Moving the Bus Back into Traffic Safely--Signage and Lighting Configuration

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, planning - safety/accidents, planning - surveys, planning - signage/information, mode - bus, literature review - literature review


Yielding, Yield signs, Vehicle lighting, Traffic safety, Traffic markings, Surveys, Statutes, Signs, Signing, Road markings, Recommendations, Pavement markings, Motor coaches, Merging traffic, Literature surveys, Literature reviews, Lay bys, Laws, Florida, Field studies, Carriageway markings, Buses, Bus traffic, Bus berths, Bus bays


Since a high percentage of bus crashes are caused by rear-end collisions with private automobiles, improving signage and lighting is important for bus safety and operations. This paper reports on a comprehensive research project to assist transit vehicles in safely reentering the traffic stream. A literature review, crash data analysis, bus operator surveys and field studies were used to accomplish three objectives: (1) make recommendations on lighting configuration and signage practices for the back of transit buses; (2) develop signage and pavement markings to address yield-to-bus (YTB) safety issues; and (3) develop recommendations for draft statutory language or modifications to existing statutes that would be need to enforce the YTB law and help increase its viability. The study found that the decal currently place on the back of buses in Florida had no significant safety or operational effects. The majority of bus operators surveyed preferred a flashing sign with the word "MERGING" on the back of the bus. New signage and pavement markings can be developed based on existing principles for yielding to pedestrians and bicyclists. Additional signs and pavement marking for the YTB law should be used only in areas where other measures have failed. Flashing beacons that are activated by a bus in a bus pull-out bay also show potential. Although Florida, along with 5 other states, currently has a YTB law, the current Florida statutes make no mention of how the law is to be implemented. It is recommended that statutes include a penalty or classification for the type of offence committed when the YTB law is violated. A public awareness campaign to inform motorists about the YTB laws and a system to evaluate the necessity of the law should also be implemented.