San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Golden Gate Transit have completed testing for bus operations ahead of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor opening in spring 2022.
The testing included checks on emergency turns and manoeuvres, repositioning buses, signal efficiency, clearances between passing buses, and safe turns while deploying bike racks.
Throughout the process, traffic engineers reviewed street markings and ensured that traffic and transit signals were working. Transportation planners then coordinated with operations, engineering, and construction staff to make necessary adjustments.
A BRT corridor delivers fast and frequent bus operations within dedicated bus lanes. The Van Ness Improvement Project is therefore being implemented to improve transit services and address traffic congestion on Van Ness Avenue, while also providing extensive utility upgrades, civic improvements, and safety enhancements.
The Van Ness BRT corridor will feature transit-only lanes that are physically separated from other traffic lanes. Transit Signal Priority will also give buses a green light at intersections to reduce service delays, and the buses will have low floors and all-door boarding to make it quicker for passengers to load and unload.
Furthermore, fully furnished boarding platforms with shelters, seating, and prediction displays will be constructed to improve the time spent waiting for the bus. Safety enhancements such as sidewalk extensions, median refuges, high visibility crosswalks, and audible countdown signals will also be implemented for pedestrians and those walking to and from the bus stops.
The Van Ness BRT corridor is San Francisco’s first BRT corridor, so this will be the first time that most SFMTA operators use a BRT corridor. Training will consequently take place on the new system over the next few weeks.
The system has already received positive feedback from people witnessing the testing. For example, SFMTA reported that a parent noted it would be easier to take her daughter to school on the bus, while someone else commented on an ambulance successfully using the red lanes to pass traffic, recognising that the Van Ness BRT corridor is not only good for people riding the bus, but is also beneficial for emergency services.
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