SANDAG Home Page
the rEgion

Buses Go Off Road to Cruise by Traffic

Don’t be surprised to see a bus cruising along the freeway shoulder during your commute. On December 5, SANDAG, in collaboration with Caltrans, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), and the California Highway Patrol, launched an innovative, one-year demonstration project to allow buses on MTS route 960 to drive on the freeway shoulder from I-805 and Nobel Drive to SR 52 and Kearny Villa Road during morning and evening rush hours.

Making this unused stretch of highway available to buses in times of congestion gets the most out of the existing system at a very low cost, and is expected to increase reliability and service on the transit route. The pilot project also will test the feasibility of expanding this concept to other freeways in the San Diego region.

“The buses on shoulders project is an excellent example of using what you already have in an innovative way to enhance bus service,” said SANDAG executive director Gary Gallegos. “For a small amount of time and money, this out-of-the-box project should improve bus service reliability for many of the region’s transit riders.”

SANDAG is working to increase the speed and effectiveness of regional public transportation today. During the next ten years, the agency’s Regional Transportation Plan calls for building and expanding Managed Lanes and High Occupancy Vehicle facilities. Since these facilities will take time to plan, design, and construct, SANDAG championed the buses on shoulders concept as an immediate solution.

Used successfully in Minneapolis since 1992, making highway shoulders available to buses as a low-speed bypass of congested freeway lanes offers a low-cost, easily implemented strategy that should increase transit operating speeds, on-time performance, and trip reliability. For more information, visit

Project Manager:
Jennifer Williamson

bus on shoulder