Research Report 11-10

Research Report Shared-Use Bus Priority Lanes On City Streets: Case Studies in Design and Management (PDF 3.2MB)

Principal Investigator: Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Ph.D.


This report examines the policies and strategies governing the design and, especially, operations of bus lanes in major congested urban centers. It focuses on bus lanes that operate in mixed traffic conditions; the study does not examine practices concerning bus priority lanes on urban highways or freeways. Four key questions addressed in the paper are:

  1. How do the many public agencies within any city region that share authority over different aspects of the bus lanes coordinate their work in designing, operating, and enforcing the lanes?
  2. What is the physical design of the lanes?
  3. What is the scope of the priority use granted to buses? When is bus priority in effect, and what other users may share the lanes during these times?
  4. How are the lanes enforced?

To answer these questions, the study developed detailed cases on the bus lane development and management strategies in seven cities that currently have shared-use bus priority lanes: Los Angeles, London, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, and Sydney. Through the case studies, the paper examines the range of practices in use, thus providing planners and decision makers with an awareness of the wide variety of design and operational options available to them. In addition, the report highlights innovative practices that contribute to bus lanes’ success, where the research findings make this possible, such as mechanisms for integrating or jointly managing bus lane planning and operations across agencies.



Dr. Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National transportation Finance Center, and also an associate professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Regional planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, pedestrian planning, and urban street design. She also works in the area of planning and transportation history. She has a B.A. from Harvard University in folklore and mythology, an M.Sc. from the London School of economics and political Science in urban and regional planning, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in city and regional planning. For a complete listing of her publications, see


Dr. Goldman is Manager, Regional Transportation Planning at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Previously, he worked as Associate Director for New Initiatives at the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center, which is based at the City College of New York. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in city and regional planning.


Ms. Hannaford comes to urban and transportation planning research from a professional background spanning more than twenty years in computer engineering and operating system development. Nancy presently divides her time between working as an editor and researcher for planning projects and privately consulting as a process efficiency expert in agribusiness. She has a B.A. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.


Authors: Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Ph.D., Todd Goldman, Ph.D., and Nancy Hannaford
Published: April 2012
Keywords: Bus lanes; Bus priority; Bus transit; Urban transportation