Busways provide segregated transport corridors for bus services, allowing operation of regular reliable services with reduced influence from traffic congestion.
Historically on-street bus lanes have suffered from a number of problems in operation:
These all interrupt the timing of the bus service and affect the ability of the bus operator to provide a fast, regular and reliable service.
A dedicated busway which excludes other road users provides a solution to these problems. The permanent infrastructure of a dedicated busway improves public perception of bus travel. Dedicated busways have consistently shown increased patronage figures, when compared to on-road services.
To guide, or not to guide?
Guided busways offer a number advantages over a non-guided busway. These statements relate to kerb guided busways (but some are also true for other guidance technologies).
Guided busways have been developed both as a bus priority measure and also as an affordable alternative to light rapid transit (LRT) systems such as trams and light rail.
The advantages of guided busways over rail-based systems are:
Kerb guided busways provide a public transport system which offers:
The kerb guided busway provides all the benefits of a segregated public transport system, but nonetheless can be easily and economically integrated into the existing road and street network of towns, cities and rural areas.
Guided busways in operation around the world:
|Leeds and Bradford||UK||Kerb-guided|
|Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (Summer 2009)||UK||Kerb-guided|
|Ipswich Superoute 66||UK||Kerb-guided|
|Nancy||France||Central rail guidance|
|Caen||France||Central rail guidance|
|Clermont-Ferrand||France||Central rail guidance|
|Eindhoven||The Netherlands||Electromagnetic guidance|
|Nagoya||Japan||Kerb-guided (steel rail)|
(Detailed handbooks on the design and construction of kerb-guided busway Infrastructure in the UK are available from the Britpave shop, and free to Britpave members)
Ride quality on a guided bus is a combination of physical measurable properties and subjective perceptions of the environment.
Measurable properties include accelerations acting on the passengers, noise and vibrations; subjective elements are factors such as cleanliness and overcrowding.
The features of the guideway that affect ride quality include:
These can all be influenced in the design, specification and construction of the guideway. Many of the subjective components of ride quality can be influenced by the operator’s choice of vehicle.
Ride quality should always be considered in context. For example, the ride quality criteria appropriate for a short length of queue-beating urban guideway might be very different from those for a high speed LRT-style route.
Britpave published advice on construction tolerances in 2006 following a study of the operational guided bus systems in Essen and Leeds. A high level of quality control is required on site to ensure that tolerances are met. These issues are discussed further in the Guided Busway Construction Handbook