A Concrete Plan to Speed Up Buses in Traffic

A Concrete Plan to Speed Up Buses in Traffic - New York Times

New York is joining cities including San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland by installing "bus bulbs" in an attempt to ease traffic congestion and improve public transit.

Basically, a bus bulb is an extension of the curb into the space usually reserved for on-street parking. It is used when there is not a dedicated lane for buses, but when buses share the lane with regular traffic.

The bulb seems counter-intuitive because it causes the bus to stop in the travel lane, and therefore cars behind the bus also need to stop. But studies (like this one from the Federal Transit Administration) suggest that this delay is more than offset by eliminating the delays that are caused by buses slowing traffic when they pull out of and back into the travel lane when they stop at a traditional bus stop.

Some people interviewed in the Times article are skeptical about this approach. But it is at least worth considering as Harvard talks about a need for dedicated shuttle bus lanes and we also want less pavement and narrower, more human scaled streets in the future of our neighborhood.

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