Enhanced Transit and Managed Arterials: A Win-Win Combination
Enhanced transit, such as Express Bus and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), is gradually gaining acceptance among urban transit agencies and transportation planners, generally because the capital and operating costs are lower than those of light rail and commuter rail systems. Many agencies’ preferred model for implementing BRT is on bus-only lanes. With only a few exceptions, transit agency and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) planners have not fully taken advantage of the synergy that exists between priced “managed” lanes on expressways and higher-speed, higher-quality bus transit. Moreover, since the majority of proposed enhanced bus systems are planned for arterials, planners have seen no way to adapt the principle of priced lanes from their current use on expressways to use on arterials
This study recommends going beyond the emerging practice of operating express bus service on what amounts to the starter segments of region-wide networks of priced managed lanes. It has proposed adapting the same principle to selected major arterials, not via adding priced lanes but via adding priced grade separations. The combination of these Managed Arterials and the network of expressway managed lanes would provide transit agencies with the infrastructure needed for region-wide Express Bus and BRT Heavy service—without the transit agency having to fund this new infrastructure.
Another candidate for Managed Arterial treatment is the small number of exclusive busways whose performance is hampered by numerous signalized intersections with local streets. One promising example is the South Miami-Dade Busway examined in this study.