A chance for effective public transport

Bus transportation is an important and in many cities the only element of the public transport system. Therefore, it is important that it operates efficiently and provides a real and attractive alternative to individual car transport. For this reason, city administrators more and more often decide to introduce various forms of traffic priorities, including bus lanes, which improve the passage through the most crowded streets in the city.

Bus pass is the privilege of public transportation

The rationale for introducing a separate bus lane is connected with the analyses related to the available space, appropriate size of passenger streams and traffic volume. The specifics of many places may not justify the introduction of separate bus lanes on a permanent basis, therefore, there are often times when separate bus lanes are used.

Innovative approach of Rzeszów

The innovative method was implemented in Rzeszów, which decided to introduce bus lanes for bus traffic only in the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Benefits of Dynamically Distributed Bus Lane

Modern information and communication technology, known as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), gives engineers new opportunities to prioritize buses through the use of Dynamically Displaced Bus Lane (DPA). A Dynamically Dedicated Bus Lane can benefit all traffic participants by minimizing time loss.

Thanks to its flexibility, the DPA could be used on more sections, which would increase the attractiveness of bus lines. So far the new solution has been implemented several times around the world and an extensive database of scientific analysis of potential benefits.

Public transport and the DPA operating model

The Dynamic Bus Lane (DPA) operates in two modes: active or dormant. In the dormant mode, the DPA remains switched off and the traffic along the section of the street where it has been designated takes place in the full road section. The active mode is activated when a bus approaches a designated section with unfavorable traffic conditions.

DPA preparation and marking

Dynamic separation of the lane from the roadway is possible thanks to the vehicle detection system and the use of modern vertical and horizontal markings that inform drivers about the separation of the lane. Variable message signs in the form of VMS boards are used for DPA marking, as well as optionally active horizontal spot marking in the form of LED lights built in along the lane edge.

The whole plan has been developed in detail with a view to efficient public transport. Below is a diagram of the arrangement of infrastructure elements of Dynamically separated bus lanes.

Technological aspects of innovative public transport (DPA)

Currently available technologies used by many cities in Poland enable the management and control of a dynamic bus lane in practice. The existing infrastructure will only need to be supplemented with additional elements including bus detection and informing drivers about the current DPA status.

It will also be necessary to introduce the detection that will enable the analysis of current road conditions on the basis of which the lane control system will make decisions about switching on or off the bus lane. As an additional activation criterion, it is possible to assume the filling of the bus approaching the section with priority.

Pilot studies on DPA

Work on the effectiveness and applicability of the new solution in Poland has been carried out for several years at the Rzeszów University of Technology in the Department of Roads and Bridges under the direction. Several sections of streets in Rzeszów, ranging in length from 400m to 800m, were selected for analysis.

The results of the research allowed to notice that:

  • The DPA has great potential and can bring benefits with smaller passenger streams or a smaller number of buses, i.e. in cases where classically separated bus lanes are not justified.
  • Dynamically separated bus lane allows to obtain the same benefits in public transport as generated by the variant assuming the introduction of the classical form of bus lanes, moreover, the DPA variant causes a relatively small increase in the travel time in individual transport – the classical solution, depending on the section, increased the average travel time in individual transport from 12% to 25%, while dynamically separated bus lane increased this travel time from 1% to 12%.
  • The simulations made it possible to observe that the DPA solution generates shorter queues than those formed at permanently separated bus lanes.