Thursday, October 26, 2006

New York Announces Five BRT Lines

After two and a half years of study, the New York City Department of Transportation just announced the five routes that will be used in the its first Bus Rapid Transit program - one route in each borough.

Two of the routes will be completed in Fall 2007, and the others will be completed in 2008.

Bus lanes will be painted a different color from general traffic lanes. Buses will have cameras to photograph trucks and cars blocking the bus lanes, so they can be ticketed. On some routes, buses will communicate with the computer system that controls traffic lights, and the timing of the lights will be changed to accommodate the buses. At some bus stops, passengers will pay their fare to get into the bus stations rather than paying when they enter the bus, so they can board more quickly.

The bus lanes will be marked but will not be physically separated from other traffic lanes, as they are in most BRT systems. The Department of Transporation says it can keep these lanes clear by strict enforcement of the laws against blocking them, but this remains to be seen.

This system probably should be upgraded in the future so that passengers pay at all bus stops before boarding, so that all buses are connected with the computer system that controls traffic lights, and so that the bus lanes are physically separated from other traffic lanes. But the current plans are an excellent first step that can get BRT started quickly on many lines.

For more information, see


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