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Bus-Only Lanes in San Francisco Show Impressive Results
Alon Levy takes a closer look at the outcomes of a San Francisco project that includes dedicated bus lanes on Mission Street, an arterial with one of the highest transit ridership levels in the city and lots of congestion.
Buses running along the 2.5-mile section are moving two minutes faster, and Muni expects this to increase to five minutes when the project upgrades are complete. "The two minutes of saved travel time represent about 10% of current trip time, and the projected five-minute saving is a quarter of the total travel time," says Levy.
He notes that the program also includes left turn restrictions and forced right turns, which have resulted in decreased traffic on Mission Street. Bus stops along the route were also consolidated to help with travel times.
Levy says that the program so far looks like a complete success and should be replicated in other parts of the city:
City residents who travel to areas not served by BART or by the Muni Metro tunnel would be able to count on buses being there; people who can afford Uber or Lyft might choose to stay on the cheaper bus nonetheless, and people who cannot might still choose to make more trips by bus, creating a virtuous cycle of more ridership and more service.
He argues that in the long run these improvements would help transit riders but could also substantially transform San Francisco’s larger transportation network.