Buses on shoulders -
Buses on shoulders - a smooth ride
After ten months in operation, the buses on shoulders demonstration project hasreceived high marks for efficiency, safety, and innovation. During this pilot period, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Route 960 buses have traveled on freeway shoulders to bypass traffic from Interstate 805 and Nobel Drive to State Route 52 and Kearny Villa Road.
SANDAG, in partnership with MTS, Caltrans, and the California Highway Patrol, launched the novel project in an effort to evaluate the effectiveness of using freeway shoulder lanes for buses when the regular freeway lanes are congested. Making this stretch of highway available to buses during rush hours helps this transit route maintain on-time performance and provides commuters a viable travel option.
Analysis of the buses on shoulders demonstration project has revealed success on a number of levels:
Bus travel time and reliability
SANDAG also looked at travel time savings between buses operating in the shoulder lane versus a car operating in the regular freeway travel lanes. During periods of heavy congestion, using the freeway shoulder can result in up to a five-minute faster travel time versus the automobile trip.
Driver and passenger opinions
Passengers believed the project would be safe before it began, and an even higher percentage (90%) feel safe now that the buses are actually operating on the freeway shoulder. While a bit more cautious than transit passengers, transit drivers are still positive overall about the safety and benefits of the demonstration project.
Based on the success of the buses on shoulders demonstration project, SANDAG and Caltrans will be looking at other corridors in the region that could benefit from this innovative way to battle congestion.