The Dreaded 'Empty-Lane Syndrome'

As a new 2.7 mile dedicated bus lane opens in Austin, transportation planner Ralph Trapani of Parsons Transportation Group says to watch for 'empty-lane syndrome': the tendency of drivers to use open lanes illegally when in bad traffic.
October 21, 2008, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"This occurs when drivers are caught in a traffic jam in one lane of traffic, and they don't see enough vehicles using the empty dedicated bus lane next to them, so in frustration they illegally jump into the bus lane.

Any driver found to be in the bus lanes illegally will face a $100 fine and three points against his or her license. The busway system even includes a pullout specifically designed for drivers to pull over when they see lights in their rear view mirrors.

'When the bus lanes get open, I suspect we'll see more of that,' Trapani said.

Drivers can use the bus lane as a right-hand turn lane in specific locations, but they have to wait until they reach dashed lane lines to move into the bus lane. They cannot use the bus lanes from where they start at the airport to make a right-hand turn to go up to Tiehack.

Trapani estimated there will be about 22 RFTA buses using the bus lane during the peak morning rush hour, and as transit service expands in the valley, that number could rise to 53 buses per hour by 2013."

Thanks to Reconnecting America

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Published on Monday, October 20, 2008 in Aspen Daily News
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