JCT First to Implement Bus-On-Shoulder in the KC Region
Posted by Transit Action Network on November 16, 2011
Starting January 3, 2012 Johnson County Transit will start using the shoulder on I-35 to move it’s buses pass congestion on the highway. This Bus-On-Shoulder (BOS) strategy is used in several cities to keep buses running on schedule when traffic congestion is heavy enough to slow the highway speed below 35 mph. Minneapolis has used it for years and has 250 miles of highways usable for BOS lanes. Chicago is starting BOS this week on I-55.
BOS is considered an innovated method to move more people efficiently using existing infrastructure. This method will be used on The JO Xpress, an enhanced bus service along I-35 linking Johnson County with downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Bus service currently runs along I-35, but this enhanced bus service will operate during the morning and evening rush hours from 95th Street to the Johnson/Wyandotte County Line.
With the current level of congestion on I-35 during rush hour JCT expects 8-10 buses a day will utilize the shoulder option. On a “normal” day buses will gain 3-5 minutes, but the real benefit comes when I-35 traffic is slowed due to incidents or weather.
For safety reasons the buses are limited to no more than 35 mph and can’t go more than 10 mph faster than traffic. Buses yield to other vehicles entering, merging or exiting through the shoulder. Of course they have to re-enter traffic when the shoulder is obstructed.
BOS has no negative effect on existing traffic, however, based on the experience in other cities it can have a positive effect on transit ridership due to improved schedule reliability.
Chuck Ferguson, Deputy Transportation Director of JCT gave this presentation about the new service to the Total Transportation Policy Committee at MARC in October. (TTPC Presentation 10-2011)
Bus on Shoulder is not a cure for congestion on the highways, but it is another tool in the transit toolbox to improve the commuting experience.
JCT is implementing The JO Xpress BOS as a result of the Commuter Corridor Alternatives Analysis completed in 2008. I-35 Fixed Guideway Corridor Alternatives Analysis Executive Summary
Review the significant summary table from that report showing projected ridership numbers and estimated cost for different alternatives.
Read the study JCT completed in 2009 about implementing this strategy. Johnson County I-35 Fixed Guideway Phased Implementation Plan