The performance of busway transit in developing cities. (Research Report 329).


Busway transit is a public transport system which can offer high levels of operational performance, suitable for many urban areas in developing countries. A busway physically segregates buses and other traffic by means of

island bus stops, kerbs or fences and can protect buses from congestion caused by other traffic. Eight busways were selected from about 40 identified worldwide, and were studied to establish busway 'capacity' and to

investigate factors which influence busway performance.

The report concludes that a busway on its own is a useful traffic management measure, but with complementary measures to improve bus operations, can provide a high performance transit system.

A basic 2-lane two-way busway serving a corridor with busy bus stops, but without special operational measures, can accommodate 11-15,000 passengers/hour/direction (p/h/d), depending upon local conditions. High capacity configurations can offer substantially superior performance. Five of the eight busways studied accommodate passenger flows of 15,000 p/h/d or more in the critical boarding direction and of these, three carry 18,000

p/h/d or more. The highest recorded passenger flow was 26,000 p/h/d in the predominantly alighting direction in Porto Alegre.

With high passenger demands, the treatment of passenger transfer movements at bus stops is particularly important. The provision of overtaking facilities at bus stops is an especially effective way to increase throughput

and decrease journey times, particularly when semi-express or express services are operated. Average commercial speeds for a well designed scheme should be around 18-25 kmph.

Trunk-and-feeder operations offer the possibility of high throughput, but institutional arrangements are necessarily more complex because of the need for through-ticketing and revenue-sharing arrangements. Grade separation, pre-payment of fares, use of high-capacity buses and traffic signal priorities can also enhance performance. Depending upon site characteristics and

traffic demands, the findings support the view that future schemes should be able to achieve throughput of 25,000 p/h/d on a consistent basis, provided they are designed and managed appropriately.


The performance of busway transit in developing cities. (Research Report 329).

Published 1 January 1991