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Bus Priority System or partial-BRT for Bengaluru?

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BusPublic Transport

Why don't we take the bus? Ask around, or read past polls and discussions here for some common answers. But this one thing is amongst the top reasons - the bus doesn't go any faster than my bike/car, it in fact takes longer. Those of us who actually use the Vajra buses for commuting do so mostly for speed first, comfort later.

Now, dedicated lane based systems for Bus transport (BRTS) are being debated. No space on roads, enforcement levels are not good enough etc etc are excuses, fair enough. However, selective priority for buses only at places that matter the most will be a realistic approach to create a "bus goes faster" perception.

Contrary to what you would think, spots to pick for prioratizing bus would be the choke points. If done without thought, you may end up putting special lanes for buses only on wider sections of arterial roads.

Time for real examples? Before I talk about my favorite corridor - the old airport road, last month, while at Taiwan, I saw some examples of bus priority, sort of like what some of us have in mind. One picture here with hard-lanes for bus only near the traffic signals.

On the old-airport road, you would need bus priority mechanism at about 5-6 choke points.

  • The T signal where airport road begins
  • Then, need to speed up the bus through Domlur
  • Then, the signal near ISRO
  • HAL airport/Suranjan Das road signal next
  • Then, the Outer Ring Road signal.
  • And last, Kundalahalli signal.

This is a problem area that needs real creative designs. Think hard, what would be your solutions to prioratize the buses at selected spots?

  • A single dedicated lane in the center could be used in cummute directions in mornings/evenings. This lane would make buses reach traffic signal faster than private vehicles
    • Think a single lane in the center from Brand Factory till Outer Ring Road Signal.
    • Then continue this lane till Kundalahalli signal
    • Use the single center lane in "towards Whitefield direction" in morning, and "towards city" direction in evening
  • Magic box for buses to bypass signals
    • Suranjan das road signal could have a magic box under pass for use only by buses. Two lanes can probably be managed here
    • But at the ISRO Signal, two lane underpass may be tough, can do single lane underpass to be used in opposite directions in mornings and evenings.
  • Express buses during commute hours that wouldn't stop at all bus stands
    • One reason buses lose out to cars is they need to stop often. Would fast local/slow local like concept of Mumbai commuter rails help? Get down at nearest "express" bus stop, and then take the regular service back to your bus stop.
    • Its sort of like Indian Railway's new Duranto concept.

What else? Would bus activated signals? I don't have many bright ideas myself yet. Doesn't look like an easy or obvious problem to solve either. But creative designers should be able to find ways to solve problems.

cheers,

SB aka Pranav

Comments

poonam_rani's picture

BUS?

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Need to either make Bangalore Bus free or do the following:

i. Have bus pads so that stopping buses don't interfere with moving traffic; buses should have no way but to comply to use them.

ii. Basic eligibility for bus drivers--common sense. No stopping in the middle of the road,no buses trying to overtake vehicles from left, buses not driving like rally vehicles, buses not getting impatient and jumping signals. Buses need to set example for driving for all the other vehicles.

iii. Buses should not have penalty for reaching their destination late.

 

Just a few thoughts. Could have more but not at this unearthly hour!!!

j_venu's picture

Bus Priority Signals

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Bus Priority Signals

Another approach for Bangalore would be to Provide Dedicated Bus Only Segments (around 50 meters)  near Traffic Signals and Prioritize Bus Movement with Special BUS PRIORITY Signals. This would provide much needed Speed equalizing factor for buses as compared to private transport.
Some on of my thoughts on Providing Priority are have separate light, some thing like Flashing BLUE.

  1. Signal Blue for providing lead Time For buses say by 30 Sec’s before the Signal goes Green. This also reduces the chaos due to buses near Traffic Signals.
  2.  Provide Bus Priority Signal after every Alternate Green. For eg. assuming a Four Way Junction, this would mean after the End of Green for Second way and beginning of Green for the fourth way, Provide Bus Priority Signal (Blue) for the First Way.

 

bharatm's picture

Nice One.

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Good idea. It is nothing but getting the Metro service solved through the existing system.

Metro is nothing but Unidirectional signal free Linked Buses.

If smart solution like get us better and Cheaper solutions we should try them.

 

silkboard's picture

yes venu, like that

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[Just uploaded one picture from Taipei - basically, a hard separate bus lane only near the signal)

Exactly like you say Venu. Hard lanes for Bus only near some crowded signals can help speed up the buses. Some variants to what you drew in your picture

  • Can move the lane to center, and keep just one lane, use in the commute direction (morning different, evening different). Then, the bus stand will have to move a little away from the signal to allow for bus to go from stand to the center lane.
  • The free left turn lane can be made bigger and space double-used for buses to pass through

Bus priority - blue signal - interesting idea. Can be combined with 15-30 second pedestrian cross signal in the directio in which buses will go. Basically, combine ped crossing signal time with straight lane bus cross-over also.

One more picture from Taipei, but I did not have the time to check if there was any special signal for the center lane bus.

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