Bus-Only Shoulders in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, policy - congestion, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro


Verge, Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (Minnesota), Transportation projects, Transit, Traffic congestion, Shoulders (Roads), Road shoulders, Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity bus transportation, Gridlock (Traffic), Bus-only shoulders, Bus transit, Bus lanes


As of December 2006, Minnesota’s Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area (the Twin Cities) was home to 257 bus-only shoulder (BOS) miles. As the BOS network grew in the Twin Cities, it became a fundamental piece of the region’s transportation system and faced little opposition. Partnerships among transportation agencies and officials contributed greatly to the idea’s success, ensuring that support and resources were made available. The result has been the proliferation of a “transit advantage” to transit passengers who bypass congestion and may save time by taking the bus. To understand how and why BOS have succeeded so well in the Twin Cities, this report used five elements of transportation projects identified by the Hubert H. Humphrey State and Local Policy Program to examine the origin and evolution of BOS. Governance, stakeholder participation, finance, design, and economics each played a role in developing the BOS system. Collectively, the details of each provide a picture of how BOS came to be in the Twin Cities and also provide insight for cities interested in pursuing BOS networks of their own.