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Recommendations for survey on bus priority lanes

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Recommendations for survey on bus priority lanes

Postby Civic Bossman » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:14 pm

Hi everyone. I've just moved to Melbourne form Perth 3 weeks ago to undertake a Transport and Traffic course at Monash. For an assignment I need to design a traffic survey, which I want to put a PT skew on by looking at bus priority lanes.

What I would like are recommendations for stretches of roads / intersections that are regularly congested, that several bus routes use, cause delays to buses, and don't have bus lanes etc. I am based in Rosanna so the closer to home the better, but anywhere that offers a good scope for my survey will be welcomed.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions :)
Last edited by Civic Bossman on Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Survey on bus priority lanes

Postby Roderick Smith » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:09 pm

That's a good project. I suspect that bus and tram priority at traffic lights would create greater benefit with fewer downsides. There is nothing worse than seeing an empty bus lane because the services are so sparse.

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Re: Recommendations for survey on bus priority lanes

Postby dex » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:41 pm

Bus priority lights are purley smoke and mirrors. They're on a cycle, not a switch, they are usually last in the cycle as well. In the northern suburbs they are pretty useless and poorly managed. Reality is, pax and drivers think they are getting priority when they're actually being halted. There is no set sequence for multiple B lights in a short distance, meaning you leave one and get stopped at the next red light where the B is last in the cycle.
Also, for short bus lanes, why put bus stops in them? Outside Westfield in Airport West, the bus lane is one bus length to give you access to Melrose drive, what do PTV do? Add a bus stop. Any advantage you were going to get is totally lost and you actually lose.
At the entry to Wesfield, the B light is now cycled last and after two cycles due to the works on the Tullamarine freeway.
Bus lanes are a constant source of being held up due to lack of law enforcement, cars stopping blocking buses in bus lanes, trucks using them and then not setting off the B light meaning you lose the B light, waiting as the light cycles again..and again...Cars that pull out and have caused multiple accidents or near misses, myself included, a near miss cost a kid a broken nose after a truck pulled across in front of me almost hitting the windscreen and sometimes the B lights don't work at all.
Complete waste of time unless it's done properly.
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Re: Recommendations for survey on bus priority lanes

Postby krustyklo » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:08 pm

How many stretches of road are you after?

Off the top of my head near Rosanna:
  • Manningham Rd from where the current bus lanes start/end at High St, westwards to Heidelberg Rd, especially the section between Bulleen Rd and Heidelberg Rd. The 903 in peak hour runs every 7-8 minutes and is held up in the congestion. Whilst I can't see it happening any time soon as the political fallout from motorists would be too much, it may well be possible to expand short distances before intersections. One possibility would be west from the Yarra River bridge to at least just west of Dora St - it runs alongside parkland to Dora St, and the frontage of the building on the southwest corner would allow a lane to be added. The main issue would be the next two houses along which don't have enough room in front to put a lane without most likely compulsory acquisition of the houses. However even with the lane ending before the houses before the jump lane at the Heidelberg Rd intersection should be good for saving 5 or so minutes in peak hour for a fairly frequent route service and school buses.
  • Bell St Heidelberg from the Upper Heidelberg Rd on/off ramps to Oriel Rd. In peak hour, the 903 is 4 buses per hour, the 513 is 5-6 buses per hour. There have also been proposals for upgrading frequencies on both routes with the aborted Greenfields network proposing a 10 minute frequency on the 903, and the recent Infrastructure Victoria plan suggesting making the 513 into a Smartbus with upgraded frequency. The other useful thing about this stretch of road is that, whilst busy, it isn't excessively congested and would be worth studying the effect of the removal of a lane for repurposing as a bus lane. Anecdotally I drove along that stretch of road last week around 9am heading west as the quickest route Google Maps suggested and was surprised how well flowing and not congested that stretch of road was.
  • Grimshaw St Watsonia between Macorna St and the Greensborough Bypass heading east. Whilst the houses on the northern side would pose a problem, a small jump lane east of Fry St may be achievable and save a few minutes not waiting for 2-3 cycles of lights. The 902 runs 4 times an hour, and the 566 2-3, and there are quite a few school buses serving several schools locally. The congestion there in peak hour due in part to the very short green light cycle for that direction, the afternoon peak especially, holds buses up quite a lot.
  • Main Rd Eltham South westbound between Diamond Creek and Fitzsimons Lane, including a jump lane for the roundabout, or bypassing the roundabout for the 902. Again, can be quite congested and even that short bit would save between 3 and 5 minutes wait. The space is there although it may require resuming part of the car park for the park in return for providing space in lieu elsewhere. 4x 902 an hour and 2 x 513.
  • Main Rd Eltham South eastbound from Looker Rd to Fitzsimons Lane. 4 x 901s an hour, 3 x 293s an hour in peak hour, 2x 513s an hour, plus many school buses. The lane is already there and only used as overflow parking by most residents. In fact, buses often use it as an unofficial bus lane now, weaving in and out around parked cars as necessary. Probably the easiest win of the lot if you could somehow convince the residents to give up their visitor / free third/fourth car parking. Maybe could be possible as purely a peak hour bus lane, the rest of the time it isn't an issue.

I guess it ultimately depends on the threshold of frequency or likely future frequency as to what might actually get built given the cost. It would be interesting to find out if there is any official metric regarding the frequency of service divided by cost needed to consider implementing a bus lane.
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Re: Recommendations for survey on bus priority lanes

Postby Roderick Smith » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:21 pm

I agree with 'dex': a waste of time unless done properly. It is also tied to having stops before intersections, or after them.
What though is 'properly'?
AFAIK most majors are on four phase:
* right turn from the pen for eastbound & westbound.
* through for eastbound & westbound, with turning red arrowed.
* right turn from the pen for northbound & southbound.
* through for northbound & southbound.
Pen length is now fairly well tuned to the arrow time: the lag between vehicles is measurable and remarkably consistent.
The cases now have to be eastbound through bus; eastbound turning bus.
Hence each bus must have a two-aspect priority call, with some sort of route or current phase to determine which bus goes first when two call.
Bus pulling out of a stop before the lights will be through, and has to bring the opposing moves through orange to red, then get a B light (like a tram T light). If it is merging back, bring up the parallel through move too, and the opposing cycles miss a beat.
If the bus is turning, it won't be pulling out of a kerb. The turning phase has to come up to clear the pen, so pick up from there.
If the stop is on the far side, then opposing moves have to be stopped, and pick up the through phase to clear the lanes ahead. Then pick up from there.

Tram priority would be the same?

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