Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Move! That! Bus!: How to Rapidly Build a Fast and Frequent Bus Network

In Metro Vancouver and Langley City, we are trying to design our communities to give people travel choices such as walking, cycling, taking transit, and driving. While SkyTrain is an integral part of the transit story, buses are the backbone of the network handling 61% of transit boardings throughout Metro Vancouver.

One of the challenges with most bus routes in Metro Vancouver is that they get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else, increasing the cost of providing transit service and slowing down transit service.

One of the big regional pushes over the next decade will be to quickly build a fast and frequent bus network to give more people access to fast, frequent, reliable transit service. This network will be known as the RapidBus and Bus Rapid Transit network. You can read more about this in a previous post that I wrote.

This bus network will be faster to build and cost less per kilometre than SkyTrain, giving the region more bang for its transit buck. For this new network to be successful, it will need the support of municipalities’ planning and transportation departments. TransLink will not be able to do this alone.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials, a group of North American municipalities working toward increasing transportation choices, has released a new guide called “Move! That! Bus!: How to Transform Transit and Fight Climate Change in Two Years.

Municipalities and TransLink must work together to build fast, frequent, and reliable bus service. Image Source: NACTO

Some of the actions that municipalities and Councils must take to ensure a fast and frequent bus network include:

  • Building dedicated bus lanes
  • Implementing bus queue jumper lanes, turn restrictions, and short segments of bus lanes at a specific problem intersection and ‘hotspot’ where there is bus delay due to congestion
  • Implementing transit signal priority at intersections
  • Upgrading bus stops to be safe and accessible, making sure that they are also safe and accessible to roll, walk, or bike to
  • Pricing parking based on demand and adopting zoning policies that decrease the over-supply of parking and support increasing housing and mixed-use development options

Municipalities will need to implement these actions for TransLink’s proposed RapidBus and Bus Rapid Transit network to succeed in Metro Vancouver.

The full report also includes actions that TransLink will have to take. I invite you to read the full easy-to-read report.

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