – the more effective. Painted lanes are least effective and lanes separated by...
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