According to data of Polish Central Statistical Office for 2016, only in 11 Polish cities the total length of dedicated bus lanes exceeded 5 kilometers. Longest bus lanes were naturally separated in four largest Polish cities (Warszawa, Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław). This mean of organizing traffic is also often used in connection with lack of alternative public transport – for example, a rail transport that would move on separate track. That tendency you will see in bigger share of bus lanes in Kielce, Białystok and Rzeszów. However, bus lanes prove to be equally necessary in cities with tram transport, even they can operate in parallel to dedicated track. Due to the variety of routes and applications, we will focus on the largest Polish bus lanes network in Warsaw. We will talk about how they actually work in this episode. Let’s watch! Transport in Warsaw (Poland) Bus lanes in Warsaw In total, there are 33 sections of bus lanes having 66 kilometers in length in whole city. We will see them, among others, in most important transport corridors of the city, more often in east-west axis, where we have a limited number of bridge crossings. Most routes of this type run through the Śródmieście area (City Center district), connecting them with neighboring districts, although there are also longer routes, such as those leading to Śródmieście from Targówek or on Aleje Jerozolimskie via Włochy and Ochota. On WZ (east-west) route and its eastern extension leading from Marki, we have longest sequence of bus lanes. The entire route is about 7.8-kilometers-long and was the answer on congested road traffic system. At Targówek, buslane was separated with horizontal and vertical markings on 3-lane cross-section leading towards Śródmieście. Despite buslane separation, most stops were additionally placed in bays. This measure was done not without reason, because route is used by accelerated and express lines not stopping at all stops and regional or long-distance buses. On the busiest section in front of Wileński railway station, 13 lines of Warsaw Public Transport are using buslane with over 60 departures per peak hour. We reach intersection at Wileński Square by mentioned bus route. This is the key intersection for entire WZ route. We also have a solution directly related to the separate lane. It is a bus sluice – a solution in traffic lights with a vehicle accumulation zone in front of the intersection secured by an additional line of signals. The first task of the sluice is to ensure that buses can take different lanes at inlet of intersection in order to be able to leave it in a given direction. This task is carried out by bus signal before actual phase of traffic at the intersection – just a signal for buses allowing entry into sluice and it starts earlier than it is possible to leave the intersection. This is not the only task of this sluice – solution also controls inflow of car traffic towards Śródmieście. Signal for buses on sluice is much longer in relation to signal on general traffic lane. On the other hand, we have lanes with a directional signal to turn left, which are available for drivers for a much longer time. In this way, drivers are encouraged to choose an alternative route and part of car traffic is moved out of WZ route leading through the Old Town. Near Vilnius Square, buses change buslane located on outside of the road onto a shared bus and tram roadway marked centrally with respect to axis of Solidarności Avenue. This solution has many advantages, bus traffic is not interrupted by parking cars or turning to the right, so basically buses are going without collision points or are protected by traffic lights. However, during routing of connections on a shared tram and bus area, special attention is paid to capacity of stops or intersections with traffic lights. Viennese stops in the Old Town and intersection near metro Ratusz-Arsenał are particularly sensitive points of this route, where up to 57 departures take place in one direction, so departures take place almost every minute. In case of stops at Metro and a nearby intersection with traffic lights, we are already close to the capacity limit of this facility. However, we have a case in Warsaw, where trams have a separate track between the roadways and buses run parallel to it with their separate bus lanes, on the outer lanes of roadways. Dual corridor of public transport in Aleje Jerozolimskie is working not without reason. We have a huge tram traffic there – up to 45 departures during rush hour in one direction and as big as no bigger bus traffic. Meanwhile, if it was a common lane with double stops before intersections with traffic lights, such an object within one hour would be able to handle a maximum of 65 vehicles in one direction. The current geometry and timetable for tram route in Aleje Jerozolimskie is able to handle around 9,000 passengers in one direction, WTP bus lines over 5000 people and other two car traffic lanes around 3000 – assuming that in the car we have on average in Warsaw, 1.3 people. Therefore, public transport is able to carry more than 4 times more people along this corridor, occupying a similar width of the road lane! Problem in Aleje Jerozolimskie are turning vehicles. Before the intersections, buslanes often disappear and change in lane for right turning, but allowing buses to go straight. In particular, problem concerns intersections with traffic lights, where vehicles turning right on green light give way to pedestrians crossing the road in parallel. As a result, traffic of buses going straight is blocked for some time. Traffic is also interrupted by vehicles parked on sidewalks along the edge of road and the fact that buslane is often treated as a great place for unloading the delivery. Due to these factors, traffic flow of buses is not at highest level here. Bus lane designated on Łazienkowska Route looks very spectacular. In both directions special lanes have about 7 kilometers in length. It is also not without flaws, because there is a place where route escapes into basin under Niepodległości Avenue, but it does not have enough cross-sectional area to maintain bus lanes on both of its streets. The problem is also vehicles joining route from lateral inlets and trying to change traffic lane into general car traffic. In area of Metro Politechnika, in turn, all bus lines go to surface and entrance of a large intersection with central island, where long congestion forms during rush hour. In such places precious timetable minutes are lost unnecessarily, gained on sections with separated lanes. In spite of all bus lanes provide transport speed during peak hours of over 20 km/h. However, this route has a much greater potential if it would be provided continuity of separate lanes and increases separation from individual traffic. Most representative section with separate bus transport in Warsaw is route of Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat streets. It is basically a pedestrian zone with authorized traffic mainly of buses and taxis. However, route for vehicles is not available all year round – traffic is switched off here on weekends of the summer season. At the same time, this sequence plays an important transport role – providing access to Old Town, main campus of University of Warsaw and many restaurants and premises located in this area. However, limited vehicle traffic allowed to preserve the tourist character of this place. Road sections for buses are also separated during implementation of huge infrastructural investments. Currently, two projects are underway that required the launch of such routes. Construction of subsequent stations of second metro line (M2) by the opencast method under Górczewska Street made it impossible to conduct normal car traffic on surface. In order to preserve any traffic and accessibility to areas along this street, a decision was made to separate bus route. In connection with modernization of railway line No. 447 between Warsaw and Grodzisk Mazowiecki, buslane also appeared in direction of Center in Aleje Jerozolimskie from western city border to West Railway Station. Instead of trains, a substitute bus transportation was started. With it, it was deemed necessary to designate separate lanes for buses to protect passengers from waiting in multi-kilometer car congestion. This fear was not without justification, because this route is main entrance to city from west and south. In Polish conditions, it is a huge problem to respect limitation of traffic on such a lane. There is a lot of dodgers using bus lanes to bypass congestion, as you’ll see on the materials from one of the Warsaw bus drivers. Some time ago there was idea for automatic control of vehicles moving on Warsaw buslanes. To serve this purpose an ANPR cameras were planned to install, recognizing vehicle license plates and then numbers would be compared to base of vehicles admitted to traffic on such lane. Organizationally, however, such a solution becomes more and more difficult, because the number of users allowed on buslanes is growing. Therefore, it would be difficult for the city to develop complete base of all allowed vehicles. The control would still be point-driven and the drivers could learn the topology of cameras. Police also works in points, but in spite of everything they can appear everyday in different place. This is basically the only method that in current Polish conditions allows you to control the movement of vehicles on buslanes. As you have seen, there are many ways to designate bus lanes. They can be separated on the outside of the road, centrally in its axis or in general on a road intended only for traffic of this type of vehicles. These routes sometimes have stops in bays or are shared with tram transport – it depends on traffic they are supposed to handle. Each time the main reason for separating bus lanes is inadequate road infrastructure in relation to size of private motorization, at the same time causing significant delays in public transport traffic. Traffic congestion on most important routes in the city is a sign that it is necessary to provide more efficient transport that will enable more people to achieve their travel destinations. An effective way for increasing transport corridors capacity may be designated bus lanes on roadways. It is simply a matter of rational and more economical management of a limited space of cities. Meanwhile, thanks for your attention and see you next time! Bye!