The benefits of bus priority within the central London congestion charging zone

Transport for London (TfL) believes that bus priority measures and bus lanes in particular, remain a vital intervention tool within central London and the congestion charging area. Furthermore, case study data supports the assertion that bus lanes are justified and are working as intended. The bus network plays a vital role in the Capital's transport system, providing access to jobs and town centres, the Underground and rail services. In order to encourage car users to switch to using public transport, people's experience of travelling by bus must be transformed: the chronic problems of unreliability and slow journeys have to be tackled. Increasing population and employment levels, combined with improvements to the public transport system, have seen bus patronage increase by 38.2% since 1999/2000. Overa third of London households do not own a car and rely heavily on the public transport network, and with a predicted rise in London's population levels from 7.2 million to 8.1 million by 2016 it is imperative that the benefits of bus priority measures are locked in now to ensure protection for the future prosperity of London and its residents. Bus lanes are importantto mitigate the adverse impacts of other traffic management schemes on buses, in particular, safety schemes and all-round pedestrian crossing phases. They can also be used to offer additional benefits such as improved lane discipline, as in the Westminster City council, Haymarket scheme, outlined below. Westminster City Council implemented a number of bus lanes (Kingsway, Waterloo Bridge north, Waterloo Bridge south and Haymarket) using experimental powers before the commencement of congestion charging. Before and after case study data, clearly shows that in three out of four corridors, the mean bus running time reduced after the implementation of bus lanesand congestion charging. It should be noted that the fourth scheme (Haymarket) was implemented to improve lane discipline and reduce accidents. Initial findings are that this objective was achieved as accidents along thisroute reduced by 66%. Additionally, traffic queue lengths were measured on Kingsway, Waterloo Bridge north and Waterloo Bridge south to verify the running time benefits that had been attributed to these bus lanes. Queue data for Kingsway and Waterloo Bridge northbound, indicates that the bus lane is effective in enabling buses to by-pass general traffic queues. The case for Waterloo Bridge southbound was more marginal as traffic queues only occasionally exceeded the bus lane setback distance. However, due to proposals to introduce signals at the IMAX roundabout for road safety reasons, queue lengths are predicted to increase on this link, but the movement of buses will be protected by the extant bus lane. London boroughs remain satisfied that bus priority schemes are still justified and are appropriatesolutions to consider where traffic conditions, either now or in the future, will worsen for buses and their passengers. For the covering abstract see ITRD E135582.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01089891
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 1905701012
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Mar 17 2008 10:10AM