Why Do Bus Speed and Reliability Matter?
More people ride buses in UTA's service area than all other services combined, despite an extensive network that includes commuter rail, light rail, streetcar lines, as well as paratransit, vanpool, and on-demand services.
Buses transport proportionately more low-income and minority populations, as well as people who do not have access to a car at home. In Utah and elsewhere, commutes made by bus take more time on average than
commutes made with a personal vehicle.
Fast and reliable access to destinations is essential to meeting transportation needs, no matter how we move. Travel times that are competitive with driving are critical for attracting ridership and public support for transit. Buses that regularly arrive when they are scheduled to are essential for service that meets the daily needs of people with limited transportation options. Fast and reliable service can also improve operational efficiency for UTA and support better working conditions for bus operators.
What Is the Bus Speed & Reliability Program (BSRP)?
The BSRP is a system-wide, ongoing effort to improve the speed and reliability of bus service across UTA's service area. The BSRP is modeled on similar programs at peer transit agencies that have successfully improved bus operations through interventions at locations where delays occur. The program is starting with a small number of high-ridership routes, where UTA will combine operator and user comments with performance data to identify delay and reliability hotspots and develop solutions. In the long run, the program is envisioned as an ongoing process to reduce delay throughout the bus network.
What Tools and Strategies Are Being Considered?
For each route that the BSRP addresses, a package of complementary strategies that can address the highest delay segments of the route will be developed. Where possible, improvements may be piloted using low-cost, temporary installations to test and refine designs and gather user and community feedback. Some of the many tools for improving speed and reliability include:
- Transit signal priority for buses at signalized intersections
- Bus-only lanes on stretches of road or at intersections
- Improvements to bus stops to facilitate boarding and exiting of passengers
- Adjustments to routing, placement of stops, and scheduling
Who Is Involved?
Partnerships between UTA, local communities, and other agencies will be critical to the success of the BSRP and achieving positive outcomes for all road users. UTA will conduct outreach to local communities and the public at large as the program rolls out improvements to specific routes.