Effective Bus-Only Lanes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - traffic, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, policy - congestion, mode - bus


Uniformity, Traffic law enforcement, Traffic delay, Traffic congestion, Traffic capacity, Streetscape, Standardization, Standardisation, San Francisco (California), London (England), Institutional barriers, Highway capacity, Harmonization, Harmonisation, Gridlock (Traffic), Enforcement camera system, Design, Case studies, Bus transit operations, Bus lanes


Several cities throughout the world have implemented bus-only lanes to alleviate transit delays caused by traffic congestion. This paper describes design features of effective bus lanes and discusses institutional barriers to bus-only lanes, such as objections to photo enforcement and reductions in mixed-flow vehicle capacity. London is cited as an example of a city with a successful bus-only lane system. Although San Francisco has also implemented bus-only lanes, the authors suggest that the system could be improved by standardizing operating hours, signage and markings; improving enforcement; improving traffic operations; and civil and streetscape improvements.