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Description

A bus lane is a lane reserved for buses cycles, mopeds, and motorcycles, unless some of these latter vehicle classes are excluded by markings and/or signs. Bus lanes are considered appropriate for an enthused and confident target audience, but are less likely to appeal to many interested but concerned users.

As for general mixed traffic lanes, bus lanes should be either:

  • wide enough for cyclists to ride adjacent to buses
  • narrow enough that cyclists and buses must travel in single file.

In-between widths should be avoided, as these can result in buses or cyclists attempting to pass each other when it is not safe to do so. The width of bus lanes is a critical consideration.

Wide bus lanes can be part time, ie allow parking during non-bus lane hours. Narrow bus lanes must be permanent (ie no parking), because when parking were to be permitted, people on bikes would be forced to ride within the door opening zone.

CheckpointCheck whether a bus lane (see Shared roadway section) is a suitable facility for your target users and for the type of road.

  • Legal considerations

    A bus lane is a ‘special vehicle lane’, meaning ‘a lane defined by signs or markings and restricted to a specified class or classes of vehicle; and includes a bus lane, a transit lane, a cycle lane, and a light-rail vehicle lane’. (Traffic Control Devices Rule).

    The Traffic Control Devices Rule further defines a bus lane as ‘a lane reserved by a marking or sign installed at the start of the lane and at each point at which the lane resumes after an intersection, for the use of: (a) buses; and (b) cycles, mopeds and motorcycles (unless any or all are specifically excluded by the marking or sign).’

    The rules relating to bus lanes are:

    If defining a part of a road as a special vehicle lane, a road controlling authority must, at the start of the special vehicle lane and after each intersection, along its length:

    (a) mark on the road surface a white symbol, that complies with Schedule 2, defining the class or classes of vehicle for which the lane has been reserved; and

    (b) if for other than a 24-hour restriction, install a special vehicle lane sign that complies with Schedule 1: 26

    (i) defining the class or classes of vehicle for which the lane has been reserved; and

    (ii) stating the periods for which the reservation applies

    A road controlling authority may provide the following traffic control devices to discourage use of a special vehicle lane by other vehicles, or to draw attention to the likely presence of vehicles entitled to the use of the lane:

    (a) additional white special vehicle lane symbols described in 11.2(1)(a) or signs described in 11.2(1)(b) along the length of the lane; or

    (b) if for a 24-hour restriction, special vehicle lane signs; or

    (c) a surface treatment that provides a contrasting colour or texture to that of adjacent lanes used by other vehicles: (i) at locations along the length of the lane; or (ii) along the length of the lane.’ (Traffic Control Devices Rule, Clause 11.2)

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  • Concept design considerations

    Widths

    Currently some relevant guidance is contained within Austroads, MOTSAM and the NZ Supplement for wide bus lanes but there is no guidance regarding narrow bus lanes. Note that while Austroads allows an absolute minimum shared bus lane width of 3.7 m (60 km/h) this is not recommended in New Zealand.

    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the appropriate widths for wide and narrow bus lanes. In the interim, best practice guidance is provided below.

    Best practice in NZ is that bus lanes should be either:

    • wide enough for cyclists to ride adjacent to buses, 4.2 m or wider
    • narrow enough that cyclists and buses must travel in single file, 3.2 m or narrower.

    In-between widths should be avoided, as these can result in buses or cyclists attempting to pass each other when it is not safe to do so.

    This guidance has been reinforced in the Auckland Transport bus lane recommendations [PDF, 139 KB].

    Bus stops

    There are no special considerations necessary for bus stops within wide bus lanes as a bus stopped at a bus stop can easily be overtaken by a person on a bike within the remaining bus lane width.

    For bus stops within narrow bus lanes, the option of indenting bus stops should be considered. Indenting the kerb by 1.0 m at the bus stop will achieve enough width so that people on bikes do not have to join the adjacent traffic lane when passing a stopped bus.

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  • Detailed design considerations

    Signs

    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the signs required for bus lanes, which at present is found in MOTSAM, Part 1, Section 2–38. Also check local guidance for bus lane signage requirements.

    Markings

    TCD Manual Part 5 will provide details regarding the markings required for bus lanes. Also check local guidance for bus lane markings requirements.

    Side road treatments

    Where there is a bus lane on the main road, a priority control should be considered on the side road, unless a threshold treatment with a raised platform is provided.

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