Express Bus-Congestion Impact

Express bus service may have a relatively unnoticeable minor positive effect on major highway and freeway traffic by a very slight reduction in the percentage of single occupant vehicles on the roadway.  An argument could be made that car pools of coworkers collectively reduces traffic as much as Express Bus service and does not require any public subsidy or supporting transfer facility.  Vehicles of any size that continue to use public streets cannot be said to have completely relieved those streets from congestion.  The larger the vehicle, the more interference they have with other traffic.  Any vehicle that operates within other traffic cannot operate any faster than that traffic.  The commuting public has continuously demonstrated that they will not use public transit that does not save them commuting time unless they are forced to do so.  A review of the Express Bus schedules reveals that they often add considerable time to a routine commute.

When express bus services and operations are introduced onto existing surface streets and highways, the impacts of removal of traffic lanes or simply running oversized and articulated vehicles in competition with automobile and truck traffic on roadways invariably worsens traffic congestion. Without consideration of, or planning for mitigation of the negative impacts caused by superimposing bus traffic onto existing streets, the resulting congestion and diminishment of street environments may cause more disruption than it relieves.

Assuming no obligation to serve automobile drivers, or the occupants of street-side business or residential settings, bus system planners and operators seldom consider the negative impacts of their equipment or operations on the street environments through which they pass. Presumptions that passengers on express buses are predominantly commuters and other drivers who have chosen the bus over their personal automobile may prove to be inaccurate. Express buses are just as likely to be used as upgraded service by regular bus riders as they are by commuters or other car drivers.


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