how to move 18,000 people/hour without traffic jams

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Big cities have a plan against traffic jams: build more lanes. Lanes through which you circulate with greater agility. Lanes that little by little are fed with more cars. Lanes that finally become saturated again. And among them, the biggest losers are the users of the buses, always in constant traffic jam at rush hours.

Because as long as buses continue to share space with other vehicles, such as taxis, motorcycles, bicycles or zero emission vehicles; they will not stop suffering from the usual delays and to which their users are already accustomed. That is why the subway triumphs. Because, generally, you should not have an obstacle that slows you down.

the eternal cycle

There is much bibliography in which it is shown that the creation of greater infrastructures at the entrance of cities only feeds a increased use of the car, starting with the California Department of Transportation (California DOT). Spaces that only solve traffic problems momentarily because, over time, a greater number of people end up taking private vehicles and the entrance routes become saturated again.

And what is worse, not only the entrances to the city end up being saturated, but also the number of cars is greater that after the reform circulate through its streets. Offering greater solutions to the use of the private vehicle at rush hour only reverts to a greater number of users of this type of transport. According to DOT, a 10% improvement in infrastructure, in the long run, increases the volume of cars by 10% private.

A solution that is usually applied to favor the use of the bus is the Bus-HOV lanes (for High Occupancy Vehicles), through which two or more people circulate, or taxi lanes. In Spain, we only find the first ones in Madrid, Barcelona and Granada and it is the solution that the capital wants to give to the eternal traffic jam that occurs at the entrance and exit of the city on the A-2 motorway, the so-called “Barcelona highway “.

Neither solution is good, because on any of them there is interference from other traffic agents. In Brisbane, Australia, they were aware of this and solved it by creating a bus-only viaduct.

70 million passengers a year

In the 1990s, the city of Brisbane (Australia) had to study how to offer a public transport service in low-density areas and, at the same time, offer them a cheap and efficient service, due to the great growth of its population. The solution: create an exclusive viaduct for buses that would connect these urban environments with Queensland Rail Citythe rail network of urban and interurban trains.

The idea of ​​the viaduct was imposed on the light rail but followed the same philosophy. A two-way highway would be created, with two lanes for each of them, through which only buses could circulate. In this way, a infrastructure cheaper than rail and, well managed, it opened the door to the transport of a large number of the population with a smaller investment in vehicles.

How technology is trying (without much success) to end traffic jams

The results were seen from the first day. In the year 2000 this infrastructure was released and in 2001 the use of the bus had increased by 56%. This growth in the number of users includes the 26% of former users of private vehicles who decided to abandon it for the new public transport service. The reason: it takes 18 minutes by bus to cover the same route for which you had to spend an hour by car.

In fact, over time, this viaduct has consolidated and every year it transports 70 million passengers, with the capacity to move 18,000 people every hour in the busiest time slots. Little by little, the network has been growing, in 2024 its last branch will be finished and it already has more than 70 kilometers available.

Big cities have a plan against traffic jams: build more lanes. Lanes through which you circulate with greater agility. Lanes…

Big cities have a plan against traffic jams: build more lanes. Lanes through which you circulate with greater agility. Lanes…

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