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Thread: Express buses operating in tollways

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Express buses operating in tollways

    Converting freeways to tollways and using them for express buses that operate like regional rail holds tremendous potential and can be implemented relatively quickly using existing infrastructure.

    This approach needs to be part of redesigning the American transportation system so that mass transit supplants private automobiles for most medium- and long-range trips. Private automobiles may still be able to use the toll lanes, but public transportation would minimize these transportation costs (especially for price-sensitive road users) while increasing speed and efficiency and reducing congestion and pollution.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Since most of the buses are run by the government, why would the government want to use this infastructure exclusively for something that would not pay a toll or pay gas taxes? How would this impact manufacturing centers or the ports of Los Angeles?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbian
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    One of the principal reasons buses rarely operate on freeways is because of their perceived and real unreliability due to traffic congestion. So, charging users regulates utilization and rations capacity in order to avoid the formation of bottlenecks and to allow for the reliable operation of buses. Tolls are politically-unpalatable, principally because desirable alternatives to cars are not available and because poorer people would be forced to bear a relatively-greater burden for such fees since demand is so inelastic.

    Express buses, especially those that provide frequent service and a high-quality passenger experience, can help satisfy demand for more efficient modes while also focusing development around transit nodes.

    I prefer this arrangement to pricing V.M.T. Tolls also have the ability to be introduced gradually, lane by lane.

    These buses may be operated by public and/or private entities, and standards and pricing may vary in order to target different consumers.

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    The reason buses rarely use limited access highways is because most people who commute by bus do NOT get on at Point A and get off at Point B, but rather get on and off somewhere in between.

    Where there's enough demand for that kind of transportation, there are plenty of buses that fill that need. CDTA in Albany has run Albany/Schnectady express buses on the I-90 for decades. Upstate Transit has also run a series of commuter buses between different areas of Saratoga County and Albany using the Northway (I-87) and I-787 for decades. There's also been express bus service between Albany and the NYC airports for years using the Thruway and expressways around the NYC metro. Just because you don't happen to see it in California doesn't mean it doesn't exist -- even in California.

    BTW, making limited access highways toll roads is extremely expensive and may not be cost effective since ...
    • toll plazas have to be designed/built/maintained
    • employees are needed to take tolls and maintain the plazas
    • toll roads require some kind of administration/oversight as well as auditing services

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Just because you don't happen to see [express buses] in California doesn't mean it doesn't exist -- even in California.
    You make an excellent refutation to an assertion I never made:
    One of the principal reasons buses rarely operate on freeways....
    The self-righteous tone seems a little misplaced.

    BTW, making limited access highways toll roads is extremely expensive and may not be cost effective since ...
    • toll plazas have to be designed/built/maintained
    • employees are needed to take tolls and maintain the plazas
    • toll roads require some kind of administration/oversight as well as auditing services
    Incidentally, just because you don't happen to see automated toll systems that use transponders, instead of employees, doesn't mean that such systems don't exist -- even in New York.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Incidentally, just because you don't happen to see automated toll systems that use transponders, instead of employees, doesn't mean that such systems don't exist -- even in New York.

    Then why even make them tollways at all? You can simply just ban cars and trucks from them (which makes no sense to make this type of investment because then the infastructure would be severely underutilized).

    Are you suggesting busses should pay tools even though it is essentially just robbing Peter to pay Paul?

    A lot of your congestion issues could be solved through congestion pricing. I was amazed by the number of parallel roadways there are in CA where there is plenty of capacity while people idle on the freeway.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Then why even make them tollways at all? You can simply just ban cars and trucks from them (which makes no sense to make this type of investment because then the infastructure would be severely underutilized).

    Are you suggesting busses should pay tools even though it is essentially just robbing Peter to pay Paul?

    A lot of your congestion issues could be solved through congestion pricing. I was amazed by the number of parallel roadways there are in CA where there is plenty of capacity while people idle on the freeway.
    All things being equal, grade-separated highways would best be used principally by buses and trucks.

    To achieve this condition, rail corridors for freight through urbanized areas would be converted to passenger use, and trucks would be charged tolls. Passenger cars on the expressways would also be charged tolls. This rationing, in turn, would manage congestion to ensure reliability for all users and, particularly, for buses.

    This proposal assumes a transformation of public policy and private behavior to promote the use of bio-Diesel in existing Diesel engines, as well as the use of trucks that run on natural gas.

    The Federal Highway Fund would get replenished. Suburban sprawl would be curtailed. And, pollution would be minimized. Most importantly, current users of passenger cars would limit their medium- and long-distance travel and would turn, instead, to trains and buses for a portion of each of these trips. And, cost-effective transportation alternatives would become more readily-available to these people.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    All things being equal, grade-separated highways would best be used principally by buses and trucks.

    To achieve this condition, rail corridors for freight through urbanized areas would be converted to passenger use, and trucks would be charged tolls. Passenger cars on the expressways would also be charged tolls. This rationing, in turn, would manage congestion to ensure reliability for all users and, particularly, for buses.

    This proposal assumes a transformation of public policy and private behavior to promote the use of bio-Diesel in existing Diesel engines, as well as the use of trucks that run on natural gas.

    The Federal Highway Fund would get replenished. Suburban sprawl would be curtailed. And, pollution would be minimized. Most importantly, current users of passenger cars would limit their medium- and long-distance travel and would turn, instead, to trains and buses for a portion of each of these trips. And, cost-effective transportation alternatives would become more readily-available to these people.

    What about all of the idling traffic of SOVs at signals causing pollution? You will have a hard time convincing clean air agencies and MPOs to develop this way because you are going to create gridlock traffic. Outside of a few places like Southern California, Washington DC, Chicago, and Atlanta most traffic on freeways is freeflow except for short periods near the peak. This reduces iding and therefore makes the air cleaner and wastes a lot less fuel.

    I would question making toll roads exclusive for buses and truck traffic. Most states would not tax buses for using the roads, its counter productive. Many will also want to subsidize trucks on the roadway because trucks = jobs.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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