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No Car Lanes or Bus Lanes – which is best? An evaluation of priority lanes in Tyne and Wear


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Bus priority covers a wide range of measures intended to speed up the progress of buses (and other selected groups of users, particularly the emergency services and sometimes taxis) and avoid congestion, especially in urban areas. The implementation of No Car Lanes as a method of allocating space on the highway is a relatively new concept giving priority to buses and other types of vehicles, facilitating the movement of goods as well as people in congested urban areas. This paper compares the impact of the different eligibility requirements for priority on the different classes of traffic using the road network in the single location of Tyne and Wear in the north-east of England, UK. The paper concludes that the balance of evidence suggests No Car Lanes are preferable to other forms of priority for all motorised modes (car, HGV, taxi and bus). From a practical point of view having many short lengths of priority lane (of whatever form) lowers the benefit arising from priority as well as having an adverse effect on user and non-user attitudes towards priority lanes. The modelling also suggests that the impact on the environment is less negative from No Car Lanes. Against this is the less positive evidence for No Car Lanes in terms of road safety and enforcement.

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