Bus controlled traffic lights

brynpoeth
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Mar 2019, 2:21am

Reads a bit dodgy and complicated, but buses that are too early are held up (+1!)

Only four seconds, light changes back to red before slow PoFs are over, -1, there is always a compromise between safety and capacity, I am for safety

Best to force reductions in traffic too
Last edited by brynpoeth on 21 Mar 2019, 5:23am, edited 1 time in total.
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wjhall
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby wjhall » 20 Mar 2019, 4:42pm

Indeed, a +1 for anyone who does not wish to see their bus sail by early and before they get to the stop. The relevance of this does obviously depend on the frequency and whether the buses can be regarded as running to a timetable. In Bristol, where suburban services can be about half hourly you do find buses waiting for their time. In principle I assume this must still be the case with more frequent services, even services described as 'about every five minutes' presumably have buses sent out on a timetable.

Pete Owens
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Pete Owens » 20 Mar 2019, 5:50pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:As for being overtaken by buses though, my experience is different to your description.

That is because in your description you overtake buses stopped at bus stops. If you do that you can end up overtaking and being overtaken by the same bus several times. If I see a bus as I'm approaching a bus stop I tend to ease of then let it go off in front of me. I will only bother to overtake if it looks like there are a lot of passengers waiting to get on.

This is my local bus lane:
https://www.cyclestreets.net/location/58835/
OK it is not Oxford Street, but it is an important route and does carry all the bus routes coming into Warrington town centre from the south (see the number of coloured lines on the route map:
https://www.warringtonsownbuses.co.uk/assets/images/content/Network-Map-Final.pdf
Even so that is still one bus every 5-10 minutes. Frequent enough for bus passengers no to worry about the timetable, but rare enough that that the bus lane is effectively a traffic free environment for cyclists.
Many bus routes have buses every minute or two (not all the same service but often many services follow one road for part of their route), bus speeds and loadings vary from place to place, as do stop intervals and of course cyclist speeds.

I don't know the timetable on the bus lane the OP has in mind, but bus routes of that frequency are not that common. Even so, one or two vehicles a minute is hardly what you would think of as a busy road - and remember that since these vehicles are progressing at more or less cycling speed, the rate at which you encounter them will be far less frequent. The speeds do not need to be exactly equal to mean encounters are rare.
If you can maintain a constant 20mph+ including uphill, you might very rarely get overtaken by buses,

At that speed you will be progressing significantly faster than the buses so it would be worth overtaking a stopped bus. But is still going to take a long time to catch up with the next bus up the road even if it only had a minute head start.

Pete Owens
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Pete Owens » 20 Mar 2019, 6:47pm

mjr wrote:The one I can think of which goes all the way up to the lights, outside King's Lynn Rail Station, is not available for cycling (and it's not particularly needed, with a 3.5m cycleway next to it).

That is not a bus lane that is a bus lay-by - designed to keep buses from interrupting the flow of motor traffic.

And as for the shared-use abomination next to it ...
Marvel as it passes right through this bus shelter:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7541531,0.4027122,3a,27.2y,127.98h,82.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGRnDfTBVm9fknpwyuufmOg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Look who has priority at this minor junction:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7537466,0.4027558,3a,75y,138.07h,80.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxYbjegkGWKHQjdRApNf7Lg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

See how much space is allocated to accommodate two-way cycling ... and a fence:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7536839,0.4029099,3a,49.1y,184.84h,85.21t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s9ykmhw9iVnHIKRKLdEiqkw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Think how important the owners of this house must be:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7534981,0.4027922,3a,75y,112.39h,75.27t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVBcLaaslHKsoWX_OS8BbZw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Think about which vehicles need to wait though two cycles on the lights to rejoin the carriageway:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7531511,0.4010597,3a,90y,255.64h,70.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6P6M1GX2XwTgTapAQcIb8g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

In order to reach this half-width cycle lane:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7531913,0.4005354,3a,75y,255.64h,70.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sp1mzwweJyiD7RBZ4w7YiKQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Or perhaps try it in the other direction - see the priority:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7541877,0.402712,3a,75y,22.09h,94.81t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1spt-lE3GGywe0uAb_a8iqHA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The generous space allocated to pedestrians:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7543736,0.4028458,3a,75y,8.77h,64.9t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPIVRfReQmOSueS4sPTFp8w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Some more island hopping:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7547958,0.4028704,3a,75y,43.53h,67.73t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2eTIpIdjTCc76T4b47GTGw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The seamless way you can rejoin the carriageway here:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7550923,0.4028566,3a,74.2y,49.62h,72.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1stmO2EXAD5G_Nc0klQFDfvw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Bmblbzzz » 20 Mar 2019, 8:40pm

The A38 in Bristol has half a dozen separate bus services running along it. That does mean a bus every minute or two most of the day and inevitably they congregate at stops. Wait behind one and you're actually likely to be waiting behind a couple. So it's quicker to overtake. No point standing still for a minute or two if you're got somewhere to go!

No, an overtake every minute isn't particularly busy. I don't think I said it was.

wjhall
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby wjhall » 20 Mar 2019, 9:38pm

I, the OP, also tend not to bother overtaking a bus, because I know it will be behind me very shortly. Sometimes this does not work. I hover, it stops for longer than I expect, I decide to pass, do so, it catches me up, overtakes and stops again, or similar. But this is on a minor suburban through road where the bus frequency recently reduced to half hourly, so not really relevant to the bus lane issue.

On busier roads, where there are bus lanes, however much some people may enjoy dodging buses I prefer it if none come past when I am in the bus lane, not too improbable the way buses are fading away in Bristol, but still disconcerting if they do. Use signalling to redesign the traffic flows to move buses down the general lane at 'lines speed', and you have exclusive use of the cycle lane, no need to worry what the buses are doing.

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mjr
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby mjr » 21 Mar 2019, 12:41am

Pete Owens wrote:
mjr wrote:The one I can think of which goes all the way up to the lights, outside King's Lynn Rail Station, is not available for cycling (and it's not particularly needed, with a 3.5m cycleway next to it).

That is not a bus lane that is a bus lay-by - designed to keep buses from interrupting the flow of motor traffic.

How wrong you are! It's the opposite, designed to allow buses to cross the flow of cars and get ahead. It combines with the yellow box at its start
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.754205, ... 312!8i6656
to allow buses to leave Portland Street (where they come from the bus station to head south), cross two lines of queueing cars and get an immediate green... and then get stuck in traffic because our eminent highways department hasn't yet given them bus lanes to get to Millfleet and the start of the bus lanes out of town south. :roll:

And as for the shared-use abomination next to it ...
Marvel as it passes right through this bus shelter:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7541531,0.4027122,3a,27.2y,127.98h,82.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sGRnDfTBVm9fknpwyuufmOg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

The cycleway doesn't go through the bus shelter. The shelter canopy edge is well back from the cycleway kerb, as you could see by looking back from near your next view, but anyway, we objected to that one at the last rebuild, suggested a floating bus stop instead and were overruled. It's not what we wanted, but equally it doesn't go through the shelter like you claim.


Yes, that's wrong and it makes it one of the most dangerous junctions for cycling in King's Lynn because it's where minicabs often parked on double-yellows obstruct the view of motorists leaving the car park and cyclists rushing to trains. It should have been rebuilt the same time as the bus lane, but wasn't. It could do with enforcement but there's a fun game of buckpassing between highways, police, borough parking and rail company car park operator.


Yeah, the owner is the established church ... don't get me started on the problems it's caused over the years! The cycleway markings are ambiguous, with the give-ways having been erased, then partly reinstated when other stuff was being repainted, but the white line continues across it, which it doesn't at other give-ways.

That 20m stretch is one of the few bits of bad 1990s layout still surviving on a main cycle route. It has been annoyingly excluded from both the Heritage Lottery Fund renovation area to the south and the section 106 Transport Interchange area to the north. I'm sure it'll surprise no-one that the white lines are now ignored by almost everyone, as the walking and cycling flows tend to go in bursts at different times, released by the nearby lights.

Think about which vehicles need to wait though two cycles on the lights to rejoin the carriageway:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7531511,0.4010597,3a,90y,255.64h,70.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6P6M1GX2XwTgTapAQcIb8g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Erm, no-one. The left-turn phase doesn't affect any other phase so the demand-activated crossing is usually almost synchronised with the cycling one (but it's only almost - you do have to roll across slowly else you'll reach the second stop line on the island before getting a green). This section has been bypassed and is no longer part of a main cycle route, though there seems little point pulling it up.


Yep, more now-bypassed 1990s crap. Still better than Warrington where the cycle lane is also half-width but not even a solid line:
https://www.google.com/maps/@53.391786, ... 312!8i6656


That's not the other direction (see below), but yes, it's not the current way round, as usual for the 1990s.


Yeah, Morrisons needed to cut their hedge back. Or are you confused by the Norfolk practice of white-lining the kerb edge of cycleways?


Yeah, that's pretty useless, but you missed what happens on the other side of the island: the cycleway basically runs into a hedge and officially dead-ends just past it with no way to rejoin the carriageway. The only reason this side of the island is a Toucan is to connect to a primary school, but there's no signs telling you that's the only place it goes!
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7549231 ... 312!8i6656

Anyway, I'm sure Warrington's approach to rejoining the carriageway works far better, sending you into a dashed-lane cycleway and ramming straight into the side of a give-way where the buses comes out :roll:
https://www.google.com/maps/@53.3914835 ... 312!8i6656

OK, Lynn's got 20-30 years of cycleway and yes, some of the older stuff is crap but most of it's redundant. In reality, from that train station, there's the admittedly weak bit past St John's Rectory, but the signposted cycle route 1 takes you over the Toucan and through this No Entry Except Cycles no-motors-except-access shared-space-y street:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7537466 ... 312!8i6656
then over another Toucan to this cycleway to the Lynn Museum:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7537678 ... 312!8i6656
where there's good cycle parking:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7538023 ... 312!8i6656
and then you go along a contraflow-cycling street that is still a building site now:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7537164 ... 312!8i6656
to turn across the other end of the bypassed half-width cycle lane from earlier and continue the route south.

The other direction from the station and the 20m of old junk is actually into the Walks, with its 9m wide tree-lined shared-use areas:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7526324 ... 312!8i6656

Although if you spin the camera, you'll see the dog's dinner of a combined road/rail crossing/bend because Network Rail still won't put in a new bridge to replace the one removed 30 years ago.

If you want to continue directly north from the station to the residential areas, what people actually do is fork off the cycleway here and turn right round the car park corner:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7539643 ... 312!8i6656
then cross the little-used service road:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7541896 ... 312!8i6656
and ride past the front of Matalan, across Morrisons car park - where there's good cycle parking:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7548681 ... 312!8i6656
to use a cycle-only exit into a neighbouring residential road:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7550319 ... 312!8i6656
which then connects to a Toucan crossing of the A148:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7564408 ... 312!8i6656
and Kettlewell Lane which becomes cycle-only:
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7576489 ... 312!8i6656
and connects to the Long Pond in North End (viewed from the other bank because the Google camera got stuck in the willow tree on the side the cycleway connects to!):
https://www.google.com/maps/@52.7586462 ... 312!8i6656

Anyway, back to bus lanes. You may have noticed on your browse about we don't have many bus lanes in King's Lynn and most places where they should be created would not connect the green arteries, so even apart from the bus-dodging problem, they would be of limited use for cycling except at major interchanges. Let the bus companies campaign for bus lanes. As you've illustrated, we've got enough work to do getting more good cycle lanes!
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Pete Owens
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Pete Owens » 21 Mar 2019, 3:14pm

Back to the original subject of controlling lights.

Basically it is not possible to provide priority for bus traffic without bus lanes. In order to gain priority, the buses need to be able to overtake the queue and for that they need a separate lane. It really is that simple. If the bus in in the general traffic lane then it will be stuck behind the car in front for the entire journey (unless of course there are bus lay-bys at the bus stops to facilitate general traffic overtaking the buses rather than vice versa). You can play at the margins with traffic light sequences, but if the bus is stuck in the general traffic the only way you can help is by prioritising the general traffic heading in that direction, over crossing traffic (which traffic engineers do anyway since their entire reason for existence is to squeeze every last second to optimise the flow of motor traffic).

Playing with lights is a zero-sum game. To give more green time to one line of traffic you need to take it away from another. You can optimise the green time for vehicle traffic by increasing the length of the cycle (so there are less frequent all-red stages), but this is at the expense of pedestrians who have to wait longer - particularly if they need to cross in several stages.

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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Vorpal » 21 Mar 2019, 3:31pm

wjhall wrote:On busier roads, where there are bus lanes, however much some people may enjoy dodging buses I prefer it if none come past when I am in the bus lane, not too improbable the way buses are fading away in Bristol, but still disconcerting if they do. Use signalling to redesign the traffic flows to move buses down the general lane at 'lines speed', and you have exclusive use of the cycle lane, no need to worry what the buses are doing.

While I completely understand the desire not to share with buses, I think that we should encourage public transport use, and to that end, I would prefer to keep bus lanes. If cycle lanes or segregated facilities are needed, the space for them needs to be allocated from general travel lanes, not bus lanes. If there isn't space for both, and both are needed, then the street should be closed for general motor traffic, and only open to busses, pedal cycles and deliveries. Maybe taxies should be permissible. I don't know the particular situation under discussion.

That said, I'd rather share bus lanes than general traffic lanes!
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Vorpal » 21 Mar 2019, 3:48pm

With regards to bus / tram priority at signals, I've found the following general information with some links to other information.

Here it is in Norwegian https://www.tiltak.no/b-endre-transport ... ort/b-2-1/
and google translated, in case that works & is useful https://translate.google.com/translate? ... 2Fb-2-1%2F

I've only seen this used for buses where they are in their own lane. Not mixed with other traffic.
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Bmblbzzz » 21 Mar 2019, 3:50pm

Pete Owens wrote:In order to gain priority, the buses need to be able to overtake the queue and for that they need a separate lane. It really is that simple.

This.

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mjr
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby mjr » 21 Mar 2019, 5:41pm

One of the few bus lane traffic lights I've seen outside London:
https://mapstreetview.com/#ukoe1_-1qe1n_2y.k_-3h41

Again, like King's Lynn's, it's incredibly short and the bus gets dumped into traffic jams of cars after the lights. I've not tried that one on a bike because there is a cycleway to the west and an old road closed to motors to the east that avoid the mahoosive traffic jam roundabout with the traffic lights. (The cycle track crossing the end of the bus lane is crap, too, before Pete Owens points it out. I don't use it, preferring the ones further north and south.)

Does anyone know of a bus lane that continues through bus-only traffic lights?
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brynpoeth
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby brynpoeth » 21 Mar 2019, 6:49pm

Bmblbzzz wrote:
Pete Owens wrote:In order to gain priority, the buses need to be able to overtake the queue and for that they need a separate lane. It really is that simple.

This.

Or undertake very often
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StephenW
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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby StephenW » 22 Mar 2019, 9:56am

Pete Owens wrote:Basically it is not possible to provide priority for bus traffic without bus lanes. In order to gain priority, the buses need to be able to overtake the queue and for that they need a separate lane. It really is that simple.


I'm not sure about that. I recall reading a comment by someone who used to design traffic light systems, saying that even without a separate bus lane, signals that are activated by buses can provide a useful improvement in speed. I can't find the comment now.

I suspect that it depends on the level of congestion. If the road is only moderately busy, then having bus-activated signals without a bus lane could be beneficial, but if congestion is really bad then only a separate bus lane will help.

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Re: Bus controlled traffic lights

Postby Vorpal » 22 Mar 2019, 9:58am

StephenW wrote:I'm not sure about that. I recall reading a comment by someone who used to design traffic light systems, saying that even without a separate bus lane, signals that are activated by buses can provide a useful improvement in speed. I can't find the comment now.

But that is a traffic flow improvement that favours buses, rather than priority.
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