Counter Flow Bus Lanes Endure in Mexico City

The curious and, at times, dangerous design of bus lanes that move against the flow of traffic in Mexico city will be expensive and time-consuming to take out, so the city looks for ways to work with what it has.
April 13, 2017, 9am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Paul Sableman

Mexico City's buses sometimes drive in their own lanes in the opposite direction of traffic on one-way streets. The design was created in the '70s when the city was looking for ways to increase the throughput of private vehicles. The one-ways allow for wider lanes and higher speeds, and accommodate bus travelers who would have to walk to more distant one-way streets to catch a bus.

So the city built bus-only lanes for buses to go in the opposite direction of traffic. A problem with this design is that drivers sometimes do not recognize the uncommon design and pull into the lane of the oncoming bus. "World Resources Institute, a research organization that found a 146 percent increase in pedestrian crashes and a 35 percent increase in vehicle collisions in counterflow lanes," Natalie Schachar reports in CityLab. Unfortunately, updating these streets would cost $6 million per kilometer. "For now, the next best solution appears to be optimizing bus corridors by installing better signaling, mid-block crossings, and physical barriers to prevent vehicles and pedestrians from straying into the wrong lane," Natalie Schachar writes.

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Published on Monday, April 10, 2017 in CityLab
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