I-66 Bus-on-Shoulder Pilot Program
|Inside the Beltway|
Project at a Glance
Arlington and Fairfax
Rahul Trivedi, P.E.
About the Project
In 2012, the suggestion to test bus-on-shoulder (BOS) operations on I-66 inside I-495 was received as part of the stakeholder input for the I-66 Inside the Beltway Multimodal Study. VDOT initiated a study to identify locations along I-66 inside the Beltway where recurring congestion was causing delays to buses and hampering the ability for buses to maintain their schedule. These locations may be suitable for BoS operations if the road's geometric conditions would permit such operations (with minimum improvements and construction costs). A working group was established with representatives from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and local jurisdictions.
The study was completed in May 2013 and identified locations for opportunities to implement the BOS operations. The recommended locations were grouped as those with minimum cost and work, those with moderate cost and work, and those with higher cost and work. Given the extended nature of such operations, the traffic and congestion levels on I-66 inside the Beltway and the need to understand all of the operational, safety and maintenance implications of such operations, VDOT decided to conduct a one-year pilot program at some of the locations (identified by the study as low-cost). The study has also developed a protocol for BOS operations based on national experience and best practices.
The I-66 BOS Pilot Program began in March 2015.
Bus-on-shoulder operations began in the early 1990s in Minnesota as a low-cost, innovative strategy allowing buses to bypass slow moving/backed-up vehicles in the main lanes. The strategy was to make buses a more attractive travel mode, move more people through congested locations, save travel time for transit patrons, help bus services maintain their schedules, increase transit ridership and reduce transit operating costs. This strategy has been used throughout the country. VDOT began a similar BOS operation in 2000 in northern Virginia along the Dulles Connector Road.