Traffic

DOT starts testing bus driving on highway shoulders next week

Posted July 12, 2012

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— The North Carolina Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program next week aimed at improving traffic and saving the state millions of dollars.

The Bus on Shoulder System, or BOSS, will allow specially trained bus drivers with Triangle Transit to drive on the shoulder of Interstate 40 in parts of Durham County to bypass traffic when it slows below 35 mph.

If successful, the program could eventually be expanded to other parts of the Triangle. It is already in use in other cities across the United States, according to Bryan Gunter, with the Department of Transportation.

Allowing buses to bypass traffic is cheaper than adding lanes, Gunter said.

"We already have wide enough shoulders that buses can travel on," he said.

Triangle Transit drivers have been practicing using the shoulders safely. Buses will be able to travel at a maximum speed of 35 mph.

They won't be able to use the shoulders when there's a disabled vehicle or debris, and emergency vehicles always have precedent over buses.

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  • babyblue1981 Jul 13, 2012

    If most commuter attitudes are like those exhibited here, the system will surely fail. Regardless, the standard Interstate shoulder in Urban areas by NCDOT policy is 12' wide (17' at guardrail locations). Also, bicycles and mopeds are illegal on Interstates. The roadway works best when people stop tailgating, do not quickly tap their brakes, and drive in the correct lane (allowing faster drivers to pass)...but since licenses are handed out like candy; there will always be bad drivers on the road. If I was a commuter on this stretch of road, I would help the bus drivers out...I mean they are other Americans who get out of bed every morning to go do their job and contribute taxes to our enormous debt!

  • Ex-Republican Jul 13, 2012

    Bad idea. Multiple accidents waiting to happen.

  • jeffdewitt Jul 13, 2012

    AtALost those buses have no more right to use the roads paid for with our tax dollars than we do, and have no more priority. "Use the shoulder or support a tax increase" is a silly question.

    No buses on the shoulder, no HOV lanes. If we are going to add more lanes than add more lanes for ALL the traffic, and ALL the traffic will flow better... saving gas and reducing pollution.

  • Wendellcatlover Jul 13, 2012

    "Driving on the edge of the road like this will not give the bus driver anywhere to go if he has a problem...say he sneezes and goes right off the right side of the road and down the enbankment..." Wendellcatlover

    Anyone who can't continue to drive straight because of a sneeze, shouldn't be driving. " AtALost

    The point I was trying to make is that actual lanes on the highway have a little wiggle room if needed...from what I saw on the news last night, the side of the road doesn't give that same amount of space for emergencies. How many of us have veered a little into the far right or left of the lane when driving? There is NOT enough extra space on the side of the road for a bus driver should they need it.

  • bluegrass Jul 13, 2012

    The same "traffic engineers" that applied the logic of painting another lane on Six Forks Rd are behind this no doubt.

  • Chatham Rebel Jul 13, 2012

    As long as we are using the shoulder for buses, maybe school buses should use them too. My goodness going down I-40 at 45 miles per hour is pretty dangerous in itself.

  • AtALost Jul 13, 2012

    "Driving on the edge of the road like this will not give the bus driver anywhere to go if he has a problem...say he sneezes and goes right off the right side of the road and down the enbankment...seems pretty unsafe to me..."

    Anyone who can't continue to drive straight because of a sneeze, shouldn't be driving. But there could be medical conditions that might cause drivers to make an unsafe maneuvers. I hope the DOT has indicated areas where using the shoulder is and isn't allowed. Also, that same argument could be made for the use of airplanes. Illness, mechanical failure, pilot error are all possibilities (i.e. Air France, etc.) but most of you probably hop on a plane without a second thought.

  • AtALost Jul 13, 2012

    Also there may be instances where a bicycle or moped is riding on the shoulder----what then?

    Bicycles and mopeds shouldn't be on an interstate. A bus moving slowly on the shoulder is the least of their worries. This would be a great idea if there weren't so many dumb drivers on the road. It's basically a "very HOV" lane without the expense of building one. I guess haters who want to block the bus would prefer a tax increase instead. There should be many pros to riding the bus else only a few will ride it. I've seen more skid marks and crumpled guardrails in the past year than in all my life. Either they're making them differently or it shows the impact of increased distracted driving. Maybe a crash with a bus will scare them enough to only use their phones, ipads, etc. when their vehicles aren't moving.

  • Scubagirl Jul 13, 2012

    This is one of the most hairbrained ideas I have ever heard of. We have enough problems with drivers in the area not following the 'rules' of the road this is only going to make it much worse. Also there may be instances where a bicycle or moped is riding on the shoulder----what then?

    SUCH a bad & dangerous idea

  • tux Jul 13, 2012

    Other areas have implemented this with success. I guess some people (YOU) just don't like improvements.

    http://www.miamidade.gov/mpo/docs/MPO_bus_shoulders_eval_final_200901.pdf

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