Innovative Operating Solutions for Bus Rapid Transit Through a Congested Segment of San Jose, California

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - bus/tram lane, mode - bus rapid transit, place - north america


Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), reverssible bus lane


The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California recently developed a strategic plan for bus rapid transit (BRT) to establish a framework for BRT implementation. Stevens Creek Boulevard, an important east-west thoroughfare linking the California cities of San Jose and Cupertino, was one of three corridors selected for BRT service. To ensure the operating and ridership objectives along the Stevens Creek corridor, BRT must maintain adequate travel speeds and provide a convenient station location along the Valley Fair segment west of downtown San Jose. Meeting these objectives would be a challenge because the segment is highly congested and right-of-way constrained. Major shopping centers, existing land uses, and an Interstate freeway interchange are all factors that contribute to the operational challenges along the Valley Fair segment. These factors also limit any roadway widening and reconfiguration required to provide sufficient space for dedicated BRT lanes and station platforms. To provide some form of transit priority and a convenient BRT station at Valley Fair, a single reversible bus lane was proposed. This paper discusses the feasibility of a single reversible lane and key elements that led to a preferred configuration and operating plan. A range of options, including various station configurations and operating strategies, is evaluated. A microsimulation analysis of the options shows that a single reversible lane can generate significant operating benefits for BRT while not significantly affecting mixed-flow traffic. This paper and its results should encourage cities to consider single-lane reversible bus ways along constrained segments as part of a strategy to implement premium BRT service.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.